What an amazing exorcism is this, my Jesus!
A single word from you—and at a distance—
and the demon leaves the child possessed.
I have heard that in exorcisms to this day
the possessed person hates the light
and tries, all they can, to close off from it.
They close their eyes and cover their face
with their hand or their arms.
And yet the exorcist commands again and again,
“Open your eyes,” and they obey.

What is this, that a simple man, one of your priests,
can command the evil spirits, and they obey?
Yet this precisely is what the Gospels say,
but your response, Jesus, is always this:
“Rejoice not that the evil spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.”
For it is but a small thing in comparison,
to be freed from a finite, fallen creature,
with being adopted into the life of the infinite God!

Do we not give too much credit to demons
—or we simply do not care to believe in them at all,
which is in many ways perhaps worse?
In this Syrophoenician woman we see the truth
of the right attitude to take, Jesus, to this.
She acknowledges the evil, the suffering,
and yet she does not let herself be lost in it.
Rather, she takes refuge in imploring you
and in a radical, unyielding trust in your love.
Yes, in a trust in your desire to heal and to save.

And even when you seem to rebuff her,
appearing at first to share in you people’s strife,
in their prejudice which closes them to others
and to God’s universal will to save,
you do this only to test and awaken her faith,
to make it mature through its deeper reaching out.
For these “dogs” eating the scraps from the table
are soon to recognize that they, too, are children,
as the light breaks forth for the Gentiles
and all are adopted into the family of God.

Jesus, are there not often dark places in our lives
where we feel that the evil spirits reign?
Perhaps we give them too much credit,
these sufferings, these difficulties and trials,
these apparently hopeless situations,
these repeated failures—so far, it seems,
from the reach of your light and love.
Yes, for a single word of yours is enough:
“Because you have persevered in asking,
you may go, for your request has been granted.”
And the Power of Divine Love breaks forth,
spreading out its light into the darkest places,
there making present its healing and transforming grace,
and causing to blossom forth in a mysterious way
beauty and loveliness from our very wounds.