Truth Or Fiction? Priest Lays Out A Case For Practice Of Healing The 'Family Tree'
By Michael H. Brown
Christmas is a time when we can get a lot done spiritually. It affords us an opportunity to pray for the deceased. That's number one. The veil is thin at Christmastime and we're told by private revelations (including the Church-approved messages from a deceased nun in the 19th century) that it's on Christmas -- not All Souls' Day -- that most souls are released from purgatory.
It is also an excellent time to take care of our families' spiritual baggage. Think of it: we all get together. There can be direct, personal prayer (whether or not those involved are aware of it). We can pray blessings on everyone at once (especially during grace). For this, we should prepare in advance. It can be so powerful!
We can also ask for deliverance. Many spiritual problems run in families and sometimes are best handled in a collective sort of way, with prayer to Christ that darkness be lifted from the entire clan.
Do you ever find that when someone enters the room there is suddenly a change in the spiritual atmosphere? Does a cloud descend? Is there spiritual "clutter" (a tension in the air that can cause discouragement, confusion, arguments)?
We need to clear such "familial" spirits. When two relatives both have the spirit of anger, it can be like a volcano! Once and for all, this Christmas, clear the air. Christ will help you. Pray to the Holy Spirit!
Are there "ancestral" curses or demons?
This is a controversial topic, with many respected priests and charismatics convinced that there are, while others denounce such beliefs as fringe concepts or old-fashioned.
We'll let you decide, since your discernment is as good as ours -- particularly when it involves your own family!
Yet we must admit the intriguing possibilities, spelled out with great thoroughness by Father John Hampsch, one of the nation's foremost deliverance ministers. Father Hampsch, who has spoken in fifty countries and every state in the U.S., is an officer in the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Communication Association, a psychological consultant to the National Broadcasting Company, a member of the Association of Christian Therapists, and past president of the Catholic Philosophical Association. He has been active in the Charismatic Renewal for over thirty years and has been a featured speaker at the Southern California Renewal Conference for most of that time.
You get the picture: he is highly accomplished. One thing for sure: he knows the Bible, and whether or not we agree on all his conclusions, he has written a useful reference book, written in easy to read, question-answer format, with surprising insights into everything from purgatory to spiritual warfare on every page.
But the focus is the deliverance of families from oppression and other afflictions, and it gives dozens of Scriptural references for the validity of "healing your family tree" (which is also the title of his book and which I have mentioned in previous stories).
Agree or not, it is fascinating to see Father Hampsch lay out the examples of illnesses that have been relieved or cured by lifting spirits that he says came through ancestors. He does so in nearly 300 fact-filled pages.
"Many persons are afflicted with excessive fears and phobias or aversions, rage, anger, resentment, outbursts of temper, pouting, overwhelming sense of guilt feelings, addictions to drugs or alcohol, many types of sexual perversions or sexual drives that are very difficult to control, strong temptations to infidelity and fornication, adultery, and many types of relationship problems that affect deep levels of the psyche," he posits (here citing Hosea 5: 4, "a spirit of prostitution is in their heart," and Lamentations 5:7: "Our fathers sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment...").
Of course, there is also the famous line from Exodus 20:5 about the "sins of the fathers" following the lineage "to the third and fourth generation." If we accept the theory, it means that we could be affected today by things that occurred to our great-great grandparents (and in Father Hampsch's view, possibly further back, especially if the transgressions involved violence or witchcraft).
Can dark spirits really follow a family line? Do we sometimes have to pray for healing our whole lineage? There are genetic factors that are passed down, he points out; there is DNA; there are behavioral dispositions. There are even cases where zinc deficiencies have had an effect several generations down the road. Why not also, he asks, spiritual factors?
"In a study from the University of Michigan it was determined that while approximately one out of two American marriages ends in divorce, only one out of five hundred American marriages ends in divorce where there is family prayer and Bible-reading every day," the priest points out. "Thus, when we choose to provide a good religious environment, God places His blessings upon the children."
If we don't have family prayer, that's something we could start this holiday!
Hampsch, a Claretian based in the Los Angeles area, quotes another scientific study showing that a man is three times as likely to become an alcoholic if his grandfather (not necessarily his father) was a heavy drinker. "This particular form of alcoholism is apparently not reflected in the genetic structure," he says. "It seems something is transmitted through the human spirit, and can only be healed by God."
A son is punished but not blamed for a father's wrongdoing, he asserts -- quoting Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica 1-2, 81.1)
In Haiti, Father Hampsch points out, the age-old practice of voodoo has left that nation impoverished (and, we might add, prone to disasters).
The priest says he has seen cases where a hunched back was cured despite many generations of hunched relatives or where drug problems were resolved or serious illness cured through prayers focusing on the family tree.
"We need not live under a curse," he says. "When persons give their lives over to God and repudiate the sin in their lives, they can dispose God to break that curse, and in the place of that, the blessing of the Lord is manifested."
His step-by-step approach, spelled out in detail in the book: recognize the problems, repent of all failures, grant forgiveness to all your ancestors (this is very important), forgive current relatives, pray a prayer of deliverance over the whole family, transform your spirituality if you are not devout, appeal for the help of angels, place the Cross between each of the generations and over each member of your family who comes to mind, and simply persevere in prayer. Most such healings occur over a period of time.
Of course, Father Hampsch goes into much more detail. Most useful is the Eucharist. "Normally, the healing program concludes with a Eucharistic service in which prayers are offered to God to cut any negative bondage between ourselves and past generations, and between presently living generations and future unborn generations," he writes.
From there we can go to requesting a blessing based on the blessings of those in our ancestry who were good and holy -- the "thousand-generation" blessing.
When a close relative dies, does whatever may have been around that person seek to attach itself to those close to him? Can there really be something like the "spirit of divorce" or the "spirit of alcoholism" or the "spirit of financial distress," the "spirit of division," that afflict entire families?
We report, you discern:
Whatever our personal beliefs, this time of year presents the perfect chance to place it in the Hands of Jesus, plead the Blood of Jesus during Christmas Mass, take the Eucharist, and ask God to cure whatever afflicts our entire families, whatever "it" may be.
[bookstore resources: Fr. Hampsch's Healing Your Family Tree and Intergenerational Healing by Father Robert DeGrandis]
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