It is a blessing to contemplate Mary during Advent: her yes to the divine will at the Annunciation, her miraculous pregnancy, the silence of her heart, the peace of her mind, the humility of her spirit, the richness of her interior life, the courage of her waiting, her obedience of faith, servant attitude, youthful beauty, perfect innocence, and wealth of Heavenly wisdom.

In these precious, passing hours of the beautiful season of Advent, I am not alone; Mary is near. With her divine pregnancy, her immaculate heart swells with grateful love. The unborn Christ Child is nestled in her virginal womb. His heartbeat echoes in hers; a song of glorious joy resounds in Mother and Child. Their union is also for me, for all believers. Their bond of love creates a home for me, and for you.

My Advent reflection on Mary includes another facet and gift of hers. She is fierce in crushing the head of the Serpent, and in protecting God’s children from demons. Those who work in the Church’s ministry of healing, deliverance and exorcism have witnessed, on numerous occasions, that the Virgin Mary’s presence is made known during exorcisms. She is called upon by the priest exorcist, in the formal prayers of the major Rite, and in the holy rosary that is prayed among other prayers during the exorcism. There are manifestations of evil spirits that are ugly and strange during exorcisms. Also, there are powerful, peaceful, beautiful manifestations of the presence of Mary, angels and saints.

During Advent and Christmas seasons when we reverence Mary’s yes to God and her divine pregnancy, let us remember that the unprecedented, monumental grace of the Incarnation of the Word of God set in motion the defeat of Satan and a great spiritual battle.

For ongoing formation in the ministry of deliverance and exorcism, I attended the 12th Course on Exorcism and Prayers of Liberation at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome in May 2017. The Association of International Exorcists (AIE) coordinated the course and Fr. Francesco Bamonte, a member of the Institute of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and AIE president, lectured. Here, I share Fr. Bamonte’s testimonies regarding the Virgin Mary crushing the Serpent. I was moved to deeper certitude in Mary’s role in the fight against evil by Fr. Bamonte’s witness.

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