Magic and Superstition
"Consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one whom I name to you."
1 Samuel 28:8
King Saul is desperate. Enemy forces are advancing, his trusted prophet Samuel has died, and God is not giving him any clues about what to do. So Saul responds like any pagan of his day: He gets a medium to conjure up Samuel's spirit. Summoned from the dead, Samuel is not amused. Neither, apparently, is God.
For Saul is no pagan. He knows the Mosaic Law forbids magic and superstition (see Leviticus 19.31;20.27; see also Deuteronomy 18.10-12). By his own order, mediums and fortune-tellers are supposed to have been driven from Israel (see 1 Samuel 28.3). So why does he do it?
What draws Saul to the medium of Endor and confirms his fate is desire to know the future. Even today that same desire draws Christians to horoscopes, palm readings, tarot cards, and psychics. Divination, magic, sorcery, and occult practices--these expressions of superstition are offenses against the first commandment: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. "You will be like gods," they whisper--the same lie that seduced Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3.5). Promising control over time, history and even other people, such practices usurp the reverence and loving fear that we should direct to God alone.
Approaching pious practices as a mechanical means to an end--with no regard for the intentions of the heart--can become another form of superstition. Such self-seeking superstition can corrupt worship.
Send copies of this prayer to five people, and your intentions will be granted. This has never been known to fail.
Bury this statue upside down and your prayer will be answered.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between those who seek for magic and those who are truly devout. Each may exhibit the same behavior. "Take tow people wearing a cross, says psychologist Father Benedict Groeschel. "For one it is an informed devotion of piety and faith, and for the other it is simply magic." It is the attitude of the heart that makes all the difference.
The acid test: "Am I trying to twist God's arm to get what I want? Or am I ready to trust and accept what God wants?
National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholic Women's Devotional Bible. p. 316.The Zondervan Corporation. Grand Rapids, MI. c. 1991.