After an exorcism, how does a person keep the devil from coming back? In the Gospels we read a story that describes how a person who was exorcised was then visited by a whole host of demons, and sought to reenter in a more forceful way (cf. Matt. 12:43-45). The rite of exorcism only expels demons from a person; it does not keep them from coming back.
In order to ensure that the devil does not return, exorcists recommend four ways that will keep a person’s soul at peace and in God’s hands:
1. Frequent the Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist
The most common way a demon can enter into someone’s life is through a habitual state of mortal sin. The more we divorce ourselves from God through sin, the more susceptible we are to a demon’s attack. Even venial sin can chip away at our relationship with God and can expose us to the enemy’s advances.
Confession of sins, then, is the primary way we have to put an end to our life of sin and start out on a new path. It is no coincidence that the devil relentlessly tried to scare St. John Vianney away from hearing the confessions of hardened sinners.
Vianney knew a big sinner was coming to town if the devil harassed him the night before. Confession has such power and grace that the devil must flee from a person who frequents that sacrament.
Along with confession, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is even more powerful in driving away the influence of the devil. This makes perfect sense as the Holy Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus Christ, and demons have absolutely zero power in front of God himself.
Especially when the Eucharist is received in a state of grace after confession, the devil simply has no place to go but back from whence they came. St. Thomas Aquinas confirmed this in his Summa Theologiae when he wrote, “[The Eucharist] repels all the assaults of demons. Hence Chrysostom says: ‘Like lions breathing forth fire, thus do we depart from that table, being made terrible to the devil.’”