Everywhere one looks today, it seems like our society wants to go over a cliff at a thousand miles an hour. It seems that the government wants to stick our collective fingers in God’s eye over and over again, with their enactment of laws and judicial fiats which promote the cultural acceptance of abortion, fornication, pornography, sex and violent movies, so-called “homosexual marriage,” artificial birth control, the occult, recreational marijuana, doctor assisted suicide, etc. Talking heads on the “news” programs (in reality they are more like liberal propaganda shows) belittle Christians who oppose these things, and glorify the worldly people who celebrate these horrors. The purpose of this article is to help those who wish to inoculate themselves against becoming accepting of these anti-God practices, and to fight back against the wiles of Satan, who loves these abominations.
The Bible on Spiritual Warfare
Ephesians chapter 6 is the best example of spiritual warfare in the Bible:
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [Ephesians 6:10- 17:]
So how does one do all of the above? To begin with, daily Holy Communion is the best way to put on the armor of God, because Holy Communion is Christ Himself. The devil gets seven days a week to work on your soul; why not give God seven days a week to counteract all of that? And of course the reason that Jesus came into the world was to “destroy the works of the devil.” The Eucharist is Christ, of course, and when we ingest Him into our temple (our body), Jesus cleanses our temple of bad things, just like He once did in the Temple in Jerusalem. Frequent Holy Communion allows Jesus to fight this spiritual battle within us, which means we don’t have to fight Satan all by ourselves.
St. Peter also talks about resisting the devil, because Lucifer goes about as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. It seems like the devil looks upon us as cattle being fattened for the slaughter (instead of cattle’s corn, hay, and molasses, our fattening food is sin!). Anyone who has ever driven by a cattle feedlot immediately notices the stench. Sin in our lives is a lot like that, because it really stinks to be close to the enemy and to be far from God. The devil loves the scent of fire and brimstone, after all. St. Joseph Cupertino could actually smell the sin on his penitents in the confessional.
Rather than let a roaring lion devour us, Jesus, the Lion of Judah, instead becomes our food in the Eucharist, so that when we obey His command to eat His flesh and drink His blood, we have His actual precious blood flowing through our veins, and His sacred flesh in us. And this in-turn makes us very distasteful to Satan’s palate!
James 4:7 is another great piece of advice from scripture:
“So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
When we submit ourselves to God, it means that we not only repent of our past sins, but we firmly resolve not to commit them anymore. It means that we totally trust in God to take good care of us, even when things are horrible in our lives. It means that we tell God, as often as possible, that we love Him. It means that we ask God to take our will and crush it, and for God to give us His holy will to take its place. It means that we ask God to melt our heart into His Sacred Heart, so that we become humble, chaste, loving, and courageous, like Him. It means that we pray to become more and more like Jesus every day, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It means that we humbly ask for the holy intercessions of the saints in heaven and the poor souls in purgatory for the well being of our family, friends, enemies, and in-laws. It means that we start praying for the holy souls in purgatory, for the poor sinners here on earth, and for the sick and the dying. It means that we start doing the corporal works of mercy God told us about in Matthew 25: 31-46. It means that we develop a strong devotion to His mother, just like Jesus has. It means that we find the time to bend the knee in front of the Tabernacle more often. It means that we start reading and studying scripture every day. It means that we start witnessing to others about Jesus. All of the above are things that Satan does not want us to do, and we are therefore “resisting the devil.”
If going to daily Mass is out of the question, then one can recite the Spiritual Communion prayer as often as possible. The daily recitation of the Holy Rosary is a fantastic way to hold faith up as a shield against Satan, because no other human has more faith in Christ than Mary has, she being the very first Christian and evangelist. St. Luke says that her soul magnifies Jesus, and that is a very great thing! By saying the Holy Rosary, you are invoking the human arch-enemy of Satan (Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:13-17) to fight this battle for you. Consecrating yourself to Jesus through Mary is a great way to add armor onto ourselves (When tempted, just repeat the “Hail Mary” prayer over and over, until the feeling passes.). Our brains don’t stand a chance against the superior intellect of the devil, but since he doesn’t have a heart, Mary beats him every time with her Immaculate Heart. Meditating on Christ’s Passion while praying just about any prayer is also a great way to protect yourself from Satan’s wicked deceit. In other words, we don’t fight this battle by ourselves; we plead for and receive heavenly help!
Sacramentals like a blessed St. Benedict medal, the scapular, or the Miraculous Medal worn around the neck are another great way to put on the armor of God. These are not good luck charms, but rather, they carry the blessing of the Church of Jesus Christ. Blessings are real power, and they do create fear in demons. Frequent use of holy water on our person as well as sprinkled in our homes and cars also shoo the evil spirits away. St. Theresa of Avila testified to this. Blessed salt and oil are great sacramentals, as well.
Spiritual warriors know that a lot of the battle against evil involves avoiding the near occasions of sin. That means that if we have acquaintances who tell bad jokes, or who are earthy, or who love money more than God, etc., then we should avoid those people. Why? Because, as the saying goes, “Rotten apples make the good ones go bad,” and we who are striving for holiness don’t want our efforts to be stymied by negative influences. We also should not watch bad movies or look at magazines which negatively excite our imagination. We should not go to places where we know that temptation abounds. For some of us, these places might include bars (drunkenness and eye candy) and all-you-can-eat buffets (gluttony). Joining a church group with like-minded Christians is the solution to these problems.
Frequent Confession is another great way to embellish our defense against satan as well. He hates it when we confess our sins and are forgiven by Christ in the confessional. Our unforgiven sins are his toehold on our souls, and when those are flushed away in this great sacrament of reconciliation, he has to start all over again with us. Try to think of the confessional box as the tomb Jesus was placed in after He died. Just like His body rose from the dead in that tomb, our dead souls (if we have committed a mortal sin) rise from the dead in the confessional every time we receive the priest’s absolution!
Do’s and Dont’s
There are demonic gateways that can open the door to demons into our lives. Someone could place a curse on us, for example (FYI, both curses and blessings are real and powerful things). Other ways include dabbling in the occult, frequent use of pornography, fornication, adultery, using illegal drugs (formerly known as “potions”), taking the Lord’s name in vain, having an abortion, and any other mortal sins. The demonic usually takes one of three forms – nudity, violence, or multiple personalities (like the demoniac in scripture), or sometimes all three.
The laity is not empowered to perform exorcisms, but we are empowered to pray deliverance prayers, like the “Our Father” and others. The end of the “Our Father” in Latin is “sed libera nos a MALO,” or “deliver us from the evil ONE.” An exorcism is only allowed to be performed by a Catholic priest, and then only with the permission of the local bishop.
Under no circumstances are we to initiate contact with demons, or to converse with them. This includes the Ouija board, which the Church forbids. Some teens play “games” like “Bloody Mary” which conjures up a demon, all done in the name of “fun,” but again, this is strictly forbidden by the Church. A demon is like satanic velcro, and he will not leave easily once conjured. What this means is that a person’s life will be very negatively influenced until these practices are renounced, through confession, penance, and atonement. It’s not enough to just stop doing the occult; one must confess it and push back hard against it with true repentance.
Levels of Demonic Activity
For the record, there are other, lesser degrees of demonic interference that are possible in our lives besides full blown possession, like temptation, oppression, obsession, and infestation. To learn about these, click here.
Spiritual Warfare Prayers
To St. Michael
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
To the Blessed Virgin Mary
August Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech thee to send forth thy holy angels, that under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe.
Most Holy Mother, send thy angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us.
All ye holy angels and archangels, help and defend us. Amen.