Every baptized Christian has a target on their back. From the moment of baptism onward to death, every Christian is engaged in mortal combat with the devil for his or her soul. Christ saves and the devil knows this and tries hard to get baptized Christians to stray from the Faith and straight into hell with him.
He hates us and God that much.
One of the reasons why I became Catholic is because of spiritual warfare.
As a former witch, I worshipped false gods and practiced magic; opening myself up to the devil. Separated from God because of mortal sin; I suffered demonic attacks and obsessions. I’ve seen, heard and felt things that could turn someone’s hair white. For ten years, I had thought of suicide just to make it stop. It was that bad.
I don’t want anyone to suffer as I did.
Five years in the Church has done much to heal my soul and deliver me from those assaults and the suffering they caused. I believe that this experience has prepared me to help my fellow Christians in spiritual warfare.
The world likes to deny the reality of sin and that the devil doesn’t really exist. He’s only a metaphor and a symbol after all. I know for an indisputable fact that the devil and his angels are as real as a gunshot.
I know because I met them.
The world teaches us to follow our desires and satisfy them and supplies us with various means to do so while telling us it’s okay. Do what you want. Regardless of how destructive it is to your soul, your body and your relationships with God and others.
The devil uses all of this, and plays on our weaknesses; to draw souls away from Christ.
Imagine your weaknesses as weak spots in a castle wall. Saint Ignatius of Loyola teaches in the Spiritual Exercises that the devil circles around your castle walls looking for weak spots as his way into your soul.
The devil, seeing a weakness; then plays on it. Whispering suggestions into your ear, slipping ideas into your thoughts and tugging at you through your weaknesses. Trying to get you to listen to him.
Especially with addictions we see this.
The trick to resist the devil is simple. You don’t listen and you don’t engage in his ways of thinking.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola teaches us in the Spiritual Exercises a simple illustration: When sin pops up in our minds, we dismiss the thought right away. Because once you start thinking and engaging with that sinful thought, you’ve just opened yourself up to the devil. Once you start willing that sinful thought and planning to do it, and if it’s a grave matter and you know it’s wrong to do it; that’s when it becomes mortal sin.
Stay out of that thinking is the best solution to not sin.
When you’re struggling with sin, my advice is to strengthen the castle walls of your soul: Prayer, read the Bible and read spiritual writings like those of the saints are examples of how to shift your thinking out of the devil’s traps.
Romans 5:11 ( Douay-Rheims ) says: So do you also reckon that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God; in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In my understanding, this means that we must be unresponsive to the tugs of sin and responsive to God’s tugs in our souls. In Christ Jesus our Lord means, again in my understanding; that we are to remain in Christ. From faith in Christ we receive grace and that we remain steadfast in our faith in Christ; resisting the devil and being dead to sin and alive to God.
Saint James 4:7 ( Douay-Rheims ) says: Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you.
I understand this to mean that we must remain subject to God, submissive to God; resist the devil’s tugs to stray from the Faith and the devil will flee from such a Christian.
Now, the unaided human will alone cannot resist the devil.
That’s where faith and grace come into play; for we receive grace to resist evil from our faith in Christ.
Saint Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:16 ( Douay-Rheims ): In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.
This I understand to mean that we must take up our faith, and remain in it; to put out the fiery darts the devil shoots at us to sin. Faith is a shield that protects us from the devil’s lies and manipulations.
Draw on your faith and ground yourself in it.
When we sin, and we all do; we have the Sacrament of Confession. Go to your priest and confess your sins and your temptations. Frequent Confession is really good for your soul.
Confession saves souls.
Father Gabriele Amorth, when he was alive; was the chief exorcist of Rome. He had said that, as an exorcist he saves the body but the priest in the confessional saves souls.
Go to Father and confess every time you need it.
I know I do.
For my non Catholic brothers and sisters, I’ll suggest this: Repent immediately of your sins and ask God to help you do better. The penitent soul that seeks God will helped.
But, I’ll always counsel to swim the Tiber to Rome. 😉 It did me plenty of good.
In closing, dear readers; I hope I’ve done some good for souls in the battle against the enemy of all humankind.
God bless you and Mary keep you.