Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Katie Peterson

9/8/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

You will be engaged in spiritual warfare for the rest of your earthly life

Do you ever feel like you are in spiritual warfare? The devil doesn't usually attack us in such blatant, physical ways as he did St. Anthony, but we must remember that he is always seeking to make war against us. So what are we to do? Arm ourselves, right? But with what? How do we anticipate the devil's attacks against us, especially when they are so deviously subtle and often approach us in the disguise of seemingly ordinary life situations and decisions?

Article Highlights

By Katie Peterson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/8/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Prayer, spiritual warfare, desert, fasting, struggle, Katie Peterson


DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - He sold everything he owned and he went into the desert to fight demons. He burned with a desire for God, and "the devil, an enemy of the word Christian, could not bear to see such outstanding virtues in a young man and so he attacked him" (from Early Christian Lives, the "Life of Antony by Athanasius"). Spiritual warfare. We see it lived out to the extreme in the life of St. Anthony, early anchorite monk and fierce warrior of demons, all for the glory of God and the prayerful protection of men. Obviously, most of us are not called to rid ourselves of all our possessions and become hermits in a foreign desert (at least I'm not.), but we all experience spiritual warfare like St. Anthony, though often in different and subtler degrees. St. Athanasius, in his writings on the "Life of Antony," explained the reality of what (or whom) Anthony was up against. The devil and his demons literally beat Anthony, torturing him in every physical and spiritual way possible in order to break his spirit and unwavering devotion to God. But echoing the words of St. Paul, Anthony knew, "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10). The words of Psalm 27 also strengthened his resolve to win spiritual battles for Christ's sake: "Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident" (Ps 27:3). What courage! He was able to take on hosts of the devil's minions, armed with the power of God-which will always conquer. Are we at war?
 "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). Do you ever feel like you are in spiritual warfare? The devil doesn't usually attack us in such blatant, physical ways as he did St. Anthony, but we must remember that he is always seeking to make war against us. So what are we to do? Arm ourselves, right? But with what? How do we anticipate the devil's attacks against us, especially when they are so deviously subtle and often approach us in the disguise of seemingly ordinary life situations and decisions? St. Anthony's advice for the friends of his day certainly ring true for us still. "My friends," Anthony advised, "a pure and fearless faith in God are powerful weapons against the demons.when you see them, protect yourselves with the sign of the cross and immediately they will dissolve into nothing for they fear that sign of victory by which the Savior, depriving them of their powers of the air, has shown them up.What room for hesitation can now remain, my children? What fear can there be any longer?...When they see that our hearts are fortified in Christ, they turn back in confusion." A practical tip to help "fortify our hearts in Christ"
There is a common practice done by the saints to strengthen their hearts for spiritual warfare. By the world's standards, this practice looks like it would weaken one's bodily strength, rather than provide all of the energies one needs to go into battle without fear. To be honest, many of us shrink away at the mention of this practice. The word sends a little chill down the spine, since we are creatures of comfort and this is all about discomfort: fasting. It seems like we talk a whole lot about fasting during Lent, and we practically forget about it (or intentionally 'forget' about it) during the other 325 days of the year. But practicing self-denial and self-discipline is one of the greatest-and, surprisingly, one of the most energizing-spiritual practices in the Church. Did you know that it is recommended that we fast in some way on all Fridays, not just Fridays during Lent? Fasting is meant to help us fight against temptation and energize us for spiritual battle. We should all try to incorporate fasting more into our spiritual lives. Fasting doesn't have to always mean eating less during the day. Be creative. Fast from things that bring you comfort: watching a television show you like, listening to the radio in the car, having your beloved morning cup of coffee. You can also fast by "giving up" time. Perhaps you can exchange something you want to do during the day for something that you really should do, like calling a relative to see how they are doing, making a meal for a friend going through a difficult time, etc. Fasting from temporal pleasures helps turn our sights to the greater pleasures-the eternal ones-and to the virtues. St. Anthony talks about the need for "trampling on all that is transitory." Sure this will cause discomfort, and sometimes a little bit of pain, but the great monastic recognized the truth of Romans 8:18: "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Find us ready
You will be engaged in spiritual warfare for the rest of your earthly life. This is a fact you should know and never forget, so you can be prepared for it and do something about it. Arm yourself, and realize what a privilege it is to fight on the side that always wins. You are not alone. A voice came to St. Anthony saying, "Antony, I was here, but I was waiting to watch your struggle. But now, since you have bravely held your own in this fight, I will always help you." After all, "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). ----- Ms. Katie Peterson is the Communication Manager for Catholics Come Home, a national Catholic evangelism apostolate working to invite fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church through television commercials and an interactive website. Katie is a graduate student at the Augustine Institute for Catholic Theology in Denver, Colorado, studying Evangelization and Catechesis. She has spoken at local, regional, and national Catholic events and hopes to get her doctorate and teach Catholics how to more effectively communicate their faith.  

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Living Faith

BREAKING THE RULES or IS HE? Pope Francis washes women's feet and those of undetermined religion Watch

Image of This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show ... continue reading


'Priestly joy is a priceless treasure,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pope, presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a priest wants to overcome moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom, in addition to discovering his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, Pope Francis said during the Chrism Mass at St. Peter's ... continue reading


Who's ready for the most historic canonization in modern history?

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Are you ready for the canonization of Pope John Paul II? Vatican officials are busy preparing for the historic canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. As they prepare, it's time for use to get ready as well. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - on April 27, a ... continue reading


Pope Francis encourages people to kiss crucifix and recite simple prayer Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is encouraging people this holy week to pick up a crucifix, kiss it and recite the simple prayer: "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord." He wishes to remind others that Christ's passion "isn't the happy ending of a beautiful fairytale, it isn't the ... continue reading


Pope Francis distributes Bibles, asks Catholics to perform acts of charity

Image of Bibles were handed out to all visitors regardless of their religious affiliation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has given out tens of thousands of Bibles to people that he hopes they will keep and use daily. The gifts were distributed in St. Peter's Square following Mass. The gifts came with one string attached however, Pope Francis asked all people to perform an ... continue reading


Pope Francis' Wild Ride - Pope takes happy kids for a spin through St. Peter's Square Watch

Image of Pope Francis kisses Livio Bastianelli and Davide Maria goodbye after their lucky ride.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis gave to kids the ride of a lifetime by inviting them for a spin in the Popemobile around St. Peter's Square. The gesture continues to cement Pope Francis as a man of the people who is most comfortable with the throngs of faithful who seek his wisdom and ... continue reading


Seminary is not for those who do not wish to 'get on with life,' Pope admonishes Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In addressing the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, the Pope did not mince words. Pope Francis was forthright in saying that the seminary is not a refuge for those who have "psychological problems" or lack the courage "to get on in life." LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Pope Francis apologizes for abuse scandal, says Church deserves to pay Watch

Image of Pope Francis embraces a child in St. Peter's Square.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made his strongest statement yet about the scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis made clear that victims of abuse deserved an apology as well as compensation for what they have suffered.  He reaffirmed that the Church will be ... continue reading


Pope Francis makes special plea, but is asking us - Are you listening? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis continues to call for aid to the poor as the holiday season ends. The Holy Father has set a goal to eradicate global hunger by distributing food more equitably around the world and he has called on all faithful Catholics to help. It's a call that can't be ... continue reading


'The Devil is here, even in the 21st century,' Pope Francis warns Watch

Image of Life is a constant battle against evil due to the presence of the devil, Pope Francis said, admitting that even he

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The devil is very much alive in the 21st Century, Pope Francis warns, and he often takes the form of gossip. The pope confessed that he himself was tempted to gossip, and the faithful need to stay on their toes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Speaking in the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 10:34, 37-43
34 Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-9
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 20th, 2014 Image

St. Marian
April 20: When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter