Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Katie Peterson

9/8/2011 (3 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?

Highlights

By Katie Peterson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/8/2011 (3 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: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... continue reading


Don't take your children 'hostage,' Pope tells separated couples Watch

Image of Christian communities, Pope Francis says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In discussing the role of parents educating their children, Pope Francis in his General Audience, advised separated couples to "never, never, never take the children hostage!" LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope spoke on the role of parents in the ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


8 encouraging Bible verses to lift you up Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sometimes getting up in the morning can be the hardest thing you'll do all day. When life's worries press down on you and take your soul hostage, the most important thing you can do for yourself is turn to God. He will always be there for you, through the good times ... continue reading


Pope Francis tells bishops to act more like pastors - and not 'pilots' Watch

Image of The meeting between bishops will last until May 21. At that time, bishops will discuss how their faithful have received Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, and look at ways to implement its teaching.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Addressing bishops in Italy, Pope Francis told them to act more like pastors than "pilots" telling the faithful what to do. The pontiff said that bishops need "Ecclesial sensitivity." They should remain bold in denouncing cultural trends that offend human ... continue reading


Five-year-old boy brings people to tears with heartfelt act of kindness Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During his meal at a Waffle House restaurant, 5-year-old Josiah Duncan's attention wandered to the man outside the establishment. The man, dirty and holding a plastic bag, became the center of the young boy's curiosity and concern. After learning from her mother that ... continue reading


Amazing 'Bulletproof' cross under construction in middle of Christian-hostile Pakistan Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Everything changed for a Pakistani businessman, trying to build one of the world's tallest and first "bulletproof" cross, after God appeared in his dreams. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Parvez Henry Gill, a real estate businessman, claimed  God gave ... continue reading


Future priests endure 'preaching boot camp' to learn how to spice up sermons Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has been clear, priests should be able to touch the hearts of their audience whenever they preach. To remedy the lack of heart-and-soul-felt sermons, one seminary in Detroit decided to hire professional actors to teach soon-to-be priests how to give ... continue reading


Pope Francis takes Vatican diplomacy to new levels Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is being called a "Pope of Politics" for his steadfast approach on many of the world's toughest issues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope is a leader "unafraid of mixing theology and politics," according to Reuters. So far during his time as ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... 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 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... 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