( Aleteia )We Christians face a spiritual battle each day. The Word of God teaches us that our life on earth is a constant struggle against the Evil One, and it reminds us that we have decided to follow Christ and to be always ready to face the Devil’s blows. To make this Lent a time of authentic conversion, with no concessions given to the demons, we present you with 10 effective spiritual weapons.
1. Lead an ordered life
First, pay great attention to prayer, which is the foundation of your spiritual life. Find time also to read the Bible. We suggest you reflect on the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 25, verses 35-40.
You also need to be firmly rooted in your vocation. It might be a married life, priesthood, consecrated life, etc., but whatever it is, you have to be faithful in all things to the call God has given you.
Lastly, dedicate some time to the Church. We know we haven’t all been called to full-time ministry in the Church, but we can all collaborate in some way, according to our own possibilities.
2. Categorically reject temptation
One problem in the spiritual battle is being slow and weak in our response to temptation. But with God’s grace, you can strengthen your will and decisively and roundly reject temptation from the outset. On the other hand, we often have temptations because we put ourselves into a near occasion of sin. Always remember this proverb: “Whoever plays with fire eventually gets burned.”
3. Identify the enemy and ask God for help
When we fall into temptation, it’s very useful to admit it, saying: “The Devil, the enemy of God, is tempting me.” Name him and say short prayers asking the Lord for help. Here are a few examples of very powerful short prayers: “Jesus, I trust in you,” “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation,” “Lord, save me,” and “Lord, make haste to help me.” Invoke the holy names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph with faith and trust.
4. Fight against desolation
Spiritual desolation is experienced as a darkness before divine truth, an insensitivity to the divine Word, laziness in doing good and distance from the Lord. It can have an unexpected strength, and make one vacillate in the good intentions one had just a day before. St. Ignatius said that when one is in a state of desolation, it is important to pray and meditate more, examine one’s conscience (to understand why you are in a state of desolation) and then apply a proper remedy and punishment.
5. Fight against laziness
If you don’t have anything to do, the Devil will give you plenty of tasks. St. John Bosco wasn’t fond of vacation time for the boys at the oratory, precisely because he knew that having too much time on one’s hands was often accompanied by many temptations.
6. Use Jesus’ weapons in the desert
Prolonged and authentic prayer, constant mortification (fasting) and familiarity with the Word of God, through meditation and putting it into practice, are effective weapons for combatting and defeating Satan.
7. Talk with a spiritual director
St. Ignatius warns us that the Devil loves secrecy. Therefore, if a person is in a deep state of desolation and opens up with a spiritual director, he or she can overcome the temptation. Keeping total silence is like hiding a cut or a deep wound under one’s clothes. Until the wound is exposed to the sun and disinfected, not only does it not heal, but the infection gets worse, gangrene may set in, or even worse, one risks amputation. Once the temptation is revealed to a spiritual director, one gains power over it.
8. Have recourse to sacramentals
The appropriate use of sacramental can be very effective in battling against the Devil. These three sacramental are especially effective: the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Medal of St. Benedict and holy water.
9. Invoke St. Michael the archangel
In our battle against Satan, we have to employ every weapon. God has chosen St. Michael the archangel as a faithful angel, the Prince of the heavenly Host, to thrust into hell Lucifer and all the evil spirits. St. Michael, whose name means “Who is like God,” is as powerful today as in times past.
10. Invoke the Most Holy Virgin
Mary is the human person whom Satan fears most, according to many exorcists (based on what the demons themselves have said). Mary has many titles: invoking her under one of them is a very useful way to cast away the Evil One. The ancient serpent, the Devil, can lash out against you spitting his poison, but if you ask Mary for help, she will crush his head.