Tag Archives: spiritual warfare






As an Army of Mary, we are engaged in the battle for souls. The first battle begins in our own soul, and it is the battle against pride and self. It never ceases, no matter how exhausting it is.

To the end of his earthly life, the Child of Mary strives to conquer the root of evil within himself, ever purifying his intention more and more. Unaided, he is quite unable to succeed in even this first battle. So he leans on Mary with complete trust. He soon learns that the quickest method of emptying himself of self and filling himself with God, is through true devotion to Mary.

Our dependence on God’s grace

United with Mary, we rid ourselves of self-exultation. In Mary, we see the Mirror of Justice endowed with unbounded power in the realms of grace.

The perfect purity of intention exemplified in Mary drives from the soul of the Child of Mary any feelings of smug self I satisfaction and any desire for self-advancement. He works only that God may triumph in souls through Mary. His dependence on grace makes him distrust the prompting of his own inclinations and so rids him of self-will and every other impediment to the maternal influences of Mary. She takes over, developing in him from day to day the supernatural energies and sacrifices She expects from a good soldier of Christ.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part 1)

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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Prayers to Our Lady


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He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Lk1:48)




Humility is necessary for that union with Mary upon which the apostolate relies for its supernatural efficacy. It is more essential in Mary’s soldiers than are courage, intelligence and physical fitness in the soldier of worldly armies.

A man may be determined to be a good soldier, to play a worthy part in the battles in which his country’s forces are engaged and, yet, through the absence of the necessary qualities, be unable to do so. A paralysed man may long to walk, but even the most vehement longings will not give him the capacity he does not physically possess.

So it is, the Children of Mary are bound to be rendered ineffective unless they are rooted in true humility. Without this virtue HOLINESS, the source of all apostolic action is impossible. Without it, there can be no real likeness to Mary.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part 1).


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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 18:1-2. 21-23. 19:1-3. 9)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 18:1-2. 21-23. 19:1-3. 9)

The state, its traders, the princes of the earth…He has condemned the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth…

Babylon the Great has fallen!

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth was lit up with his glory. At the top of his voice he shouted, “Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.”

Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, “That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again.

“Never again in you, Babylon,

will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels,

the music of flute and trumpet;

never again will craftsmen of every skill be found

or the sound of the mill be heard;

never again will shine the light of the lamp,

never again will be heard

the voices of the bridegroom and bride.

Your traders were the princes of the earth,

all the nations were under your spell.”

After this I seemed to hear the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, “Alleluia! Victory and glory and power to our God! He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication; he has avenged his servants that she killed.” They sang again, “Alleluia! The smoke of her will go up for ever and ever.”

The angel said, “Write this: Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.


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[Spiritual enemies]


Unto the end, understanding for the sons of Core.

As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after their, O God.

My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?

My tears have been my bread day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?

These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God:

With the voice of joy and praise; the noise of one feasting.

Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me?

Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

My soul is troubled within myself: therefore I will remember thee from the land of Jordan and Hermoniim, from the little hill.

Deep calleth on deep, at the noise of thy flood-gates.

All the heights and thy billows have passed over me.

In the daytime the Lord hath commanded his mercy; and a canticle to him in the night.

With me is prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God: Thou art my support.

Why hast thou forgotten me? and why go I mourning, whilst my enemy afflicteth me?

Whilst my bones are broken, my enemies who trouble me have reproached me;

Whilst they say to me day by day: Where is thy God?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?

Hope thou in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.


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– Lent –

You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41).


Christian! do you see them

On the holy ground,

How the powers of darkness

Rage your steps around?

Christian! up and smite them,

Counting gain but loss;

In the strength that fills you

From the holy cross.


Christian! do you feel them,

How they work within,

Striving, tempting, luring,

Goading into sin?

Christian! never tremble;

Never be downcast;

Gird yourself for battle;

Watch, and pray, and fast.

– St Andrew of Crete, tr. John Mason Neale


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Both in the Old and the New Testament, the holy Archangel Michael is called the “guardian angel of the people of God”. He is also honoured as the “Herald of the General Judgment” and the “Guardian of Paradise”. It is his office to lead all the elect into the Kingdom of Eternal Glory.

Defender and leader of God’s people in Paradise

The world’s history is replete with instances of St Michael’s solicitude for the children of men during the time of their earthly pilgrimage. He began to fulfil his office as defender and leader of God’s people in the Garden of Paradise. St Ambrose says that God commissioned St Michael to lead Adam into Paradise, to explain to him the purpose of his creation, to guide him and to associate with him in visible form. After the fall of Adam and Eve, this same glorious Archangel stood guard at the gate of Paradise with flaming sword, “to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen 3:24).

The Fathers of the Church tell us that even though in many instances the name of St Michael is not mentioned in Holy Scripture, when reference is made to the services of an angel, we may confidently believe that it was either St Michael himself who rendered assistance, or his angelic subjects, who did so at his command.

Important missions

They speculate that it may have been St Michael who warned Noe [Noah] of the coming flood, and that it was through St Michael that Abraham was named the father of the chosen people and received that wonderful promise which Holy Church has immortalised in her prayers for the dead: “May the holy standard-bearerMichael, introduce them into that holy light which thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his descendants.”

The Angel who appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:2) was St Michael, according to the teaching of St Gregory Nazianzen. It was this mighty Angel who performed the wonders which took place at the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and through whom God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. Likewise, the Angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (4 [2] Kings 19:35) was the holy Archangel Michael.

After the death of Moses, according to an ancient Jewish tradition to which St Jude refers to in his Epistle (Jude 1:9), St Michael concealed the tomb of Moses from the people, and also from Satan, who wished to disclose it to the Israelites to seduce them thereby to the sin of false worship.

God revealed to St Michael the designs of His justice and mercy regarding His chosen people. Of this the prophecies of Daniel and Zacharias bear witness. Finally, it was this great celestial prince who aided the Israelites and rendered the army of Judas Macchabeus victorious over their enemies.

(Even to this day the Jews invoke the holy Archangel Michael as the principal defender of the Synagogue and their protector against enemies. On the Feast of the Atonement they conclude their prayers with this beautiful invocation: “Michael, Prince of Mercy, pray for Israel, that it may reign in Heaven, in that light which streams forth from the face of the King who sits upon the throne of mercy.”)

Protector of the Church

Just as the chosen people of the Old Law were marvellously protected by St Michael, so we may believe that this same prince of Heaven protects the Church of God even more wonderfully. Under the New Law, as under the Old, St Michael is the “Vicar of the Most High and the Prince of His people,” ever prepared to render assistance. The Fathers of the Church are of one mind in teaching that St Michael is the guardian angel and the protector of the Catholic Church.

Time and again, in centuries past, St Michael came to the rescue when dreadful wars and persecutions threatened to destroy Christianity. He it was who, at the command of Mary, Queen of Angels, came to the assistance of Constantine the Great in the fourth century and helped his forces to gain a brilliant victory over the pagan Emperor Maxentius. The Archangel himself revealed his identity in this instance. Appearing to Constantine after the completion of a beautiful church, which the latter had erected in his honour in gratitude, he said: “I am Michael, the chief of the angelic legions of the Lord of hosts, the protector of the Christian religion, who while you were battling against godless tyrants, placed the weapons in your hands.” This famous edifice, generally known as the Michaelion, has been the scene of many miracles wrought through the great Archangel.

Many miracles

Later, St Michael proved himself a powerful protector against invasion. The Greek Emperor Justinian erected six churches in his honour, in grateful recognition of his assistance. St Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, who in the fifteenth century saved France, ascribed her vocation and her victories to St Michael. Three times he appeared to her and informed her that she was called to deliver her country. In the sixteenth century, when it seemed that the Turks (Muslims fighting under the Turkish sultan) would conquer all Europe, St Michael at the command of the Blessed Virgin again championed the cause of the Christian (Catholic) Faith, and a glorious victory was gained over the infidels at the Battle of Lepanto.

Thus has St Michael proved himself a valiant warrior for the honour of God, both in Heaven and on earth. And he still wages incessant war with the archfiend Satan in the great Kingdom of God on earth, the Church.

Victorious St Michael

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was reputed to have had visions of the past and future combats of the Church. Repeatedly she saw St Michael, in the form of a warrior, standing above the Church, replacing his bloodstained sword in its scabbard as a sign of victory. She was also shown how, in the present-day struggles of the Church, St Michael would bring about a most glorious victory. This thought should be consoling to all faithful Christians who view with alarm the many shafts of persecution now being directed against the Church.

Pope Leo XIII, realising by divine enlightenment the present and future struggles of the Church against the powers of Hell, felt convinced that through the intervention of St Michael, Hell would be conquered and the Church restored to peace and liberty. He therefore composed a prayer in honour of this warrior Archangel and ordered it to be recited daily after low Mass in all the churches throughout the Christian world.

It is said that one day, having celebrated the Holy Sacrifice, the aged Pontiff was in conference with the Cardinals. Suddenly, he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side feared that he had already expired, for they could find no trace of his pulse. However, after a short interval the Holy Father rallied and, opening his eyes, exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” He had been shown in spirit the tremendous activities of the evil spirits and their ravings against the Church. But in the midst of this vision of horror, he had also beheld consoling visions of the glorious Archangel Michael, who had appeared and cast Satan and his legions back into the abyss of Hell. Soon afterwards, he composed the well-known prayer: “St Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray…”

The Church has special need of St Michael’s powerful protection in our times. On all sides she is assailed by strong and bitter enemies. In one country after another, religious persecution rises to an ever higher pitch of hatred and insolence. The terrible crimes which have been committed in recent times, and are still being committed against the Church, both in her sanctuaries and against her members, surely are instigated by the devil. No human mind could be base enough to conceive and put them into execution.

The gates of Hell shall never prevail

We know that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church, for our Lord has promised to be with her till the End of Time, but we must do our part in defending her cause. God might have cast the rebel down into Hell by a single act of His Will, but he chose rather to send against them His armies of loyal spirits under the leadership of the great St Michael. So too, in the present critical times, He could confound the enemies of the Church by merely willing to do so. But He wills, rather, that we should cooperate in her defence under the leadership of the Great Captain of the heavenly hosts.

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962




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Admister spiritual medicine. Say “God bless you!” etc. whenever you can, especially also among atheists and very lukewarm people.

Are there many persons who think of giving alms to those who cross their path during the day? – poor souls, who have not the strength to make their wants known, nor even the will to do so; whose breath of life is fast failing, although they are unconscious that they are dying.

Spiritual emergencies

Oh! mingle, from time to time, apart from temporal alms which you give, the blessed Name of God and if some tender chord still remains in these souls, that Name alone can search it out, and, touching it, bring a little relief and help, as the air breathed into the lungs of one apparently dead, can of itself restore the functions of life, unless death is already there.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889 [Headings added]


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Defence in spiritual battle

Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me.

This is the motto which surrounds the image of the Sacred Heart on the flag and on the breasts of the Pontifical Zouaves and the Breton soldiers. It is said that these words, so suggestive of courage and calmness, were the inspiration of a mother.

The inspiration of a mother

She blessed her kneeling son, who was about setting out for Rome to fight in defence of Pius IX, and courageously, though with emotion, bidding him a last adieu, placed a medal of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on his neck. For a moment the poor mother was overcome; she trembled violently; … perhaps a vision of blood passed before her eyes; … then, as if inspired, she cried: Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me. Her face resumed its wonted calm, and, embracing her son, she said, Go forth; I am reassured.

Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me.

These eloquent words will be also my motto, for am I not also a soldier of Jesus Christ? I will inscribe them on the work-table in the room in which my daily work is accomplished, and, if I am tempted to negligence, idleness, self-love, or rebellion, my lips will murmur it as a prayer for diligence and courage.

Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me.

I will inscribe this motto on the chair at which I kneel to say my morning and evening prayers; and whenever I feel my courage failing, or the devil coming to tempt me with weariness, or trying to cloud my faith by suggesting thoughts of doubt, he will draw back upon reading it near my crucifix.

Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me.

I will inscribe it on my garments, and place it near my heart; and if sensuality, selfishness, hatred, or revenge should attempt to enter this sanctuary where Jesus alone is Master, they must fly in confusion and terror.

Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me!

I will inscribe this motto on the door of my bedroom; and if, favoured by the darkness, Satan should glide in and approach my coach, the words will shine with a terrible brilliancy, as formerly shone the name of God, which the Archangel Michael presented to his gaze when he revolted against heaven.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889



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Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. Put on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness. Therefore take unto you the armour of God (Ep6:10-13a)

See also:

“My Kingdom Is Not Of This World” – The Practice Of Daily Spiritual Combat For Christians Of Today 

Have you ever reflected on the following words of Scripture: Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you like wheat?

The devil asks God’s permission to work to the detriment of souls, and God permits him… There is something terrible in this.

Now, do you know what happens? The devil remains the whole night seated beside your pillow, watching for your awakening like an impatient sower to cast seeds of wicked thoughts into our hearts.

Then he conceals himself in all creatures, and any of them can lead us to evil.

All worldly environment is like a plague-stricken city, in which every instant we run risk of contagion, if we proceed without caution.

What we see leads us to voluptuousness, or to jealousy, or to envy, or contempt of others… What we hear tempts us to vexation, to vanity, or to anger… What we feel tempts us to selfishness, to the desire of being esteemed, or to effeminacy; to idleness, or to revenge; or even to some sinful affection.

Prayer puts between us and mankind a pure and healthy atmosphere

Let us arm ourselves, from early morning, with the shield of prayer. God places it at our disposal – prayer, which puts between us and inanimate creatures something like a veil which has the power of rendering weaker the sensual rays which they pour forth around them, and transmitting to us only life-giving warmth.

Prayer, which puts between us and mankind that pure and healthy atmosphere that manifests to us their words and actions, with a heavenly sweetness like unto the perfume of a flower, and causes us to exclaim: It is good for us to be here!

Prayer, finally, which absorbs the wicked emanations of the heart, and dissipates them as the north wind does the noxious miasma, which springs up from the damp ground.

Are you at peace?

Are you at peace? asks a saint. If so, prayer will preserve you therein.

Are you tempted? Prayer will sustain you.

Have you fallen? Prayer will rise you up.

Have you lost courage? Prayer will restore you.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

Jesus Christ’s Message Is Startling

“If The World Hates You, Know That It Has Hated Me Before You”

The Spiritual Benefits Of Fasting For Christians




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Aids in Battle

[‘Manual for Spiritual Warfare’, Paul Thigpen PH.D.] is divided into two parts. The first, entitled Preparing for Battle, looks at the Biblical and and theological foundations for the ongoing warfare between humanity and the devil.

Overcoming the Enemy’s attacks in one’s own surroundings

The second, Aids in Battle, offers aids to help believers in this struggle, including scriptural texts and prayers. As Paul Thigpen indicates in his introduction, the ‘primary purpose of this manual… is to help everyday Catholics recognise, resist and overcome the Enemy’s attacks in their own lives and the lIves of those for whom they bear responsibility.’

Keep the Enemy out of the Camp

The chapter headings for the first part include titles such as ‘Know your Enemy’, ‘Know your Commander and Comrades’, and ‘Keep the Enemy out of the Camp’, while the second part focuses on Church teaching, the lives of the saints, and various prayers, and various prayers, devotions and hymns as aids against demonic or diabolical influence.

Prayers and hymns against demonic or diabolical influence

The author begins by stating that belief in the devil and demons is obligatory for Catholics and Christians generally, based on the Scriptural witness, and particularly those accounts of Christ being tempted and casting out evil spirits. We can be tempted by demons, or attacked in more serious ways, such as by infestation, oppression, obsession, or most dangerous of all, possession, which is when an evil spirit takes control of the body of a victim.

We can be tempted by demons or attacked in more serious ways

Paul Thigpen cautions that while lay people can pray some prayers of deliverance, these are different from the solemn exorcisms of the Church, which should only be performed by designated Church exorcists.

Through His Passion, Death and Resurrection Jesus Christ has already defeated the devil

Through his Passion, Death and Resurrection, Christ, the ‘New Adam’ has already defeated the devil, so if we call on him when under any form of diabolical attack, he will always come to our aid. Likewise, Our Lady, the ‘New Eve’, has because of her Immaculate Conception and her obedience to God, great power over the devil and his demonic followers. As St Bonaventure said: ‘Men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers if hell fear the name and protection of Mary. Similarly, we can always call on St Michael and our Guardian Angels for help against the devil.

Prayer is more powerful than all the demons

As the author points out, prayer is the number one weapon in our battle against Satan, and calling on the name of Jesus has been for the saints one of the best ways to defeat demonic attack. On this point, St Bernard of Clairvaux said: ‘However great may be the temptation, if we know how to use the weapon of prayer well, we shall come off as conquerors at last, for prayer is more powerful than all the demons.’ St John Vianney agreed with this saying: ‘We cab see how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than we are at prayer.’

Assisting at Mass; prayer and fasting

Likewise, taking part in worship is important, and particularly the Mass, as is Eucharistic adoration. Fasting, too, has been recommended as a powerful weapon against the devil, and we can fortify ourselves spiritually by daily reading of the Bible.

Sacraments and sacramentals 

In particular, the sacraments are powerful means of protection against the devil, although the power of sacramentals such as the Sign of the Cross, holy water, St Benedict medals, and blessed objects generally, should not be underestimated.

Humility is the only virtue no demon can imitate

Regarding the struggle against the devil, as St John Climacus said, the essential virtue is humility: ‘Humility is the only virtue no demon cab imitate.’ As an example of this, Thigpen includes the following account from the lives of the Desert Fathers:

Learning from the Desert Fathers

Some people brought a demon-possessed man to an old monk to exorcise him. The monk said to the demon, ‘Get out of God’s creature!’

The Demon replied: ‘I’ll go, but first I will ask you a question: Tell me, who are the goats and who are the sheep? (cf. Mt 25:31-46).

The old mab said, ‘The goats are people like me. Who the sheep are, God alone knows.’

At these words, the demon cried out, ‘Look, I must go out of him because of your humility!’

Avoiding any possibility of demonic contamination

We also have to avoid any possibility of demonic contamination through such things as Ouija boards or any form of participation in magic rituals etc., and also keep a careful watch on our thoughts.

Keeping a very careful watch on our thoughts

The second, larger part of the book opens with a chapter on Church teaching about spiritual warfare and provides a series of quotes from various Church documents to emphasise how seriously the Church takes the whole area of demonic activity.

Relevant scripture passages to read during times of temptation

Then there is a whole section on how the Bible deals with the devil and his followers, including appropriate scriptural quotations and passages which will help the reader during times of temptation.

Attempts to play down the influence of the devil

There is also a chapter entitled ‘Help from the Saints,’ which contains many striking quotations, such as this text from Thomas Aquinas: ‘When the Devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it, but because we serve him with our worldliness.’

Apart from the above, the Manual for Spiritual Warfare contains many useful prayers, litanies, and devotions to strengthen us against demonic attack.

A resource in the struggle against the evil which is all around us

At a time when many people, even within the Church, are playing down the influence of the devil, this book is a very valuable resource in the struggle against the evil which is all around us.”

– Donal Anthony Foley, The Catholic Times, 16th January 2015. For subscriptions please contact The Universe Media Group, Allerton House, St Mary’s Parsonage, Manchester M3 2WJ


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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Words of Wisdom


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