Spiritual Warfare IV: More Strategies

They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my path,
but they have fallen into it themselves.

My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and make melody.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.

Psalm 57:6-8

In Spiritual Warfare, the Lord needs only one thing from us: trust! Although all things are dark and there seems to be no hope, He has already set a trap for our enemies. His ways give us courage. He makes us sing and spread joy like the sunrise.

More Strategies

Last week, we ended with a tip from St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Rules for the Discernment of Spirits. We’ll start with another strategy his Rules offer us.

Shelter in Place

The Fifth Rule of Discernment of Spirits advises that, in times of temptation, we must never make a change, but hold firm to our resolutions in prayer and in the rest of our lives. If anything, Rule Six tells us, we must insist on more prayer and penance. That shows the devil that we choose the opposite to his will, and he’ll give up. Ha!

Psalm 46 tells us that God is our refuge and our strength, a present help in time of trouble. If we are on the battlefield, bombarded with temptations, all we need to do is shelter in place and listen for His voice:

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Run away!

St. Therese of Lisieux was very proud of this tactic. Once she was being scolded by a Sister in front of their Mother. She knew that if she spoke to justify herself, she would lose the peace of soul that God never wants us to lose. Instead, without a word, she ran down the stairs! She says, “I believe it was much better for me not to expose myself to combat when there was certain defeat facing me.”

Go for SIMPLE!

There are many pieces of advice that fall under one heading: simplicity. The devil is divided and seeks to complicate our lives. God is unity, simplicity itself. When we are tempted by complications, we should always seek simplicity.

Keep Smiling

Saint [Mother] Teresa of Calcutta inspired the world with her focus and simplicity. Her order started when she bent down and picked up one dying man from the gutter. Now the 4,500 Missionaries of Charity are a universal symbol of the shocking power of love. Still, their foundress would say one of their most important duties is to keep smiling. Being content to practice that simplicity will help to fend off temptations.

Spiritual Poverty

Jesus tells Marcel Van, in his book Conversations with Jesus, Mary, and Therese, that he must accept spiritual poverty. Jesus promises to use such pain, offered to Him out of love, to save many souls. He asks Marcel to suffer interior longing and disgust, to accept his temptations to disbelieve. Those sufferings belong to other souls; if we suffer them for love, the souls most in need will gain the graces they need to become great Saints.

Do Not Worry!

St. Paul says in Philippians 4:6: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” The devil will try to make us worry. He will use even our own good intentions.

It is human nature to try to understand, and that is a good instinct in us. The devil will tempt us, however, to make it an obsession, especially when trying to understand the ways of God. Instead of coming to greater joy when we contemplate His Law, we become distressed and sad.

To this, Jesus replies to Marcel:

Marcel! There you are again, wishing to understand! How will that help you?… If you don’t understand, that must not trouble you.

Conversations [177]

It is a hard thing for us to accept. If instead of being disturbed, however, we practice simple trust, we will gain peace.

Victory is Ours!

In every bout with the enemy, we must remember one thing: We’ve already won! The Lord has saved us from the power of death and from the devil himself!

So be willing to slow down. Grace surrounds us with its aura of peace. To win each battle, we just have to reach out, touch it, and claim victory.

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