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Ave Maria Meditations


  EVERYDAY SPIRITUAL WARFARE     Do you ever think of yourself engaged in spiritual warfare? Often times those words bring up thoughts of exor­cisms and heads turning around three hundred sixty degrees. However, in reality fighting temptation and living the gospel are themselves forms of spiritual warfare. Therefore, believe it or not we actually engage in this battle everyday. Further, do not forget that the prize is the most precious treasure we possess, human souls: our own and those of others.

Are there rules of spiritual warfare? Sure there are, in fact St. Paul has a famous passage where he describes the tools to fight this battle. He reminds us in the sixth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians that our battle is not against hu­man forces, but against prinipalities and powers the evil spirits in regions above.

This is an important distinction because whenever we are in battle, it is important to define our enemy. This is no less true in spiritual warfare. If we do not do this, then our response may appear to lead us to victory when, in fact, it leads us to defeat. This is because we fight the wrong enemy and if that is the desire of the forces of evil; they win.

 There are, therefore, three steps in engaging in spiritual warfare that are important in order to be successful.


 The enemy can be blatant or subtle. The enemy could be the temptation to sin or could manifest itself in the person who tells you to reject Christ. In either case, the person or desire that wants you to act contrary to Christ can de­fine the enemy. Do you find yourself in a position where people dismiss you as inferior because you are practicing your faith as a Catholic? You are not smart enough to realize your own foolishness will be the line of thinking that they say to you in all its various forms. Then they will usually give you a new mark to seek, a new path to follow.

The enemy can also be defined by lies. When some one is trying to convince you that black is white and up is down and good is bad, you could be dealing with the forces of evil. There are other manifestations as well. Basically look for what force leads you away from Christ, usually with a smile, by the way.


 If it is the tempter, the desire is to lead you into sin. If it is someone trying to lead you away from Christ, this desire will become obvious, if you are attentive to it. Watch out for a goal commonly seen in our Church today; it is to get the people against each other. Looking at the crisis in the Church, look back and see how much work was put together to get the people to focus on the sins in the Church and turn people against their bishops and priests. Notice how much effort was put into leading people to believe the Bishops had lost their moral voice, especially those most faithful to the Magisterium. Further, look at how little ef­fort was spent in calling all Catholics closer to Christ through repentance. Do not think that some of these actions were not manifestations of the forces of evil. The Devil is the accuser who teaches you to focus on sins in condemnation with no desire to call you or anyone else to repentance. The one who leads you to repentance is from God. The one who leads you to self-condemnation or that of others may be of a demonic origin.

Watch out as well for those forces trying to get priests and bishops, as well as married laity, to reject their vows or even walk away from their vocations.


If the tempter is leading you into sin, walk the other way: If you are dealing with those trying to prevent you from going to Church, go to Church. If they are trying to get you to reject your priest and bishops, support your priests ‘and bishops. If it is to be proud, be humble. If it is to procrastinate on your prayers, begin to pray.  The reality of spiritual warfare is not something we should relegate to movies about possession. It is real and is literally as common as sin. Yet, the closer we walk to Christ, the more we can see the wiles of the evil one. We can see what it wants and do the opposite. 

Fr. Robert Carr


Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • James says:

    Unfortunately, we live in an age in which too many priests and bishops have been poorly educated, taught to turn a blind eye to mortal sin and even to lead, in subtle and at times not so subtle ways, parishioners into lives that focus mainly on pleasure, position, and social belonging. One can not simply dismiss the concerns of the faithful by telling us to do penance. The ones doing penance are being persecuted more and more by the power brokers in the Diocese than by the outside world. The Church has, in many dioceses, become corrupted and lost in a sewer of self-pleasure and self-importance. Yes, yes, we must do penance, but we also must not be led to believe that we can turn a blind eye to Satan working within the Church and his attempts to tell people that evil is good and good is evil. If a faithful parishioner does not play along with these wolves in sheeps clothing, it will go very badly for him or her. They are told that mortal sin is not really that bad, that “we are all sinners” and that the culture of death is just “the way things are” and we must learn to accept and go along with it. Rotten, through and through. No not always, but far too often. They live to please those who have wordly power and to ive lives of pleasure. Meanwhile the humble they persecute with hatred and subtle attacks. God help us all.

  • JosephMary says:

    Dear James,
    “Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)
    also Our dear Blessed Lady at Fatima requested we do penance.

    Yes, you are right in that few nowadays know to do penance nor is it hardly mentioned. So those who do know its importance in the spiritual life and for souls should try to incorporate it into their lives. It need not be greatly noticeable or harsh even (think St. Therese and the 10 small sacrifices a day).

    Our Lord Himself promised those who are faithful in following Him that they would know persecution; it all comes together. It is indeed not the easy way but it is the way that leads to Paradise; it is the broad and pleasant way that is more to be feared in a sense.

    I know the condition of things; sometimes we just wish we could ignore the growing darkness but you and I and all faithful souls are called to be points of light. We cannot be turned back because it is hard or because of the wolves; we do have The Good Shepherd on our side! Do not be discouraged! Even if we are the ‘odd men out’ and suffer for our faith, really our blessings are often in the shape of our crosses. Hang in there and ask Our Lady to obtain for you the strength you need to remain strong.

    Ave Maria!
    Sr. Joseph-Mary M. fti

  • James says:

    Dear Sr. Joseph-Mary M.,

    I would like to thank you for your kind response. I often get lambasted when I post something of this tone! As you can tell, I am growing very tired at times and long so much myself, for the comfort of community here in this life, and I am not strong nor holy enough to turn to Our Lord and our Holy Mother as often as I need to.

    I am hoping you might pray for the man who wrote this post and for my children and wife. God is merciful and just, and if my heart does not harden perhaps we will be saved from this deception that we are tangled up in now. In the meantime, I will do my best to remember, minute by minute, the last sentence of your response. I will have to change one word, though, and that is from “remain” to “be made” strong, because I doubt that I have really ever been strong in any of this to begin with.

    I see from your writing that you are familiar with some of the wayward teachings that are so very commonplace here in our general area. If you will, I would greatly appreciate your prayers for us, as these perversions of the faith are quite common here and quite vehemently defended by those who adhere to them, many adherents being in positions of authority within my current diocese. This have done “grave harm” to my children, as the CCC teaches and though I admit to feeling worried for my own well-being, I am mostly worried, hopefully, for the souls of my two children and wife, who have been and are being lead down the wide road by these false or bended teachers and practitioners.

    I will thank Our Lady for your words this evening, and ask her to continue to guide you. And I ask for your prayers, Sister Joseph-Mary and thank you for your help.

    In Jesus through Mary.

  • JosephMary says:

    2 Cor 12:9-10
    I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Dear James,
    This above passage came immediately to mind when I read what you wrote: “I am not strong nor holy enough to turn to Our Lord and our Holy Mother as often as I need to.”

    One need not be strong nor holy to cry out to God or our Holy Mother! It is the little ones who have the most need of the Divine Mercy and aid. No soul who cries out will go unnoticed.

    Have faith! Yes, all who may read of this conversation will pray for your needs and intentions, I am certain, as will I.

    Ave Maria!

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