The Little Warrior St Therese said, “Whenever my enemy provokes me to combat, I try to behave like a soldier.” She reminds us that spiritual warfare is part of the contract when we are baptized.
Jesus calls us to be well equipped and St Paul writes in Ephesians, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Lent is the time when we remember Jesus’ battle with Satan in the wilderness, and it is our annual task to take up our armor and our weapons to join him in the battle.
Some new publications and devotional aids have been produced to help us have an active and holy Lent. Well known author Paul Thigpen has produced an excellent Manual for Spiritual Warfare. This little book is the best I’ve found on the subject. Paul launches into the subject of spiritual warfare with clear explanations, solid research and simple language. He explains the Church’s teaching on Satan and demons and lays out some practical methods for engaging in battle.
This is an area where both cynicism, sensationalism and superstition often take over. Paul avoids all these pitfalls. He takes spiritual warfare seriously but does not sensationalize the battle with Satan or allow himself to drift into superstition or over simplification.
The first part of Thigpen’s book–”Preparing for Battle” -explains the background for spiritual warfare, gives the Scriptural and theological information about demons and sets the stage for engagement.
Part two provides weapons for battle. It is chock full of passages from the Scriptures and Psalms, the writings of the saints, the teaching of the Church and finally prayers, devotions and prayers for deliverance.
As the darkness deepens in our society books like this will become ever more necessary. Paul’s other extraordinary book The Burden: A warning of things to come outlines some of the gathering darkness in our society today. Both books make for inspiring and sobering reading during Lent.
A genuine weapon to keep in your hand and to use is Thomas Sullivan’s astounding and beautiful Warrior’s Rosary. I met Tom when I was at EWTN doing some work. He told me about his project and sent me a couple of his rosaries. They are designed to engage your prayers with the prayers of warrior saints like St Ignatius, St King Louis, St Michael and St George. I use mine daily and it is fast becoming one of my favorite rosaries. Go here to learn more about them.
Spiritual warfare might seem like only a manly topic. We shouldn’t forget the valiant warrior spirit of saints like Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Lisieux. Therese of Lisieux: God’s Gentle Warrior is a good book focusing on the Little Flower who said, “Sanctity! It must be won at the point of a sword!” Don’t forget my own book on St Benedict and St Therese.
Speaking of St Benedict, don’t forget that the St Benedict medal is a powerful sacramental in spiritual warfare. Go here to get medals online and St Benedict crucifixes.
If you’re looking for Lenten readings that help you counter the work of the devil it doesn’t have to be totally serious. We’re meant to be happy warriors—going out to battle with a spring in our step and a joke on our lips. A way to join the battle that is both entertaining and sobering is my Screwtape Letters-type books The Gargoyle Code. — in which the tempter Slubgrip gives advice to a junior devil on how to tempt his young Catholic patient. Their correspondence is broken down to provide a reading for every day during Lent.
My new book Slubgrip Instructs is a sequel to The Gargoyle Code. Slubgrip has been demoted to teach Popular Culture 101 at Bowelbages University. As he lectures his scrofulous students on how to undermine the culture with evil he also plots with his fiendish friend Knobswart how to take over the university.
These books bring serious teaching to the reader through an entertaining method. Slubgrip Instructs is also an excellent read for college students–countering the secular and atheistic teaching prevalent in so many colleges today.
They’re just as serious as Thigpen’s manual and the other resources for battle, but they bring a lighter touch to a tough subject.
St Benedict–the great warrior against the devil–said that everyone should read a good book during Lent.
Connect through and get hold of these resources for yourselves and others.
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Check out my latest book The Romance of Religion –Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty