Poor in Earthly Things, but Rich in Grace and Virtue

Imitation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 1, Chapter 18
On the examples of the Holy Fathers.

Look upon the lively examples of the holy Fathers in whom shone real perfection and the religious life, and you will see how little it is, and almost nothing that we do. Alas, what is our life when we compare it with theirs? Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and in thirst, in cold, in nakedness, in labor and in weariness, in watching, in fasting, prayers and holy meditations, and in frequent persecutions and reproaches. Oh, how many grievous tribulations did the Apostles suffer and the Martyrs and Confessors and Virgins, and all the rest who resolved to follow the steps of Christ! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might keep them in life everlasting. Oh what a strict and self-renouncing life the holy Fathers of the desert led! What long and grievous temptations did they bear! How often were they harassed by the enemy, what frequent and fervent prayers did they offer up to God, what rigorous abstinence did they practice!

What a valiant contest waged they to subdue their imperfections! What purity and straightforwardness of purpose kept they towards God! By day they labored, and much of the night they spent in prayer; though while they labored, they were far from leaving off mental prayer. They spent all their time profitably. Every hour seemed short to spend with God; and even their necessary bodily refreshment was forgotten in the great sweetness of contemplation. They renounced all riches, dignities, honors and kindred; they hardly took what was necessary for life. It grieved them to serve the body even in its necessity. Accordingly, they were poor in earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtues.

As Though God Were Not There

A New Year’s Resolution suggestion:  Fight like a Crusader to help your Priest bring more tradition to your parish mostly by convincing him to have courage to stand up to the Bishop and begin a Traditional Latin Mass on Sunday morning.  Save the Liturgy and Save the World!

Please read the outstanding article by Father Heilman (posted on the brilliant One Peter Five blog) below on the importance of waking up every morning and fully understanding that we are locked in combat with the dark one every single minute of our existence.  Only the Catholic Church provides the tools and the armor to win the battle.  Iron sharpens iron!

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http://www.onepeterfive.com/spiritual-warfare-losing/

Spiritual Warfare: Why We Are Losing

Father Richard Heilman

rosarybook

In recent decades, we have seen Satan engage the world as never before. In all of human history we have never witnessed evil promoted so effectively, while virtue, character, and morals are roundly mocked and rejected. Meanwhile, it could be said that the Mystical Body — the Church — has never been so unprepared for and unengaged in the challenging mission of spiritual warfare. It is obvious that Satan’s forces are well trained and well organized, while ours clearly are not. At the very beginnings of our great nation, Sir Edmund Burke warned, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Recognizing the widespread spiritual lethargy of our times – the emergent detachment from the Divine Life – Pope John Paul II’s master plan for the new millennium was one that asked us to set aside our disconnected busyness, and to start fresh by contemplating the face of Christ. It is clear that the Holy Father was encouraging us to place our emphasis on reconnecting to the Divine Life of God, which is classically referred to as the unum necessarium, the one thing necessary.

The one thing necessary constitutes the essential foundation for the interior life and stems from the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), where we first see that, amazingly, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was sitting right in their living room. Even so, Martha remains busy with the good and noble protocol of hospitality, while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, her eyes locked on His Holy Face, peering into His soul, hanging on His every word. Mary is actually in adoration, soaking in everything our Lord wants to give her. I like to say that she is “Mary-nating” — soaking in the gusher of God’s graces. Mary had come to understand what St. Augustine once said: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Remarkable!

When Martha objects to Mary’s lack of activity, Jesus tells Martha that she remains anxious and upset about many things while Mary has chosen the better portion, the one thing necessary. Mary was the one who was making the guest truly feel welcomed, while Martha remained detached, going through the motions of the demands of protocol. God is light and love and truth Who brings order and meaning and serenity to our lives. While we remain disconnected from our Source, we remain easily agitated, frustrated, and feeble in our disordered and chaotic existence as we continue to walk in darkness.

The disconnection is seen, first and foremost, in the Martha-like indifference to the presence of the Divine in so many of our present-day liturgies, compared with a more Mary-like contemplative way of worshiping. Contemplative awe and veneration have always been the distinctive way Catholics worshiped, until recent decades. In awe and wonder, we would worship Him and soak in the supernatural graces necessary to stand firm against the tactics of the devil (Eph. 6:11) and to grow in the way of sanctity.

The consequence of the modern initiative to push for a very busy and more insouciant way of worshiping that is performance-oriented and man-centered has led to an epidemic of detachment from the Divine, facilitating the modern prevalence of spiritual sloth (indifference toward the Divine Life). Like Martha, God is “right there in our midst,” but we act as though He is not — or if He is, what’s the big deal? We have become the spiritually impotent.

This is why Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) stated that any real effort at renewal in the Church must begin with a new liturgical movement:

“I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur (as though God were not there): in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us.”

 

In this ubiquitous spiritual warfare, we are being overpowered as we allow ourselves to become detached from our True Power Source, the only way to combat the supernatural powers of evil and grow in holiness. “With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26) Spiritually speaking, the devil is doing all that he can to catch us isolated and unarmed on the battlefield — no spiritual armor, no spiritual weapons, and no comrades in the heavenly realm to fight alongside of us. In other words, the reason evil is promoted so effectively today is because we’re ignoring God’s offer of supernatural strength and power. We are, in essence, bringing a knife to a gunfight, and we are getting slaughtered!

The time is now to prepare an elite fighting force, surrendering to God and then allowing His grace to invade every aspect of our lives. “Grace,” wrote Thomas à Kempis, “is the mistress of truth, the light of the heart, the comforter of affliction, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fears, the matrix of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without it but a piece of dry wood and an unprofitable stock, fit for nothing but to be cast away.”

Here are the three essential approaches for receiving the abundance of God’s grace, the unum necessarium:

1) Go to Confession (frequently): St. Augustine tells us: “The whole power of the Sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with Him in an intimate friendship. This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God.” Go to Confession at least once a month, and immediately after any grave sin. Never receive Holy Communion with serious sin on your soul.
2) Go to Mass (frequently): St. Peter Julian Eymard tells us to “hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints.” Do your best to find a parish that is working to offer due reverence to God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially if you have the responsibility of the salvation of family members.
3) Consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary: Once St. Maximilian Kolbe learned about St. Louis de Montfort’s consecration to Mary, called the “surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint, he called it a “secret weapon for the world,” a “shortcut to holiness.” Mary crushes the head of the serpent. Always keep Mary at your six (your back)!

The Gospels stories show how Jesus touched people in ways that made them question the direction of their lives. Some turned away because His challenge seemed to be too hard. But many others were so moved by His mission and ministry that they were compelled to search for a more perfect way of living and being. Where do you stand? Are you ready to put it all on the line? This means nothing less than to do what God is calling you, from the depths of your being, to do — to rouse yourself to action on behalf of the kingdom. Are you ready to say “yes” to the call to become His champion?

Originally published on August 11, 2014.

Use the Weapons of Spiritual Warfare

For those of you struggling with internet pornography or on-line sexually based relationships spawned through the internet, we cannot recommend enough weekly confession as well as the sacramentals below to help you detach from these sins of the flesh that are destroying your life and your family. Ask for the grace to overcome these addictions and God will provide.

Fight Like a Knight – 25 Spiritual Warfare Lessons from Our Lord

We here at team Solutio encourage all to read the article below on spiritual warfare. If you don’t realize you are engaged in daily combat then you have already lost. Pick up your sword and fight for your sanctification every moment until the Lord calls you home.

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http://catholicexchange.com/jesus-st-faustina-spiritual-warfare-25-secrets

Jesus to St. Faustina on Spiritual Warfare

by Kathleen Beckman
18 March 2015

In Cracow-Pradnik, June 2, 1938, the Lord Jesus directed a young Polish Sister of Mercy on a three-day retreat. Faustina Kowalska painstakingly recorded Christ’s instruction in her diary that is a mystical manual on prayer and Divine Mercy. Having read the Diary a few times in the past 20 years, I had forgotten about the unique retreat that Christ gave on the subject of spiritual warfare. Then, recently, I was invited to lead a retreat in Trinidad based on Christ’s “Conference on Spiritual Warfare” as presented in the Diary. The Sanctuary of the Holy Family, an amazing group of lay leaders in service to the Archbishop and priests, sponsored the retreat in the Archdiocese of Trinidad and we filled the Seminary of St. John Vianney to ponder this teaching.

Here are the secret whispers of Jesus to his little bride Faustina on how to protect herself from the attacks of the devil. These instructions became Faustina’s weapon in fighting the good fight.

Jesus began, “My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare” (1760). (The Lord’s words are in bold text; my comments follow.)

  1. Never trust in yourself but abandon yourself totally to My will.

Trust is a spiritual weapon. Trust is part of the shield of faith that St. Paul mentions in chapter six of Ephesians: the armor of God. Abandonment to God’s will is an act of trust; faith in action dispels evil spirits.

  1. In desolation, darkness and various doubts, have recourse to Me and to your spiritual director. He will always answer you in my name.

In times of spiritual warfare, immediately pray to Jesus. Invoke His Holy Name that is feared in the netherworld. Bring darkness into the light by telling a spiritual director or confessor and follow his instruction.

  1. Do not bargain with any temptation; lock yourself immediately in My Heart.

In the Garden of Eden, Eve bargained with the devil and lost. We have recourse to the refuge of the Sacred Heart. In running to Christ, we turn our backs on the demonic.

  1. At the first opportunity, reveal the temptation to the confessor.

A good confession, a good confessor, and a good penitent are a recipe for victory over temptation and demonic oppression—without fail.

  1. Put your self-love in the last place, so that it does not taint your deeds.

Self-love is natural but it should be ordered, free of pride. Humility defeats the devil that is perfect pride. Satan tempts us to disordered self-love to lead us into his pool of pride.

  1. Bear with yourself with great patience.

Patience is a secret weapon that helps us to keep our peace of soul even in the great storms of life. Bearing with oneself is part of humility and trust. The devil tempts us to impatience, to turn against our selves so we become angry. See yourself from God’s view. He is infinitely patient.

  1. Do not neglect interior mortifications.

Scripture teaches that some demons can only be evicted by prayer and fasting. Interior mortifications are weapons of warfare. They can be small sacrifices offered with great love. The power of sacrificial love evicts the enemy.

  1. Always justify to yourself the opinions of your superiors and of your confessor.

Christ is speaking to St. Faustina who lives in a convent. But we all have people in authority over us. The devil aims to divide and conquer so humble obedience to authentic authority is a spiritual weapon.

  1. Shun murmurs like a plague.

The tongue is a powerful vessel that can do great harm. Murmuring, gossiping, is never of God. The devil is a liar who stirs up false accusations and gossip that can kill a person’s reputation. Shun murmurs!

  1. Let all act as they like; you are to act, as I want you to.

To mind one’s own business is key in spiritual warfare. The devil is a busybody attempting to drag everyone down. Please God and let the opinions of others go by the wayside.

  1. Observe the rule as faithfully as you can.

Jesus is referring to the rule of a Religious Order here. Most of us have made some vow before God and Church and we should be faithful our promises—i.e. Marriage vows and baptismal vows. Satan tempts to infidelity, lawlessness and disobedience. Fidelity is a weapon for victory.

  1. If someone causes you trouble, think what good you can do for the person who caused you to suffer.

Being a vessel of divine mercy is a weapon for good and for defeating evil. The devil is about hatred, rage, revenge, and unforgiveness. Others have hurt us all at some time. What good can we do in return? Returning a blessing breaks curses.

  1. Do not pour out your feelings.

A talkative soul will more easily be attacked by the devil. Pour out your feelings to the Lord only. Remember, the good and evil spirits hear what you say aloud. Feelings are fleeting. Truth is the compass. Interior recollection is a spiritual armor.

  1. Be silent when you are rebuked.

Most of us have been rebuked at some time. We have no control over that but we can control our response. The need to be right all the time can lead into demonic traps. God knows the truth. Let it go. Silence is a protection. The devil can use self-righteousness to trip us up also.

  1. Do not ask everyone’s opinion, but only the opinion of your confessor; be as frank and simple as a child with him.

Simplicity of life can drive out demons. Honesty is a weapon to defeat Satan, the Liar. When we lie we put a foot in his camp and he will try to seduce us all the more.

  1. Do not become discouraged by ingratitude.

No one likes to be taken for granted. But when we are met with ingratitude or insensitivity, the spirit of discouragement can weigh us down. Resist all discouragement for it is never of God. It is one of the devil’s most effective temptations. Gratitude in all things wins the day.

  1. Do not examine with curiosity the roads down which I lead you.

The need to know, and curiosity about the future is a temptation that has led too many people into the backrooms of psychics, witches, etc. Choose to walk in faith. Decide to trust in God who leads you on the path to heaven. Resist the spirit of curiosity always.

  1. When boredom and discouragement beat against your heart, run away from yourself and hide in My heart.

Jesus delivers the same message a second time. Now He refers to boredom. Earlier in the Diary he told St. Faustina that the devil most easily tempts idle souls. Beware of boredom, a spirit of lethargy, or acedia—the noonday devil. Idle souls are easy prey for demons. Be about the business of God.

  1. Do not fear struggle; courage itself often intimidates temptations, and they dare not attack us.

Fear is the second most common tactic of the devil (pride is the first). Courage intimidates the devil—he will flee in the face of persevering courage that stands on Jesus, the rock. All people struggle, God is our provision.

  1. Always fight with the deep conviction that I am with you.

Jesus instructs a Sister in a convent to “fight” with conviction. She can do so because Christ accompanies her. Christians are called to fight with conviction against all demonic tactics. The devil tries to terrorize souls, demonic terrorism—resist! Invoke the Holy Sprit throughout the day.

  1. Do not be guided by feeling, because it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will.

All merit lies in the will because love is an act of the will. We are completely free in Christ. We must make a choice, a decision for good or evil. What camp do we live in?

  1. Always depend upon your superiors, even in the smallest things.

Christ is instructing a Religious here. But, we all have the Lord as our Superior. Dependence upon God is a weapon of spiritual warfare because we cannot win on our own. Proclaiming Christ’s victory over evil is part of intentional discipleship. Christ came to defeat death & evil. Proclaim Him!

  1. I will not delude you with prospects of peace and consolations; on the contrary, prepare for great battles.

St. Faustina suffered physically and spiritually. She was prepared for great battles by the grace of God who upheld her. Christ clearly instructs us in scripture to be prepared for great battles, to put on God’s armor and resist the devil. Be vigilant and discerning always.

  1. Know that you are on a great stage where all heaven and earth are watching you.

We are all on a great stage where heaven and earth are watching. What message is our life giving? What radiates from us—shades of light, darkness or grey? The way we live attracts more light or more darkness. If the devil does not succeed in pulling us into darkness, he tries to keep us in the category of the lukewarm, which is not pleasing to God.

  1. Fight like a knight, so I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone.

The Lord’s words to St. Faustina can become our mantra: Fight like a knight! A knight for Christ knows well the cause that he fights for, the nobility of his mission, the King who he serves, and with blessed assuredness of the victory, he fights to the end, even at the cost of his life. If a young, uneducated, simple Polish nun, united to Christ, can fight like a knight, every Christian can do the same. Trust is victorious.

Quotes from the Diary of St. Faustina are copyrighted by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, Mass.

For more information on “fighting like a knight” please visit www.foundationforpriests.org spiritual warfare section.