Spiritual Combat Against Satan & His Devils

 Please listen to Fr. Broom's talk on Spiritual Combat

Our life on earth is constant combat, warfare, struggle and fighting against three major enemies: the devil, the flesh and the world. Until our dying breath, the struggle and battle must be waged. Work hard, fight courageously now then in heaven we can rest for all eternity---- this is the work-plan and strategy of the saints, our brothers and sisters in heaven. 

"The Devil is the Enemy of Human Nature"
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Never forget!   The devil never rests. He works  366 days a year, 8 days a week, 25 hours a day. Indeed he never goes on vacation; and when we go on vacation he goes along with us.   In this article we will give names for the devil from the Bible and the saints. Following we will pinpoint five specific areas that the devil utilizes to enter into our lives, to tempt us and submerge us into sin. The Desert Fathers insistently remind us of the extreme necessity of self-knowledge. Their short by penetrating axiom should be our lighthouse in our defense against the devil:  


NAMES FOR THE DEVIL.  There are various names for the devil from the Bible as well as names the saints have given for the devil during the course of history. Let us start with the Bible and some common names for the devil: Satan, Lucifer (Light-bearer), demon, devil, Prince of this world, the ancient serpent, and the accuser. Jesus calls the devil “A liar and murderer from the beginning” (Jn. 8), as well as Beelzebub, which means “the Lord of the flies”.

SAINTS VOCABULARY.   The saints have their own specific way that they name or describe the devil and each description manifests a different dimension of the evil of the devil himself.  St. Augustine calls him an angry dog bound to a chain. St. Thomas Aquinas, famous for his concise theological definitions defines him by his function, “The tempter!”  St. Ignatius of Loyola who gave us the meditation of the Two Standards of the mortal combat of Jesus against Satan calls the devil, “the enemy of our human nature.”  St. Martin of Tours describes the devil as “a bloody brute.”  Finally, the Prince of the Apostles, St Peter calls the devil “a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour…”  Both these Biblical names as well as names that the saints have coined for us can help us to understand the malicious intent of the devil!
PURPOSE OF THE DEVIL.   The devil has an intense hatred for God.  Consequently, he hates all that God loves.  Of all His creation, the actual crown of creation in the world is the human person---man and woman.  The devil hates the human person who is created in the image and likeness of God. The devil’s intent and purpose is to destroy man by tempting him to fall into sin--- especially mortal sin, to tempt him to fall frequently into mortal sin such that it becomes a habit, a vice. This vice becomes slavery, a chain, an addiction, a binding force, so that when this person dies in this state he will lose God for all eternity, be condemned to hell-fire, and be eternally tortured and tormented by the devil himself for all eternity. How ugly but how true this is! We must be aware of the purpose and intent of the devil so as to fight valiantly against his assaults!


ALWAYS!   As said earlier, the devil never rests nor goes on vacation—even though we do and possibly too much!   We can never let down our guard and say, “The coast is clear and all is safe from the attacks of the devil.”  Constantly Jesus warns us in words and Parables with: Stay away! Be alert!  Be vigilant!  He will come like a thief in the night when you least expect it.  In the Garden of Gethsemane He warned the Apostles, “Stay awake and pray so that you will not be put to the test because the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.”

1.     DESOLATION.   St. Ignatius of Loyola warns us in the Rules for discernment and the state of desolation. What is desolation? Let us listen to St. Ignatius himself: “Darkness of soul. Turmoil of spirit, inclination to what is low and earthly, restlessness rising from many disturbances and temptations which lead to want of faith, want of hope, want of love. The soul is wholly slothful tepid, sad, and separated, as it were, from its Creator and Lord… (Rule 4, Rules for Discernment, St Ignatius of Loyola). When we find ourselves in this state of soul, and everybody in the world experiences this at times, then we are a prime target for the devil and must know the spiritual arms and strategy that we must employ to engage in mortal combat against the enemy. If not, there is a good chance that his deceits and trickery will conquer us!

2.     PHYSICAL STATE OF WEARINESS OR EXHAUASTION.   Do not think that because you are sick, tired, wearied to the point of exhaustion that the devil is sick and tired of attacking you!  On the contrary, when he sees us depleted of energy and worn down to a thread, he marshals up his forces and tactics double to go for the kill! Once again vigilance and spiritual alertness is all the more necessary!

3.     WOUNDEDNESS! Vultures are carnivorous birds that prey on the weakness of animals. It is especially true that the vulture detects a wounded animal—it can even be a human person.  When the vulture detects a gaping wound of an animal who approaches death he prepares for the attack with his fellow vultures by flying and hovering over his victim to eventually swoop down for the kill and to devour mercilessly!  Like a vulture, the devil is keenly aware of a wounded individual. Once one is  filled with anger, bitterness, vindictiveness, unwilling to forgive past hurts but ready for revenge--- all of these are clear signs of a wounded individual.  This is a ripe and fertile terrain for the wily and astute “ancient serpent”, the “consummate liar” to insinuate himself, cajole, seduce, tempt and conquer.

4.     KRYPTONITE/WEAK POINT!   The famous series of  SUPERMAN  can serve to teach us how the devil attacks us.  Superman had superhuman strength in all aspects: flying, running, scaling walls and buildings, not to mention sheer human Herculean strength. However, if exposed to one element Superman’s strength was rendered impotent and it was the simple exposure to the fictional chemical element that was called  KRYPTONITE. Once in contact with Kryptonite, Superman was as weak and vulnerable as any other human person. It was his major “Weak-point.”  Once again St. Ignatius in his 14th Rule for discernment describes the devil as a commander and leader of an army.  He will camp near the fortification that he wants to conquer; once discovered the weak point he attacks to plunder to sack to kill and be off with the treasures! Therefore, it is incumbent on the follower of Christ the King to arrive at self-knowledge, to know his major weak-point, to know his own “Kryptonite” so as to put up his defense and avoid moral disaster!

In the following article we will outline a series of practical means (spiritual weapons) we can utilize in fighting the good fight against the devil in his many snares and traps he places in front of our pathway to heaven!