Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In his epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul sets out the need for spiritual warfare. He writes, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.…”
He speaks of “putting on the full armor of God” and thus outlines how to prepare for battle. “Having girded your lips with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The battle is spiritual and the armor and weapons are spiritual. The Christian is not called to warfare in the sense of going on a crusade. We are not to be Christian jihadists—forming armies and going to war. The battle in which we engage is spiritual. St. Paul says that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces. This means the way we do battle is through prayer, fasting, meditation and contemplation.
Beneath, behind, in and through all the battles we see in our political, economic and moral world there is a spiritual dimension. The attack on the family is a spiritual battle. The attack on churches is a spiritual battle. The attack on religious freedom is a spiritual battle. The attack on the Catholic faith is a spiritual battle. The attack on life is a spiritual battle.
Therefore, we are called to engage in that battle through a life dedicated to serious prayer, serious sacrifice, serious fasting and serious worship. The next two weeks I will give pointers and resources on how to participate in this battle.