Cutting Away the Deep Dark Things
"...if we do not repel them, they will drive us to frustration and sin..."
Every man, if he is honest, knows he is imperfect. One of our weaknesses is a lack of humility, which prevents us from properly addressing this reality. While we acknowledge that we are not perfect, we do not like to dwell on that fact. We like to be distracted from reflecting on our imperfections. But why? Why do we not want to face them head-on and deal with them, resolve them, strengthen what is weak, and grow in virtue, holiness, and humility?
I propose that, among others, two reasons are central. The first is that we do not see the imperfections. The second is that, even if we do see the imperfections, we do not know what to do to eradicate them.
Our imperfections, our sinful inclinations, our habits of sin and vice, depending on our age and the intensity of the sins we committed before reforming our lives and dedicating them more completely to Christ - these things, at a certain point, begin to define who we are. Though we hate them, we see them return time and time again. We return to Confession for the same sins. We feel the same weakness rise up against us. We feel caught in an endless battle that seems to be achieving no victory.
This is the darkness that dwells in the heart of every man who is not completely converted to Christ - and that is most of us. Many of us do not think that there can be a victory this side of Heaven. Many of us try to accomplish this complete conversion, to no avail.
And then we hear and ponder the stories of the great saints in the life of the Church. How heroic they were in battling the flesh! How heroic they were in battling temptation! How heroic they were in renouncing the passing pleasures of this world and living for God and Heaven! Then, we think, "I could do that. I live in the same world as they did. I live in the same Church as they did. I can receive the same graces from the same God as they did! I can also achieve the heights of holiness!"
Then, bolstered on by this renewed confidence, we set out with a new vigor for holiness, or a powerful plan for Lent or Advent, or a dedication to celebrating Easter or Christmas with increased prayer and trust in God.
Then come our old weaknesses. Then come our conditioned habits and vices. Then come the frustrations of this world. Then come our compromises. Then come our temptations. Then comes a lackadaisical spirit. Then plummets our zeal and hope for a deeper union with God.
And here's the point.
This post is not meant to be depressing. Here is the point I am getting to:
Satan. He is part of this tumultuous spiritual life that many of us have experienced. Temptation is the common and universal experience of all Christians and it comes straight from Hell. The agents of Hell, the demons, dedicate themselves to tempting us. We all know this. But what many of us don't fully understand is that, if we do not repel them, they will drive us to frustration and sin, and almost guarantee our damnation.
First, they want to frustrate us and drive us to sin. But we can stop them. When we do not stop them, they win. They plant that same recurring thought in our mind and we consent to it. They incline us toward that same recurring action and we consent to it.
Then, they sour our joyful moments with inclinations toward distrust of others, distrust of the stability and goodness of life, and distrust of God. They look for the weak moments and the weak spots in our souls, and they pour their venomous salt onto those wounds. They sting us. They poke and prod us. All the while, we are oblivious to their actions.
Exorcists point out that it is almost impossible to distinguish a diabolical temptation from our own thoughts. This is very crafty of them, and it causes us to refrain from assigning, to the work of demons, our repetitive and disturbing thoughts and inclinations to sin.
But here's the power.
First, we must realize that our moral failures are, in part, due to the invisible and craftily malicious efforts of the diabolical.
Next, we must take up all of the spiritual weapons that Holy Mother Church has given us. The demons pour venomous salt on our spiritual wounds - but we can pour Blessed and Exorcised Salt back onto these wounds, and onto the demons themselves!
We can cast them away with Holy Water! We can drive them away with Blessed Candles! We can block them from our homes with the Church's blessing and anointing with Exorcised Oil! We can protect our minds and hearts with the Miraculous Medal and the St. Benedict Medal!
When we embrace with faith the sacramentals, we receive into our souls and bodies the same blessings which the Church has placed on these material items.
The blessing which the Church places on these items is explicitly directed against the demons and the effects of their activity. When we use these sacramentals, in the context of a life of prayer and regular recourse to the Sacraments, we will experience the removal of the diabolical "tag-alongs" that may have been accompanying us, and our spiritual struggles, for years or decades.
Take up your swords!
If you feel like you cannot shake your recurrent vices and temptations, you need to do more!
If you feel like you should have made more progress in your spiritual life than you have by now, you need to do more!
If you desire to make more progress in your spiritual life, you can!
As soon as possible, have your priest bless, in the traditional rite, salt, water, candles, and oil. Print out the blessings and keep them nearby so you can remind yourself of what you are receiving each time you use them.
Sprinkle your home and bless yourself with holy water daily. Put blessed salt in your food. Put blessed oil in your food. Light a blessed candle with each meal.
When you do, tell Our Lord that you eagerly desire to receive the effects of these blessings. He will be faithful. He will drive away the demons that have haunted you. He will reveal the plan that Satan has been enacting against you for so long.
He will teach you how to use the binding prayer against Satan and his demons. He will teach you how to renounce your former sins that may still haunt you. He will bring you into the liberation which He promised and for which you have always longed.
Take what Our Lord has promised. Trust Him. Use the instruments of spiritual warfare and bring your spiritual life to the next level.
Take up this plan as part of your Advent agenda for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Use Slaying Dragons: What Exorcists See & What We Should Know as the guide for your renewed spiritual work. Start a group to study this book together and implement its teachings in your life.
Then, you will be able to allow the Lord to pierce into those dark places in your heart and cut away those things which cling too deeply. It is then, with His grace and strength, that you will be able to more profitably climb the mountain of the Lord.
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our website and share it with your friends. Consider picking up Slaying Dragons: What Exorcists See & What We Should Know as your Advent spiritual reading. Pray for us and may God bless you.