In January I had the privilege of speaking at the Men of Jesus Christ, Buffalo Chapter Men’s night. It was an awesome time prayer and fellowship.

The title of my talk was “You have been drafted…Reflections on the Church Militant.

Below is a very brief synopsis of the talk. I hope it will help you to become better warriors for the Lord.

We need to realize that we are at war. Holy Mother Church calls us here on earth the Church Militant for a reason. If we want eternal glory we need to realize there is a battle to be won in our own life here on earth.

When I look at the Church Militant in this day and age I worry that people do not realize we are at war. I see 3 things that truly need to be addressed within the ranks of the Church Militant so that we can be effective warriors.

1. There needs to a renewed conviction about the sin in our lives. We have become comfortable with the sin in our life. I’m not necessarily talking about serious sin or mortal sin but just the venial sins that plague us each and every day. I firmly believe that one of the main jobs of every mature Christian is to identify the sin in our lives and a fight it each and every day.

Just because we aren’t guilty of mortal sin does not mean we are perfect and God calls us to strive for perfection. Sin is not of the Lord. Identify it in your life, fight it and embrace Jesus more fully.

2. We need to begin to learn about and strive for sainthood. Ok I know this sounds a lot like the last point but what this is more about what to add into our life as oppose to what we need to get rid of. The Church Militant needs to be educated and inspired to enter into deeper interior lives. God desires sainthood for all of us. Learn about spiritual theology, apply it in your life, strive for sanctity.

3. Silence needs to be part of the life of every Christian. In silence we meet our God. God wishes to speak a unique message to each person. All we have to do is make ourselves available. Silence is the school for prophets and the world needs prophets.

The world needs to be conquered by an army of the Lord. For this to happen the army of the Lord needs to be filled with those striving for sainthood.

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” Joel 3:10

St. Catherine of Bologna gave up a life of leisure to live as a Poor Clare in the 1400’s. Her 7 Spiritual Weapons are a great guide for us trying to journey towards sainthood.

The Seven Weapons:

  1. Be careful always to do good.
  2. To believe we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves.
  3. To trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves.
  4. To meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus’ life, especially His passion and death.
  5. To remember that we must die.
  6. To keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds.
  7. To be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions.

The Evil One tried time and again to take St. Catherine’s heart from the Lord but she remained faithful always knowing her place in the kingdom of God. These seven spiritual teachings passed on to us from her will help us to crush the head of the serpent in our life.

St. Catherine of Bologna…Pray for us!

It is important that we arms oursleves with the weapons we need fight the battle that is Radical Catholic Living. Each of us can look to certain things that have helped us fight sin, listen to God and surrender ourselves more fully to Jesus. Books, sacramentals, prayers and exercises can make a big difference in our struggle against sin and our race towards Jesus. God will send you these things as arrows to fill your quiver.

Here are some weapons that may be able to help you live an intense Catholic life:

The Brown Scapular: When I began to wear the Brown Scapular I was finally able to make headway against the besetting sins in my life. It is a constant reminder of Mary’s intercession. It is my badge of courage in a dark age.

The Book Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli: This is basically the guidebook for combatting sin. It gives you powerful and practical steps to take in the interior life. Read it slowly and over and over again.

The Spiritual Communion Prayer by St. Alphonsus Ligouri: This is a great way to recommit ourselves often through out the day. It is a reminder to always invite Jesus into our hearts. It also helps us to prepare for real communion at mass.

Scripture memorization: Scripture memorization fills our minds with The Word. This can help greatly in our battle against sin that manifests itself in the mind.

Preparation for Total Consecration by St. Louis DeMontfort: This spiritual exercise is integral to the Spiritual life and is the font of many graces. Try it once and then renew it each year. It will help you abandon yourself more fully to Jesus.

A Good Comprehensive Book on Spiritual Direction: When you are committed to prayer and fighting sin questions will come up and if you don’t have an experienced spiritual director there are a few books you can turn to.  I recommend The Spiritual Life by Tanqueray or a book called The Interior Life by “A Carthusian Monk” (That is the only name given)

Holy Water: Keep Holy water around you. I often claim the Kingship of Jesus in my house and other places by sprinkling holy water. It is like poison to the Evil Spirits lurking.

Deliverance prayer from Pope Leo XIII: Here is a link to the prayer: http://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/english/p01975.htm

These are things that have helped me substantiallyin striving to living a Radical Catholic life. With the Eucharist, Rosary and confession being foundations of our life these things can help build a strong house of devotion that will help us to surrender more to Jesus and become His. Please leave suggestions about things that have helped you below in the comments.

Ask God to send you arrows to put in your quiver. Arm yourself with the weapons that will help you finish the race and fight the good fight.

Arm yourself in this battle. Fight to the Death.  

The New Catechism contains a comprehensive summary of the truth of the Holy Catholic Church. We as Radical Catholics know well that within the traditions of the Catholic Church we find the path to sanctity and holiness. Therefore the New Catechism contains the information we so desperately need to grow in our Faith and come to know Jesus. Those endeavoring to live a Radical Catholic Life need to make the Catechism a regular part of life for two reasons:

1. It nourishes our souls and increases our faith to read about and pray the Truths of the Holy Catholic Church which is the fount of grace and the spouse of Jesus Christ.

The Catechism should be part of our daily prayer and study. It should be the first place we turn to for answers to the questions we have. Just as we try to be radically faithful to the Gospel we must strive to be radically faithful to the Catholic Catechism as it is the comprehensive summary of the teachings of the Church. Our theological beliefs must be informed and checked by the Catechism so that we do not err. It should be treated with reverence and awe for it is the word of God handed to us through the tradition of the Church.

2. It prepares us to be effective missionaries in a world in desperate need of solid Catholic Teaching.

Many times and in many places the beliefs of the Catholic Church are misunderstood even by those who have been Catholic through the entirety of their life. As Radical Catholics we must be missionaries of Truth to those who need it. We need to be well versed in Catholic teaching and the basic theology behind the teaching. In the Catechism we find the teachings and basic theology simply laid out for us in a simple and easy to use form. As missionaries we should be working our way through the Catechism regularly and when people come to us with questions we should point them first to the Catechism for answers.

Reading the New Catechism will enrich your faith, prayer life and intellectual life. Regular reading of its Holy Truth is essential to Radical Christian living. When we read and pray the Catechism we dive into a deep and rich heritage of our beautiful mother Church.

It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation…The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.

Pope John Paul II On the New Catechism

The primary adversary of all Christians is Satan. As you all know Satan is a fallen Angel who wages war on God’s people, constantly trying to draw them away from God and into hell. He leads the fallen Angels to spread sin and evil through out the world. He is our enemy but he has already been conquered by Jesus. As radical Catholics we need to realize that Satan has a plan to draw each of us away from Jesus. We need to recognize that plan and thwart it everyday of our lives.

Liar
Everything Satan does is associated with a lie. The most common lie he will be trying to sneak by us is that sin will make us happy. We need to cultivate an attitude where each time we feel tempted we say to ourselves, “who is behind this lie?” “This will not actually make me happy.” Another common lie that plagues even Radical Catholics sounds like this, “I’m doing ok, I help out at Church, I pray, I’m a good Catholic. This lie brings complacency. Satan wants to lure us into complacency so we are not fighting the battle. We need to constantly fight and struggle toward Jesus.

Murderer

Satan delights in murder. His goal is to get us to die in mortal sin. When we sin mortally we quite literally kill or soul. Satan also knows that the lukewarm soul is pretty much a dead soul. We need to strive to be fully alive in the Holy Spirit. We can counteract Satan’s murderous ways by striving to live a beautiful and deep life with the fountain of life, Jesus. He will try and kill that relationship which would kill us. Remember not to fear the one who can harm your body but to fear the one who can kill your soul.

Conquered enemy

Jesus conquered Satan on the cross and because of that we have the power to conquer him in our own life. Satan should be feared because of his ability to trick, deceive and murder us but we must remember that Jesus has won the victory and given the victory into our hands. If the power of Jesus Christ is in your life we will be conquerors with Him. Satan knows that He has been conquered and he tries to wage war on us to take as many people with him as possible. He is our enemy but remember he is a conquered enemy.

Fall in love with Jesus. Present yourself humbly to the Father, Live in the Holy Spirit and invoke the Beautiful Lady. Pray against the work of Satan in the world. Enter into the battle today. Do not be afraid! Hide your self in the wounds of Christ so that you can be safe while you fight. Help pull souls away form the Father of lies.

This is a great prayer for Spiritual warfare it simply declares that the chains of death could not hold our mighty conqueror, Jesus: 

Easter Prayer of St. Hippolytus

 

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever

 

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour… 1 Peter 5:8

A murderer from the beginning, . . . a liar and the father of lies,” Satan is “the deceiver of the whole world.” … We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. The Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

There is a tiny old nun who volunteers at the Catholic Radio Station that I raise money for. I often jokingly say to her, “Sister you need to rest because if you die before I do then when you get to heaven I am going to put you to work!” We are not alone in this world. We are supported and called on by the Saints who have gone before us.

The Saints play a very big role in the life of a Radical Catholic. They are the people who lived the Radical Catholic life to the end.

Radical Catholics are intercessors and the Saints are powerful to be invoked for intercession. When we are in the battle of prayer we need to remember to invoke the Saints. Some of them are literally experts in whatever we are praying for. If you are praying for someone to be healed of a particular disease then look up the patron Saint associated with that disease and invoke Him. Sometimes we develop a devotion to a particular list of “intercessor” Saints. I have a list that I invoke in every situation but I also add particular patrons for special intentions.

The Saints can teach us about Jesus and His Church. As Radical Catholics we should turn to the people who have “won the race” for answers to our questions. We can be sure that the writings of the Saints will steer us in the right direction. Many of them were so filled with the word of God that reading their writing is like reading Holy Scripture.

The Saints are the Radical Catholics who persevered to the end. One of the greatest graces of my life has been to read to the amazing stories of the lives of the Saints. We can talk about what to do all day but there will always be questions about how to live a life faithful to Jesus. The answers to these questions can be found in reading the lives of the Saints. They are perfect examples of people trying to remain radically faithful to Jesus to the very end.

The Saints are powerful in Spiritual Warfare. These are human beings who conquered victoriously in the spiritual battle. Satan was unable to ravage their souls like he desires and so each time we invoke their name we call to mind the victory Christ gained on Calvary and the Saints who fully embraced this victory. The litany of the Saints is super powerful in deliverance ministry. In fact no deliverance ministry or spiritual warfare should be attempted without invoking the intercession of the Saints. Invoking the Saints calls to mind that each person can conquer Satan in their own life by being radically faithful to Christ.

Here are some ways to develop a devotion to the Saints:

  • Read a short biography each day or a long one each week. This is easy because the stories are usually really exciting.
  • Develop your own list of “intercessor” Saints to invoke: Mine is like this: St. Simeon Stylite, St. Francis, St. Pio, St. Therese, St. Theresa, Pope John Paul II, St. Michael, St. Raphael, and all Holy Martyrs…
  • Pick a Saint each month and read their writings.
  • Invoke the Saints each day in Spiritual Warfare: Pray the litany of the Saints for a soul given over to Satan or for the conquering of some insidious evil like an abortion clinic or new age store.

There for since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…Hebrew 12:1 

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. St. Francis of Assisi

Love the Saints, Learn about the Saints, Be a Saint.

Each and every Catholic must realize we are in a spiritual battle for souls. We cannot go into battle without knowledge and training.

Here are some simple principles of Spiritual Combat:

Humility is the key: Satan tried to raise himself to the equal of God. When we strive after true humility we place our selves in the complete and total control and protection of our Father. The Father will protect us when we root pride out of our lives. Satan despises the virtue of humility because it is the opposite of him. When you decide to enter into the spiritual battle first clothe yourself with humility as it will hide you and protect from the plans of the evil one.

The primary battle is in our own lives: Spiritual warfare does not mean only deliverance ministry although sometimes we will be praying for deliverance of others from evil spirits. Spiritual warfare is first and foremost the battle against sin in our life. If you have thoughts of combating the devil then first see how the evil one is working in your life and fight him there. The greatest thing we can do to combat the devil is to become a saint.

Remember Satan is the Father of lies: Again I must go back to the virtue of humility. Satan is the master deceiver but when we clothe ourselves with the eyes of humility we see ourselves and the world in truth. Be bold only in the power of the Lord and not in yourself. Take care to live in the Truth and not be deceived.

The battle is the Lord’s!

 

The prayer to St. Michael can be a powerful weapon in our Spiritual armament. Here is a copy of the original text:

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

 

Most glorious Prince of the Heavenly Armies, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in “our battle against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Eph., 6,12). Come to the assistance of men whom God has created to His likeness and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Holy Church venerates thee as her guardian and protector; to thee, the Lord has entrusted the souls of the redeemed to be led into heaven. Pray therefore the God of Peace to crush Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive and do injury to the Church. Offer our prayers to the Most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us; take hold of “the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan”, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit … “that he may no longer seduce the nations” (Apoc. 20, 2-3).

Keep your eyes on Christ

March 24, 2010

Much of our Christian struggle is about keeping focus. When we take our eyes off Christ, it’s easy to forget what our life is about. Sometimes I will write down a scripture verse or quote on a piece of paper and carry it in my pocket. Throughout the day, I will take it out and read it and say a quick prayer and recommit myself to Christ.

Keep your eyes on Christ. Commit yourself to Him over and over again. Remember what He has done for you. Love Jesus.

Remember Today O Soul…

That the God who knows you the most in all of your flaws and all of your un-faithfulness loves you more than you can imagine. He loved you so much that He gave His only Son to be viciously killed by lawless men. He comes into the mess of our lives and loves us just as we are. Remember that God is light and that without Him we are in total darkness. He is your end. He is your all…

 

 

I recently heard a priest say that we are living in a really extraordinary time where the majority of people have not heard of Jesus from someone who actually knows Him. In a lot of ways, we and the apostles live in a similar situation. People may have heard of Jesus, the scandals surrounding him, the controversies that arose, and the miracles that he performed, but they didn’t know of Him from close friends and therefore did not know who He really was.

Jesus needs prophets to spread the message of His love to all of humanity one person at a time. We must become the Prophet of God we are called to be. Those who are in a deep loving relationship with Jesus have a duty to spread the story of their relationship. This is not easy. I could tell you countless embarrassing stories of times where I tried to share Jesus with people and I fell so short of sharing the glory that is Christ. (I pray God worked through these times despite my shortcomings.) There will also be times when the message is not received well and in those times we can count ourselves among the very greatest Saints and servants of God. Prophets are always persecuted, but blessed are those who are persecuted for Christ’s sake. Make it a Point to Cultivate the Prophet within you today.

Here are some things you can do that may help:

  1. Develop a devotion to the Prophets (pray for their intercession, learn about them, imitate them)
  2. Spend more time reading the Gospel. Make time everyday for the Gospel. Imagine, when you are reading, that you are in a conversation with Jesus. Ask Him questions.
  3. Pray for God to set up “divine appointments” for you to share Him with others. ( I pray this prayer every single morning and it’s great but be careful because it works.)
  4. Give more time in prayer to listening and being docile to the Holy Spirit. (Elijah encountered God in the “still small voice”)
  5. Pray that God will Baptize you in the Holy Spirit and give you more and more of His Spirit each day. (This will put you into hyper drive missionary mode. In fact you may, at first, annoy family and friends from being so zealous.)
  6. Pray for the “Prophets” that introduced us to Christ.
  7. The most important part is to become more like Christ. Without this all else is useless. People need to see the love of Christ within you.

 

Our knowledge of Jesus is in need above all of a living experience: Another person’s testimony is certainly important, as in general the whole of our Christian life begins with the proclamation that comes to us from one or several witnesses. But we ourselves must be personally involved in an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus.

Pope Benedict XVI

It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior.

Only from a personal relationship with Jesus can an effective evangelization develop.

Pope John Paul II

Elijah, Prophet of Old. Pray for us!

St. John the Baptist. Pray for us!

Adding praise to our prayer helps us in our Spiritual Battle.
 
 

When we praise we proclaim:

  • Who or What God is.
  • What God does.
  • What God has done.
  • What God will do.

Satan is the father of lies and what we do when we praise is proclaim Truth in the fullest sense. Satan and his demons are always trying to build strongholds in our lives and communities. He essentially tries to build his kingdom. When we praise we enthrone our God and tear down these strongholds of the evil one. If you are struggling with temptation (isn’t everyone?) or if you have been praying for deliverance for yourself or a loved one praise is essential to your “arsenal” of weapons against the evil one. Praise silences the enemy. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the chief exorcist of the diocese of Rome often recommends to those people he is “treating” that they join an authentic Charismatic prayer group. This is because they have a special charism to praise and particularly how it relates to deliverance.

You may be uncomfortable with this kind of prayer. I would suggest you give it a chance and pray that God will cultivate a spirit of praise in your heart. Below I have included some prayers from “The Lion Roars” prayer book to get you started.

There is power in Praise!

Praise help from The Lion Roars Prayer Book (available April 2010)

  • Your Name is above all other Names
  • You are The King of the Universe
  • You are The everlasting King
  • You are The Bread of Life
  • You are Faithful and True
  • You are the Lion of Judah
  • You are The Creator of all
  • You are Lord of Lords
  • You are King of Kings
  • You are Almighty God
  • You are The Christ
  • You are The Lamb of God
  • You are The Bright Morning Star
  • You are The Way, The Truth, and The Life
  • You are The Prince of Peace
  • You are The Light of the World
  • You are the Living Word
  • You are The Redeemer of the World
  • You are The Rock of Ages
  • You are The Bread of Life
  • You have won the victory
  • You are The Great I am
  • You are The Most High God
  • You are The Resurrection and The Life
  • You are worthy of our praise
  • You are The Alpha and the Omega
  • You are The Beginning and The End
  • You are Our Salvation
  • You are The Victor

You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Isreal. Psalm 22:3