Lent Reflections day 16
Brothers and sisters, there are so many moments when I’m reading Unseen Warfare that it’s so good that I simply want to read the text to you without any personal comment. Today is one of those days, and I’ll begin with an extended quote from the sixteenth chapter:
As soon as you wake up in the morning, pray for a while, saying: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me. Then your first work should be to shut yourself in your own heart, as if taking up position in an arena. Having established yourself there, bring yourself to the consciousness and feeling that your enemy and the passionate urge against which you struggle at the moment are already there, on your left ready for immediate attack; therefore rouse against them a firm resolve to conquer or die, but never to submit. Realize also that on your right there stands, invisibly present, your Commander, our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Holy Mother and a host of holy Angels, with Archangel Michael at their head, ready to come to your aid; So take heart and be of good cheer.
Lo, the prince of the nether world, the devil, rises against you with his host of demons and begins to fan the flame of passionate attraction, trying to persuade you with various promises flattering to your self-indulgence, to cease struggling against that passion and to submit to it, assuring you that this submission would be better and less troublesome, but you must keep attention in yourself—and at the same time you should hear from the right the warning and inspiring voice of your guardian angel who, speaking for all those standing on your right, will assuredly say to you: ‘ You are now faced with a battle against your passion and your other enemies. Fear not and be not afraid; let not this fear drive you to run from your post on the battlefield. For our Lord Jesus Christ, the Commander, is near you, surrounded by the commanders and centurions of His incorporeal armies and all the hosts of holy Angels, ready to fight with you against your enemies and not let them overcome and conquer you, as is promised: “ The Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14).’ Therefore stand firm, compel yourself not to give ground and strive by all possible means to stand up to the trial which has assailed you, calling from the bottom of your heart: ‘ Do not deliver me to the souls of those who afflict me’ (Ps. 26:12). Appeal to your Lord, to the Holy Virgin, to all the Angels and saints. Help will come, and you will be victorious, for it is written: ‘ I write unto you, young men ‘ (emboldened and intrepid warriors), ‘because you have overcome the wicked one’ (I John 2:13). You may be weak and tied by bad habits, while your enemies are strong and numerous; but much more powerful help is ready for you from Him Who has created and redeemed you. God your Protector is incomparably stronger than all others in this battle. As it is written: ‘The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord powerful in battle’ (Ps. 23:8). Moreover His desire to save you is greater than that of your enemy to destroy you. So fight and never weary of the labors of this warfare. For victory is won by these labors, by forcing yourself and mercilessly tearing yourself from vicious habits despite the pain; and thus a great treasure is gained, whereby the kingdom of heaven is purchased and the soul forever united with God. Thus every morning begin in God’s name your struggle with the enemies…
Indeed. Many of us use the first moments of the morning to pray, but perhaps without all of the attention to the unseen world that Unseen Warfare suggests. But it’s good advice. Let us begin each day with a steadfast resolution to resist the ridiculous suggestions of the demons, and exercise our loyalty and love for God our Creator. Here we have come to Tuesday of the third week of our Lenten journey, a good time to start (or renew) the use of this spiritual discipline.