Commentary on Today's Gospel: Spiritual Warfare

Mark 1:29-39

In today's gospel, Jesus cures many people who are ill with various diseases and drives out demons which are harassing or possessing them. He heals the brokenhearted -- not only those who are suffering physical illnesses, but those who are spiritually and emotionally ill as well.

In the first eleven chapters over Mark, Jesus demonstrates very vividly his power over: sickness, demons, and natural forces.

What is His purpose in doing this?

He desires to demonstrate to the world that He has special powers from God to nuture their faith. Not only does He himself possess these powers, but He has passed them on to us, as members of the Body of Christ. It is part of our Christian heritage -- a special gift that He desires us to use to increase the faith of those around us. He wants us to exercise that power or authority. Satan, the Prince of all evil in this world, prowls on this earth in order to destroy all goodness and beauty. His goals are to destroy peace and create chaos, to cause evil and wickedness to prevail over godliness and sanctity, to fill the world with darkness, despair, and death.

How do people become involved with the Devil in the first place?

1. First, God permits people to become possessed for their own sanctification. For example, St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina had frequent night time battles with Satan which God allowed to happen to make him into a very holy man whose holiness he shared with others through his gifts to shape them into holier persons. Padre Pio was able to read the hearts and souls of those who came to him in Confession and spent hours in the confessional to bring sinners closer to God. He was a gifted spiritual adviser and knew how to counsel and encourage others with his inspiring words. People from all over the world came to him for both physical and spiritual healing.

2. Others invite the Satan into their lives by becoming involved with the occult. Reading tarot cards, using ouija boards, becoming involved with astrology or psychics are all examples of inviting the Devil into your life. People who become involved in these activities often want to control their lives or others in their lives and do not relinquish these powers to God. They lack the faith needed to trust in God for their needs.

3. Some individuals consecrate themselves to the Devil. Wiccans fall into this category. For some, this religion of the Devil is attractive because the individuals feel that they can maintain control over their lives and the lives of others through special powers. It is a worldly religion and attracts many who are vulnerable to materialism and the values of the culture of death. Some initially become involved through such seemingly harmless video games as Dungeons and Dragons, where they assume the role of the Devil and recite incantations to evil.

4. When a person lives a life of serious, unrepentant mortal sin, they invite Satan into their lives and allow him to take control of their bodies and souls.

5. Innocent people may become victimized by the curses and spells cast on them by others.

How can you avoid possession?

1. If you live in a state of grace and practise your faith consistently, Satan will not be able to penetrate your heart, soul, and body. Your faith will protect and preserve you.

2. Your guardian angel protects you from evil. Pray daily to your guardian angel and ask him to be near in times of temptation.

3. You have authority over evil as part of your Christian heritage.
You can command demons to leave the soul or body that they have entered. To do this, you must be bold and identify the evil that is afflicting the soul. For example, if it the spirit of alcoholism, you can speak directly to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ, spirit of alcoholism, I cast you out!" Then, invite the spirit of sobriety into the person to replace the void left by the evil spirit.

What are some of the most effective weapons against the power of evil?

1. Frequent reception of the sacraments

Frequent Confession (at least once a month) and reception of the Holy Eucharist (daily is most desirable) will protect us from the temptations of evil and keep us on the right path.

2. Frequent recitation of the rosary
The secret that makes this prayer so effective is that the Rosary is both prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Father, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Holy Trinity, and is a meditation centered on Christ. This humble prayer taught by the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Dominic in the year 1214, was given to the Church as a powerful weapon against heretics and sinners.Every time you recite a "Hail Mary", which by the way, is taken directly from the Bible, it is like a major blow to Satan. Our Lady crushes his head and destroys his powers with each Hail Mary we recite. St. Louis de Montfort recommends that we do all our prayers through Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary.

3. Scripture reading
St. Jerome says that ignorance of the Holy Scriptures is ignorance of God. We must learn the meaning of the Holy Scriptures in the light of the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church and go to them to obtain direction for our lives and to aid us in distinguishing God's voice from the voice of the evil one, who seeks to destroy all that is good within us. The devil can cite Scripture for his own purposes, so learn your scripture well and be prepared to defend your faith with it.

Satan is strong and clever, but God is infinitely stronger and wiser in all things. We have the mind of Christ, and we can rely on the help of God and His holy Mother in all of our spiritual battles, no matter how fierce they may become. Use the spiritual weapons God has given us. There is no need to be afraid: the victory is ours in Jesus Christ because in Him we are more than conquerors! Use this knowledge to bring others out of the darkness and into the light of His love.

For more information on Spiritual Warfare and for some wonderful prayers to help break addictions and protect your family, go here. This is a wonderful Catholic website.

Note: Some of the information in this post was taken from a EWTN homily given by Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, President of Human Life International.


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