Spiritual Warefare

07-11-2021Fr. Charlie's Homilies & Teaching NotesFr. Charlie

Today’s Gospel (Mark 6:7-13) tells us that, being sent out by Jesus, the apostles preached repentance, which led to driving out many demons and curing the sick. Their power and authority to do so came directly from Jesus, the Son of God who uses clay vessels like us, to show His love and His mercy for all mankind.

I want to focus on the driving out of demons. Many today think that the Devil is simply a medieval holdover that is either a mythological creation or (as I’ve read some critics of the Church say), is a ruse that the Church uses to maintain a hold on people.

Even many of those who should know better are confused. For example, te Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr Sosa, said in an interview on May 31, 2017 in the Spanish paper El Mundo, that We have created symbolic figures, such as the devil, in order to express [the reality of] evil.

After a severe backlash from many exorcists throughout the world, he tried to walk it back. Whether he had a change of heart or just realized the firestorm he created is not clear, but what he said reduced Satan to a social construct used to interpret people’s bad actions.

How does this practically apply to us in the year 2021? First, we must acknowledge that Satan is REAL. We know this from 1 John 5:19 that “the whole world is under the power of the evil one”. We also are made aware of Satan’s power and dominion from Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.

Jesus many times over refers to Satan in descriptive ways that can help us recognize him.

  • “The enemy", MT 13:39.
  • "The evil one", MT 13:38
  • "The prince of this world", JN 12:31; 14:30
  • "A liar", and "the father of lies", JN 8:44.
  • "A murderer", JN 8:44.

Satan has one goal: because of his hatred for God, he wants to deceive and conquer each and every one of us who is made in God’s image and for whom The Father sent his Son to die.

In order to be victorious in our battle with Satan and his minions we must recognize the way he attacks us so we can launch our defense.

  • Temptation – the most common and frequent means, using our weaknesses to attack and deceive us in to sinful behavior
  • Oppression - attacking us in most stressful, worrisome and troublesome areas to harass, subjugate, dominate and persecute us.
  • Obsession - using our weaknesses in habitual sins and recurrent negative thoughts that a person cannot seem to cease from ruminating over.
  • Infestation – through openings we provide him, he will inhabit buildings and homes and other inanimate objects
  • Possession – Having succumbed to one or all of the above attacks he uses our weakened state to hold and own us. Although he can possess our bodies he can never possess our souls, because by virtue of our baptism we belong to God.

All serious sin opens us up to Satan—sin is his handiwork and the main tool he uses to subject us to him. But certain serious sins place us in great jeopardy of coming under his dominion: witchcraft and anything to do with the occult or new age; perverted sexual sin, gambling and pornography and other addictive behavior.

So how do we arm ourselves and take up our defense against the evil one?

  • Reject sin — this is Satan’s number one tool
  • Pay attention to how he tempts you — because he knows our particular weaknesses, he tempts each of us differently); for some it will be lust, for others pride, for others greed, for other envy and jealousy, and so on.
  • Go to confession regularly – the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the physical, emotional and psychological release from our bondage.
  • Call him out - Don’t be afraid to repeat Jesus’ words “get behind me Satan.”
  • Buy a crucifix with the medal of St Benedict and have a priest bless it for you (it is actually a prayer of exorcism) recite the prayer of St Benedict.
  • Pray the prayer of St Michael the Archangel.
  • Invoke the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker
  • Pray the rosary on a daily basis - Satan hates our Blessed Mother. We know this from Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12: 14-17. He recoils every time he hears us pray, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus”.

Keep in the forefront of your mind and heart in Jesus Christ; we too are victors in the great battle.

Practical tools

For every vice Satan wages against us there is a corresponding virtue to be cultivated. Identify your vices and cultivate the virtues to overcome sin.


To gain a greater understanding of the enemy read the classic “Screw tape Letters” by C.S. Lewis.