Expert Answer Forum
Spiritual Warfare 101 QUESTION from Andrew Baker October 8, 1999 Dear JP;
In an earlier post, you made a remark on how someone who is overenthusiastic about fighting evil is usually inexperienced. I have felt a call to become a warrior for Christ. But I don't know what to do or read or listen to or watch, etc. What are the best sources of information on how to fight against Satan? Are there any texts on how I could do a better job? Where can I find them? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on October 11, 1999 Dear Mr. Baker:
It is to be commended that you are feeling a call to be a warrior for Christ. In reality we are all warriors for Christ, we are all in the Army of God. The question only remains — what is our rank and position in that Army?
For some their place may be on the front line, or even behind the lines like commando teams. For others their proper place in on the rear guard or on the homefront in support of the boys in the field. We each have a place, we each have a mission.
So the first question is what do you mean by warrior for Christ? If you mean the kind of warrior we are all to be, the way to do that is by prayer, devotion, study, and action. Develop your prayer life and your devotional life. Spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, attend Mass frequently, go to confession no less than one per month, participate in the Church’s official prayer – the Divine Office – as best as you can. Also study as hard as you can. Learn your faith, read and study the Bible and the Catechism. Look up the footnotes in the catechism (there is a companion book to the Catechism that prints the passages and material footnoted). Especially read the saints.
In other words, be the best Catholic you can be. Live the Christ-life. Stand up and be counted for Christ. We are told in Scripture to always be prepared to give an account for the hope that is within you…do the work of an evangelist. Be the light of the world as Christ commands us to be.
Then find an apostolate to serve God and the Church. This may be an apostolate in your parish or one that you independently perform.
Just doing this much will get for you much grief. Satan will not like the fact that you are getting closer to God and are serving Him. Satan will try to discourage you.
If what you mean by this is to get more directly involved on the front lines of battle against Satan either in commando apologetics or in deliverance ministry, then my advice I to you is do not pursue it.
You need to think VERY carefully about whether God is really calling you to be the commando. You will get enough grief from Satan being an ordinary Catholic, more grief if you become a active apologist or evangelist for Christ, but so much more as to be nearly beyond capacity if you decide to do the commando thing.
The pain and suffering, sorrow, grief, travails, attacks to your body, to your person, to your reputation, to your identity can be so severe that except for the grace of God you would not survive. I do not speak from theory.
Are you willing to accept such suffering?
If not, do not even think about going into commando apologetics or deliverance work.
No matter what God has planned for you, there is a cost. The cost of commando warriorship is extremely high.
There are no books to prepare you for this. You certainly need to know your faith well, and I mean VERY well. You need to know technical information about how the schemes of Satan work. This involves information about the occult, the new age, liberalism, feminism, modernism, etc. I conduct a workshop called Hope, Help, Victory that includes a Manual that is a good overall summary of the issue. I may make this manual available to the general public.
It also helps to have training in philosophy, theology, psychology, and literature. You need to be familiar with the saints and their writings about spiritual warfare. You need to be a very prayerful man and one who can reflect upon himself and who can mortify himself readily. You must be in the pursuit of holiness.
As for books you need to read volumes such as, What is Liberalism by Father Sarda, The Sinner’s Guide by Venerable Louis of Granada, The Spiritual Combat by Lawrence Scupoli, A Still Small Voice by Father Groeschell, Weeds Among the Wheat by Father Thomas Green, Catholics and the New Age by Father Pacwa, The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson (a Protestant), and many others.
In terms of a technical manual in how to do deliverance work there is no single book that is really good. I have found that at best, bits and pieces can be taken out of several books, but that there is no one book that is satisfactory. In terms of Catholic books, there are very few to begin with. Many Protestant books are helpful, but you have to know what to look for, what to ignore, and what to translate into the Catholic worldview.
The only comprehensive Manual of Deliverance Counseling that I can recommend is the one that I wrote. It is the only one to recommend NOT because I wrote it, but because I genuinely feel it represents a balanced and sound perspective that other works have missing. However, my manual is not for general sale.
I am available occasionally to train deliverance teams. A new kind of training is needed by the way. In 1984 the Vatican placed severe restrictions on what deliverance teams or individuals could do. In order to obey this mandate from the church, I borrowed from Neil Anderson a deliverance concept called the Truth Encounter. I Catholicizied this procedure and now use it when it is called for.
The Power Encounter approach is now restricted solely to Church approved solemn exorcisms. Neither priests or laymen can use the direct power approach outside of the formal Rite of Exorcism (which only a priest can do and only with permission).
The bottom line I guess is make yourself the best and most informed Catholic you can. Develop your prayer and devotional life. Do the work of God as it opens to you and see where God leads you. Do this ALWAYS with complete loyalty, fidelity, and obedience to the Church.
I know I have not answered your questions as fully as you would like, but I am doing that on purpose and for good reason.
We will be in prayer for you as you discern what God has planned for you.
God Bless John-Paul
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