TWELFTH DAY: Fight with the weapons of Faith
We are in a cosmic drama; there is an intense spiritual battle. Perhaps some people have not completely understood the intensity of this battle, which is a battle of love (E056).
Spiritual warfare is an inescapable reality of the Christian life. The greater our determination to follow the Lord, the more the enemy attacks us: “It is not against the adversaries of blood and flesh that we have to fight, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of evil that dwell in the heavenly spaces. (Eph 6:12).
Two risks threaten us: to see the action of the devil everywhere or conversely to ignore the devil. The greatest trick of the devil consists precisely in making us believe that he does not exist. Denouncing this widespread idea, Paul VI recalled that the Evil One is “enemy number one”:
“Evil is not only a deficiency, it is the fact of a living, spiritual, perverted and perverting being. Those who refuse to acknowledge its existence […] or who explain it as a pseudo-reality, an invention of the spirit, deviate from the teaching of the Bible and of the Church” (General Audience of November 15, 1972).
Referring to his professional experience in the film industry, Pierre Goursat often spoke of spiritual warfare. He explained how, around 1960, some producers had established a deliberate strategy by trivializing eroticism in order to gradually impose homosexuality and pornography. This goal was to be achieved within a few decades.
The devil is waging a real spiritual war within human history and in the personal life of every human being. He seeks to insidiously seize all spheres of society, encircling us, infiltrating our lines and laying siege to our bastions of protection. We have to fight on two different fronts, the “home front” (our personal life) and the “foreign front” (the world).
The Evil One uses various stratagems to destabilize us and take us away from God. Expert in “propaganda warfare” and “psychological action”, he distorts reality, spreads lies and confuses our minds by “intoxicating” us. He sends toxic gases to blind us, to put us to sleep and to neutralize us. By interfering with our thoughts and imagination, He increases difficulties to make us anxious, frightened and unable to act. The Adversary also practices the art of camouflage and diversion: he seeks to divert us from priority objectives and distract our attention from the dangers in order to attack us by surprise.
To face this merciless battle and win it, it is necessary to know the Adversary’s tricks and the weapons at our disposal to defend ourselves. Our first assurance is to remain anchored in Christ: after being baptized in the Jordan River, Jesus (“God Saves”) fasted for a long time and dismissed the Tempter by the Word of God (cf. Mt 4:1-11). By His death and Resurrection, He definitively defeated evil. Through our Baptism we were freed from evil and put on Christ: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the devil’s devices” (Eph 6:11).
To demoralize us, to discourage us, the enemy distills sadness and doubt in us. Pierre Goursat often said in this regard: Instead of doubting your faith and believing in your doubt, doubt your doubt and believe in your faith.
The Adversary also flatters our “ego”, our pride and vanity, giving us the illusion that we are “the best” and that without us the world will come to an end! Humility is always the surest way to make the devil flee: As the devil is very big, very puffy, the best way to expel him is to make ourselves very small because then he can no longer enter our home (E011).
Another ploy of the devil is to try to isolate us in order to make us more vulnerable: We must ask while praying together, that the Lord give us a gift of strength. And the Lord only asks to give it to us. We must gather together to be strong together (E055). Pierre exhorted his brothers and sisters in Community to remain united like the fish that swim in schools against the current. The strength that comes from union comes from “faith working through charity” (Gal 5:6):
This union of charity, but above all of faith, is really very important. We must believe strongly that the Lord Jesus has chosen us and that he has called us for a mission. The less we understand, the happier we are, because we are in faith and we say to him: “Lord, I believe in you. I know that you are faithful, that you lead us and that you need us” (E031).
Pierre Goursat considered that the Community’s mission was to make God’s love known in a world where many refuse it: The goal of Emmanuel, God with us, is really to fight together and say: “Lord, here are your troops. We must help Youto fight against this demon that invades everything” (E055). He invited his brothers to enter into resistance, to counterbalance evil with adoration: The demon has managed to take over the city and there are only nests of resistance left. These are the places of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (E055).
Community life is a place of training and a “rear base” where everyone comes to draw new strength for the mission:
It is important to be together to be able to hold out and to evangelize. If in an office you proclaim Jesus strongly, you counter-attack, in any environment. That is really the spiritual warfare. In small groups, we hold on. We evangelize (E055).
Announcing the Gospel in a hostile world is indeed a difficult battle: One must announce Jesus, even if there are fights (E082).
Let us meditate in prayer on the advice of the apostle Paul:
“You must put on the armor of God, so that, when the worst happens you may resist, and after doing all you can, stand firm. Stand therefore, with Truth as your belt, with Righteousness as your breastplate, and with Zeal for spreading the Gospel of peace as your shoes; always have the shield of Faith in your hand, with which you can extinguish all the fiery features of the Evil One; and finally, receive the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the Word of God. Live in prayer and supplication; pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph 6:13-18).
These “weapons of light” are an absolute protection for those who trust in God:
In this spiritual warfare we have only the weapons of the poor, because we have nothing; but we have everything, because it is the Holy Spirit Himself, it is Jesus Himself who wants to act (E02).
Lord Jesus our Savior, strengthen in us today the resolve to follow you. That together, we may fight the good fight.