Imagine trying to learn rocket science from watching the Space Shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral. You might try learn about the lives and habits of the astronauts themselves. You might learn all about the space shuttle with pictures and diagrams. You might even read countless stories of space flights and the different anecdotes that happen. You could read every article written by an astronaut or rocket scientist. Unfortunately, none of these would be a sufficient way to learn Rocket Science because you are jumping ahead in education about twenty years. Rocket Science begins with physics and simple things such as understanding gravity and propulsion and ends with the Space shuttle launch. This is an extreme example, but this is often the mistake we make when learning about spiritual warfare.
I travel all over the country and speak about Catholic Demonology. I can tell you, at least anecdotally, that the majority of what faithful Catholics know about the topic of spiritual warfare comes from books written by exorcists and from legends. I cannot count the amount of times that Fr. Gabriel Amorth has been quoted to me as proof of a point. Now there is nothing wrong with the books of Fr. Amorth. In fact, they are excellent, but his work is the Space Shuttle launch in the example and we need grade school Physical Science. If we are planning to fly the Space shuttle, then we should begin by experimenting with a backyard rocket and learning a whole lot of physics.
Here are some ways people tend to learn about spiritual warfare that CAN impoverish our understanding of it:
So how should we try to understand and learn about spiritual warfare? I’ll recommend some things under two different umbrellas: Study and Practice.
First some recommendations about Study:
Second some simple recommendations on Practice:
It is high time we shine the light on the Theology and practice of Spiritual Warfare. We need to learn once again the art of participation in the Angelic warfare for our souls.
"‘Spiritual combat’ is [an] element of life which needs to be taught anew and proposed once more to all Christians today. It is a secret and interior art, an invisible struggle in which (we) engage every day…” ~ Pope St. John Paul II
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