Ad Jesum per Mariam

Ad Jesum per Mariam
...if you genuinely wish to reach a high level of prayer in all honesty and without falling into the traps that the devil sets for those who pray, SAY your Rosary everyday... St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spiritual Warfare (Part 3) : Presenting the Ordinary Satanic Activity or Temptation

 Ladies and gentlemen, let us take a look at the tools or instruments of Satan in His "ordinary" activity.

We have three spiritual foes: 1.) the flesh; 2.) the world; 3.) the Devil. The flesh is often called “concupiscence,” which is the inclination to sin deep within us. The world and the Devil are external to us, but also very powerful threats to our true and lasting happiness.
1.) We base our description of the flesh on the famous passage of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (+ circa 100 A.D.) in his First Letter (2:16): “For all that is in the world, the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” Therefore, the spiritual foe we term the flesh may be further divided into: A.) the concupiscence of the flesh, which is the inordinate love of sensual pleasures; B.) the concupiscence of the eyes, which is all unwholesome curiosity and inordinate love of the goods of our earth; C.) the pride of life, which is excessive self-love and is accompanied by vanity.
2.) The world signifies “not the whole number of men upon the earth, among whom are found both choice souls and irreligious men; but the sum-total of those who oppose Jesus Christ and are the slaves of the threefold concupiscence.” Identified as such are unbelievers, the indifferent, hardened sinners and those who believe and even practice their religion but do so sinking in a moral neglectfulness.
3.) The Devil is representative of Satan and the Fallen Angels. The Devil was jealous of the contentment experienced by Adam and Eve and so tempted them to sin. Ever since he was successful in the Garden of Eden, the Devil has continued his efforts against men and women, boys and girls with the hideous goal of leading all human persons away from their beloved and loving Creator.
Ordinary Satanic Activity—Temptation
Temptation comes to us from the flesh, the world and the Devil. Father Adolphe Tanquerey, in his classic The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology, defined temptation as “a solicitation to evil on the part of our spiritual foes.” God allows us to be tempted so that we will merit Heaven, but He does not tempt us directly. Temptation is a means of purification and an instrument of spiritual progress. By temptation, we grow in humility and love of God.
Some persons are tempted frequently and intensely (I do not know if I'll be happy or not because I am included in this category), while others are tempted less and without being deeply agitated.
The great Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, taught that there are three distinct but related phases in each temptation: A.) suggestion, which is the proposal of some evil; B.) pleasure, which happens when after the moving towards the suggested evil, there is some attendant delight; C.) consent, which is when the will delights in the pleasure, willingly enjoys it and yields to it. Sin occurs only when there is consent.

When we overcome temptation, our souls are aided remarkably. A magnificent triumph results when temptation is shunned. Father Tanquerey isolated three things that we must do to conquer temptation: 1.) anticipate temptation; 2.) battle against it; 3.) thank God after a victory and rise quickly after any fall.
1.) Vigilance and prayer are required to anticipate temptation. Regarding vigilance, we assert: presumption that compels us to place ourselves unnecessarily in the midst of temptation must be avoided, as must vain terrors which increase the danger and harmful occasions of sin—persons, places, things and events. When prayer is added to vigilance, in the words of Father Tanquerey, we become “invincible. God is concerned in our success, for it is He Whom the Devil assails in us, it is His work which He would wreck in us.”
2.) Resistance against temptation is indispensable. Serious temptation must be confronted: A.) ready or immediately, without hesitation; B.) energetically, with determination and strength; C.) perseveringly, with toughness; D.) humbly, which “attracts grace, and grace gives us the victory.”
3.) Temptation vanquished means that the blessed person must render gratitude to Almighty God, for from Him derives the conquest. Sin surrendered to is an invitation to the repentant sinner “to humble himself sincerely before God, to acknowledge his incapacity to do any good, to place his trust in God, to be all the more cautious, and return to the practice of penance. A fault thus repaired will not establish a serious obstacle to perfection.”
We do not throw ourselves headlong into temptation without real necessity; however, neither do we fail to see that when God permits us to be tempted, amazing spiritual progress is possible.
Satan is indeed active in our world by way of temptation, but when we pray daily, receive the Sacraments (particularly Confession and the Most Holy Eucharist) worthily and often, perform acts of charity and self-denial, avail ourselves of the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and the Angels and Saints and avoid the near occasion of sin, we increase in Sanctifying Grace and overcome the temptations emanating from the flesh, the world and the Devil.
Such a happy result glorifies the Most Blessed Trinity and speeds us along the challenging path that will end for us in Paradise.

I saw Satan Fall, available at all St Pauls Bookstore. Price - P155

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Spiritual Warfare (Part 2) : Why Paganism Is Super Intact To Filipinos?

"...In many aspects of life, discipleship, spirituality is often set aside. 'Yan ang sinasabi ng PCP II. We are a predominantly Christian country in terms of numbers but there is a big divide between the faith, spirituality, discipleship and ordinary life." Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle, 1st Catholic Social Media Summit.

The people of the Philippines are sacramentalized but not truly evangelized. Bishops at the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCPII)

Before the Spaniards landed to the Philippines, our first Filipinos who dwelt on the old Philippines were engaged in a trade called barter system wherein products were being bought and sold not by money that we modern people are using today but by products also in exchange of products according to the agreement between or among the parties involved in the trade. Here, our ancestors of old were connected not only for the products but also for meeting people from different lands who came from places of unknown tongues.

Our neighbor land China was one (actually, it still exist : MADE IN CHINA is familiar to you right?) of our trading friends in these barter system. Chinese brought their almost everything together with themselves, that is, they will be living here and so today, in this very Philippines, we have so many Chinese who were engaged in higher places of public and private standing especially, in businesses (Hmmmmnnn.... Isn't it unfair? As far as my poor intelligence is concerned, the population of the Filipinos now in China is more or less or absolutely, zero.)

After they brought their sleepy-looking shaped eyes of themselves here together with their goods contaminated by so many dynasties there from their big land , many of them decided to live here and do living.

Then afterwards, the Spaniards came.... Bringing the Cross of Salvation from this pagan world. Those who appreciate the old stories of the Philippines who felt the feet of the Spaniards walking on its land will know the adventures of the ships of Magellan and the rests of the Spaniards who came to the Philippines and neighboring lands. Evangelization began In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.... Many pagan Filipinos now became heir and heiress of the Kingdom of God.

Now, how about the Chinese? There were Chinese who were baptized by the Spaniards and called them Binondo, while the unconverted ones were called Parian.

Then how is it so that paganism is still alive in the Philippines despite the evangelization of the Spaniards on this land?

Because our native Filipinos hid underground their animistic/pagan practices during the stay and evangelization of the Spaniards who came bringing cross and sword to the Philippines. Before the colonizers from Spain landed here, the Philippines is far from the Christianized West meaning, it is a far land that received Christianity openly in general unlike the neighbors of the Philippines who were untouched by evangelization. I really believe the fact that we were speedily baptized because we're really, really, Filipinos of old and of now are very very friendly and super hospitable that all is always welcome to us! Whether the foreign is good or bad. Whether it is good culture or bad. All is really welcome to us that so, we embraced the Christianity that led us to the Holy and True God who is the Creator of all creatures and, sadly, we added it with bitter, spice, and everything that are not nice like the foreign paganism combined with our own paganism and so on. And also, before we embraced Catholicism, the Filipinos were so amazed by the animism and paganism of their own that they were moved to use it constantly because of its efficacy, the things of it which brought good luck and protection to them, etc. that they laid underground when the good and great gift that the Spaniards gave was only the Christian Faith and the most of the rest were of course, bad.

And here were foreign paganism that the foreigners, especially the Chinese, hid also from the Spaniards and later on were flourished by them decade after decade and up to now, mixed of superstitions, paganism/ animism, occult practices and many more are living up to now. And the causes of Filipino paganism's undying power and longevity are the antiquity of it passed and grew from generation to generation from our great, great, and even super great grandparents whom they shared to their sons and daughters and so on with matching credibility on the way they verbally shared and/or handed these things to them. Also, it is because of our true and real nature, the very nature of Filipinos really of being super friendly and hospitable individually that we welcome additions of paganism to our own practices, depending on the variety of one's own needs and wants and what are the most prominent and endorsed by famous people especially those who enjoy stardom. And sadly also, many of us are so easily getting in believing things already even if there is a great percentage that these sayings were ultimately untrue.

In addition, people nowadays are bombarded by so many invitations of "lucks" from reading materials like newspapers (whether tabloid or broadsheets) who cater horoscopes and fortune-telling especially palm reading and dream interpretation everyday, from always available neck-fashion medals or amulets or agimat or anting-anting that're sold just outside of the sanctuaries and churches like the Quiapo Church, from the bystanders who offer palm reading, fortune-telling, card reading, potions, many forms of "healing", from Chinese colorful and eye-catching paraphernalia advertised as lucky charms for any dealings of a person's day to day life, etc. and the hidden tactic of it all was that these things have new faces today and their appearances as I said, were quite or totally fancy and tempting and many are super filled with mystery, excitement, thrill and adventure that no one can resist oneself  not to avail or not to use it - this things of neo-paganism, and its sister, New Age Movement.

How can we combat these?

First, let us all be guided by The Word of God from the Sacred Scriptures. And God is speaking to us right now. Now, what is He telling? About paganism/occult?

"When you come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abominations of the peoples there. Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortune-teller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord, and because of such abominations the Lord, your God, is driving these nations out of your way." 
(Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

Here, we see that the Lord, our God, is telling us that such deeds that He mentioned then to the Israelites, His chosen people, was, (and still now) a disgust to Him. There are rites or rituals or practices that God prescribes to us to praise, to adore, to venerate, to glorify Him, and now, He entrusted it to His Church. The rites or deeds that He mentioned were not of Him, so, it was (and it is) not a right or a good way to address Him through these things because by doing so, using these rites or practices, people were addressing it to other powers that are not of God, not of the Lord and, these powers were no other than, Satan the devil, and his demons.

Available at all St. Pauls Bookstore. Price - P175.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Spiritual Warfare (Part 1) : You Can Never Escape From It!

"The Church believes that each day, there is an on-going fight between the good and the evil - between God and the Devil. The Church calls it Spiritual Warfare...." - from Liwanag sa Dilim (Light in Darkness), a documentary of Jesuit Communications Foundation and Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism

It is clear that Spiritual Warfare deals with two opposing powers - powers that were on the side of Good and God who are called angels while the other side were once good angels, but became evil ones - Satan and His demons.

And it should or must be clear that these two opposing powers are not battling by just themselves - because we, humans, are in the middle of them, in the middle of their battle, in the middle of their fight.

"Many are unaware of the on-going fight between angels and demons over the destiny of human beings. The two groups of invisible spirits, the holy angels on one side and the demons on the other, are engaged in a tug-of-war with us in the middle." [From Of Angels and Saints, authored by a columnist of Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the biggest broadsheets in the Philippines.]

So we are also a part of it, and we cannot escape from it. Now I asked myself : Is God a cheater? Why then He placed me and included me on this on-going war if He is a Goodly God? Why? Why is it so?

Then an answer popped up, came from St. Padre Pio saying that, "Jesus permits the spiritual combat as purification, not as a punishment. The trial is not unto death but unto salvation."

If we can never escape from it, what a person must do? Is their other means not to be part of it? Anyway it is on the language of the Catholic Church who knows anything and everything about this warfare. Can I just change my religion or become lukewarm knowing that this methods will save me from these attacks? That these so called demons will not waste their time attacking me because I do not participate on the ways a Catholic does which are against these demons and I'm not joining myself especially in prayers in the spiritual battle against these wicked ones?

Now these questions can enter ones own mind if a person has a first step view about this Spiritual Warfare but, I honestly say to you, that I was just "accidentally" opened a book about Exorcism and, here I am now, making efforts to spread these "sleeping" necessary information about this invisible world of the spirits - that
sees us here on earth - we are visible to them, but they are invisible to us(unfair, right? But their are people who can see them. Not too many, however.)

The good way of keeping oneself on the right track in this warfare is to choose what is good and living an authentic Christian life that centers on prayer, the Church, the Sacraments, the Sacramentals and everything that is of Jesus and those things or ways that are of or belong to Jesus and those persons who are close or with Jesus.

Now, in changing religion, you are not sure if this option can protect you or can save you or can help you to enter heaven. I may say that if a demon "ceases" his attacks through a person who became "good" after changing his religion or faith from being a Catholic to another, that demon was already numbered that person to all those he will bring down to hell. It may seem that the person is at "peace" like no worries, the career or living is smooth with no "bad luck", or not getting struck of misfortunes. And pardon me that I am not saying that those Catholics who are experiencing these things that I just typed were belong to the evil one but, the reasons can be found out if one is discerning or thinking over those things why they are happening. Maybe, the people experiences these "misfortunes" because they are living in sin, or maybe because, they are living a holy life and they are on the way of purification and tried by these, of course, trials. Another reason that I may add is this that if a person move himself away from the Holy Church and he is now living a "prosperous" life, it can be said that the evil one is using this person to become his "example" or "model" or instrument in proselytizing people to change their religion and move themselves away from the Holy Church and to the Holy and Real Presence of Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist showing and testifies also that no one can live a merry life and cannot attain progress in life while being a member of the Holy Church - the Catholic Church.

Now, on the part of being a lukewarm Catholic is like swaying of oneself in the wind, a boat that is just floating in the ocean with no desire to push and sail oneself to progress in knowing, loving, and serving God. It is mellowness of spirit to go on and  to take courage and to go forward to fight for God and to win souls for the love of Him shown by our love for our neighbor. In the Revelations 3:16 we read that, "The lukewarm I will spew out of my mouth", says the Lord. Then one must choose who will he/she wholly belong : to the good or bad; to God or to the Evil One. It is just like this scenario - that no one can escape from earthly death. But we can attain eternal life living on the way of holiness started in Baptism, and then later on the Confirmation of belonging oneself to Christ together with uniting ourselves bodily with the Body of Christ in the Mass of the Faithful or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, frequent use of the sacramentals that are in line with the Sacred Traditions of the Church, patronizing the Sacrament of Confession, et cetera. 

The warfare is about us humans. We are at war every second of our days. No one can escape from it. We should or must go forward, no turning backs from it. No giving up. No surrender. Because we are not alone on this fight. We are not alone. And those who are fighting with us is so much so greater and powerful than those of hell. COURAGE! FORWARD! The real Christians are those who belong to the Catholic Church!
Do not desert our Holy Commanders in Heaven!

Become a saint!