The Spiritual Combat by Dom L. Scupoli, A famous Catholic classic on the strategy for achieving spiritual perfection and salvation. Shows how to combat our passions and vices with an intelligent method in order to achieve a final victory. Also shows how to concentrate one's energies to make constant spiritual progress. One of the Church's all-time unforgettable books on the spiritual life and a favorite book of St. Francis de Sales. Highly, highly recommended! CLICK HERE



How do we tell if and when evil is afflicting us?

The answers -- at least some very good answers -- come in a brand new work, Onward Catholic Soldier, that is the best handbook on the subject in at least several years.

Not since An Exorcist Tells His Story has there been such an extensive insight into the working of the nefarious one.

Tension. Division in your house. Sudden emotional eruptions.

"The evil spirits might attempt to afflict you with spirits of agitation and aggravation," explains the author, John LaBriola, in explaining methods of detection. "He will either try to excite, exaggerate, or deaden your emotions. All at once you get to the point where you become irritable and angry for seemingly no reason. Or you may find yourself flat, devoid of feeling."

"He'll play with your emotions and push your buttons to the point of distress and distraction, agitation, or apathy," writes the author. "He'll use either end of the spectrum to try and lure you into the sins of despair or presumption."

And that, of course, is only the start.

Have you seen such signs? Are there inexplicable outbursts?

Socially, says LaBriola, evil spirits inspire petty attacks against you, your name, your family, or your ministry.

Those spirits, he warns, will even use those closest to you through an atmosphere of retaliation, judgment, jealousy, suspicion, mockery, or lies.

There may be "spirits" of gluttony. There can be spirits of greed. There can be spirits of hypercriticism or hypersensitivity. These, says LaBriola, are meant to negatively affect your relations with others.

As so often is the case, it comes back to anxiety and division.

Divide and conquer is (and always has been) the devil's strategy! Do we not see fighting and quarreling all around us?

"Anything or anybody that he can use to disturb your peace, he will use," writes the author, who hosts a show, St. Joseph Radio Presents, which is heard over outlets such as EWTN. "He revels in dividing marriages, destroying friendships, and disrupting work environments.

"Let humility be your response to any and all provocations and the sting of the words spoken will be minimal," he writes of attacks that can even involve ailments.

"You may notice an unusual sense of weariness or lethargy," asserts the author. "This may be the result of a draining spirit or a spirit of fatigue attacking you. You may also notice other manifestations such as nausea, headaches, and other unexplained aches and pains. Keep this book as a reference.

"Evil spirits can mimic symptoms of disease and cause actual pain. They can even initiate symptoms of a disease or disorder that has been cured in an attempt to bring you to question and doubt your faith and hope in the Lord," says LaBriola. "The pain may be fleeting or long-lasting, intense or dull, internal or external. Whether it is experienced as heaviness on the chest or throat, the smell of smoke, an overwhelming stench, or some other manifestation, evil spirits can cause physical sensations."

And thus must we be on our guard!

Not with paranoia. Not with exaggeration. Not with a demon "under every rock" (to use an overused expression).

But with the kind of awareness that comes with prayer to the Holy Spirit.

Forsake television (to a large extent), advises the book. Watch out for objects that can carry an evil contamination. Be aware that foul language is a "portal." Watch what comes over the internet.

Watch especially for "windows" like the occult (or even superstitions).

That "evil eye" pendant you have?

Ditch it.

Replace it with a Crucifix. Learn to bind evil spirits. Trust, don't doubt. Bless, don't curse. Praise, don't grumble. Petition, don't panic. Reveal, don't conceal. Clothe yourself in the armor of the Bible. Watch what the kids are posting to their walls and what "games" they are playing.

And keep in prayer.

God is so huge!

Pray ceaselessly, love ceaselessly, be humble without end, wear sacramentals, fast, remember the relics of saints, read Scripture -- Ephesians! -- avoid attachments of the world, take Communion, go to Confession, deliver yourself through warfare prayers [see the back of the book], and watch out for "curses" (more on this next) and you will find a degree of protection that is so very necessary as spiritual assaults -- across society, and into our homes -- step up in this exciting time in this place of testing.

[resources: Onward Catholic Soldier and Catholic Warrior]

[Cincinnati retreat, Michael Brown, September 20: spiritual protection and Retreat, Michael H. Brown, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida]

[see also: Priest describes Indian ordeal, Horrid monastery attack, Memo to Cardinal Mahony: blog reveals strange workers at cathedral, and Priest robbed at shrine]

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