Today is St. Padre Pio's birthday. It is mine as well. With the spiritual battle intensifying all around us as more and more abandon the Faith of our Fathers, I thought I would post the following thoughts on spiritual warfare from some of our Church's great prayer-warriors:
"Spiritual combat is another 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 against the temptations, the evil suggestions that the demon tries to plant in our hearts." - Pope John Paul II.
"Whatever the less discerning theologians may say, the devil, as far as Christian belief is concerned, is a puzzling but real, personal and not merely symbolical presence. He is a powerful reality, the 'prince of this world,' as he is called by the New Testament, which continually reminds us of his existence, a baneful superhuman freedom directed against God's freedom. This is evident if we look realistically at history, with its abyss of ever-new atrocities which cannot be explained by reference to man alone. On his own, man has not the power to oppose Satan, but the devil is not second to God, and united with Jesus we can be certain of vanquishing him. Christ is 'God Who is near to us,' willing and able to liberate us: that is why the Gospel really is 'Good News.' And that is why we must go on proclaiming Christ in those realms of fear and unfreedom." - Pope Benedict XVI.
“No one wants to believe in evil, really, above all, not in an evil being, an evil spirit. Everyone wants to abolish the idea. To admit the existence of evil means a responsibility, and no one wants that responsibility. That is the opening through which the evil spirit crawls, stilling all suspicions, making everything seem normal and natural. This is the “thought,” the unwariness of the ordinary human being which amounts to a disinclination to believe in evil. And if you do not believe in evil, how can you believe in or ever know what good is?” - Father Malachi Martin.
"The Devil fears the Virgin Mary more, not only than men and angels but, in a certain sense, than God himself. It is not that the wrath, the power and the hatred of God are not infinitely greater than those of the Blessed Virgin, since Mary's perfections are limited: it is because, in the first place, Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being overcome and punished by the little, humble servant of God, her humility humiliating him more than the divine power; and secondly, because God has given Mary such great power over devils that, as they have often been obliged to admit, in spite of themselves, through the mouths of possessed persons, they are more afraid of one of her sighs of grief over some poor soul, than of the prayers of the saints, and more daunted by a single threat from her than by all their other torments" - Monsignor Leon Cristiani.
"We need to be especially alert to the evil subtlety of Satan. His one desire is to keep people from having a mind and heart disposed to their Lord and God. . .He wants to extinguish the light of the human heart, and so he moves in by means of worldly busyness and worry." - St. Francis of Assisi.
"The Devil does not want to lose this battle. He takes on many forms. For several days now, he has appeared with his brothers who are armed with batons and pieces of iron. One of the difficulties is that they appear in many disguises. There were several times when they threw me out of my bed and dragged me out of my bedroom. I am patient, however, and I know Jesus, Our Lady, my Guardian Angel, St. Joseph and St. Francis are always with me." - St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.