Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's Advent, so why not?


AKA: The Best Offense is a Good Defense

It's Friday right? Please tell me it's Friday because if you tell me it's Thursday (even if it is) I might cry in my coffee and that would be a waste of a good cup of hot/black, eh Margaret?

This week was a doozy.

We've had fights (and I don't mean squabbles -- I mean dirty, rotten, mean and nasty verbal fights) among siblings.

We've had boyfriend/girlfriend squabbles (new to me/not fun at all).

We've had more than our share of frustrations, miscommunications, hurt feelings.

You get the picture.

This week's fun culminated in Doug's colonoscopy this morning (which means colon cleaning yesterday --  not fun at all) and Faith vomiting all night long.

Fortunately, Doug's dad offered to take him to the test this morning at the hospital because we would have had to cancel, and that would have been a lot of colon cleaning for naught. Ugh.

I finally insisted Faith let me use a suppository at about quarter to 8 this morning and now she's sleeping soundly, so I can take a minute to talk about something important.

This is something I have noticed happening to me (to us) for about a week or two, a few weeks into my preparation for Total Consecration. Something I recognized because it has happened before, in fits and starts since I started homeschooling using a good Catholic curriculum.

Because it is Advent, a time for contemplating the coming of Our Savior, a time to turn away from the world, and sin, you may have noticed it as well, or maybe you will now that I mention it.

Spiritual attacks.

"Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you." -- 1 Pet 4:12

I am by no means an expert in spiritual attacks, but my attention was drawn to them about eight years ago when I started homeschooling. Nothing major -- no possession or anything like that -- just attacks from the outside, and some from the inside, from sources of evil. You know you are doing something good when you start to get attacked - there are sources who would rather we not do good, and especially if we are bringing up our children to follow the path of righteousness -- that's cause for attack. There is no need to attack you, of course, if you are in the world -- that's no threat. The attacks come when you are on the right path to Him.

A spoiled saint, a Pharisee, an inquisitor, or a magician, makes better sport in hell than a mere common tyrant or debauchee.”  -- CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters

Anyway, I can always tell that an attack is occurring when the peace is disrupted in my home -- seriously disrupted for periods of time, with such things as mean and nasty sibling fights, family unrest, squabbles with others we love.

"In civilized life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things that would appear quite harmless in paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face."  -- CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters

And, frankly, the only way to deal with an attack is to recognize you are being attacked.

Before our last preparation class this week I asked Father Adam if he would address spiritual attacks, and he did. He acknowledged that at this time of preparation for Total Consecration is an ideal time for a spiritual attack because through Mary is the most perfect, quickest, most direct way to Jesus.

"I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; she shall crush your head, and you shall bruise her heel" (Gen 3:15).

Anyone with the intent to reach Jesus, however, is subject to attack. Which is why Advent (and Lent) are such perfect times. It is a time when we are driven to open ourselves up Our Lord. And in opening ourselves up to Him, we are a direct target of you-know-who.

Father Adam gave us a few steps to combat the attacks, but the most important thing, I believe, is to recognize they are happening. If you know who is at the root of them, they are easier to fight. And don't think for one minute that you-know-who is not capable of stirring up trouble in your children, and between you and your spouse. His desire is to disrupt peace.

I recently heard an EWTN open line host say that if he (you-know-who) can not reach you (because of spiritual strength) he will go after your children. Dirty, rotten scoundrel.

I don't want you to become overly obsessed with whether or not these attacks are occurring, because I don't want you to give too much thought to you-know-who, but I will tell you what Father Adam said in regard to the battle. The most important thing, he said, is to maintain routine in your prayer life. Attend Mass, receive Communion, go to Confession. Spend time every single day in prayer -- 30 minutes at the minimum, which is really not much considering there are 24 hours in a day. Pray the rosary, or a chaplet, pray a novena, or read scripture, and then spend time contemplating what God is saying to you. Just sit and think about Him, dwell in Him. For me, and others who have made a Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the Consecration needs to be renewed regularly.

"By your perseverance you will secure your lives. " -- Luke 21:19

Because you-know-who wants to disrupt peace in your life, the best way to battle him is to continue doing what you do to stay in touch with God. Do not allow the attacks to disrupt your peace.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. -- CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters

PS If you ever doubt the existence of you-know-who just try to write a post on your blog about him. You won't believe how difficult it is to get published.



  1. Oh, gosh, my first 7 or 8 years of doing the Consecration, I'd be attacked by you know who.

    But then, I told it to a priest (an older, wiser priest) who told me not to give you-know-who that much credit. He told me to say that, I'm not giving you that credit and I'm going to pray no matter what.

    It worked, because the Consecrations after that were much better. They flowed without much "trouble".

    I think it's more of a "he'll bother you if you let him" kind of thing.

    I hope yours gets better.
    It will.

  2. Jamie,
    That's what I mean by "not becoming overly obsessed." But I do think it's important to recognize it's happening lest you blame the people in your life. I deal with it better when my kids (and husband) are acting up if I know the root. I react differently -- with more patience.

  3. I understand completely!! Around my house, it's Holy Week that generally gets ugly. Interesting that Father said that if he can't get to you, he'll get to your kids. It's so true; I just hadn't thought of it before.

    I'm praying the St. Michael prayer for your intention right now--and will do so each day through the rest of your preparation for Consecration.

  4. It bugs me so much when my kids get nasty.

    I was an only child and would have loved loved loved a sibling.

    Usually big jobs get handed out when my kids are mean. Also a sit down to see what is wrong.

    Prayers to you and your family...espcially to the guy with the clean colon!!!!!!!!

  5. Isn't it awful how he attacks? It's great that Father addressed it and you recognize it for what it is. I remember the troubles when we had our home enthroned to the Sacred Heart. Yikes.

    I'll add prayers for your family!

  6. ST Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.....

    Praying Barbara. It's all so true.

  7. For 23 years I prayed for the conversion of my Jewish husband. Strangely, when by God's grace he signed up for RCIA and the desire of my heart was fulfilled I began to find that EVERYTHING collapsed. There were skirmishes, rancor, irritability...on MY PART. I could not understand why so many negatve feelings were arising. Why would it not be just the opposite at such a miraculous moment? I truly believe derailing a catechumen was a goal - not mine, certainly not God's. I only recognized what was happening after a month or so. My husband is this day a very devout Catholic. Our loving Mother protected him.
    I do love the honesty of your posts.

  8. Thank you, Barb. I will take prayers any day! ;-)

    Thanks, Christine. I know I fought with my brothers, but not with this meanness. Urg!

    Sara, It's amazing when we look back and recognize the times we were attacked are the times when we were so close to God -- no coincidences.

    Thanks, Kim.

    Thank you for your honesty as well. :-)

  9. Oh Boy, Barbara! Are you ever singing my tune. I am right in the middle of my Total Consecration and the biggest attack ever. And yes, I've been trying to post about it with near impossibility. Now I'm putting on my combat boots and sitting down to write! God Bless you and Mother Mary surround you with her circle of protection. You know who will never cross that line! Ave Maria!

  10. When my first college son left home the others would argue with him when he returned home (guys left at home). If something was missing around the house they would blame it on him, "He probably took it for his dorm room and didn't tell us!". The thought finally occured to me that since they were guys they were never going to say, "We miss you!" or "things are so different now and we are having trouble with our new roles (and chores) in the family". Now it seems the new normal is this constant change in their lives and ours - family meals must be planned weeks in advance because of distance. What I wouldn't give for a couple of "cabin fever" days to deal with.

  11. oh this post is hitting so close to home today. on the Lord's day. there is an ugliness that is ever ONLY caused by you know who. and i am so SICK of him. so off i go. to do at least two of the things you suggested to get rid of him...
    praying for you and your family, barb.
    i am so glad that you brought this subject out into the LIGHT...you know who hates that, but we don't really care what he hates now do we?

  12. I needed to read this post, which means I needed you to write it. THANK you for doing everything you did to publish it! I'm seeing clearer now. I too am preparing for Total Consecration to Our Lady, and have been experiencing false starts and difficulties.

  13. Things like this are happening here as well. I think it's also the season we're in -- we are called to prepare the way of the Lord, so of course you-know-who would want to derail that.

    I've just felt so vaguely dissatisfied and . . . separated . . . from the important things in life for a few weeks now. I need to re-double my prayers STAT.

    Thanks for posting this, Barbara.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!