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.
"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.