October 7, 2011 - Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

Today's Readings

The memorial today is a commemoration of a great naval battle where the Christians destroyed the Muslims who were trying to invade Europe and destroy Christianity. It looked like the Muslims were sure to win, but the Christians prayed the Rosary, and they won a decisive victory. This battle was both physical warfare and spiritual warfare. Our readings today are about the spiritual warfare we fight everyday.

We tend not to believe in evil spirits in our culture, but that does not keep them from existing. Part of the reason why we do not believe in evil spirits is because the Church has been so successful in keeping the worst at bay. But there are other evil spirits besides the obvious kind that possess a person, requiring an exorcism. We usually do not talk about these things in spiritual terms, but there is a spirit of anger, there is a spirit of alcoholism, there is a spirit of pornography, there is a spirit of obsessive gambling, there is a spirit of laziness.

There are two winning strategies for spiritual warfare: do not let evil spirits in and if you do let them in, call on the Holy Spirit to kick them out. The trick to not letting them in is not believing them. They come tempting us, and it sounds like the voice of temptation is coming from within us. They are ventriloquists and we are their dummies. If we could keep in mind that we are being attacked from outside, we would be stronger, but once we say, “I want to sin”, we will sin, and then they are inside.

Having let these spirits into our life by sin, they are like a strong man, fully armed, who guards our soul as its own personal property. We will not be able to overcome it, but when a stronger man comes along, he can overcome it, and who is stronger than the Holy Spirit? No one, since the Holy Spirit is God.

Only the Holy Spirit can get them out. We have to invite him to come in and fight our demons for us. We do not need any special laying on of hands or incantations. These are distractions. We invite him in with prayer and with faith. We ask for the Holy Spirit, and the Father will give the Holy Spirit to whoever asks. Next we have to believe in him. We have to say, “I want to not sin” and believe it. Then he is in and can win the battle.

When an evil spirit leaves a person, it does not forget about them. It stays away for awhile, but then tries to return. If it finds the person’s soul unoccupied, it will move back in with all its friends. So the key to keeping the evil spirits away permanently is to hang a “no vacancy” sign on your soul. If the Holy Spirit is living in your soul, there is no room for any evil spirits. If you let the Holy Spirit take up permanent residence in your soul, you will have nothing to fear.