I’ve been teaching the Catholic faith for about 5 years now. In that time, I’ve encountered some of the vilest and most ridiculous attacks against the Catholic Church.
It’s almost as if the gates of hell were opened and the devil himself was let loose upon the face of the earth.
But the reality is less seemingly out of our control than that.
In truth, all these powers and ideas have risen up against the Church because we now have far fewer active soldiers in the army of Adonai.
Who are the soldiers of Christ?
The Catholic Church teaches that when a person receives the Sacrament of Confirmation, he or she has become a soldier.
Q. 673. Why are we called soldiers of Jesus Christ?
A. We are called soldiers of Jesus Christ to indicate how we must resist the attacks of our spiritual enemies and secure our victory over them by following and obeying Our Lord.
– Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 15: On Confirmation
In this kind of warfare, we do not have the luxury that some Catholics can be engaged in battle while others wait to be deployed. We need all hands on deck! In fact, we need more than all hands on deck, for Christ Himself said:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”
– Matthew 9:37–38
This means that every baptized and confirmed Catholic should be engaged in spiritual warfare!
What is Spiritual Warfare?
St. Paul describes the physical reality of this battle that is constantly raging on in the spiritual realm:
For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…
– 2 Corinthians 10:3–6
This is the kind of warfare Catholics worldwide are engaged in! But many Catholics do not realize that, which is why the world knows less and less about the Good News of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In yet another part of Sacred Scripture, St. Paul teaches us in detail what weapons we must use to wage this war:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
– Ephesians 6:10–20
This passage of the Bible is probably the most detailed “Strategy of Spiritual Warfare,” if you want to call it that, that you can find in the Scriptures. From it, we can draw some major principles of this sacred art.
But We Still Need More Soldiers
Unfortunately, since most Catholics (especially in the West) are unaware that…
- A war is going on;
- Confirmed Catholics are the soldiers expected to fight in that war;
- We have weapons we can use that will guarantee our success;
- Without an army of soldiers, the Church is more vulnerable to attacks; and
- It is the duty of the laity, not priests, to handle most societal attacks;
…then, sadly, you see why Catholics seem to be losing this war.
You can’t have soldiers who are not trained for battle and expect them to win the war still. (I’ll elaborate more on this topic in my post about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).)
Sadly, that is why you see all sorts of nonsense stories when you search the word “Catholic” on Medium (the blogging platform). And even worse, very few people online are picking up their weapons and fighting.
The easiest way to help in solving this problem is to start by learning more about the 5 Basic Principles of Spiritual Warfare — based on the strategy you’ve learned in this story.