2 Essential Aspects of Spiritual Warfare

In starting this blog, I always had in mind a two-fold vision of spiritual warfare. I firmly believe that we can not neglect either aspect of spiritual warfare, lest we lower our guard and invite Evil into our lives.

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We must never forget that spiritual warfare includes putting on the “armor of God” to defeat the spiritual forces in this world that are trying to take our souls away from God (principally the devil and his minions) as well as waging war against slavery to sin in our life and rooting out sinful habits that act as doorways for Evil.

Why Modern Man Listens More Willingly to Witnesses Than to Teachers

To conclude our series on the role of beauty in catechesis and evangelization, we reflect on the power of the beauty of Christian witness and how modern man more readily listens to witnesses than to those who simply teach the truth without living it out.

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This is most important, especially in the times that we are now living.

Why We Should Neither Add To Nor Subtract From the Liturgy

We now turn to the liturgy and examine its capacity to lead souls to God through its beauty. Closely connected to the beauty of Christian art, the liturgy possesses great splendor, but is different in that it is a divine action.

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In fact, “Liturgy is not what man does, but is a divine work. The faithful need to be helped to perceive that the act of worship is not the fruit of activity…but is the expression of a mystery.”[1] (emphasis added)

Review: Demons, Deliverance and Discernment

Separating Fact From Fiction About the Spirit World

The subject of exorcism has received much exposure from firsthand accounts by leading exorcists. Now, Father Mike Driscoll breaks ground by offering the first book that gives practical advice on how to determine whether an individual is demon-possessed or suffering from a mental disorder.

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Father Driscoll is unique in his presentation of the spirit world, as he does so not from years of experience as a renowned exorcist, but as a priest with a doctorate in counseling. He chooses to focus on a rational, biblically based view of exorcism. He does not deny the existence of demons or demonic possession; in fact, he follows official Church teaching strictly and never sways from it. However, he does offer many words of caution to people who see the devil as the source of every illness or abnormal behavior. It is true that a demon can cause physical harm such as a mental disorder, but Father Driscoll argues that these cases are few in number. He urges priests and others to use the Church’s criteria in discerning whether an individual is demon-possessed or in need of proper medical attention.

The Church gives us a checklist of four outward signs that must be present in order to declare a soul is “possessed.”….

Read More at the National Catholic Register

Buy the book here, Demons, Deliverance, Discernment : Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World.

3 Ways America’s Work Ethic is Destroying Families [With a few added notes]

[Note: This week I have begun to write weekly articles on various topics for the National Catholic Register. I will keep the articles still within the realm of “spiritual warfare” and look forward to this new venue and audience. For example, in the next week or so they will publish a review I did of a book on exorcism.

This week’s article is focused on renewing our thoughts about work and focusing it on the family. As a preface, the article’s only purpose is to speak against work outside the home that takes mothers and fathers away from their children. I see this producing great stress on the family and a source of much tension.

There is no political agenda behind the article (as some of the comments purport), but is simply meant to serve as an examination of work in our society and its effects on the family. Work has great dignity, but when it puts undue stress on the family, it must be re-evaluated.

For example, children need to see their fathers. If a father is never home because he is always working, that child will have many challenges in life and will struggle with who they are and their place in the world. While many fathers work constantly out of necessity to put food on the table, that should never be the ideal. We should strive as a society to re-examine how we do business and discover ways that serve the family instead of hinder it from thriving.

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An Office (photo by Veronica Therese) Wikipedia

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

This proverb does not have much resonance with Americans. In an age of numerous technological advances meant to save us time and energy, we find ourselves working more than ever. Instead of working fewer hours and taking more vacation, we have freely chosen to do the opposite.

We live by the “American Dream” where anyone can achieve anything if we simply “work hard enough.” Often it means “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” in order to realize your dreams.

While these maxims are not inherently bad, we have taken them to a new level and are working more and playing less. Unfortunately the family has been caught in the crossfire. As we continue to put emphasis on work and “getting ahead,” our families are quickly eroding and falling apart.

Here are three examples of how America’s work ethic has been destroying families in recent history:

Read the rest at the National Catholic Register.

Does the Church Accept or Reject Modern Art?

Here are 7 Foundational Principles to Judge Modern Art

In response to the many inquiries regarding my previous article on modern art, I have written this article to clarify what the Church officially teaches in regards to “modern art.” While the Church does not condemn specific art movements as heretical, she does give sound guidelines that provide a person with the tools necessary to make individual judgements.

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Vincent van Gogh, Pietà

Before we get started, let’s first pause and consider what is “art” and what is an “artist.”

Why Beautiful Art Leads Souls to God and Modern Art Does the Opposite

In addition to the beauty of creation, the beauty of art, both religious and secular, has the capacity to lead souls into a deeper union with Christ. Similar to the beauty of the natural world, “artistic creation possesses its own capacity to evoke the ineffable aspects of the mystery of God.”[1]

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In particular, Christian art—that art which is inspired by the Gospels and lives of the Saints—“is, by nature, a ‘symbol’, a reality that refers beyond itself which leads along the path that reveals the meaning, origin and end of our terrestrial journey.”[2]