Tactics of the Enemy

Dove & Crossby Thomas A. Stobie, SFO (compiler, editor, and a major contributor)

Prelude

This document is extracted from posts made to a Catholic Answers Forum thread on the same topic and reflects the contributions of many people.


Table of Contents

Click on a Section to go to it.


Introduction

Fr. John Corapi, SOLT in his talks talk about understanding the tactics of the enemy (Satan) so that we can recognize them and then counter them.

I started a thread on the Catholic Answers Forum to discuss it. This document represents a synopsis of that thread.

Counter-Tactics: For some of the tactics, tactics to counter them are listed.

Contributers: I have tried to give credit to the posters who contributed to each area.


General Discussion on Spiritual Warfare

In this section, generalities about tactics of the enemy will be discussed. In the next section, specific tactics will be discussed.

Topic Index (click on a topic to go directly to it.)

Enemy's Objective

"The devil's ultimate goal is to remove each of us from God's presence permanently."

Satan is real and he does try to confuse us onto the wrong path. As believers we are even more so to be on guard against the enemies tactics. The devil's ultimate goal is to remove each of us from God's presence permanently. He is even more active against those of us who believe as we are his greatest victory when we fall.

Contributor: Marie.


Everyday Spiritual Warfare

"1) Define the enemy, 2) Determine the desires of the enemy, 3) Do the opposite"

There are rules of spiritual warfare. St. Paul describes the tools to fight this battle. He reminds us in the 6th chapter of his letter to the Ephesians that our battle is not against human forces, but against principalities and powers the evil spirits in regions above. This is an important because whenever we are in battle, it is important to define our enemy. This is no less true in spiritual warfare. If we do not do this, then our response may appear to lead us to victory when, in fact, it leads us to defeat. This is because we fight the wrong enemy and if that is the desire of the forces of evil; they win. There are, therefore, three steps in engaging in spiritual warfare that are important in order to be successful:

  1. Define the enemy. The enemy can be blatant or subtle. The enemy could be the temptation to sin or could manifest itself in a person who tells you to reject Christ or some of the teachings of the Church and it's authority. In either case, the person or desire that wants you to act contrary to Christ.

    The enemy can also be defined by lies. When some one is trying to convince you that black is white and up is down and good is bad, you could be dealing with the forces of evil. Remember the Prince of Lies cannot tell the truth. Yet, the Prince of Lies will call those who tell the truth liars. That is another sign. When you hear someone telling blatant falsehoods as truths and calling those who point out the truth liars, you are probably dealing with the forces of evil.

    There are other manifestations as well. Basically look for what force leads you away from Christ, usually with a smile, by the way.
  2. Determine the desires of the enemy. If it is the tempter, the desire is to lead you into sin. If it is someone trying to lead you away from Christ, this desire will become obvious, if you are attentive to it.

    Watch out for a desire common seen in our Church today; it is to get the people against each other. Again, looking at the crisis in the Church, look back and see how much work was put together to get the people against their bishops and priests. Look at how much effort was put into leading people to believe the Bishops had lost their moral voice. Further, look at how little effort was spent in the calling all Catholics closer to Christ through repentance. Do not think these actions were not manifestations of the forces of evil. The desire was to get people to reject their leaders.

    Watch out as well for those forces trying to get priests and bishops, as well as married laity to reject their vows or even walk away from their vocations.
  3. Once you have determined the desires of the enemy, do the opposite. If the tempter is leading you into sin, walk the other way. If you are dealing with those trying to prevent you from going to Church, go to Church. If they are trying to get you to reject your priests and bishops, support your priests and bishops. If it is to be proud, be humble. If it is to procrastinate on your prayers, begin to pray.

The reality of spiritual warfare is real and is literally as common as sin. Yet, the closer we walk to Christ, the more we can see the whiles of the evil one. We can then see what it wants and do the opposite.

Contributor: Marie.


Understanding the Enemy

"the master terrorist who uses darkness, lies and obscurity"

Father Corapi tells us that Satan never eats, never sleeps and never gives up. His battle is already lost, but he won't admit defeat. He is the master terrorist who uses darkness, lies and obscurity. The moral demise of a nation always precede's it's ultimate demise, and a morally weak people is easy to enslave.

Contributor: AmandaPS.


Not All Evil is Directly the work the Enemy

"He will make one think that he is the cause of everything negative."

The Enemy will like to make one think that he does not even exist. But the very opposite is true also. He will make one think that he is the cause of everything negative.

Great discernement is needed in all cases and a holy spiritual director is also required. Some Saint said that he who directs himself has a fool for a director (parapharasing). We must always discern whether we are being inpired by God, the devil or ourselves. St Igantius teaches this very well as he himself needed great discernment in his own life.

I remember a story that I read in one of my studies. It had to do with a city that was helter-skelter in every way. There was adultery, homosexuality, stealing, killing, etc etc...it was not safe to live in this city. A holy man came to the city to evangelize and found the devil sitting against its walls. Seeing this, the holy man inquired what was he doing here when he was supposed to be in the city. The devil replied that the humans did a good job without his help, thus he wasn't needed.

Point is that we are a fallen race (even though we are redeemed people). Thus we have parts of our life that still needs to be redeemed and we sin again and again. Not all sin is provoked by the devil, and not all temptations are from the devil. We easily sin without his help.

Contributor: Shoshana.


The Enemy's Beatitudes

If the Devil had written the Beatitudes, they might read like this:

  1. Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians -- they are my best workers.
  2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked -- I can use them.
  3. Blessed are the touchy who stop going to Church -- they are my missionaries.
  4. Blessed are the trouble makers -- they shall be called my children.
  5. Blessed are the complainers -- I'm all ears to them.
  6. Blessed are those who are bored with the pastor's mannerisms and mistakes -- for they get nothing out of his sermons.
  7. Blessed is the Church member who expects to be invited to his own Church -- for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution.
  8. Blessed are those who gossip -- for they shall cause strife and divisions that please me.
  9. Blessed are those who are easily offended -- for they will soon get angry and quit.
  10. Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on God's work -- for they are my helpers.
  11. Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister -- for he shall be with me forever.
  12. Blessed are you who, when you read this think it is about other people and not yourself -- I've got you too!

Contributor: Meggie.


General Counters Against the Enemy

These are general countertactics that help you against the efforts of the enemy.

  1. Prayer to God - In all things, thank God and ask Him for help. Contributor: ilolbill.

  2. Prayer to the Saints - Always call on Jesus, Mary, and Joseph for help! The Communion of Saints are ready to help. If you ever feel outnumbered when being a witness to Christ, remember that the Church Triumphant is standing with you. Your family is much larger than you may at first realize and they all love you. How can you ever be outnumbered?! Still, difficult to remember -- we always seem to think most prominently of the physical reality over the spiritual reality. When I began to also pray to St. Augustine, Mary, the Apostles, my deceased relatives, and all of heaven during a time when I was struggling with sins that I just couldn't see a way out of -miracles happened! Contributors: ilolbill & milimac.

  3. Humble Obedience - Fr Corapi: "Christ came to cast out the evil one and his works of lying and death, and did so through the humble obedience which led him always to accept the Father's will, even unto the death of the cross. The essence of the diabolic is that pride and arrogance which leads to disobedience. This leads to fracturing and division. Stepping outside of the truth who is God himself results in this division.

    Those who are most powerful in Christ through his church, which is called to fight against "the liar and father of lies, the murderer from the beginning" (cf.. Jn 8:42f) (the devil), are those who are most humbly obedient to God's authority working through the church. The devil can do nothing when he comes up against those who obey most humbly Christ's church and her teachings. On the other hand, he is most powerful and untiringly active working through those who imagine themselves to be above the church's teaching authority. Humility leads to obedience, which leads to life. Pride leads to disobedience, which leads to death. This is the lesson of the book of Genesis. It is the lesson of the cross.

    With the angels of the Lord we humbly and obediently praise and give thanks to the Father through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit for all that God's creative and redemptive power has wrought." Contributor:
    Marie.

  4. Awareness of the Enemy's attacks - Be aware of his attack on you and defend against that first. Paul's spiritual armor is designed foremost for personal defense. Contributor: Phillip Newton.

  5. Trust in God - Pope John Paul II's first words to the Church were "Be not Afraid." Word's of encouragement! He knew what we faced and that, "the One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

    The other day while I was praying I offered God all my short-comings. Immediately, I wanted to laugh, thinking what a treasure-trove God would have by the end of my life.

    I try to remember Who my Father is, Who my Brother is and Who my Mother is. With the war already won, our battle loses are like battle wounds and scars to testify to our brotherhood with the saints. Paul knew what to boost of and he was great.

    We can all take Our Lady of Guadalupe's words to her Diegito to heart: "Listen and let it penetrate your heart . . . do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"

    Pope John Paul II continually has preached "Be Not Afraid!" as does St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy Image. Contributor:
    Joanna.

  6. Discernment of God's Will - We need to work on our skills to listen and recognize God's direction in our life. The more we live as "His sheep" in doing His Will, the easier is becomes to recognize "the Master's Voice". Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO

  7. Receive the Sacraments - The sacraments strengthen us in the battle and We need to receive them frequently. Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO



Specific Tactics of the Enemy

In this section, specific tactics of the enemy will be discussed.

Tactic Index (click on a topic to go directly to it.)

Babeling the Language

"words with one meaning take on different and sometimes contradictory meanings"

The enemy wants to sow discord among us. One way he does this is through the redefining the language so words with one meaning take on different and sometimes contradictory meanings. This is called Babeling the Language as in the Tower of Babel.

It can be words or phrases.

An few examples:

In religion, this can occurs as well within faiths as well as when discussing different faiths. Consider what you have encountered when discussing with people of other faiths the different understandings of the word "pray".

Counter-Tactics: We need to try to understand the terminology of the people were are talking to, understand where confusion is probable, and provide definitions of the terms were are using while asking for the same.

Contributors: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & Faithful 2 Rome (the example of freedom).


Change the Culture towards Evil

"if the culture drifts away from God, many will follow"

The enemy knows that a culture can influence a lot of people either beneficially or malignantly. He knows that if the culture drifts away from God, many will follow.

The Enemy has used the recent developments (20th centurty) in technology to slip the culture away from God. The technology while mostly neutral and can be used in Godly manners have been let loose to slip moral relavism and indifferentism into the culture. The dominant moral culture of the world was been transformed to a culture of hedonism and death, particularly among the power elite. The power elite uses their power to advocate further advances toward a culture of hedonism and death, not under those terms, but packaged to look good and easy. The cultural leaders of the culture of hedonism and death created a cultural defensive mechanism against those with moral from advocating their views by labelling them as intolerant, trying to force our beliefs on them, close-minded, etc. making it take even more courage to stand up against this evil.

We are all called to be intolerant to sin and immoral behaviors. We are called to protect the basic God-given rights of all human beings and to incorporate these protections in our civil laws including in areas of morality. (This is not advocating religious laws in civil society, rather protecting individuals from others and themselves.) Truth is objective, so rejecting attempts to consider Truth as subjective is good and something we should endeavor to do.

Silence is helping the cause of the enemy as the media, primarily supporting the culture of hedonism and death, is very vocal and active in further conversion of the culture and individuals within it. We must speak out individually and collectively.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Always advocate for transforming the culture towards God, a culture of Life, Opportunity & Sharing. We must live the gospel in everything we do.
  2. We also need to pray that all leaders, civil, religious, business, civic, media, etc., develop a strong moral backbone and use their influence to stand against the culture of Hedonism & Death and advocate the culture of Life, Opportunity & Sharing.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Convince us Angels do not exist

"not to believe in some of our allies"

The enemy want us not to believe in some of our allies.

For example, when I was a teenager I got in a car accident which was very bad. I won't go into details, but I should have been hurt seriously but I walked away fine...add to that the fact that I believe I had a direct encounter with an angel (long story) right after the accident. I told my youth group about it (not Catholic) and they all laughed at me. They thought I was some kind of crazy person. The youth pastor said something to the effect that angels can't be bothered with that sort of thing.

It seems like Satan likes to convince people that not only is he not active in our lives, but neither are angels. A lot of people I have come in contact with seem to think if a person has a strong belief in angels it's almost a sign of weakness for some reason.

When we forget of the larger mystical body of Christ, we leave ourselves open to isolation. When we stop believing that angels do exist, we forget that they can help us and that we are not alone. The sheep are scattered from the flock and seperated from the shepherd, making them easier to pick off one by one.

I think it is a testimony of strength of faith and trust to be able to maintain the belief of angels in the face of such ridicule. Remember the prayer of Saint Michael the Archangel should you ever doubt they are there to help you.

Contributor: Bonica & AmandaPS.


Convince us he does not exist

"Devil's greatest victory was to convince people that he does not exist"

But someone famous once said that the Devil's greatest victory was to convince people that he does not exist.

I think when a person is convinced that Satan doesn't exist, it leads to the downward slide of moral relativism. "If Satan doesn't exist, and isn't actively engaging in spiritual warfare, does that mean that evil doesn't exist?" I think paths like this can cascade to "what exactly is good and evil?" and "no harm no foul."

Contributors: Poisson & AmandaPS.


Create the Illusion of Isolation

"see ourselves alone against the vast opposing forces"

The enemy will try to get us to see ourselves as alone against the vast forces opposing us. He will encourage us to believe that everyone including God has left us and that our cause is unwinnable. This is just another lie.

Counter-Tactics: Remember the Truth - Our biggest ally, God, is always with us, whether we sense Him or not. We also have at anytime good people praying for us and our stuggle against the enemy. They may not be physically in our presence, but spiritually there are from their monestaries, convents, homes, adoration chapels, churches, etc., as well as the saints in heaven. We have a lot of strength and power to draw upon in our combat.

If you are acting in Love and in Truth, you are never outnumbered at anytime even if you feel overwhelmed. There are situations where you get reinforcements, people who can do some things better than you can, things that you can not, or to allow your efforts to become more focused on smaller groups. Never give up.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Criticize our Clergy

"An hour spent in prayer for your priest is a far better use of time than an hour spent criticizing him."

The enemy wants us to put down our clergy, so that people lose faith in them and turn away from their teaching of Church teachings.

Counter-Tactics: Pray for our clergy. An hour spent in prayer for your priest is a far better use of time than an hour spent criticizing him.

Contributors: Phillip Newton & Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Decoys

"use decoys to distract us from those who can benefit from our help"

The enemy will use decoys to distract us from those who can benefit (spiritually) from our help and with this decoys comsume of time and effort harmlessly to him.

Sometimes these decoys will pose like those looking for help in their faith, but rather are people who are not open at all, usually enjoy debating for the sake of debating, and consume our time running around in circles.

A good sign that the decoy tactic is being using is the use of debate tactics against you. (They want to win the debate, not listen and learn for the conversation.)

Discernment needs to be used as to (1) they are the least open to listen, (2) you are suited to deal with this person now, and (3) others will not suffer if you do so. It is possible that you may be able to help this person and counter the decoy, but in many cases it is very very difficult.

Some decoys probably don't even know they're being used. Especially in a medium, such as the internet, when people are more or less, anonymous words on a computer screen, it is harder to discern whether they are interested in dialogue, or are doing it for argument's sake. As you read a discussion going in circles, nowhere fast, you may tend to become more frustrated. You wonder at another's seemingly unability to understand your point of view. You wonder what you are saying wrong, or what you are forgetting. Your frustration cascades to the point of burn-out. Score one less apologist in the battle to spread God's truth.

In a medium such as this, we need to choose our battles wisely. If needed, take a breather. Help those willing to listen. You can not save everyone, but you help no one when you are burnt. Choose your battles wisely, and if needed, leave the arguers for the "bigger guns."

Counter-Tactic: The counter to decoys (and people that you really are not suited for helping) is to recognize them as decoys or too hard for you to truly help and focus on those you can.

Contributors: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & AmandaPS.


Develop Bad Attitudes

"Satan wins if good thoughts are skewed by bad attitudes"

We need to watch not only our words but ourselves as we interact with others [Originally: participate in this forum.]

The Enemy is foremost the enemy of our souls. He doesn’t mind our trying to do good while arming ourselves with good arguments and even scripture, if along the way, he can introduce a bit of sarcasm, haughtiness, and the like; punctuated, perhaps, with a touch of subtle distain. We can lose touch with our "conferees" whose good we supposedly desire. Satan wins if good thoughts are skewed by bad attitudes.

Additional External Reference: Ignatius' 4th, 5th and 6th rules

Counter-Tactics:

  1. By watching our thoughts and feelings as we interact with others [Originally: compose away on these threads] we can detect what St. Ignatius refers to as "the serpent's tail," and not only stop the snake in its tracks, but we can learn from the encounter.
  2. Ignatius' 4th, 5th and 6th rules of discerning of spirits can forewarn us and inform us.

Contributor: Joanna.


Dirty Tricks

"Dirty tricks are possible and should be watched for"

The enemy has no ethics in what he does. Dirty tricks are possible and should be watched for. Just because we find something unethical does not mean that the enemy will not use it. Be aware.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Disobedience Against Lawful Authority

"get us to disobey, lead others to disobey, distort the law, and rebel against the authority without valid moral reasons"

The enemy encourages disobedience Against lawful authority, particularly the church.

We are required under the 4th commandment to be obedient to lawful authorities in everything except where being obedient would be immoral. The enemy likes to get us to disobey, lead others to disobey, distort the law, and rebel against the authority without valid moral reasons, usually starting with small things and leading to larger ones.

For instance, under most circumstances (excepting where it is unsafe or an true emergency and being late is not a true emergency), we are obligated to obey the speed limit (without bending it) under the 4th commandment but we are pressured into bending it generally through our inpatience.

Now in terms of obedience to the Church, we as Catholics are blest. We have been granted by God a teaching magisterium that cannot lead us into error in the areas of faith and morals. This means that we can trust the Church totally and obey completely the teaching magisterium of the Church. This ability to trust the Church completely provides us a excellent shield against the enemy. When we surrender to the teaching authority of the Church, we become protected from many of the lures and tricks of the enemy. The more we surrender, the more protected we become.

In terms of practices of the Church, if the church grants multiple forms that something (such as Mass) can be done, we have to accept that each are equally valid and cannot lead people into the belief that one way is more valid than the other. The enemy will use our preference for option as a tool to divide us if we let him. Extremism is a tool of the enemy used to Divide and Create Interfighting.

Counter-Tactic: Obedience to lawful authorities, particularly to the Church. See Humble Obedience.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Distorting the Truth Subtly

"take the truth and distort it subtly so that it leads people astray from the complete truth."

The enemy likes to take the truth and distort it subtly so that it is still appears to be the whole truth and starts to lead people astray from the complete truth. One word can make a big difference. The absence of a word or a phrase (and I am not talking about those that directly negate) can weaken or distort the truth of the message.

See the example in the Tactic: Traps Disguised as Holiness

Where does a subtle nudge to the truth lead? It leads to large deviations to the truth until it is completely distorted or devalued by many people.

Counter-Tactics: How do we recognize this and counter it.

  1. We have to train ourselves to discourse (speak and write) clearly & descriptively. We have to learn to avoid ambiguities and use definite terms. We have to include definitions of what we mean if there is doubt about how a word or phrase is being used.
  2. We have to listen (and read) closely what is being said to us, asking ourselves the questions, "what does it mean?", "is it the whole truth?", "what is the context?", "who is the intended audience?", "what the speaker (author) is trying to accomplish by say (writing) it?".

    Over time, we do develop a sense that something is off of order in what is being said. Listen to the sense, drive in, and find the subtle misdirection from the Truth.
  3. We have to realize that often the speaker we are listening to, has got this misdirection from someone else and may not even understand what they are saying. So being gentle, ask them about the specific meaning they wanted for area where you notice the subtly.
  4. We have to hold to the truth and being complete in discoursing about it, regardless of the "political correctness" of the message, and be insistent about it.

Additional External Reference: Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & Keith J. Vail (additional external reference).


Divide and Create Interfighting

"encourage division and then cause interfighting"

A tactic the enemy uses against good is to encourage division and then cause interfighting.

Division (sometimes division is good and required in the cause of advocating moral truths against those who advocate immorality. The protection of human life is a good example and cause for division against a lawful authority.) usually starts over something small and like a crack in glass, spreads to larger areas. Watch for the devisive voices advocating the small change and stubbornly insisting of their way to the point of disobedience against the lawful authority. These voices can leads to splinter groups who purpose is not only advocating their particular issues but distruction or weakening of the group from which they came.

The enemy then takes the different groups differing on small issues and turns these issues into major fighting points and leads people to ruthlessness against the other group. The wastes the energies of each group in interfighting rather than working together for good.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Avoid unnecessary division - We work within ourselves to resolve differences in a peaceful loving civilized manners with openness (no hidden agendas!), prayer, a desire for the truth, and a love for those with the other opinions. We clearly define terms so that all understand what we mean (countering the Babeling the Language tactic) We turn to lawful authorities when appropriate to resolve differences and use the appropriate procedures.
  2. When divided discuss both differences and similarities - Do not just look at the differences. We must love those we are divided from and try to understand their position. Division alone is not a valid reason for combative tactics or guerilla warfare.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Encourages Delay and Lack of Patience

"I'll do it tomorrow" & "I must do it now"

The enemy uses the tactic of encouraging us to delay something that would be good for us spiritually as well as hurrying us to do something prematurely so that it will not have its best effect.

How often do we find ourselves thinking "I'll do it tomorrow"? Notice how this builds, one day becomes two becomes five and so on.

On the other hand, we also find ourselves thinking "I must do it now" and when we got through with it we find those we are interacting it with confused or put off with what we had done because they were not adequately prepared for it.

In each case, we are letting the enemy affect the timing to our determent.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Assess the timing - We need to ask ourselves "What benefit is there in delaying this?" and "What harm is there in delaying this?" and considering openly in prayer the answers and compare to the answers from doing it now.

    Consider the case of going to confession. This is one in which the earlier and more regularly we go, the better for us spiritually. The enemy wants us to delay going as much as he can.
  2. Discernment of God's Will

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Encourages Doubt

One of the tactics of the enemy is doubt, "Am I being useful to God?". This doubt is an attempt to sap our will to continue in our good works.

In our doubt we can overseek signs and consolations. It's human nature to want approval and when seeking holiness or a deepening in your prayer life we want to know if we are on the "right track" so to speak, and sometimes these things can "appear" and we feel like we are so special.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Provide affirmation and praise to people around us when they are doing God's work.
  2. Trust in God.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & Annunciata.


Extremism & Excessive Exclusiveness

"if our lives are out of balance, we cannot serve and love God as well as we could"

The enemy likes to persuade us into extremism in how we spend our time and view things. The enemy knows that if our lives are out of balance, we cannot serve and love God as well as we could. He encourages us to overdo one area at the expense of others hurting not only ourselves but those around us as well.

In many areas there is a wide range of valid morally-legimate positions. (There are some that there is only one valid position. Abortion is always morally wrong, for instance.) The enemy likes to get us to take a narrow part of this and claim that other valid positions are invalid morally (which is not the case). This is what is meant by excessive exclusiveness. The enemy then encourages us to become more and more hostile towards those outside our area of exclusiveness to encourage division and cause infighting. We need to learn the different positions and whether they are morally-legimate or not and treat them accordingly.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Living in Balance - We need to keep a watch on ours lives and correct when necessary to keep them in balance. See the meditation "Living our Lives in Balance" for further information.
  2. Obedience to the Church - See Humble Obedience.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


False Needs

"... causes me to focus some or all of my attention on this so-called need."

I find that a lot of times I have a feeling that I Need something. That causes me to focus some or all of my attention on this so-called need. For instance, feeling like I really need to be doing something all of the time. I need to fill my day. However, once I get to evening mass and spend time reflecting on my day before the Blessed Sacrament, I soon discover that this is not what the Lord wants. He wants me to have time for Him daily. So I would say that my feelings of what is important causes me to distort what I truly do need.

Counter-Tactics: The remedy is prayer, peace, and surrounding oneself with positive things and people. Even coming to the Catholic Answers Forum during the day helps me to slow down and refocus my attention back on God.

Contributor: newsjag.


Fear

"uses fear to turn us away from what we ought to do"

The enemy uses fear to turn us away from what we ought to do in this spiritual combat. The enemy wants our fear of the unknown, of confrontation, and of being wounded (through the words and actions of others) to drive us into inaction, so that we do not (1) do what we should or need to do and (2) counter his actions. Fear also leads to a lack of trust in God to help us and protect us.

Counter-Tactics: Trust in God & Prayer.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Flak - Distracting from Spiritual Benefits/help

"uses Flak to keep us from being as effective as we could"

Flak is the anti-aircraft shells shot in the air to shoot down and distract pilots flying missions.

Likewise the enemy uses Flak to keep us from being as effective as we could, from communicating about God and his commands, from helping others in need.

Flak can take many forms:

  1. music that leads our mind away from God.
  2. media that emphasis the evil in the world and paints some of it good.
  3. posts on discussion forums where serious topics are invaded by these posts that do not add at all to the discussion, hijack it in a totally off the original topic, or disrupt good open discussion.
  4. spam emails that clutter our email boxes so that we occasionally lose good messages.
  5. neutral messages put out by leaders who are afraid to speak out.

It is important to try to recognize Flak as Flak and not let it turn us away from our missions as called to by God.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Get us in a Comfort Rut

"in a comfort rut, a place where we feel comfortable, but are not growing"

The enemy likes us to be in a comfort rut, a place where we feel comfortable, but are not growing. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of confrontation all are used to keep us in the comfort rut. It also keeps us from reaching out and helping those outside of our comfort zones.

As Christians, we all are called to continually grow in the Lord and if we are not growing, such as in a comfort rut, we have a problem and would should recognize it and take steps to start growing in the Lord again.

So if you are in the comfort zone in your spirituality, you are probably missing something.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Get us to Attack the Messenger

In this tactic, the enemy uses another person to do his work, possibly without the person's knowledge in either such as way that we would walk to assault (usually verbally) the person or works on us to make it a personal attack.

By assaulting the messenger, we are turning from God, as we are not loving our enemy of the moment. (Thus a win for the enemy.) Often this also has the effect of driving the messenger more into the enemy's camp. (Making it a double win for the enemy.)

Counter-Tactics: We need to treat all people with courtesy and respect regardless of how we like their message. We also need to be alert to messengers who do not understand their message and its ramifications. Sometimes, if we love them and explain carefully what they have been advocating, they can return to the Truth and stop serving (generally without their knowledge) the enemy. How we behave towards them can make a significant difference.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Get us to Avoid Prayer

Another tactic, I think is to try to lead us astray in the unseen world. How often do we feel a physical or mental weariness when we are about to pray? For me, it's "I'm so tired (mentally, emotionally, physically) that I need to take a nap. I'll say the Rosary when I wake up."

I think when this happens, we have to remember we're not alone. Satan has his demons and cohorts, while we have the angels and communion of saints.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Prayer to God.
  2. Prayer to the Saints.
  3. Adapt our prayer - And prayer can take many forms. If one form is too much for us, turn to another. for instance, " Oh angel and saints, be with me as I nap and fill my mind with thoughts of God. Oh God, I love You and ask You to fill me as I nap with Your love and peace so that I awaken revigorated and ready to serve You abundantly. "

    We can often turn situations into prayer if we think about. We can also bring in our allies into the battle as well.

Contributors: AmandaPS & Thomas A. Stobie, SFO (counter #3).


Get us to Devalue the Sacraments

"lower the value we place on the Sacraments"

The enemy knows that the Sacraments are extremely beneficial to us particularly when we approach them openingly, lovingly, and with trust in God.

He tries through various means to get us to lower the value we place on the Sacraments. This leads us to putting the sacraments off, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation, thinking less of them, and getting less out of them. We need to avoid this.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. We need to be aware when we are being led away from the graces of the sacraments.
  2. We need to appreciate the Sacraments for what they are, Christ's gifts of love to His church to sanctify its members in all they do. We need to receive them as often as we can. Daily Eucharist is very beneficial. This is our basic life support for life on earth. Why deny yourself the fullest life support possible? Choose to receive all the graces you can and be much better off.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Get us to use Unethical Tactics against the Enemy

"gives us "sight of victory" through the use of unethical tactics on our part"

The enemy gives us "sight of victory" through the use of unethical tactics on our part. The temptation is to go for the victory (on one level) through the use of immoral actions. This is commonly refered to as "the ends justifies the means".

Now consider that if we follow through on it, we won while losing, committing an immoral act which was wrong. So the enemy won through our actions.

It is important to remember that it is never acceptable to use illicit means to accomplish a licit purpose. "The Ends never justify the Means." We have to constantly examine what we are doing and make sure that it is moral in itself. We have to keep on the "straight and narrow path" to God.

It also does not matter that the enemy was use immoral tactics against us. It still does not justify us in using these means. We must remain true to God in all stages of the battle (as much as we can, getting healing {confession} when we fail).

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Hidden Agendas

"use hidden agendas to sneak part of their objective past us ..."

The enemy and those who aid him use hidden agendas to sneak part of their objective past us and then go after the next part.

Be aware when people and organizations claim their purpose is something, but what they do does not completely fit their purpose. Sometimes you will have the clue that earlier statements that were made are reversed. This can be a sign that it was just a smoke screen to advance part of their agenda. Now it is a hinderance to taking it to the next step so it is got thrown out.

Remember there is a difference between secrecy to protect individuals and secrecy to protect your goals. If goals have to be hidden or obscured, there is something "fishy" going on. Be very careful around those with these goals.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Hit us with Pride

"nothing like a good dose of pride can lead to conceit, smugness and self-righteousness"

When one undergoes conversion and can see holiness increasing in one's life, nothing like a good dose of pride can lead to conceit, smugness and self-righteousness.

The book About The Holy Spirit states there that those in the school of the Holy Spirit are satan's main targets. If you are a pupil of the Holy Spirit and enrolled in His school of learning then your temptations will come by means of others. Think about it. The school of the Holy Spirit invites us to enter. Through the love of God we have access, however, satan can never have access to it. All teachings of the Holy Spirit are in silence. Words are never used. The lessons involve illumination of the conscience amongst others. Since it is run in silence satan prowls about its walls listening but never hears anything. In desperation he uses others to gain insight into the state of your being. For example praise from another. it leads to pride and of course we know the rest.

In receiving a sign or consolation I have felt two different things: very humbled...with a quiet joy... Other times, I've felt proud and had the feeling of "Gee aren't I great"!. By their fruits you shall know them.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Humility - The antidote to pride is humility. Humility is hard to pray for because we know how God gives it to us.
  2. Let Praise reflect on God - Be on guard. If you feel that those around you are lavishing you with all kinds of praise and earthly glory never forget to always remind them that God is the author of all good actions. Remind them that they do well also to give thanks to Him above for allowing His gifts to be manifested in such a fashion.

Contributors: Phillip Newton, Fergal, & Annunciata (signs).


Misaligned Priorities

"major issues/obligations are neglected"

There are many things (obligations, responsibilities, opportunies to help others, our spiritual growth, objectives, etc) going on in our life, and the enemy tries to get us to prioritize petty things over major things.

The enemy knows that if our lives are out of balance, we can do a lots less for ourselves, our loved ones, and those around us.

The enemy wants us to misprioritize what we working on, so that the major issues/obligations are neglected or underrepresented, so that, he can better succeed in those areas. We need to in each area of our life, look at the relative priorities of the items within that area. For instance, in supporting pro-life, ending abortion is much higher than opposing most uses of the death penalty and the time we spend (if it can be spent effectively on the item) should be allocated according to the priority of the item. We need to keep an awareness of the priorities in general and well as more specificly in each area and watch outselves for when we are boosting a petty issue to that of a major one.

We will run into situations where the people we are with try to focus all of our attentions on a petty matter. Sometimes this is fine; other times it is a deliberate attempt to keep us away from the major matters. Be open to the Holy Spirit and follow His guidance when this occurs.

Pettiness lowers our effectiveness and should be avoided.

Examples: Confused compassion. Wrongly prioritizing goods. As an example, "Every child a wanted child" as an excuse to kill children through abortion. Prioritizing a person's comfortable environment over his life itself.

Contributors: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & milimac (examples).


Misuse our Emotions

"misuse an emotion to lead us away from God"

Our emotions by themselves are neutral. The enemy likes to get us to misuse an emotion to lead us away from God and into sin.

As human beings, we all at one point or another become angry at ourselves, others, and God. The enemy tries to foster that anger within us.

Angry at Ourselves - I know that times in which I constantly stay angry at myself, it sends me further from God. Oftentimes, it also increases depression, a sense of isolation, and feelings of unworthyness of God's love.

Angry at Others - Oftentimes, we feel that others have wronged us, whether it was intentional or not. We do not know what is in their hearts, but we dwell on the infraction. We want retribution; vengence. Offer it up to God, for both are His.

Angry at God - There will be points in our lives when we wonder why God allows evil to befall us or when we get an unexpected answer to our prayers. I heard it said that God allows evil to happen so that goodness can prevail. All of our life struggles can be used to strengthen our trust in God.

Counter-Tactic: Choose to use our emotions in the love of God always.

Contributors: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & AmandaPS (anger).


Present Questions so Simple Answers are Wrong

"set us up to deceive those around us by ..."

The enemy likes to set us up to deceive (unintentionally) those around us by having us answer questions that are badly phrased.

For instance, consider the question "Do you believe that your spouse's abuse of your children is wrong?" Yes acknowledges that your spouse abuses your children and you think it is wrong. No states that you do not believe abusing children is wrong and your spouse abuses your children.

The counter to these deceitful questions is to break them into parts and answer each part clearly. So in the example above, one answer could be "My spouse does not abuse my children and child abuse is wrong."

Consider carefully how people will interpret your answer if they choose to be antagonistic against you and attempt to disfuse them in your answer.

Many times a question will be in assumptions that are not true and have to be addressed first before answering the rest of the question.

Counter-Tactics: The counter to these deceitful questions is to break them into parts and answer each part clearly.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Promote a False Sense of Holiness

"give us a false sense of holiness"

Another tactic is to give us a false sense of holiness. How many times have we thought "I'm really holy" or "I am a very humble person"? Ironically, I think it's precisely at those times when we become a little less holy and little less humble. The devil wants us to feel holy and humble (whether we are or not) so that it becomes harder to see the times when we are not, easier to forget the times we have sinned, easier to not recognize the times we are sinning.

As an example, I suspect many (and I don't exclude myself) have an inflated feeling of holiness or worthiness of salvation just because they go to Mass every Sunday -- regardless of how they treat others the rest of the week (or even at Mass). This can slip into "I go fairly regularly, so I think I'm still a pretty holy person" ... until you switch over to "God understands. He still loves me anyway" justification.

Contributor: milimac.


Promote the feeling of "Unworthiness of God's love"

"convince us that we are unworthy to turn to God"

The enemy likes to convince us that we are unworthy to turn to God for help and just struggle alone or give up what we are trying to do. The enemy wants you to turn away from or ignore God. This is a major victory for him when you do so.

This is a lie built from two truths to sound familiar.

  1. As Sinners, we are unworthy of God's gifts.
  2. As His Children, we are most worthy and deserving of his love and help.

Counter-Tactic: If we are feeling unworthy, we need to turn to God the Father as an infant turn to his parents and say, "Father, help me." (and it if helps, picture yourself as a young child running up to and embracing your father (God the Father) in a large hug which he fully returns as he picks you up.)

Remember that after the Lamb of God before we receive the Eucharist we say "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." This is acknowledging our sinfulness but also in humility trusting in the mercy and love of God.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Put our Trust in a False God

"get us to adore or trust anyone or anything more than God"

Another tactic is to get us to adore or trust anyone or anything more than God -- a parent, a celebrity, a good friend, a priest, even the Pope or money, a country, etc. Then, satan just has to sit back and wait for our false God to disappoint us and then step in to encourage us to give up at the moment our disappointment sets in.

Counter-Tactics:

Contributor: milimac.


Rationalize Away the Seriousness of Sin

""God will understand" as a rationale for my actions"

The tactic I have discovered after much prayer is the thought that "God will understand." as a rationale for my actions. I believe that the devil gets us to rationalize alot of small and very big sins that way, i.e. contraception (God will understand), abortion (God loves me and will understand), etc.

We are weak human beings and we all understand what leads us to sin and we sympathize with others in sin because we feel bad for them, their circumstances, etc. Today there is a lot of misunderstanding going on about sin, but it has become "politically incorrect" and "judgmental", etc. to call a sin a sin. (see Right to Sin to further explore this example.)

I try to remember that we are to correct each other to help us to turn our backs on sin. That's exactly what Jesus was saying to Judas when he said to him to get away from me Satan.

When I was reading about Padre Pio once they said he was going to hear confessions one day. As he walked along past all of the penitents waiting to have their confessions heard, he said he saw the devil whispering in their ears. He asked the devil what he was doing. The devil said he was going to give something back to them. Padre Pio said What? The devil said "Their shame." The devil said "I took their shame away so that they would commit these sins and now I want to give it back so they won't confess them."

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Shame - Remember what shame is and let it affect your actions.
  2. Recognize Truth - We need to put our love of God first and recognize the half (if that much) truth for what it is. A few counterthoughts against "God will understand" to bring to mind:
    • "I choose to love to God and because I love God and He says to live this way, I will."
    • "Yes, and God will be deeply hurt in my actions."
    • "Yes, God will understand my deception as He knows it for what it is."
    • "No, I must live with and in God in all things."
    • "God is Truth, absolute Truth, and this is how I must live."
  3. Confession - Frequent confession to get rid of this self-justification of sin is very helpful. Confess often.

Contributors: elgom & Thomas A. Stobie, SFO (counters).


Relativize Truth

"everyone can have their own truth"

The enemy wants us to believe that everyone is entitled to their own truth. If you accept this then the following misconceptions follow:

  1. Truth is Subjective.
  2. All opinions are equal.
  3. Never judge anyone.
  4. Never step on toes.

Apathy: The enemy deceives people into feeling or thinking that it "doesn't affect them, so why should they care or worry about it?"

Tolerance: Truth is subjugated to personal interpretation. Truth is made to accept what it knows to be wrong/sinful or Truth is branded as "intolerant" or "bigotted." And the ultimate: "It's not hurting anyone!"

False Compassion: I believe compassion means to "suffer with", yet many times our form of compassion is to deny unavoidable suffering, perhaps so we don't have to suffer with our loved ones. For instance, a friend's conscience is bothering them about something and we say "don't worry, it's ok". Our desire to not see our loved ones suffer and to be supportive can cause us to deny the truth and to choose the easier and less risky route of supporting our friends in a bad choice. This isn't the kind of support a true friend gives.

We sometimes value the illusion of friendship more than a more difficult true friendship. We deny our loved ones the greater good that may have come to them through their suffering and the greater good to ourselves from our true compassion.

Again all of these are wrong and misdirections the enemy uses to obscure or devalue the Truth which is objective.

Additional External Reference: http://www.saint-mike.org/library/brojp/secret.asp

Counter-Tactic: Accept that Truth is objective and that God is Truth.

Contributors: Jennifer123, AmandaPS, Thomas A. Stobie, SFO, & milimac (false compassion).


Right to Sin

"erode the underpinnings of morality by confusing the "rights" of individual sinfulness with principles of individual liberty"

Satan's works are simultaneously macrocosmic and microcosmic. For instance, in a free society, he and his legions endeavour to erode the underpinnings of morality by confusing the "rights" of individual sinfulness with principles of individual liberty. The result is to validate sin. Once that is accomplished, individuals themselves can be more easily tempted. Individual sinners then reinforce general sinfulness while an air of sinfulness reinforces the individual sinner.

Homosexualty, once an abomination, is now "valid" as an alternative lifestyle. The effect on the individual homosexual, who may privately be struggling with his sin, is to tempt him "out of the closet" and into the public forum. The increasing result of this is to give voice to homosexuality as a valid alternative, not a sin at all. The result increases further to the attempted validation of homosexual marriage. And what about free-wheeling sexuality that contributes to a high rate of divorce? The sin of lust itself, manifested first in the hearts of individual sinners, became unleashed in the "sexual revolution". The sanctity of marriage as an institution of love and order was already being destroyed way before the idea of homosexual marriage became a matter of public debate, and it might be argued, was a prelude to it. The devil has been working it from both angles.

The Supreme Court of the United States recently stymied an attempt by lawmakers to limit a child's access to internet porn. In the name of free speech, the court decided to block the new laws. In this case, the democratic ideal of individual liberty was corrupted and the result was to "protect" porn peddlers. It's now up to parents to police their children's web surfing - a web that is rife with the most foul pornographic images. Pornography catering to lust has been brought generally into the secular realm as something that is not really sinful, or if it is sinful, it's up to the individual to abstain from it. The devil wins again, because pornography IS proliferate on the web and certain individuals, some of them children, will undoubtedly fall prey to it.

Greed is viewed simply as a motive force in our rapacious corporate culture and "globalization" means nothing more than the exploitation of another country's poor while further causing the impoverishment of our own working-class citizens. Would things be different if greed itself was viewed as a sin?

Freedom vs. License: FRom Father Corapi's teachings we learn the following: Freedom and fear are at war. Freedom is not, "being able to do whatever you want to do." That is license. If you have license, rather than authentic freedom, your house is built on sand and will collapse. Authentic freedom is the power to do what we ought to do; the power to choose the good, the true, and the beautiful. That will vanquish fear every time. If your concept of freedom is really license, fear will come out on top every time. Freedom has to be united with truth. There is no fredom outside of the truth: No authentic human freedom outside of the truth. "If you are truely my diciples, you will abide in my word. You will know the truth, and the truth till make you free." True freedom is rooted in God.

Contributors: aman & AmandaPS (Freedom vs. License).


Sin for a Good Goal

From T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral": "The last temptation is the greatest treason, To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

It is so much easier to do what is wrong when what is wrong is almost right. It is easy to avoid doing what is wrong when what is wrong is glaringly so.

God cannot be deceived. Rationalizing bad acts for allegedly good purposes is one of the prime tactics the enemy uses to convince us to act contrary to God.

Contributor: Karl Keating & The Barrister.


Target Loved Ones for Persecution

"If you are doing God's will, the enemy will step up attacks on your loved ones"

If you are doing God's will and staying mostly focused on God, the enemy will step up attacks on your loved ones knowing the pain it will bring you.

The more you are protected from the enemy, the more he will use those around you as victims. He knows that seeing them hurt and responding sometimes in inappropriate ways will hurt you.

This can be very tough. Continuing turning to God and offering up your sufferings to Him.

Saintly Nun example: The most saintly person I know is a young nun of 25 yrs. I am sure she is more pleasing to God than any I know. and the most surprising thing is while she prays and does penance her family seems to be falling completely apart. May God have mercy on them!

Counter-Tactics: The counter for this (it will help but will not prevent it from happening) is to

  1. Pray more for your loved ones,
  2. Pray with them, and
  3. Be loving with them especially when they are not loving due to the enemy's assaults.

Contributors: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & Mandi (saintly nun example).


Tempt us in our Specific Weaknesses

"he knows exactly how to tempt us at our weakest moments"

As humans, we all have our own individual weaknesses. satan is very sly and knows our weaknesses and he knows exactly how to tempt us at our weakest moments.

If you are a person prone to depression, it is very hard sometimes to remember God. The enemy loves to use these down points in my life to draw me further away from God; to make me feel emotional and spiritual isolation.

The enemy likes to target our weaknesses.

This is a fairly obvious one when it comes to our spiritual weaknesses, but he will also use our physical ones to keep us down.

Sometimes the enemy will use those around us to lead us into a deep depression causing us to feel worse and draining our energies. For those with physical handicaps, this has the effect of making them more pronounced and less ignorable, particularly when pain is involved. This makes it much harder to do anything.

Turning to God in prayer will help. Working with the people who the enemy uses (usually without the knowledge) can help as well. We need to remember to offer up this suffering to God, so that he can use our suffering for the good of others, sometimes in lieu of others thing that we could have done (if not wounded in such a fashion).

Counter-Tactics: Stay very close to the sacraments and pray the Rosary daily.

Contributors: Shannin, AmandaPS (linkage to the illusion of isolation), & Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Temptations during Prayer

"distract me during prayer with a thought ... to lead me away"

He tries to distract me during prayer with a thought about a person to lead me away from my prayer.

Counter-Tactics: Pray for the person who comes to mind, letting that image of the person be a prayer for them. If it is a temptation to sin, then offer it for those who would not fight such temptations.

Contributor: ilolbill.


Temptations during Spiritual Dryness

The enemy uses our periods of Spiritual Dryness to try to lead us away from God, to have us doubt of faith, to have us question the value of prayer and the sacraments.

Counter-Tactics: Praise God for the opportunity to grow Spiritually. Keep thanking Our Lord for the many blessings received.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO & ilolbill (counter).


Temptations to reject God

The enemy likes to tempt us to reject God when we feel down or unworthy.

Counter-Tactics: Remind yourself that without God you are nothing, but with His grace, you can do all and thank Him. Pray. Pray the St. Michael prayer and picture St. Michael winning the battle.

Contributor: ilolbill.


Traps Disguised as Holiness

"seem to lead people toward holiness, yet which turn out to be traps"

He sometimes uses ploys which seem to lead people toward holiness, yet which turn out to be traps designed to impede our progress toward God.

For instance, in Acts we read about one of the enemies ploys concerning Paul and Silas as they were preaching the gospel in Macedonia: From Acts 16:16-18:

  • As they were going to the place of prayer, they met a slave girl with an oracular spirit, who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune telling. She began to follow Paul . . . shouting, "These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation." She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." Then it came out at that moment.

There are two important details to be aware of in this passage. First, notice that it was a demonic spirit who was telling people to heed Paul's teaching. The demon was calling people to believe the gospel which would, in the normal course of events, draw people to God. If you look closely you'll also see there was an error subtly embedded in the demon's message, "These people . . . proclaim to you a [not 'the'] way of salvation," implying that there are other ways to salvation. That is subtle but false, and completely contrary to the gospel Paul was preaching. There is only one way to salvation: through Jesus Christ alone. The demon in Acts 16 was trying to introduce error sugar-coated by a perfectly laudable appeal to embrace the gospel. The devil can, if he thinks he needs to, use the incongruous ploy of urging us to turn to God as part of his larger plan of introducing error and exploiting religious fervor that's not solidly grounded upon authentic Christian spirituality. Those who preach another gospel or question the truth of the Churches teaching, walk on very perilous ground. They may feel they are following Christ but pride is always a stumbling block which we must work to acknowledge in ourselves and strive to overcome.

Contributor: Marie.


Trick us into doing the Minimum

"do the least we can and still believe that we will be saved"

The enemy knows that if we really apply ourselves we can do a lot for ourselves and others in growing closer to God and deepening our love for God and our fellow man. He thus tries to convince us to do the least we can and still believe that we will be saved.

Consider this story:

  • The Least Saved Person Arrives at the Gates of Heaven.

    Least, a person who lived by doing the minimum to be saved with the rest of the focus on himself, dies.

    Least arrives at the Pearly Gates and meets St. Peter.

    St. Peter says the Lord has given me directions on how to handle you so follow me. First you are to spend a trillion years in Purgatory to love how to love and become pure enough to enter God's presence. Then since God uses our measure that we weighed things to weigh us, and you choose to give the least, so too in his justice, you will be given the least. St. Peter then shows Least an image of what his residence in heaven will look like. A beat-up shack in a deep smelly cave off a muddy river surrounded by palatial estates (for others) on majestic mountains covered in beauty. Least is shocked by this and states that it is not fair as he did what was required.

    St. Peter states "Humans were created to know, love and serve God. All you wanted and chose for yourself was the least you could get by on. Well that is all you get here as well. If God did not love you as much as He does, he would not have been merciful and grant you this much for you totally missed the boat. Life is not about doing the minimum, but rather of loving, giving of oneself for other and to God."

The minimalist approach will not work and will greatly aid the enemy.

Counter-Tactics: Remember the Call to Love - We need to remember that we are call to love, and in love give of ourselves, not the smallest part possible, but all of ourselves.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Use the Unaware as Agents

"he worked through me without me fully realizing that"

What I find scary is how often the devil tries to work through us. I'm sorry to say that he worked through me majorly-without my fully realizing that the father of lies himself was guiding my actions, causing me to lead others astray...as well as myself.

I can't say how many times I've led my friends into sin, and I just hope the Lord forgives me for destroying their innocence. While I did nothing physically, my words helped to influence them.

Even now, when I've had conversations about morality with a very religious friend of mine, I suddenly get a tingle down my spine when I have to stop myself from making a comment that I know to be from Satan himself...even when it is subtle. I thank God that I'm now more able to recognize it when it happens, and apologized to the friend who has given me much spiritual guidance. The topic we were on was about humility, and part of me was about to attempt to plant seeds of pride in him. I typed out my comment, reread it, and was shocked as I came to the realization that what I was saying was evil-if only subtly.

I believe that one of the devil's more effective techniques is to work through the people one puts more trust in than most people-their friends.

Taking advantage of the influence a friend has on one another, I believe he can manipulate someone to lead another into sin. I think I have at least one friend like that, who was slowly starting to warp my mind and attitude because the way he said it always seemed correct. He's very good at making his point and can provide the stronger argument for almost any topic. It wasn't until I started becoming more concerned with my faith that I was able to stand back and realize what was happening to me. To this day, he can still at least temporarily make me feel somewhat unsure of my beliefs, and I'm so caught up in his argument that I don't think to pray for guidance.

Of course, it can work the other way around too if we aren't careful enough.

Counter-Tactics:

  1. Think about what you are doing and ask youself is this what Jesus would do and say.
  2. Listen closely and watch for when you are being lead away from God and His will.

Contributors: Max & Thomas A. Stobie, SFO (counter-tactic).


Use our bad Habits

"likes to encourage us to practice our bad habits"

If you have a bad habit, the enemy likes to encourage us to practice it and often not even recognize it is bad.

For instance, how often are we discourteous to others and not even recognize it. Look at a Discussion on Modern Courtesy and you may be surprised. Rudeness, particularly by Christians, can lead people away from Christ.

Counter-Tactics: Take active steps to overcome your bad habit and pray.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.


Wordsmithing to Hide the Truth

"using convoluted words to mislead people into misunderstanding"

This tactic involves using convoluted words to mislead people into misunderstand your views and lead them away from the truth.

So if you see someone using convoluted words to obscure what he believes, he may be doing this intentionally to hide his true intentions or beliefs.

Counter-Tactics: Try to be clear in what words you use so that your reader understands what you mean.

Contributor: Thomas A. Stobie, SFO.



Contributors

References and Sources for further Reading

  1. Catholic Answers Forum, Catholic Answers Forum sponsered by Catholic Answers.
  2. Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 15 August 1997, The Holy See, Vatican City. It is also available online from the USCCB.
  3. Corapi, Fr. John, SOLT, Catechism Teachings by Father John Corapi, S.O.L.T.
  4. Corapi, Fr. John, SOLT, Old War New War.
  5. Lewis, C.S., Screwtape Letters.
  6. Stobie, Thomas A., SFO, "A Vision for the Catholic Church in the United States for the 21st Century", 2003, Divine Love Ministries, Internet.
  7. Stobie, Thomas A., SFO, "Thoughts on Modern Courtesy", 2002-2003, Divine Love Ministries, Internet.

Special Thanks

I would like to thank the Holy Spirit for all of His inspirations for this document.

I would like to thank the following for their suggestions and contributions to this document:

Catholic Answers (for providing a wonderful Catholic website and forum)
Fr. John Corapi (for his inspiration and his teachings)


Blessed Virgin Mary image

This document is dedicated
and entrusted to
the Blessed Virgin Mary,
as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

© 2004 by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO - permission to copy for personal or church use is granted.


End of Document


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