Have you ever seen the 1990 Christmas movie Home Alone? On the off chance that you haven’t, it follows a young boy Kevin who, after accidentally being forgotten by his family departing for a family trip, discovers that his home has been targeted by a pair of robbers. They’re looking to hit homes that have been left by families going on holiday, and one kid in a home is as good as empty to them. But Kevin isn’t willing to let his home be invaded.
So, after the police fail to act on his warnings, Kevin takes matters into his own hands to defeat the robbers. He places booby traps all over his house and awaits their arrival. While he doesn’t know when they’re coming or how they’ll try to get in, he does know that they are coming. So, he prepares defenses at every conceivable entrance.
We should treat our souls similarly to the same way Kevin treats his home. We don’t know how or when the devil will tempt us, but we know that he will. Therefore, it is our duty to prepare our defenses, reinforce our walls, and get ready for battle. Recently on The Inner Life, Josh welcomed Father Vince Druding onto the show to talk about waging spiritual warfare, the best ways to fight against temptation, and how we can always be prepared and vigilant.
“If we, as Jesus’ disciples, know that we’re going to come up against battles in our spiritual life, you can imagine how badly those battles might end if we don’t take the time to prepare. But if we do prepare, then we can have the hope that we might wind up victorious.” But how do we prepare?
According to Father Vince, the first step is to realize that we need to rely on God. It’s that simple. We cannot take the challenges put forth to us and fight a spiritual war with physical means. Our success is completely dependent on our dependence on God. We cannot do anything without Him, “but for God all things are possible.”
Father Vince offered a powerful formula that he often suggests to people struggling with temptations that appeal to the power of God over any situation:
By the authority of my baptism and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I command you Satan and you spirits ____________ (name what temptation or struggle is ailing you).
The next big part of strengthening your defenses against the devil is living a life of grace. By that, Father Vince means that we should frequent the sacraments as much as we can. In his holistic approach to helping people get past their issues, Father Vince noticed that many who come burdened with oppressive struggles are detached from the sacraments.
We need to get back to the basics, he said. That means going to confession, receiving communion, practicing mental prayer, saying the rosary, praying the chaplet, examining your conscience, and making mortifications on a regular basis. That being said, we do not want to grow lukewarm in our daily habits. As Father Vince said, “Conviction in prayer is critical to our healing and liberation.” As part of the spiritual life, we will all be tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil and it is crucial that we do not become static.
Father Vince offered a personal prayer that he uses to combat temptation and encourage reliance on the power of Christ to fight his battles:
Come Holy Spirit and possess me. Possess my intellect, my will, my memory, my understanding, my intuition. May I decrease so that you may increase. May you destroy any plan I have today that is not of the Father’s will, so that it is only you who live and move and breathe and have your being in me. Amen.
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