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The Wisdom of the Saints about Spiritual Warfare (part 2)

Let us take these arms, let us fortify oursleves with these spiritual and heavenly safeguards, that in the most evil day we may be able to withstand and resist the threats of the devil. Let us put on the breastplate of righteousness, that our breast may be fortified and safe against the darts of the enemy. Let our feet be shod with Gospel teaching, and armed, so that, when we shall begin to trample and crush the serpent, he may not be able to bite and trip us up. Let us bravely bear the shield of faith, whose protection extinguishes anything the enemy darts at us. Let us protect our head with the helmet of salvation, that our ears may be guarded from hearing deadly edicts; that our eyes may be fortified, that they may not see the odious images; that our brow may be fortified, so as to keep safe the sign of God; that our mouth may be fortified, that the conquering tongue may confess Christ as Lord. Let us arm the right hand with the sword of the Spirit, that it may bravely reject the deadly sacrifices; that, mindful of the Eucharist, the hand that has received the Lord’s body may embrace the Lord himself, hereafter to receive from the Lord the reward of heavenly crowns.” St. Cyprian of Carthage (3rd century)

Living this life, let us be carefully on our guard and, as it is written, ‘with all watchfulness, keep our heart’ (Prv 4:23). For we have enemies, powerful and crafty – the wicked demons; and it is against these that we wrestle.” St. Anthony of Egypt (3rd-4th centuries)

An angel is put in charge of every believer, provided we do not drive him out by sin. He guards the soul like an army.” St. Basil the Great (4th century, Doctor of the Church)

The soul possesses freedom; and though the Devil can make suggestions, he doesn’t have the power to compel you against your will.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century, Doctor of the Church)

That you may more easily advance with security in the battle line, you should keep the deeds of the saints always before your eyes. For, in the greatest battles, the fighter does not lack solace if he keeps the examples of the bravest men in mind.” St. Valerian (5th century)

Let us rush with joy and trepidation to the noble contest and with no fear of our enemies. They are invisible themselves, but they can see the condition of our soul. If they see our spirits cowering and trembling, they will make a more vigorous attack against us. Let us arm ourselves against them with courage. They hesitate to grapple with a bold fighter.” St. John Climacus (6th-7th centuries)

However great may be the temptation, if we know how to use the weapon of prayer well we shall come off conquerors at last, for prayer is more powerful than all the devils. He who is attacked by the spirits of darkness needs only to apply humself vigorously to prayer, and he will beat them back with great success.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux (11th-12th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

Behold the more you struggle the more you show the love you have for your God and the more you will rejoice in your Beloved with a joy and a delight that cannot end.” St. Teresa of Avila (16th century, Doctor of the Church)

They who are taught in the school of Christ know certainly that this life is a warfare.” St. Robert Southwell (16th century)

How falsely do we call courage what is haughtiness and vanity! Christians call these cowardice and faint-heartedness; as on the contrary, they call courage patience, gentleness, mildness, humility, the acceptance and love of contempt and abjection. For such has been the courage of our Captain, of His Mother, of His apostles, and of the most valient soldiers of this heavenly army; a courage with which they have overcome tyrants, conquered kings, and gained over the whole world to the obedience of the Crucified.” St. Francis de Sales (16th-17th century, Doctor of the Church)

Our hearts should seek out some place every day either on Mount Calvary or in the wounds of Our Lord or in some other place near Him to which we may occasionally retire for rest and peace and forget our exterior occupations and defend ourselves against temptation as in a castle.” St. Francis de Sales

Prayer, alms, and fasting are the three strands that make the rope too strong to be broken by the enemy.” St. Francis de Sales

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