In the face of such strong attacks by the enemies of the Church of God, are we to remain inactive? Is that all we can do, complain and cry? No! Every one of us has a holy obligation to build a trench and personally hurl back the assaults of the enemy.
—St. Maximilian Kolbe
When I heard the news about the ISIS attack in Paris, I felt numb and scared. The Paris attacks, the bombing in Beirut, the earthquake in Japan. It all created a vortex of silence in the world, a heartwrenching pause in the world’s affairs in which all that could be heard was the wails of suffering people.
So many people have eloquently and forcefully responded to this news. But Pope Francis’ response caught my attention. He said these attacks are “not human.” This reminded me that more than a battle against ISIS, this is a battle against evil.
So, how can we respond? Calls for peace are meaningless if it is not joined with the power of prayer. Evil must be combated. With prayer and sometimes with force.
If you want to join in the cosmic battle that is raging, here are some suggestions from Jesus and the saints:
1. Give Alms
Where alms are, the devil dares not approach, nor any other evil thing.—St. John Chrysostom
Spiritual warfare involves not just prayer but action. We can help the people who are suffering at the hands of ISIS.
Catholic organizations providing aid in areas where ISIS is active:
Padre Pio called the Rosary, “The weapon.” Exorcists tell us that the name of Mary is powerful against the devil. Let us call upon our Mother to help us in this time of evil.
[The Rosary] is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.”—Pope Leo XIII
St. Michael courageously rallied angels around him to thrust the devil and all the fallen angels into hell. We can call upon him to continue in his fight against evil in the world by praying the prayer that Pope Leo XIII wrote for these times.
May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.—Saint John Paul II
Jesus himself tells us that our prayer should be coupled with fasting in the battle against evil. How could we ignore our General’s own instructions for this battle?
But this kind [of demon] can be cast out in no other way except by prayer and fasting.—Mark 9:29
5. Go to Mass
The most formidable weapon against evil is the Cross. The Mass is a participation in this powerful mystery. We can draw down the graces of the Cross upon the world through our participation in the Mass and the powerful prayer of the Mass.
Let us return from that Table like lions breathing out fire, terrifying to the devil!—St. John Chrysostom
Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, is the author of The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church. She recently pronounced her first vows with the Daughters of Saint Paul. She blogs at Pursued by Truth.