The Catholic leader offers great tips in his newly released document Rejoice and Be Glad (Gaudete et Exsultate).
The head of the Roman Catholic church shares his tips in his newly released document Rejoice and Be Glad (Gaudete et Exsultate).
While holiness is the main subject of his “apostolic exhortation,” he does take some time to craft a plan for fighting the devil as he writes that “the Christian life is a constant battle.”
Here is Pope Francis’ plan on how to fight and defeat the devil:
For the Holy Father, it is important that people know that Satan is very real, adding that a “supernatural understanding” is needed.
Pope Francis writes that there is “a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil. We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea. This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.”
He writes that the spiritual battle cannot “be reduced to the struggle against our human weaknesses and proclivities — be they laziness, lust, envy, jealousy or any others. It is also a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil.
“The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy, and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families, and our communities.”
“He is present in the very first pages of the Scriptures,” he says but is quick to add that the story ends “with God’s victory over the devil.”
According to the Holy Father, there is a reason the Bible warns about “the wiles of the devil.”
He goes on to quote Saint Father Jose Brochero, saying, “What good is it when Lucifer promises you freedom and showers you with all his benefits if those benefits are false, deceptive and poisonous?”
His recommendation is for Christians to trust God instead.
The pontiff advises Christians to arm themselves appropriately.
“For this spiritual combat, we can count on the powerful weapons that the Lord has given us: faith-filled prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation,” he says.
Pope Francis adds that we need to protect ourselves by living “in Christ” because “the false promises of evil will easily seduce us if we become careless.”
According to Pope Francis, only total commitment will “counterbalance to evil.”
In his words, “Those who choose to remain neutral, who are satisfied with little, who renounce the idea of giving themselves generously to the Lord, will never hold out.”
“Humility can only take root in the heart through humiliations,” he writes, including “the daily humiliations of those who keep silent to save their families, who prefer to praise others rather than boast about themselves, or who choose the less welcome tasks, at times even choosing to bear an injustice so as to offer it to the Lord.”
Pope Francis urges Christians to fight spiritual battles with others, adding that this is what the church is for.
“When we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares, and temptations of the devil and the selfishness of the world,” Francis writes. Alone, we “easily succumb.”
He adds, “Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others.”
Pope Francis notes that “works of charity” and “missionary outreach,” are also weapons.
However, he warns against prideful, self-congratulatory charity.
Quoting St. John of the Cross, he says, “Rejoice in the good of others as if it were your own, and desire that they be given precedence over you in all things.
"This you should do wholeheartedly. You will thereby overcome evil with good, banish the devil, and possess a happy heart," he adds.