Spiritual Warfare Meditation Minute 


Using Sacramentals As Weapons In Spiritual Warfare 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes Sacramentals as Sacred signs that bear a resemblance to the sacraments.They signify effects especially of a spiritual kind,that are obtained through the Church’s intercession.Through Sacramentals,we are disposed to receive the primary effects of the sacraments,and they make holy various ocassions in life.(CCC 1667)

Sacramentals include certain actions,such as the sign of the cross and other blessings,as well as objects that have been blessed,such as holy water,salt,candles,incense,rosaries,crucifixes,Scapulars,and religious images.Sacramentals don’t confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way the sacraments do,but through the prayers of the church associated with them,their actions and objects prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it.

The Sign of the Cross.St.Athanasius wrote that before the coming of Christ,demonic powers used to deceive the pagans into worshipping them  and obeying their oracles.But now he observed in the 4th century,”since the divine appearance of the Word(Christ)all this deception has come to an end.For by the Sign of the Cross,if a man will only use it,their deceptions are driven out.

In one of his sermons,St.John Vianney preached:”The sign of the cross is the most terrible weapon of the devil.For this reason the church displays images of the cross so that we can have it continually in front of our minds to recall to us just what our souls are worth and what they cost Jesus Christ.For the same reason the church wants us to make the Sign of the Cross ourselves at every juncture of our day:when we go to bed,when we awaken during the night,when we get up,when we begin any action,and above all when we are tempted.Fill your children,my dear brethren,with the greatest respect for the Cross,and always have a blessed cross on yourselves.Resoect for the Cross will protect you against the Devil,from the vengeance of heaven,and from all danger”.

Blessings and blessed objects.Both the blessings that are given by the clergy and the blessings spoken by lay people as part of their daily lives(such as table grace)are important Sacramentals.They can sanctify our thoughts,our actions,and our surroundings in a way that repels the enemy.We see their power most clearly when used to remedy the demonic infestation of a building or object through a priestly blessing with holy water.

Throughout the centuries,the testimony of many Christians,including a number of saints,confirms that objects Blessed by a priest,through the power of the Church’s intercession,can repel demonic powers.Again and again evil spirits have recoiled in dread,not just from the Sign of the Cross,but also from holy water and Blessed oil,crosses,crucifixes,medals,candles,or salt.

These can be used by priests in exorcisms as well as by lay Christians in everyday life.So the faithful sometimes keep such Sacramentals in their homes.The home itself (as well as other buildings) can be blessed by a priest as well.

St.Benedict medals in particular are known as “devil chasing medals”,in part because St.Benedict was known to be a champion in spiritual warfare.These medals typically have on their reverse side the initial letters of the Latin words in an ancient prayer against the evil one which begins,Vade retro satana:”Get back,Satan!”This command is similar to Jesus’ exclamation “Get behind me,Satan”(Matthew 16:23).The rest of the prayer says,”Never tempt me with your vanities!What you offer me is evil.Drink the poison yourself!”

Blessed objects may also be worn or carried,especially rosaries,Scapulars,crucifixes,and medals.Given Our Lady’s Power against the devil,we should be regularly praying the Rosary as well,not just carrying it around!

~Excerpts from “Manual of Spiritual Warfare”

The Medal of St.Benedict

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St. Benedict of Nursia, Italy (A.D. 480-543), the twin brother of St. Scholastica, is considered to be the Father of Western monasticism, and his “Rule of St. Benedict” came to be the basis of organization for many religious orders (his own Order has its cradle at Monte Cassino, Italy, about 80 miles South of Rome).

At any rate, in order to understand the symbolism of the Medal, you must know of this event in St. Benedict’s life: he’d been living as a hermit in a cave for three years, famous for his holiness, when a religious community came to him after the death of their abbot and asked Benedict to take over. Some of the “monks” didn’t like this plan and attempted to kill him with poisoned bread and wine. Just as St. John the Divine was miraculously saved from being poisoned, when St. Benedict made the sign of the Cross over these things, he came to know they were poisoned, so he toppled the cup and commanded a raven to carry off the bread.

 

It is unknown when the Medal of St. Benedict originated. During a trial for witchcraft at Natternberg near the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria in the year 1647, the accused women testified that they had no power over Metten, which was under the protection of the cross. Upon investigation, a number of painted crosses, surrounded by the letters which are now found on Benedictine medals, were found on the walls of the abbey, but their meaning had been forgotten.

Finally, in an old manuscript, written in 1415, was found a picture representing St. Benedict holding in one hand a staff which ends in a cross, and a scroll in the other. On the staff and scroll were written in full the words of which the mysterious letters were the initials. Medals bearing the image of St. Benedict, a cross, and these letters began now to be struck in Germany, and soon spread over Europe. They were first approved by Benedict XIV in his briefs of 23 December, 1741, and 12 March, 1742.

 

The Medal

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FRONT One side of the medal bears an image of St. Benedict, holding a cross in the right hand and the Holy Rule in the left. On the one side of the image is a cup, on the other a raven, and above the cup and the raven are inscribed the words: “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” (Cross of the Holy Father Benedict). Round the margin of the medal stands the legend “Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamus” (May we at our death be fortified by his presence).

BACK The reverse of the medal bears a cross with the initial letters of the words: “Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux” (The Holy Cross be my light), written downward on the perpendicular bar; the initial letters of the words, “Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux” (Let not the dragon be my guide), on the horizontal bar; and the initial letters of “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” in the angles of the cross. Round the margin stand the initial letters of the distich: “Vade Retro Satana, Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana — Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas” (Begone, Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities — evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison). At the top of the cross usually stands the word Pax (peace) or the monogram I H S (Jesus).

Special Graces and Indulgences Attached to the Medal

(1) All the indulgences that could be gained by visiting the basilica, crypt, and tower of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino (Pius IX, 31 December, 1877)

(2) A plenary indulgence on the feast of All Souls (from about two o’clock in the afternoon of 1 November to sunset of 2 November), as often as after confession and Holy Communion, he visits any church or public oratory, praying there according to the intention of the pope, provided that he is hindered from visiting a church or public oratory of the Benedictines by sickness, monastic enclosure or a distance of at least 1000 steps. (Decr. 27 February, 1907, in Acta S. Sedis, LX, 246.) Any priest may receive the faculties to bless these medals.

 

Medals Protections and Benefits

  1. To destroy witchcraft and all other diabolical and haunting influences
  2. To impart protection to persons tempted, deluded, or tormented by evil spirits
  3.  To obtain the conversion of sinners into the Catholic Church, especially when they are in danger of death
  4. To serve as an armor against temptation
  5.  To destroy the effects of poison
  6.  To secure a timely and healthy birth for children
  7. To afford protection against storms and lightning
  8. To serve as an efficacious remedy for bodily afflictions and a means of protection against contagious diseases.

 

How To Use The St.Benedict Medal

  1. On a chain around the neck
  2.  Attached to one’s rosary
  3. Kept in one’s pocket or purse
  4.  Placed in one’s car or home
  5.  Placed in the foundation of a building
  6. Placed in the center of a cross.
  7. Place or bury a St.Benedict Medal in the four corners of your home for protection against home invasion.

 

My personal Experience with the St Benedict Medal

My mom always placed a St. Benedict Medal above each of the entrances of our homes and in each of the four corners of our property.There was alot of crime where we lived for a few years and every single house around us and for 2 blocks on our street was broken into and robbed except for our house.The people in the neighborhood couldnt figure out why we were never robbed even when we went on vacation and my mom wasnt shy about telling anyone who would ask that she had the St.Benedict medal to thank for this.Some rolled their eyes….(my mom was known as a religious fanatic in the neighborhood because of our statue of Mary out front and the 20 religious bumper stickers on our van)but some asked for St.Benedict medals to protect their home too.

St.Benedict~Ora Et Labora

Hey, Pops! (12)

Saint Benedict was born at Norcia around 480 AD. That historical time frame, a mere four years before the Western Roman Empire formally fell by the deposition of the last Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was quite difficult. The only authentic life of Saint Benedict is that which is contained in the second book of the Pope Saint Gregory’s Dialogues, probably written between 593-594 AD.

After attending primary schools in Norcia, Benedict went to Rome to broaden his knowledge of literature and law. However, since he was probably disgusted by the dissolute lifestyle of his peers and by Rome’s difficult political situation, he retired to Affile with a group of priests, taking his old nurse with him as a servant.

At Affile, Saint Benedict worked his first miracle, restoring to perfect condition an earthenware wheat sifter which his man-servant had accidentally broken. The notoriety which this miracle brought drove Benedict to withdraw further from social life. He took shelter in a cave in the ruins of Nero’s village, near Subiaco, where he began to live as a hermit. Immersed in loneliness, his only contact with the outside world was with a monk called Romanus, whose monastery was nearby. He gave Saint Benedict a monk’s habit and provided for his spiritual and material needs. Three solitary years followed. Some shepherds befriended Benedict. They began to follow his teachings and the pastoral and apostolic principles of the Benedictine Order took root.

After resisting a strong temptation against chastity, Benedict prepared to live through a new experience, following the example of the ancient Fathers of Christian Monasticism. At first, the community of Vicovaro wanted him as its Abbot, but the failed attempt of a monk to poison him forced Benedict to return to his solitude. Afterwards, he founded twelve monasteries and assigned twelve monks to each of them. In addition, he founded a thirteenth monastery for novices and those needing education. Benedict’s fame spread so rapidly, even in Rome, that two illustrious men, Equizius and the nobleman Tertullus, entrusted him with their two sons, Maurus and Placidus. They were to become the first two gems of the Benedictine family.

During his life, Saint Benedict performed many miracles. He found water on a desolate mountaintop to quench the thirst of his monks. He retrieved a bill hook’s iron from the bottom of a lake and rejoined its handle. He prevented a monk from leading a dissolute life through intervention. In addition, he made Maurus walk on water to save the young Placidus from drowning.

Unfortunately, a priest called Florentius was envious of Benedict’s popularity and his envy forced the Saint to depart in spite of insistence from his disciples. After leaving Subiaco, Benedict went towards Cassino. In the period between 525 and 529 AD he founded the Abbey of Montecassino. It would become the most famous abbey in continental Europe. Under Benedict’s direction, the old acropolis-sanctuary towering above the declined Roman municipium of Casinum was turned into a monastery that was much bigger than those built at Subiaco. On the remains of the altar of Apollo he built a chapel dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, while the temple of Apollo itself was turned into an oratory for the monks which was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours.

At Montecassino Saint Benedict displayed prodigious activity. He supervised the building of the monastery, established a monastic order and performed many miracles. He brought back from death a youngster, miraculously supplied the monastery with flour and oil in its time of need and displayed the gift of prophecy. In autumn of 542 AD, while the Goth King Totila was passing through Cassino en route to Naples to attack it, he decided to test Saint Benedict because he had already heard of his gifts and charisms. As a consequence, Totila sent his squire dressed as a king to greet the monk; but Saint Benedict soon unmasked him. When he finally met Totila, he warned him with a dire prediction: “You have hurt many and you continue to do it, now stop behaving badly! You will enter Rome, you will cross the vast sea, you will reign for nine years; however in the tenth year, you will die.” And that is exactly what happened. Saint Benedict showed the same virtue as he cried bitterly when confronted wiht the vision of the first destruction of his monastery. Notwithstanding, he received from God the grace to save all the monks.

Saint Benedict devoted himself to evangelizing the local population who practiced pagan worship. Shortly before he died, Saint Benedict saw the soul of his sister Saint Scholastica rising to heaven in the form of a dove. This vision happened a few days after their last talk together at the foot of Montecassino. In a vision, Benedict saw the soul of Bishop Germanus of Capua taken by angels in a fire globe. These visions, for Pope Saint Gregory the Great, showed a close union between Benedict and God, a union so intense that the Saint was given the share of an even more magnificent vision, the whole of creation as gathered in a sunbeam.

In the end, a life so noble was justifiably followed by a much-glorified death. According to tradition, Saint Benedict died on March 21, 547 AD. He foresaw his coming death, informing his close and faraway disciples that the end was near. Six days before dying, he had the grave which he was to share with his deceased sister Saint Scholastica, opened. Then, completely exhausted, he asked to be taken into his oratory where, after taking his last Holy Communion, he died supported by his monks.

Pictured below are the relics of St.Benedict and St.Scholastica venerated at Monte Cassiono,Italy

 

Quotes of St.Benedict


“Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading.”

“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.”

“And let them first pray together, that so they may associate in peace.”

“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.”

“Ora et labora.”

“He should first show them in deeds rather than words all that is good and holy.”

“The sleepy like to make excuses.”

“Whatever good work you begin to do, beg of God with most earnest prayer to perfect it.”
“He should know that whoever undertakes the government of souls must prepare himself to account for them.”

“Wherefore let us consider how it behoveth us to be in the sight of God and the angels, and so let us take our part in the psalmody that mind and voice accord together.”

“The abbot ought ever to bear in mind what he is and what he is called; he ought to know that to whom more is entrusted, from him more is exacted.”

“The prophet shows that, for the sake of silence, we are to abstain even from good talk. If this be so, how much more needful is it that we refrain from evil words, on account of the penalty of the sin!”

“Almighty God, give me wisdom to perceive You, intelligence to understand You, diligence to seek You, patience to wait for You, eyes to behold You, a heart to meditate upon You and life to proclaim You, through the power of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
“For at all times we must so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that he may not, as an angry Father, disinherit his children, nor as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil deeds, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who refuse to follow Him to glory.”

“Now, brethren, that we have asked the Lord who it is that shall dwell in His tabernacle, we have heard the conditions for dwelling there; and if we fulfill the duties of tenants, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Our hearts and our bodies must, therefore, be ready to do battle under the biddings of holy obedience; and let us ask the Lord that He supply by the help of His grace what is impossible to us by nature. And if, flying from the pains of hell, we desire to reach life everlasting, then, while there is yet time, and we are still in the flesh, and are able during the present life to fulfill all these things, we must make haste to do now what will profit us forever.”

 

 

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