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”