People of good will, listen up: The devil is after your family!
Years ago, Sister Lucia dos Santos of Fátima, Portugal, received prophetic words from heaven that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Only the foolish would argue that marriage and the family aren’t in harm’s way.
At a recent “Heart of a Mother” retreat I attended with about 100 other women at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Hankinson, I was reinvigorated to challenge and help dismantle the Enemy of Lie’s game plan.
The retreat was hosted by Ecclesia Domestica , Latin for “the church in the home,” which helps Christians recognize the battle for holiness within their hearts and reclaim their identity as beloved children of God through a daily surrender to God’s plan.
Founded in Minnesota for and by men a little over a decade ago, the movement has been growing and strengthening, with women now joining the forces. The men’s version of the retreat will be March 17-19 at the same convent.
Though Catholic-focused, Ecclesia Domestica’s goals for restoring the family can be applied to anyone grasping the urgent necessity of the mission. Like St. Joan of Arc, we can fight for God’s holy will by:
Praying without ceasing. Ratchet up your prayer time. Reconfigure your day around communication with God. God has ample graces to bestow, but he will not impose his will. Commit to being in touch with him more frequently to tap into those graces.
Cleaning out the cobwebs. Get your soul right with God. What stands in the way of your intimate relationship with the Lord? What sins are holding you back from surrendering your life to the King of Kings? Confess your sins, go to therapy, face the mess and tidy up your interior to make room for more of God and his heavenly helpers.
Going deep by fasting. What pleasure would be hard to relinquish? Chocolate? Ice cream? Television? Frivolous shopping? Excess Smartphone use? Start with one thing and resist it. It might seem petty, but it will help strengthen your spiritual muscles for when you have to resist something even bigger.
Employing forgiveness: A retreat speaker said: “Forgiveness is a fire that can be contagious.” The Devil will shrivel at the words, “I forgive you.” We need to do our best to stay in the present, where God dwells.
Praying together: “Old Scratch” doesn’t stand a chance against a husband and wife united as a fortress to guard their family against evil. Marriage isn’t easy, and resentments can build. Seek to dismantle those wounds, and pray together every day or night; an invaluable tool against evil.
Uniting with other Christians: Community is important, so cultivate a network of other believers with strong values and build relationships with them to form support to add to your “church in the home” army.
As Sister Susan Marie said at the retreat, “Restore the family, and the Church will be restored as well.”
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Feb. 20, 2023.]
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