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The Spiritual Combat and Fatima: Second Week of Lent

Second Week of Lent: Adam & Eve

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat.” Genesis 3:1-6

Commentary on Sacred Scripture

In saying ‘NO’ to the Will of God, by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve committed the ‘ORIGINAL SIN’ which we inherit from our first parents. As such, our human nature was corrupted, darkening our understanding, weakening our will, and leaving us with a strong inclination to evil called concupiscence.

Failure to acknowledge the historicity of Adam and Eve puts the traditional Catholic dogma of Original Sin in danger of not being believed anymore. Perhaps this is reflected in the emphasis placed on modern teaching that Baptism is an ‘initiation rite’ into the Church. The traditional teaching, on the other hand, makes it clear that Baptism removes the stain of Original Sin, meaning that the baptized person can then receive the other Sacraments and one day possibly go to Heaven. Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, was referring to the Sacrament of Baptism when He said: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

In the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, it is stated that concupiscence is a desire of the lower (sensuous) appetite contrary to reason (rational appetite): “To understand how the sensuous and the rational appetite can be opposed, it should be borne in mind that their natural objects are altogether different. The object of the former is the gratification of the senses; the object of the latter is the good of the entire human nature and consists in the subordination of reason to God, its supreme good and ultimate end. But the lower appetite is of itself unrestrained, so as to pursue sensuous gratifications independently of the understanding and without regard to the good of the higher faculties.”

In the First Week of Lent, we reflected upon satan and the other fallen angels who said ‘NO’ to God before the fall of man. In this Second Week of Lent, we will discuss man’s ‘NO’ to the Will of God in the form of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. We will see that failure to follow the Divine Will of God always has adverse consequences. We must be on guard: Don’t ‘eat the fruit,’ like Adam and Eve did, whenever satanic temptation entices you to say ‘NO’ to the Will of God.

Scupoli’s Spiritual Combat

In his classic book entitled The Spiritual Combat, Dom Lorenzo Scupoli (1530-1610) advocates that trust in God can be found in our adherence to the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. When tempted by the devil, Scupoli advises us to declare: “Get behind me, satan, father of lies, for I will not even hear thee; it is enough for me to believe as the Holy Catholic Church believes” (chapter 63).

Further, even “those who are cognizant of the diseased character of their souls and desire to cure them are often deluded by the devil. He endeavors to persuade them that they have a long time to live, and consequently may safely defer their conversion.” He advises: “Let persons of this type say: ‘Now! Now!’ instead of, ‘Tomorrow! Tomorrow!’” (chapter 29).

“The evil one even uses virtue to tempt us to sin, inflating our egos with exaggerated self-esteem and complacency to the point where we succumb to vainglory.” Scupoli adds: “Let this remembrance be to us a sword with which we defend ourselves from the insidious attacks of presumption and vanity; and let us fight with the vigor of a man struggling for his very life.” We must keep in mind: “For our glories can be traced to heaven, but our sinfulness can be traced to ourselves.” He warns: “… if we wish the world to look upon us as saints, we deserve a criminal’s punishment” (chapter 32).

“The moment you find that you are affected by some unforeseen, injurious circumstance, be on your guard. Do not lose your self-control. Raise your mind to God and regard the occurrence as a trial from heaven. Reflect that God Himself, gentle Father that He is, permits this only that you may be able to purify yourself still more and unite yourself more closely to Him” (chapter 18).

Jacinta Marto (1910-1920)

The Message of Fatima

In an all-out attack on the Biblical belief that there was an actual Adam and Eve, we have the so-called ‘theory’ of evolution. The Godless secular dogma of ‘evolution’ was promoted by Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species (1859). This work of atheistic fantasy denied the Biblical belief that there was an actual Adam and Eve created in the image and likeness of God. A Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (d. 1955), later wrote a book promoting evolution entitled The Phenomenon of Man in which he abandoned literal interpretations of the Book of Genesis, including the existence of Adam and Eve. This unproven and discredited evolutionary hypothesis provided a foundation for Communist movements all over the world. Our Lady of Fatima warned us that Russia would “spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” One of those foundational errors of Russian Communism is evolution. Don’t ‘eat the fruit’ of evolution.

It was reported that on February 16, 2008, after Cardinal Carlo Caffarra had just offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, he spoke of a letter that he had received from Sister Lucia of Fatima, in which she spoke of “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of satan”. In that letter, Sister Lucia wrote: “The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of satan will be about marriage and the family.” “Don’t be afraid,” she warned, “because whoever works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.” She offered hope, concluding: “Nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head.”

Just before her death, Jacinta Marto was taken to Lisbon to be treated at Dona Estefania Hospital. She was lodged at an orphanage in the care of Mother Maria Godinho, who wrote down the words of this innocent child soon destined for Heaven. Among other things, Jacinta said: “Many marriages are not good; they do not please our Lord, and they are not of God.” She also warned: “The sins that lead more souls to hell are the sins of the flesh.” In response to Mother Godinho asking Jacinta if she understood what it meant to be ‘pure,’ she answered: “To be pure in body is to keep chastity. To be pure in soul is not to commit sins, not to look at what one should not see….” In a message especially applicable for our troubled times, Jacinta also implored: “… pray much for those who govern! Woe to those who persecute the religion of Our Lord! If the government left the Church in peace and gave freedom to the Holy Faith, it would be blessed by God.”

Saints Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve are celebrated as Saints on the vigil of Christmas, December 24th, because they repented and made reparation for their sins. In Eastern Rite icons of the Resurrection, the Risen Lord is depicted pulling Adam and Eve from their tombs (shown above), illustrating that Christ’s victory over sin and death offers redemption to all of humanity from the beginning of time.

Saints Adam and Eve, who went to the Limbo of the Fathers (‘limbus patrum’) after their deaths, teach that just because we have sinned, perhaps grievously, that does not mean that the gates of Heaven will be closed to us, unless we do not repent and end up in hell. Through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession, we can seek forgiveness of our sins. Through the fires of suffering in this life offered up to God in reparation for our sins, or through the fires of Purgatory (for those who died without making sufficient reparation) our souls can be cleansed.

The creation of Adam and Eve marked the institution of marriage between one man and one woman in the Garden of Eden:

“And God created man to His own image: to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1:27-28)

After their expulsion from Paradise, they followed the command of Almighty God to “increase and multiply.” Hence, the Church teaches that husbands and wives are to “aid each other in securing the salvation of their souls; and to propagate or keep up the existence of the human race by bringing children into the world to serve God” (Baltimore Catechism #3, Q.1010). This is why there can be no homosexual ‘marriages’. There was no other form of human being, other than biological males and biological females, going back to Book 1, Chapter 1 of the Bible – and only they can “increase and multiply.”

Baltimore Catechism

The traditional 1891 Baltimore Catechism (#3), “Lesson 5, On Our First Parents and the Fall”, teaches us about Adam, Eve, and Original Sin; including the following:

“Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?

A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve?

A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never have been any, who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.

Q. 240. Why did God make Eve from one of Adam’s ribs?

A. God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs to show the close relationship existing between husband and wife in their marriage union which God then instituted.

Q. 249. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?

A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God, but broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit.

Q. 250. Who was the first to disobey God?

A. Eve was the first to disobey God, and she induced Adam to do likewise.

Q. 251. How was Eve tempted to sin?

A. Eve was tempted to sin by the devil, who came in the form of a serpent and persuaded her to break God’s command.

Q. 252. Which were the chief causes that led Eve into sin?

A. The chief causes that led Eve into sin were: (1) She went into the danger of sinning by admiring what was forbidden, instead of avoiding it. (2) She did not fly from the temptation at once, but debated about yielding to it. Similar conduct on our part will lead us also into sin.

Q. 253. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?

A. Adam and Eve, on account of their sin, lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to sickness and death.

Q. 256. What evil befell us on account of the disobedience of our first parents?

A. On account of the disobedience of our first parents, we all share in their sin and punishment, as we should have shared in their happiness if they had remained faithful.

Q. 259. What other effects followed from the sin of our first parents?

A. Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first parents, which darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and left in us a strong inclination to evil.

Q. 263. In what does the strong inclination to evil that is left in us consist?

A. This strong inclination to evil that is left in us consists in the continual efforts our senses and appetites make to lead our souls into sin. The body is inclined to rebel against the soul, and the soul itself to rebel against God.

Q. 264. What is this strong inclination to evil called, and why did God permit it to remain in us?

A. This strong inclination to evil is called concupiscence, and God permits it to remain in us that by His grace we may resist it and thus increase our merits.

Q. 265. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?

A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin.

Q. 266. Why is this sin called original?

A. This sin is called original because it comes down to us from our first parents, and we are brought into the world with its guilt on our soul.

Lesson 14, On Baptism”, teaches:

Q. 621. What is Baptism?

A. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven.

Lesson 26, On Matrimony”, teaches:

Q. 1007. When was marriage first instituted?

A. Marriage was first instituted in the Garden of Eden, when God created Adam and Eve and made them husband and wife, but it was not then a Sacrament, for their union did not confer any special grace.

Lesson 1, On the End of Man”, teaches:

Q.133. What is man?

A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

Q. 136. Is this likeness in the body or in the soul?

A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul.”

Image and Likeness of God

The Book of Wisdom gives us hope in the midst of suffering as we face our death or the death of a loved one:

“But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery: And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace. And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace He hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust He hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them. The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.” (Wis. 3:1-7)

When gold ore is mined, it is very dirty. The impurities need to be burned away, so the gold ore is placed in a cauldron on top of a fearsome fire as the filth is removed. An old-time gold refiner was once asked: “How do you know when the gold is ready to be taken off the fire?” The old-timer responded: “When I can see my reflection in the gold, I know it is done.” So it is with God. We are created in His image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). When God can clearly see His image in our souls, then it is time for us to be removed from the fire.

When we have suffered enough and our souls are cleansed of all impurities, then and only then, is it time to enter into Heaven. The fire of suffering prepares us to enter into Heaven, where nothing impure can exist. In the Spiritual Combat, never become discouraged by your suffering. Padre Pio said: “Discouragement is the tool of the devil.” He also said: “If people knew the value of suffering, they would ask for more.”

God Loves You ‘Just the Way You Are’

It is often heard: “God loves you just the way you are.” That is a very misleading saying befitting of the ‘father of lies.’ God loves you, but He does not necessarily love ‘the way you are.’ ‘The way you are’ can be offensive to Almighty God if you are in a state of sin. Nowhere in the Bible or in traditional Church teaching does it say that God loves you ‘just the way you are.’ God does love us — so much so, in fact, that He sent His only-begotten Son to suffer and die so that we could have a chance of entering into Heaven by fighting against sin in spiritual combat.

If one is living in a state of sin, that is offensive to Almighty God. We must confess our sins with a firm purpose of amendment in the Sacrament of Confession and do penance in reparation for those sins lest we spend a significant amount of time in the fires of purgatory, assuming we escape the eternal fires of hell. The master of deception is satan, who wants us to go to hell. The deceptive phrase that ‘God loves you just the way you are’ is reminiscent of the words of the serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Don’t ‘eat the fruit’ by believing such Modernist clichés.

The Spiritual Combat in Our Time

As in the Garden of Eden, the serpent today endeavors to present evil as good, and good as evil. Don’t ‘eat the fruit.’ The idea, ‘If it feels good, do it,’ is a recipe for spiritual disaster akin to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. All heterosexual and homosexual genital acts outside of a valid marriage’s natural marital relations, which are open to life, are intrinsically evil — sinful — and contrary to the Laws of God.

“Sins are acts involving the intellect (knowing) and the will (choosing). An orientation is not, in and of itself, an act or a sin. The homosexual orientation itself is intrinsically evil, but is not itself a sin. All human persons are children of God. No human person is intrinsically evil, even if he or she has an intrinsically evil sexual orientation. All human persons inherently deserve just and merciful treatment. The promotion and spread of homosexuality is offensive to God and is gravely harmful to families, the Church, and society in general. Society has the right and the duty to make laws which discourage sinful acts that cause serious harm to society.” The preceding statement, made by lay theologian Ronald L. Conte, Jr., speaks ‘politically incorrect’ truth, which can save souls in the Spiritual Combat.

The ‘politically correct’ idea of ‘Gay Pride Parades’ promoting homosexual activity and sexual deviancy of multiple kinds (LGBT, Q, and any other letter of the alphabet, etc.) is akin to celebrating ‘Pedophile Parades,’ ‘Bestiality Parades,’ ‘Solitary Vice Parades,’ and ‘Adulterer Parades’ — none of which are anything to be ‘proud’ of and will lead souls to hell.

Pride is considered to be one of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ also known as ‘Capital Sins.’ St. Thomas Aquinas considers pride to be: the queen of all vices; a species of contempt of God; the blackest of sins; with a satanic attitude.

The ‘church of satan’ also espouses perverted views on human sexuality, contrary to the traditional teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, including: homosexuality, legalization of gay ‘marriage’, transgenderism, sex outside of marriage, and masturbation. All of these satanic views on perverted human sexuality can be found throughout our society and are evidence of the demonic working to enslave souls in order to lead them to hell for all eternity.

The ‘church of satan’ has an ally in the United Nations. The “UN rights office” is collecting the names of anyone who opposes the LGBT agenda in any way, to possibly be put on a ‘blacklist’ to impose sanctions on those with traditional values and to possibly expose them to terrorist attacks. In the same article about the UN’s nefarious actions, it is noted that Demoncrats introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress last year, called the Global Respect Act, to impose sanctions on all foreigners who oppose LGBT ‘rights.’ In today’s perverted world, speaking the traditional Catholic and Biblical Truth is considered to be a ‘hate crime’ subject to punishment when it is not ‘politically correct.’

‘Political correctness’ to avoid offending anyone by not calling their evil actions a sin is a tool of the devil. Such political correctness will not save any wayward souls. Such political correctness is contrary to the Truth. Such political correctness is a coward’s way out of the spiritual combat. Silence in the face of evil is to be complicit with the enemy. Proclaim the Gospel and traditional Catholic Truth clearly, “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2), and do it with conviction! It is better to offend humans than to offend God. It is better to fight in the Spiritual Combat and go to heaven, rather than make peace with the devil and go to hell.

As distressing as the current times are, we will not surrender. We will never give up.  We will “fight the good fight.” We will “keep the Faith.” We will “finish the course.” We will “fight with the vigor of a man struggling for his very life.” With confidence in God, while distrusting ourselves, we will follow the advice of Padre Pio who said: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry,” as we turn to Saint Michael the Archangel to “defend us in battle,” in our Spiritual Combat, using all of the spiritual weapons at our disposal.

This Week’s Spiritual Weapon: Holy Water

We began this article by mentioning the Sacrament of Baptism, which uses Holy Water to wash away the stain of Original Sin. In the Traditional Latin Blessing of Holy Water (see p. 211ff of this PDF), both salt and water are exorcized and blessed before being mixed together by the priest. The concluding prayer of this ritual, evidencing the Spiritual Combat that we are in, as offered by the priest in Latin, reads as follows in English:

“Author of invincible strength and King of an unconquerable empire, ever the gloriously Triumphant One! Who restrainest the force of the adversary, Who overcomes the fierceness of the devouring enemy, Who valiantly putteth down hostile influences! Prostrate and fearsome we beseech Thee, Lord, consider kindly this creature of salt and water, make it honored, and sanctify it with the dew of Thy sweetness. Wherever it is sprinkled in Thy Name, may devilish infection cease, venomous terror be driven afar. But let the presence of the Holy Spirit be ever with us as we implore Thy mercy. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, eternally. Amen.”[1]

An article from 1958 with an Imprimatur from Albert B. Meyer, Archbishop of Milwaukee, includes the following benefits in the Spiritual Combat of sprinkling Holy Water:

“Prayers Effective: These prayers ascend to heaven each time you take Holy Water and sprinkle a drop either for yourself or for another, whether he be present or absent; and God’s blessings descend for soul and body.

Dispel the Devil:  The devil hates Holy Water because of its power over him.  He cannot long abide in a place near a person that is often sprinkled with this blessed water.

Do Your Dear Ones Live at a Distance? Holy Water, sprinkled with faith and piety can move the Sacred Heart to bless your loved ones and protect them from all harm of soul and body; when worry and fear take possession of your heart, hasten to your Holy Water font, and give your dear ones the benefit of the Church’s prayers.

The Holy Souls Long for It: Only in Purgatory can one understand how ardently a Poor Soul longs for Holy Water.  If we desire to make a host of intercessors for ourselves, let us try to realize now some of their yearnings, and never forget them at the Holy Water font.  The Holy Souls nearest to Heaven may need the sprinkling of only one drop to relieve their pining souls. Use Holy Water as follows: Dip your fingers in Holy Water and say, ‘By this Holy Water and by Thy Precious Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord.’ Sprinkle Holy Water on the Holy Souls in Purgatory*, then make the Sign of the Cross.” (*via sprinkling the ground or floor)

[1] The Roman Ritual. Volume III – The Blessings. #1: The Blessing of Holy Water. The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee. 1946.

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Fr. Ladis J. Cizik

Father Cizik’s Three R’s of Modernism: Recognize it; Refute it; Return to Tradition.