"Spiritual Warfare" = Freedom or Stealth Bondage?

Can someone help me with understanding this?

There’s this big thing out there, not just among Catholics, about “Spiritual Warfare”. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and those who make large use of it… (like putting on the armor every morning and before bed, saying an array of daily protection scriptures, and then saying scriptures and “claiming things” every time evil shows itself.)

Having grown up very close to it, I find so much difficulty in trying to explain to myself RATIONALLY how any part of it makes sense. It seems you’re required to say a very tiring lineup of scriptures throughout the day, to protect yourself from X manifestation of evil… and you have to “wash” yourself with scripture every time you happen to brush shoulders with something that isn’t draped in angel wings. (and the rationale for what is considered evil is often VERY sensitive. For instance, in the past, my mom had a strong fear of even sitting in the same room with a painting of an evil face. Suppose there’s a doctor’s office with an angry-looking African tribal mask in the waiting room… too evil; it’s probably swarming with demons, and if you don’t pray scriptures, and possibly even shield your eyes with a (clean only) magazine, you’ll be affected.)

And this is a person who heard from a reliable prophet/visionary/something (can’t remember) that if you offer something like 10 masses for someone (including yourself), an extra guardian angel is gained… one from each choir, up to around 12. (I guess the last ones are all from top choirs, or something). Someone said: all guardian angels start off by default from the lowest choir… so, this essentially gives you a crushing army of protection.

…an army that seemingly can’t do anything about anything… at least if you listen to how Spiritual Warfare people talk.

It goes on:
At least from MY observation, Spiritual Warfare seems to instill a quite fearful/paranoid worldview, and not in a friendly way. At one point, my mom literally thought she couldn’t say stuff like, “You have arthritis”, because: “If you claim that to be true, you get a word-curse on you, and then you might MAKE it true.” It made some of her speech very bizarre, because she had to state everything “safely”… So, if someone asked, “Do you have chronic fatigue?” she’d say, “Umm… Well, I had it.” And they’d be confused, “Oh… uhh, what? So, you don’t have it anymore?” “No, I DO, I mean, well, nevermind. So, what were you saying?”

Did a single person in the Bible, EVER, conduct his speech so as to be careful what he was “claiming” over others? (To spare your time: no.) How does this make naturalistic sense? (It makes talking difficult. God didn’t even design the brain to know how to form sentences that way, and you end up sounding like a nut.) The thing is, avoiding word-curses sounds IMPORTANT, because every other sentence might be claiming things over people. So I had to wonder: why didn’t Jesus warn about it, and teach man how to properly speak?

In more ways than just that, I’ve observed the lifestyle of Spiritual Warfare looking like nothing but bondage. Not just the load of keeping up, but the fear… and the shame/guilt of not doing enough.

It has always looked to me like tying yourself down with formula and procedure… and believing as though God is a vending machine, and your level of protection is largely (though not entirely) correlated with how much money you put in. (You could think of it as a disguised system of begging.)

I have questions like: If you simply trust that God will deflect everything HIMSELF, without your slaving away to do the work manually, is that NOT a complete package? Does God say, “No… good protection requires 15 scriptures a day, no sins for the last 12 hours, and no prior word-curses still in effect. Sorry but, right now, you’re in the ‘Helpless & Alone’ camp.”

Is this setting anyone free, or is it more bondage than benefit?
Opinions welcome. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Spiritual warfare is real and necessary because there is a battle between good and evil going on in the spiritual world. More on that but first…

…what you are talking about does not sound like Catholic spiritual warfare at all. Some of it might overlap, perhaps the scripture quotes, but as “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath,” it sounds like the attitude is overboard and making the people slaves to certain things, rather than asking for the Lord and His angels’ and Mary’s help in battle and trusting after that.

The stuff with not saying words or negative thoughts is extremely superstitious which is against church teaching. It sounds like those Law of Attraction beliefs that we totally create our own reality and so we can’t think bad thoughts or say bad ideas because they will then come true, so we have to “manifest” better outcomes by saying what we want to be true as if it were already so…unfortunately, many good people get trapped in this belief because they are told that if they don’t practice the Law (buy the next book/DVD/workshop) they will end up just manifesting all their worst fears into reality and be miserable wrecks. It’s really a very cruel scam.

I have never heard of the extra guardian angel thing but it seems suspicious. It seems gimmicky, and besides that, I am pretty sure if we in some moment feel the need for lots of protection, we can just pray that Jesus sends all His holy angels to surround us.

I do believe true spiritual battle is happening all around us, and I often pray for the protection of St. Michael, and also Our Lady who is the best at fighting Satan. We are also fighting and being delivered from evil every time we take the Sacraments, too.

People who are taking this too far just need to remember Psalm 23 :slight_smile:

Spiritual battle against evil is a good thing, and we have plenty of ways in the church to do it…for example praying the rosary is like a chain that chains the devil…so no need to reinvent the wheel, just study church teaching and tradition for a wealth of reliable methods and prayers that won’t make you a slave. :slight_smile:

We are surrounded by spirits while yet in this life. Occasionally, they make themselves known to us. That is a favor that they unknowingly do for us, as we may then combat them. It is a reminder that the power of God is infinitely superior to theirs, and that we need to call upon our Father in heaven for help. To engage in spiritual warfare is not only scriptural, it brings us closer to God. We are in bondage if we do not then fight the unseen evil. Prayer, regardless of the inspiration, is freedom as it draws us nearer to God by our communication with Him. God alone frees us from bondage to darkness.

I think you are looking at it backwards.

I agree completely withe erine.

What you are describing is Catholicism mixed in with another set of beliefs that probably originated in another (non Western) culture. It sounds a lot like some African beliefs about witchcraft as well as the Law of Attraction referred to by erine.

There is no need for anything other than a sincere following of Catholic teaching. Say your prayers morning and evening, go to Mass and confession regularly and put your trust in God.

God Bless you and your family

Could it be that you guys just aren’t full-blown into spiritual warfare as much as “hardcore church people”, and haven’t heard of the more serious approaches to it? I asked my mom about it, and she said she knows some Lutherans and various Protestants who (she thinks) see it the same way. She comes from a background of lots of Bible study meetings, and “hardcore” applications of church life. There are small groups at most churches that take Bible study, spiritual warfare, and church life very, very seriously. (but now of course I have to wonder if different groups take the warfare stuff to very different levels…)

I’ll comment on some other stuff soon… time for bed. :rolleyes:

What you describe sounds kind of superstitious.

If you associate it with a fearful worldview, then it’s probably not a spiritual practice for you. Personally I like the idea of spiritual warfare because it gives me confidence and joy to contemplate angels fighting on my behalf. If it bothers you a lot for whatever reason you don’t have to get involved in it at all.

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