A highlight from POA5 Know your Commander and Comrades Put On The Armor A Manual for Spiritual Warfare w/Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D. Discerning Hears Catholic Podcasts
Discerninghearts .com, in cooperation with TAN Books, presents Put on the Armor, A Manual for Spiritual Warfare, with Dr. Paul Thickepen. Dr. Thickepen is an internationally known speaker, bestselling author, and award -winning journalist who has published 43 books in a wide variety of genres and subjects, including The Rapture Trap, A Catholic Response to End Times Fever, and The Manual for Spiritual Warfare, the book on which this series is based. In 2008, Dr. Thickepen was appointed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to their National Advisory Council. He has served the Church as a theologian, historian, apologist, evangelist, and catechist in a number of settings, speaking frequently in Catholic and secular media broadcasts and at conferences, seminars, parish missions, and scholarly gatherings. Put on the Armor, A Manual for Spiritual Warfare, with Dr. Paul Thickepen. I'm your host, Chris McGregor. Paul, thank you again so much for joining me. Thanks for the invitation to be here, Chris. God bless you. Well, in our previous conversations, we've kind of delineated what the battle is and who the enemy and some of the different ways he and those evil spirits, essentially the diabolical spirits, can assail us. But in this particular series of conversations, we want to talk about the commanders and our comrades who are just incredible in why the victory has been won. And it's so important because it's the warfare can be intense. And you start thinking about the power that the devil has and his demons and those kinds of things. It could be easy to get terrified or intimidated. But the good news is that he's already been defeated and that our Lord, by his passion and death and resurrection, has already defeated him. And that's why St. Paul could say to the Corinthians, thanks be to God, who's given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. So that's so incredible. We would be lost without him. It would be terrible. You know, I think back to the days when my final days as an atheist and where I had begun to encounter demonic powers, but still didn't believe in God. And it shocked me out of my materialist position that all that existed was kind of what you could see in here, matter and energy. And I finally realized there are other things out there that are beyond this nature that I see around me and they're evil and they're out to eat my lunch. And, you know, came close to despair at that moment. If those things are real, I don't have a chance. And yet I realized, but, you know, the same people and the same books that told me so long ago that these things were real also said that there was a God and a Lord Jesus Christ who conquered them. I'm going to go back and read and I'm going to go back to those people and talk again. If there's a devil and there's no God, I'm really in trouble. But if there's a devil and there is God, then there's hope. And that's that's the message. There's hope because of our commander. In the manual for spiritual warfare, over and over and over again, you cite scripture passage upon scripture passage that really helps us to kind of like our Lord in the desert, just identify constantly what that is and then talk back to it in the sense that it's not our words, but it's his words. And of course, I mean with a capital H. And it is so much more powerful. There's, you know, it's one thing for us and our own words are important, too. But it's one thing for us to resist the enemy and tell him to flee or contradict what he says to us. But when we do it in the words of Jesus himself, our faith is so much greater, our confidence is so much greater that that what we say is true. And the enemy goes to accuse us and we take the words of scripture that the accuser of the brethren has been cast down. He is an accuser and he's been cast down or that in his glorious triumph he'll come with all the saints in the armies of heaven or Saint John's words, which I come to again and again. He says, you are of God, dear children, and have overcome him, the devil, because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. And how many times have I had to say that to the enemy? The one who's in me is greater than you are. So get lost. That's right. And that's something that we always have to remember. We had those two incredible witnesses, and in so many of the writings and scriptures, but in particular of Saint Paul and Saint John, Saint Paul says, it's not I who live, but it's Christ who lives in me. And here, just as you cited in 1 John, John the Apostle tells us once again, he who is in you, he is greater than he who is in the world. Who is in us? The great commander, our Lord Jesus Christ. In the end, the enemy is only a creature. He's a very powerful one. He has powers we don't have, but he's not some God of equal power to the good God. You know, so we're not dualists. We don't believe that there's a good God and a bad God who have to fight it out through history. He's a creature who went wrong, and even though he's very powerful, God is still God. There's only one God who's omnipotent, who's all -powerful and all -knowing. And as Saint Paul says, that he will soon crush the devil beneath your feet. And that's such a powerful promise to hold on to. And you alluded to earlier as well, those armies of heaven, which consist, as Saint Paul said in the letters to the Thessalonians 1 and 2, it's with all his saints and it's with the angels. It's that beautiful reference in Revelation that talks about Christ coming back as a warrior. And I know a lot of folks aren't comfortable with that image of Christ as warrior because we just think of him as the suffering servant and the lamb of God. And all that's true, but the book of Revelation shows him not just as the lamb who was slain, but also as the conquering warrior at the end who does finally totally crush and corral all the enemies of the saints, all the evil that we're fighting against. And talks about when he comes, he comes with the armies of heaven. And so you ask, well, who would be the armies of heaven? Well, Saint Paul then comes in and he specifies that in 1 Thessalonians 3, 13, he says he will come with all his saints. And in 2 Thessalonians, he says he'll come with the angels of his power. So those are like the two great divisions, you might say, of his army, of his host. Those are the comrades we have in battle. The queen of the saints, the queen of the angels, Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is also referred to as the queen of humility. And yet it's in that humility that the irony of it, can we say, that she is able to crush the head of the servant. You know, I think it's important for us to see that what Our Lady did was to undo what Eve had done and to undo what the devil had done. How did the devil fall? Through his own pride. You know, we get in the book of Isaiah, the words that I will ascend to the mountain of the Lord, you know, and he wanted to take God's place. And so his great pride gets undone. It gets overturned by Our Lady's humility, by, you know, his fiat was, I will rule, and her fiat was, let it be done to me according to thy word. And so her humility overturns his. And she undoes what the devil did. She unties that knot that the devil tied, so to speak. And you get that predicted, prophesied all the way back in Genesis, when the Lord speaks to the serpent, who, of course, represents the devil, says, I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. And that's why, of course, we have all these wonderful images of Our Lady, not just with the crown of stars above her head and the moon beneath her feet, as we get the image in the book of Revelation, but also with the head of the serpent crushed underneath her heel. Because though Jesus did the direct battle, she, by her fiat, by her agreement with the Lord, yes, of course, do what you want and I will bear your son. By that fiat, she also took part in that crushing of the serpent's head. And Eve gave a yes to the enemy's temptation and brought death and the devil's domination to the world. But Mary's yes to God instead of the enemy opened the door for the ultimate victory of her son over Satan. That's why we call her the new Eve. By her obedience to God, she undid what the first Eve had done by her disobedience. Well, one of the great saints that you mentioned here is not only a doctor of the church, but a loyal son of St. Francis, that St. Bonaventure, who writes so very strongly that, and he was a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man, but even he had to acknowledge that men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary. And we get that, you know, it's not just a speculation. There's all kinds of experience of that and exorcisms. A recent exorcist who talks about how an enemy, a demon, was protesting over the praying of a Hail Mary and saying every time, I'm paraphrasing, but every time you say that Hail Mary, it's like a hammer hitting my head. They have such a hatred for Our Lady, and they know that she's overcome them. She's the Queen of Angels, and as I say in one of my prayers in here, she's the Queen of Angels, and she's the bane of devils. They fear her and they tremble before her. Her name is terrible and powerful, it's the name of Jesus. Well, to them particularly, it's so beautiful that in the Manual for Spiritual Warfare, you have a whole section on prayers to Our Lady.