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We must always guard against Satan.  If today he does not use open persecution, it is because the hidden methods like ignorance, negligence and heresy are more effective.  He uses flattery instead of tortures.  He stirs up strife, passions and wagging of tongues.  So, even if we don't bend our knees before him, we nevertheless end up paying homage by our sinful lives.  

The only way to conquer this enemy, St. Leo the Great says, is for us to conquer ourselves.  Like the Israelites, realizing not only by arms will we win, but by self-discipline and conquering the desires of the flesh shall we be victors.  

So let us arm ourselves with  holiness, fully conscious of what we are up against. . .cosmic powers, rulers of the world of darkness, superhuman forces of evil.  John Chrysostom says: "The devil does not attack when we are together with others who are similarly in the service of God."  So the first Christians lived in monasteries for this purpose, or in closed knit families.  The devil attacks when we are alone; he attacked Eve when she was apart from her husband, and Christ when He was alone in the desert.  

Since the devil uses the present material world to strike us as if "from beneath", to disarm him we must reject the present world, living in the world but not of this world.  We must learn that honours, pleasures and riches are vanities and cause death to the soul;  and that the slander and abuse with which the world persecute us is true glory and joy.  

Salvation, however, is not attained by disarming the devil alone, for many go to perdition unattacked by the devil.  We must also remove our ignorance, avoid negligence and reject heresies, warns St. Hilary.    







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