Fight for it Mama!
This is for all you women who spend your days trying to keep your family together. You serve your husband, raise your children, tend your household, and nurture your people so that all of them are cared for, appreciated, and hopefully harmonious. Now, unless your home is different than mine, you know that this ideal is not always achieved. You’re supposed to keep the dishes and laundry moving, the darling little dependents fed, cleaned, and clothed, the dog alive (yes, most days that’s enough), the toys accounted for (except, always, one puzzle piece), and you’d like to appear calm and collected when your husband is home lest he start to think he’s married to a perpetual grump.
You love these people and you take your vocation seriously, but still, there are plenty of days where people fight, messes don’t get cleaned, and you, for all the love and peace you try to permeate throughout your family, well, you can barely even keep yourself together, much less navigate the needs of everyone else orbiting around you demanding attention you just don’t have to give, and so you get frustrated.
Who do they think you are anyway? Athena, Demeter, and Aphrodite all melded into one gray sweat suit and a pair of fake Ugg boots?
I have come to recognize this overwhelming, taken-for-granted, snide-and-snippy, feeling as ripe grounds for spiritual attack. Devils are real, they are the bad angels that turn away from God, and they don’t like happy, functioning families, which means they especially don’t like happy Mamas.You have to be ready for spiritual battle. Think of it kind of like the Orkin™ commercials where the unsuspecting homeowner answers the doorbell only to find a human-sized pest trying to lie his way into the home.
Demons cannot act on you internally, you own the powers of your soul, but they will try to pull your attention externally toward things that will tempt you to vice, they can make you imagine things. Have you ever been distracted by something that, deep in your heart, you knew you really were not worried about at all? For instance, do you ever notice that you have begun to pettily fixate on insignificant faults of your husband? Do you notice at times that even though you love and adore your children, you seem unable to engage with them without being side-tracked by minor imperfect details that tempt you to lose your temper? Does the list of things you need to do around the house suddenly overwhelm you, when the day before you just accepted that perpetual busy-ness comes with motherhood? What happened?
Your family’s happiness and peace got the attention of the demonic little monsters, that’s what, and they have found a vulnerability for attack. But oh, the kicker — you let them.
You may not always catch it right away. Incrementalism is also a tool of Satan’s minions. The discontent happens slowly, while you think yourself quite fine, and then one day you realize you do not recognize the bitter, screeching, heathenistic mess, obsessed with stupid nonsense, that you have become. My number one clue that I have succumbed to the temptation of demons trying to harm my family is when I hear my own hurtful sarcasm, and my prayers sound like this:
“Dear God, do you see how they are? Look at them! How am I supposed to bear these people?”
Yep, I let the devils get to me. It takes practice to be prepared for spiritual battle in your home, but with vigilance you learn to see the signs and battle them head on. Don’t get angry if you fail, just try again and never give up. Despair is also a vulnerability. Satan would like us to give up and crouch aside as our families fall apart. No way! There is a big arsenal of spiritual weaponry to fight devils, but here are a few things I’ve come to rely on, the first two are more of my own little defenses, the last two are serious and should be heeded by everyone.
1) Giant Sign-of-the Cross and High Kick Prayer: I’m serious. Let it rip! This is usually my first reaction when I realize that I’ve let those demons into the house and things seem out of control. I stand strong, toss my hair back, and make one giant sign-of-the-cross, proclaiming the sacred words loudly, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” (Don’t forget the “of the’s.”) Then I kick my foot high in the air and hold up my fists and order, “Get out!”** In case they didn’t think I was serious, I usually repeat the prayer a few times. How dare they invade my home!
**UPDATE: Please see Brad’s comment below about not addressing demons directly. Ask the Lord to rebuke them.
2) Holy Water Sprinkling and Dousing: Do not waste this precious water, but if you can get a small bottle, or several, to keep in the house, do so. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle Holy Water on the culprits: iPods, computers, televisions. I even once poured the whole bottle on my head when I was desperately at the end of my rope and needed to get a serious spiritual grip. God’s grace and mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ are limitless, but sometimes I need the dousing to make myself snap out of it already.
3) Confession: Without fail, I have noticed a direct correlation to my susceptibility to temptation and my frequenting of the Sacraments. Our family does not miss Mass or Holy Days of Obligation, but with the Sacrament of Reconciliation I too often get lazy. I find all kinds of excuses not to go: gas prices, nothing to wear, no one to watch the kids, I’ll wait until my husband goes with me, etc. Go to confession regularly. A clean soul can withstand temptation, a heavy soul will succumb much more easily.
4) Pray the Rosary: Do not just pray the Rosary yourself in the middle of the night because you forgot to do it during the day telling yourself that the Blessed Mother will finish it for you if you get passed the first Hail Mary (guilty, so many times). No, make it a priority. As the saying goes, “The family that prays together, stays together.” That does not mean that you pray it and hope that your husband and children will. It means that you take a matriarchal lead and protect a time and place for the family to pray together. This one I am working on, but it is abundantly clear that if this is done daily, demons cannot touch you or your happy, praying family.
And that brings me to a final point. The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. If you have not developed this family practice, join me in striving to do it now. The messiness of life will someday fade away, your failures in the minutia won’t matter and won’t even be remembered. What will matter and what will go on, are the fruits you bear from your time united in prayer. So, fight for it Mama, keep your home purified from negative forces!
May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can “water” society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God. The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, it brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the centre of each “Hail Mary”.
– Pope Benedict XVI in an address at the Basilica of St. Mary Major where he prayed the rosary with the faithful.
(Source, Catholic Culture)
UPDATE: Father Ryan Erlenbush has an (as always) excellent article about guardian angels today too. They can help you protect your family in spiritual battle. October 2 is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. If you do not follow his blog, I highly recommend you do so.