098: Spiritual Warfare & the Interior Life with Dan Burke

What if I told you the game has changed?

What if I told you that things have gotten so serious that there are often-ignored spiritual truths we have to be aware of or we’re not going to survive the current climate?

The reality is that we are at war.

The forces of darkness are trying to destroy your life. They’re trying to kill you. And it appears the battle has intensified, which means you have to be ready.

And that’s why I asked EWTN’s Dan Burke to come on to the Art of Catholic and discuss his new book Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits.

But we’re not just talking about the warfare itself. We’re going to talk about how to deal with it and protect yourself from the Evil One.

Among other things we’ll discuss:

  • The current state of spirituality in the Church
  • Why we have to be aware of demonic forces
  • How the Ignatian rules of spirituality combat evil
  • The most important rule of them all
  • The complementarity of Carmelite & Ignatian spirituality
  • The importance of community

Spiritual warfare is real. And Dan knows what he’s talking about. This is a fascinating conversation that will open your eyes to the reality behind the spiritual curtain.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. There’s still time to sign up for the FREE Lenten streaming of Catholic Mysticism & the Beautiful Life of Grace? Join thousands of Catholics from all over the world and be transformed this Lent! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

The One Sin You Must Crush This Lent

There is one thing that every one of us needs to focus upon and crush this Lent with no mercy.

What is it? Your predominant fault. “My what?”

You heard me…or rather you heard one of the greatest spiritual theologians of the 20th century, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

What in the world is a predominant fault?

Well, even in a state of grace, each of us possesses a particular fault that is stronger than the rest. It could be lack of patience, fierce anger, deadly lust, admiration of skinny jeans…the list goes on.

Regardless of its identity, the predominant fault is a stone cold killer of the spiritual life.

Here’s how it works.

Grace in the soul tends to start by perfecting what is good in us. For example, if you’re already patient, grace can even help you charitably endure a 3 hour long elementary school Christmas concert.

From there, says Fr. Lagrange, grace radiates out to what is, shall we say, “less good,” in us. In other words, it starts to work more on our natural weaknesses and faults.

Our predominant fault, however, acts as a major obstacle to that pattern of purification. It attacks the work of grace in a similar manner to that of weeds seeking to take over a manicured lawn.

We’ve all seen it happen…even to ourselves.

You spent the entire summer cultivating the best-looking grass on the block and in mere days one dandelion seed from your neighbor’s “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” yard destroyed it all.

Suddenly you’re swimming in a sea of yellow.

All that time spent in the sweltering company of a Garden Weasel is rendered nil and dandelion “bouquets” begin appearing on your dining room table, courtesy of your children.

Of course, it’s not all your neighbor’s fault. The Devil is the real anti-gardener. 

As Christ says in the Parable of the Sower, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away” (Mt 13:24-25). 

And then the Evil One continues to come round like a disgruntled Chem-lawn guy, fertilizing the weeds so they can strangle and destroy the good plants.

And the weed that grows fastest is our predominant fault.

But while it’s incredibly deadly to the life of grace, few of us have actually identified our personal predominant fault (though we can easily identify it in others. Hmmm…)

Ironically, it’s often easier for earnest beginners in the spiritual life to name their main fault than those more advanced in the ways of God.

Those a little further along in the spiritual journey are often quite adept at covering their faults with the facade of virtue. (“I’m not impatient! I just admire punctuality!” or “I’m not angry, just righteously indignant!”)

So with Lent fast approaching, it would be a good time to identify and set up a plan to crush our predominant fault. It’s the perfect time to do so.

And if you’re wondering how to identify your predominant fault and exactly how to crush it, don’t worry. 

In my next blog post, I’ll give you 6 ways to identify your predominant fault, as well as the three keys to crush it.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. If you haven’t yet signed up for the FREE Lenten streaming of Catholic Mysticism & the Beautiful Life of Grace, what are you waiting for? It’s FREE! Join thousands of Catholics from all over the world and be transformed this Lent! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

The Real Celebration of Love

You might think I’m crazy, but I think we should look at Lent in the same way that a lot of people look at St. Valentines’ Day.

Yep…you heard me.

In fact, I find it quite apropos that in most years, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the “ominous” shadow of Lent.

Why? Because all the flowers and chocolates are symbols of exactly what Lent is all about – self-giving.

Our gifts to each other are evidence of love. To put it in heavier terms, they’re external actions that signify an interior reality. We physically demonstrate our love through gifts.

And that’s the heart of Lent.

But instead of giving Godiva and roses, we’re giving ourselves, which is exactly what we’re called to do.

“Greater love has no man than this,” says Christ, “that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

The penances we’ll undertake in just a few, short days aren’t meant to be drudgery. They’re meant to be sacrificial actions driven by love. “Love is the soul of sacrifice,” says Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

So when you really think about it, Lent is way more of a celebration of love than Valentines Day, or any other human holiday.

Because through it, we sacrificially demonstrate love to Our Lord, who out of incredible love did exactly the same thing for us on the Cross.

It’s all just something to keep in mind as you’re ponding possible penances this year.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. If you’re looking for something really transformational to do this Lent, I’m offering a FREE Lenten video study titled “Catholic Mysticism & the Beautiful Life of Grace!” Part of the popular online series, the Science of Sainthood, it’s unlike any Lenten series you’ve ever done…and it’s absolutely free! CHECK IT OUT HERE!