We Are in Spiritual Warfare! This is *Not* the Time to Drop Our Prayer Hands

We Are in Spiritual Warfare! This is *Not* the Time to Drop Our Prayer Hands

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“As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage” (Exodus 17:11). As this critical election approaches, and evil seems to be moving unabated in our times, we simply *must* keep our “prayer hands” raised!!

 

Story of Intense Spiritual Warfare

In the summer of 2004, I was assigned as pastor of two parishes, one of which was St. Mary’s of Pine Bluff, a Catholic parish in a small unincorporated town in southern Wisconsin, just west from Madison. The little town of Pine Bluff has one church, two bars, and a handful of homes. It is surrounded by fields and idyllic rolling hills and countryside. It’s the kind of town where people dream of raising their kids.

So it was that just months after I arrived in Pine Bluff, one of the bar owners decided to rent out his cozy establishment to a strip club owner. Neighbors were appalled, and the little town was stunned. But there was not, it seemed much that anyone could do.

The folks in Pine Bluff, however, didn’t yet understand my resolve and my absolute trust in God’s miracle power. Lying in bed one night, I found myself in my prayer … “What in the world did you have in mind, God, by allowing this strip club across the street of my new parish?” Then one word came to me, “Mile.” It was then that I envisioned the trek from the front of our church to the end of the block, then back to the church and concluding in the cemetery behind our church. Then two words came to me, “Miracle Mile.”

These words and that image came so strong that I got out of bed at 3:00 AM in the morning and put on my sweat suit and went out in my car. I reset the odometer down to zero, and drove the path I envisioned in mind.  When I reached the end of that path (up in the cemetery), the odometer rolled to exactly one mile. I knew then that God was speaking to me.

That following week, I gathered together some of the faith-filled people I had met since my arrival, and we began to make plans. Surprisingly, they did not think I had lost my rocker when I told them about my 3:00 AM drive through Pine Bluff. They, too, believed there was something to this.

We discerned that we were called to pray the Stations of the Cross along that one mile route. Some people designed little 3 foot high crosses, and we placed a roman numeral on each one, signifying each of the 14 Stations. All the neighbors allowed us to plant these crosses in their yards, near to the sidewalk. We then chose Palm Sunday to hold this Stations of the Cross. We asked people to come, and over 200 people joined us.

CrucifixCemetarycrop1Participants carried their prayer sheets and a white ribbon (a symbol of purity and anti-pornography). The twelfth station found them at the entrance to the beautiful parish cemetery on a bluff with a life-size crucifix of our Lord and a one-hundred-year-old stone kneeler in front (pictured here). The participants tied their white ribbons to this kneeler as a prayer form, much like lighting a vigil candle in church.

After that first prayer walk, a container holding prayer sheets and ribbons was placed at the first station on the walk. All were invited to come, pick up a prayer sheet and white ribbon, and pray at anytime of the day or night, as they wished. Over the next seven months, prayer warriors walked the path and prayed the Stations. The white crosses on residents’ lawns served as a very tangible reminder to pray the Stations and to pray for God’s mercy.

Father Does the “Moses Thing”

While I walked and prayed that mile many times, my primary way of praying during those days of intense spiritual warfare was to wake up before dawn every morning and drive up to Blue Mounds State Park (When one looks west at my church, from a distance, they can see Blue Mounds  in the background … it looks like a mighty mountain). On top of Blue Mounds (Blue? Mary’s color? 😉 ) is a lookout tower (Fire tower?). It was 64 steps to rise to the top. I brought my Bernese Mountain dog, Angel, and I would leash her to the bottom of the tower while I ascended to the top. On top, I would look east and see much of Madison from the high point. And, of course, I was looking out over my entire two parishes. I made sure I was there before the sun would rise, so I was praying as the sun rose. At some point, I found a straight branch that I used, much like Moses’ staff, to hold up and pray … recalling the scripture passage when Moses prayed this way … “As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage” (Exodus 17:11). After I had prayed on the tower, Angel and I would walk the paths on Blue Mounds as I prayed various prayers, such as the rosary. I only missed four days on top of Blue Mounds from April through October of that year.

Victory!!  Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!!

The miracle mile was, indeed, miraculous. Even though many say that the porn industry is more protected (under First Amendment rights) than are the babies in our mothers’ wombs, within seven months the strip club was chased out of town. Little Pine Bluff was overjoyed, and a victory was won for Our Lord. We estimated that over 700 ribbons were tied to that 100 year old kneeler, represented 700 miles walked in prayer.

 

We Are in Spiritual Warfare Right Now.  Let’s Pull Out the Big Guns

FIRST – PRAY IN A STATE OF GRACE … GO TO CONFESSION!

 

Padre Pio’s Secret Weapon!

Why not pray with “Padre Pio Power”? When I heard that the prayer below (written by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque) was the one Padre Pio would use when people asked him to pray for them, I needed no further encouragement for choosing this prayer in the same way. Padre Pio has tens of thousands of miracles associated with him, including the healing of a very good friend of Pope John Paul II.

Due to our limited view and God’s eternal view, it is important to always trust that He knows far better what is really needed in these situations. Be open to seeing how sometimes He answers our specific prayers in a way that does not always match exactly with what we asked. I suggest that our prayer intention continues what was started with our 54 Day Novena for Our Nation …

Prayer Intention: “For faith and freedom for our nation.”

Padre Pio’s Sacred Heart Novena Prayer

O my Jesus, You have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (here name your request). Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be … Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

O my Jesus, You have said: “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” Behold, in Your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (here name your request). Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be … Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

O my Jesus, You have said: “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away.” Encouraged by Your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (here name your request). Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be … Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of You, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your tender Mother and ours.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: “St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.”

 

Cardinal Burke’s Spiritual Warfare Prayer

I have come to learn that the Chaplet of the Holy Face of Jesus is a favorite of Cardinal Burke’s, especially in times of intense spiritual warfare, which we all understand we are in at this moment in time.

The chaplet has for its object the honoring of the five senses of our Lord Jesus Christ and of entreating God for the triumph of His Church. The chaplet comes to us from Sr. St. Pierre and is composed of a cross, 39 beads, six of which are large, and 33 of which are small. The 33 small beads represent the 33 years of the mortal life of our Lord. The first 30 recall to mind the 30 years of His private life, and are divided into five decades of six with the intention of honoring the five senses, touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste of Jesus, which have their seat principally in His Holy Face, rendering homage to all the sufferings our Lord endured in His Face through each one of these senses. A large bead to honor each of the senses precedes each of these five decades of six beads. The three small beads recall the public life of the Savior and honor the wounds of His adorable Face; the large bead preceding them has the same purpose. A medal of the Holy Face completes the chaplet.

To pray this chaplet, start by making the sign of the cross with the crucifix and recite this invocation: “O God, incline unto my aid. O Lord, make haste to help me,” followed by the Glory Be.

The Sign of the Cross / Signum Crucis

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

Deus, in adjutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

O God, incline unto my aid. O Lord, make haste to help me.

 

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

On the thirty three small beads:

“Surge domine et dissipentur inimici tui et fugiant qui oderunt te a facie tua”

“Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee before Thy Face!”

 

On each of the six larger beads:

“O mi Jesu misericordia!” “Gloria Patri…”

“My Jesus, mercy!” and one “Glory Be..”

 

At the end of meditating on the senses of Jesus, continue repetitions of “Arise, O Lord” prayer on the remaining three beads, to bring the total to 33, one for each year of Our Lord’s earthly life. On each of these last three beads, think about the wounds in His holy face from the slaps He endured, and from the crown of thorns. After all of this, repeat seven times, in honor of the 7 words of Jesus from the Cross:

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

On the medal at the end pray:

“O God, our Protector, look down upon us and cast Thine eyes upon the Face of Thy Christ!”


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