Our first defense, not surprisingly, is prayer. Prayer, promises the Virgin, can change the world. It is the only way to save the human race. “Pray!” is the most frequent message of Our Lady. In prayer, she says, the spirit is purified. Whether it is the Rosary, formal prayers, silent meditation or prayers of consecration, it is important that prayer not become a mere recitation of words. The Virgin calls us to pray with the heart, to pray with love.
The second weapon against the attacks of satan is the practice of fasting. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, are filled with examples of abstaining from food for the purposes of penance and purification. The Virgin informs us that the importance, effectiveness and power of fasting have been all but forgotten, particularly in the past century.
“Fasting and prayer can stop wars and suspend the laws of nature.” (7/21/82)
While fasting can consist of giving up earthly pleasures such as alcohol, cigarettes or television, Our Lady tells us that the best fast is one of bread and water. She invites all people, except the sick, to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. Through fasting, the body is purified, and the spirit is once again placed in control of the flesh.
The third weapon in our arsenal against darkness is daily scripture reading. The Virgin Mother encourages her children to display the Bible in a visible place in the home, to encourage us to read it every day and apply it to our lives.
Fourth, the Virgin calls us to penance, to atone for our sins and those of the world. For Catholics, this means monthly Confession, with a focus on transforming ourselves to become closer to God. Again, this is a practice that has lost much of its significance in the world today. Monthly confession, Our Lady goes as far as saying, will be a remedy for the Church in the West.
Finally, the Queen of Peace calls Catholics to receive the Eucharist as often as possible. The Mass, she tells the faithful, is the most important and most holy moment in our lives. It should be our life. Mass is the greatest prayer of God, and we should prepare ourselves accordingly.
If the above five practices are our weapons against evil, our armor, instructs the Queen, must be love. Without love, she says, nothing is possible.Elizabeth Ficocelli is the author of fourteen books, including The Fruits of Medjugorje: Stories of True and Lasting Conversion. She is also a national speaker and the host of “Answering the Call” on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio AM 820. For more information, please visit www.elizabethficocelli.com