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Spiritual Warfare: What You Need to Know to Resist Satan

How Satan Tempts Us

“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pt 5:8)

Satan is the author of lies and manipulation, always waiting for mankind to stumble and he can take advantage of our weaknesses. He seeks to minimize our perception of the gravity of sin, so that when we fall into sin, he can maximize the shame and guilt of offending God. 

Satan tempts us in a myriad of ways: 

  • He attacks our anxieties and fears
  • Makes us fixate on the future
  • Convinces us to value prayer based on our emotions 
  • Influences us to avoid the difficulty of striving to attain virtue 
  • Distracts us from prayer with intrusive thoughts.


Levels of Spiritual Warfare

Fr. Chad Rippergur, an exorcist in the Archdiocese of Denver and speaker for the Sensus Fidelium apostolate, gave a series of sermons on Spiritual Warfare, the first of which outlines the multiple levels of spiritual warfare that mankind must fight through. 


  1. Ordinary Temptation


Demons, at the behest of Satan, introduce into our imagination images. They can not create new images, but they manipulate things we have already seen as material for temptation. All of mankind suffers from this kind of spiritual warfare. God uses the sufferings caused by demons at his level as an instrument to cultivate an excellence of grace in the soul. 


  1. Dolor


This level of spiritual warfare is when demons attack the saints physically.  The demons will cause disease, speech impediments, inability to move, convulsions, suffocation, and other forms of physical ailments. This does not apply to the everyday person.


  1. Oppression (Indirect and Direct)


Indirect Oppression is the influence of the diabolic to get people to do evil things in society, culture, the Church, etc. For example, the demons hold an absolute vitriol for the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church. This hatred has an indirect consequence found in some of the evils the Church must suffer through today. 


Direct Oppression is when the demons attack you, your health, relationships, finances, your home, job, etc. 


  1. Diabolic Obsession


This level of spiritual warfare is when the demons attack the person psychologically, besieging their imagination with evil images to such a degree that the individual cannot think of anything else. 


There is a difference in demonic obsession and mental illness which Fr. Chad Rippergur expands on, which you can read about here. You can also read the comments of Fr. John Bartunek, LC on the difference between the two here


  1. Diabolic Possession


A very rare level of spiritual warfare, diabolic possession is when a demon possesses a person and that the person feels every single thing that the demon is feeling or going through or experiencing. Possession does not indicate whether or not someone is in a state of grace or not. 


For example, in the case of Annelise Michelle in the 1970s, her exorcism was akin to a torture session because of the pain and suffering felt by the demon. However, she offered up all the pain and suffering inflicted on her by the demon’s possession as acts of reparation for the priests in Germany, who at the time were steeped in corruption. 


How to Resist on the Offensive: Join Us in Prayer


How can we, as members of the Catholic Church, resist the temptations of Satan on any of these levels? Our main offensive is Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Without Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)


We must be proactive in integrating the Person of Christ into our lives so that Satan cannot find a place to enter into our minds or hearts. We can do this by: 

  • Establishing a daily habit of prayer
  • Receiving the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist regularly 
  • Praying for the intercession of the saints 
  • Fasting (not just on obligatory days of fasting) 
  • Other forms of charitable service to the Church and community. 


The most efficacious prayer to pray against demonic attacks is the Most Holy Rosary. Invoking the Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can find refuge and strength in the Mysteries of Christ’s Life and Our Lady who has the title: “Help of Exorcists, Terror of Demons.”


As Padre Pio states: “The Rosary is the weapon for these times.” You can join us in praying the rosary everyday at 3 PM by visiting thestationofthecross.com


For more information on Spiritual Warfare, listen to our program Sermons for Everyday Living, for a recent homily on the weapons used against Spiritual Warfare and the intercession of St. Joseph. Listen to this recent homily by clicking here to open in a new tab. 


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