Considerations As We Move Into Lent

Considerations As We Move Into Lent

Considerations As We Move Into Lent

Guest article by Matt Chicoine

The world is full of chaos. Stress at work, relationship conflicts, and war seems to always be abounding across the globe. It’s easy and tempting to fall into despair. Where is God in such a suffering world? I find it crucial for us Catholics to grasp the reality of the spiritual warfare we're entangled in. Let's talk about it from a more personal perspective.


I'm not delving into some ancient, abstract struggle; it's my daily reality—a personal tussle against the temptations that Satan throws my way. We are all called to holiness (it’s not reserved for only priests or nuns). While the path towards holiness is simple it’s not always easy. One must engage in a spiritual battle daily against temptation and sin.


It’s reassuring to remember that Jesus already secured the victory through His Death and Resurrection. It's not just a doctrinal statement; it's my source of inspiration and motivation. During my daily grind, I hold on to the truth that Jesus' sacrifice is my ultimate shield against the forces of evil.


The 19th-century art critic John Ruskin wrote, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.” An initial step in any battle is preparing yourself—and your weapons. The virtue of humility, being the exact opposite of pride, is the best weapon to kill pride! Whenever a sword gets dull, it needs sharpening. I have noticed the same is true for virtues. Whenever I get complacent in my spiritual life, the virtue of humility gets dull as well. Slowly the weeds of pride begin to grow back into my life. Focusing on gratitude, reading the Scriptures, and learning from the saints help me re-sharpen my “sword of humility.”


Gratitude—a shield to guard against pride While not considered a weapon in the traditional sense, unless you are a fan of Captain America, shields still are considered a piece of armament in warfare. Humility chops away at the roots of pride. Gratitude acts as a deterrent, or shield, against the ego. I have discovered the days I am more thankful tend to be times where I am less affected by pride. The Enemy never takes a day off! Thankfulness protects against the sin of pride. Acting as a coat of armor, gratitude keeps arrogance at bay. Thinking about the various blessings in my life keeps my mind focused on good instead of greed—a gateway sin toward pride.


Power of Gratitude

Possessing the weapons of humility and thanksgiving will go far in turning the tide in your battle against the Devil. However, the battle is persistent, and as time goes on, these weapons will be blunted. They will need to be strengthened and re-sharpened to ensure the final victory! The best place to refine your arms is the Catholic Church.


Officially, the Catechism of the Catholic Church houses clear and objective content to equip yourself for the battle in sin. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of doctrine in the catechism. Whenever this happens, the other place I look to forge my weaponry is through the writings of the saints. Arguably, no other saints describe daily living as plainly as St. Josemaria Escriva. According to the Spanish priest in The Forge, “Pride dulls the edge of charity. Ask Our Lord each day for the virtue of humility, for you and for everyone. Because as the years go by, pride increases if it is not corrected in time” (no. 596). Josemaria advises later in The Forge, “Be convinced that if you do not learn to obey you will never be effective” (no. 626). Obedience to God and His Church helps us try strong against the Enemy.


Catholic Church— the forge to strengthen these weapons

Because God created humanity to live in communion, the sin of pride isolates individuals from others. Relationships strain, fracture, and eventually die if pride is left unchecked. Humility and gratitude attack and defend effectively against this sinister sin. When your weapons need repairing, seek out the help of the Catholic Church and implore the aid of the Holy Spirit.

In a world rife with chaos and suffering, Catholics grapple with the search for God's presence amid spiritual warfare. Acknowledging the daily struggle towards holiness, the victory secured by Jesus' Death and Resurrection becomes a profound source of inspiration. The virtues of humility and gratitude emerge as powerful weapons against the persistent temptations of Satan. As these weapons require constant refining, the Catholic Church, with its teachings and insights from saints like St. Josemaria Escriva, stands as a forge for spiritual strengthening. In countering the isolating sin of pride, the Church offers a community and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to repair and fortify these essential weapons, allowing individuals to navigate the ongoing spiritual battle with resilience and hope.


Matthew Chicoine is a free-lance writer, faithful Catholic. Matthew has written book reviews for Homiletic and Pastoral Review and published works for Catholic Insight Magazine, as well. He earned his M.A. in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2014. Please feel free to visit his blog at 

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