Sometimes we are spiritually attacked. We experience a bombardment of problems, or perhaps one main problem, and they are not explicable in natural terms (i.e. are not due to psychological weakness or character flaws). Whatever we do on our own strength to rid ourselves of these problems does not have any impact whatsoever.
I have undergone such an attack recently. It was really painful. I had an idea where it was coming from, what work for God’s kingdom was eliciting such a strong counter-attack by evil. That insight alone helped me keep steady.
Having just gone on a pilgrimage to Cascia, I took St. Rita’s path, the one that she trail blazed: the path of 1) humility, 2) purity, 3) gentleness. She showed us how to imitate Christ in all three of these ways. Of course they are His answers–I think of Christ fasting in the desert. But Rita was a sister in Christ who has a powerful witness to these three being powerful weapons. When we have no answers to our concrete circumstances, she modeled making these three things one’s answer.
I clung daily to these three gifts of God, these virtues. I did not have any of them myself–I was quite filled with the opposite of each one. But I begged Jesus to give them to me, to let me borrow His.
The first conquering of the problem happened inside me: I found God’s peace, God’s refuge, even during the trial.
The second conquering of the problem was that I was able to respond, with God’s help, and in His time, to the actual circumstances. I was, through grace, able to do so with 1) humility (knowing the external solutions just might not come, and yielding to God’s providence), 2) purity (no anger, wrath, resentment, or other contaminations), and 3) gentleness (I promise you I was filled with the opposite).
These heavenly gifts were like a protected tank to hide in, equipped with spiritual weapons that are simply more powerful than the weapons of evil.
And the attack lifted! I thank God and cannot imagine how people get through life without God’s gifts operating in our weak, sinful and imperfect souls!