Monday, March 9, 2015

Manual for Spiritual Warfare (TAN Books)

The Manual for Spiritual Warfare has been one of the most popular Catholic books in recent memory. It seems like as soon as TAN Books ships them out to various retailers, they fly off the shelf before the dust ever settles. Now, I for one, don't normally fall prey to popular books. I like to think I look for the less known and less popular books, but when I was offered a chance to review this book, I figured I'd see what all the hype was about. Boy, was I glad that I did!

The Manual for Spiritual Warfare begins with a guide on how to use this manual. It tells us that we are in an ongoing battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil. This book focuses on our war against the Devil! Part One "lays out the biblical and theological foundations for our warfare with the Devil," and Part Two gives us help for the battle, i.e., hymns, Scripture, and prayers. Part One was easily my favorite part. It was divided into six chapters that are as follows:

1. Know Your Enemy
2. Know Your Battle
3. Know Your Commander and Comrades
4. Know Your Weapons
5. Know Your Armor
6. Keep the Enemy out of the Camp

Keeping the enemy out seems like the most obvious of advice, but as easy as it sounds, he still finds a way in our camp. One way Satan ends up in our camp is through "Trojan horses," like Ouija boards or fortunetelling. "Poisonous reptiles" are another way Satan sneaks into our camp. St. Teresa of Avila referred to "little" sins that we don't think are important or significant are poisonous reptiles.  The last bit of advice is to "fight the good fight," which leads into Part Two that provides us with methods of fighting.

I also enjoyed reading about spiritual warfare in the lives of the saints. Here we see examples from St. Anthony the Great, St Benedict, and lots from the Desert Fathers, I love the Desert Fathers, so any book that promotes reading them gets a good mark in my book! Obviously, I am going to recommend you buy this book, but buying it is not enough. Carry it with you everywhere you go. Read it. Study it. Memorize the Scriptures. Engrave the prayers on your heart. This is one of the best books on spiritual warfare since Lorenzo Scupoli's The Spiritual Combat! Bound in premium ultra-soft leather, this makes a beautiful gift for Confirmations, graduations, birthdays. or even weddings. Don't buy just one of these. Buy two, because you won't want to give up your copy when a friend asks to borrow yours!

This book was provided to me for free by TAN Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!