‘We must realize we’re in a battle.’ Bishop Gruss continued his teaching on the Evil One and spiritual warfare during most recent First Friday presentation   

We won’t protect ourselves against an enemy we don’t believe exists. That’s why Bishop Gruss spent time in April and May discussing the reality of the Evil One, whom St. Ignatius called, “the enemy of human nature.” 

“The Evil One assaults us with thoughts,” Bishop Gruss said. “Thoughts that are not of God. He assaults us with an image that may come to our mind, he assaults us with worry, fear and anxiety. He will tell you nothing is evil and encourage you to rationalize any behavior.” 

When we surrender to the thoughts and temptations he sends our way, when we don’t make time for prayer, when we find ourselves attached to material things or convince ourselves that sinning is normal or that we are only doing what everyone else does, we give the Evil One power over us.  

“Do not underestimate the sins you commit,” Bishop Gruss said. “They always render you weaker and deeper into the Evil One’s enslavement. No matter how “little” or venial they may be, venial sins compounded, collect interest, and not for our good.” 


So how can we protect ourselves in this spiritual battle for our souls? Bishop Gruss has several suggestions, including: 

  • Daily prayer (we cannot live a life of holiness without daily prayer).  

  • Do an examination of conscience at the end of every day, calling to mind those encounters where we shared the love of Jesus, as well as those when we failed to love as Jesus calls us to (holy shame and holy sorrow can be a gift to turn us back toward the Lord). 

  • Go to confession at least once a month and pray for the grace of contrition. Before receiving the sacrament of penance, put yourself before the Lord and ask for the grace of contrition. Then, formulate a plan to never commit that sin again. When we approach the Lord with true contrition, the Lord will lavish us with grace. 

  • Mass, including daily Mass  

  • Eucharistic adoration 

  • Reading Scripture, the Living Word of God  

  • Fasting, making sacrifices 

  • Pray the rosary daily and consider one rosary a week in repentance for our sin  

  • Daily devotions  


We must also know the areas in which we are prone to sin.  

“If we are tepid in faith and live in sin, we are prey to an enemy we cannot see,” Bishop Gruss explained. 

The seven deadly sins which lead us away from God are: pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth and wrath.  

“There is most likely a dominant one or two in each of us,” Bishop Gruss said. “Do you know what it is in you? They all play on our disordered passions and desires. If you don’t know what they are, pray and ask the Lord to reveal them to you. It is important for us to know ourselves at least as much as the Evil One does.” 


With knowledge of our areas of weakness, we can strive to grow in virtue. The counterparts for the seven deadly sins are the seven heavenly virtues: humility (opposed to pride), kindness and admiration (envy), temperance and self-control (gluttony), charity and generosity (greed), chastity and purity (lust), diligence and zeal (sloth), and patience and forgiveness (wrath). 

“When we live under the standard of Satan, we have feelings of inadequacy, we feel isolated, disappointed, discouraged, full of doubt and despair. The standard of Jesus gives us courage, we live in communion, we have a feeling of being held by the Father, we have hope, happiness and peace. 

“Often times we kind of go back and forth,” Bishop Gruss said. “Jesus wants to heal us; Satan wants to bind and isolate us. Confession and contrition are burning defeats for Satan. When a person goes to confession, the Devil has lost his grip. The grace of God protects us and the more we live in the light of faith, the greater chance we will see his deceptions and traps in the places where we are the weakest.” 

First Friday in June

At the next First Friday gathering at the Cathedral, Bishop Gruss will answer questions on this topic. If there is additional time, he'll also answer any other questions people may have for him. The next First Friday gathering is happening on June 3.


Full video of Bishop Gruss' talk at the Cathedral on Friday, May 6