Monday 20 July 2020

Immortal Combat Confronting the Heart of Darkness - Father Dwight Longenecker

Immortal Combat:
Confronting the Heart of Darkness
Father Dwight Longenecker
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781644132906
eISBN 9781644132913


I have followed Father Longenecker on social media since I started blogging 15 years ago. I have picked up a few books that he has written, and also a few that he has contributed to. I became aware of this volume around the time that I finished Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits by Dan Burke, Ad the two make excellent reads, ad really compliment each other. And both are books that are much needed in our world today. Michael H. Brown states in the introduction:

“You have in your hands a very good book, a very much needed book in an era in which the Church has largely lost sight of a major mission: direct confrontation with the devil. Is this not what Jesus was about? Did He not say He had come “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)? Wasn’t it Christ who said He would recognize His followers — would know them! — by several standards, the first of which was casting out devils (Mark 16:17)?

Other questions rise from those. Do we emulate Jesus? Does the modern Church? Do those at the helm of Catholicism roam the hinterlands, commanding demons to leave the afflicted, as Jesus and His apostles did?

The answer, all too often, of course, is no: too often, at Mass, the reading of the day concerns demonic manifestations, but the subsequent homily doesn’t mention them. There is little or no instruction in this regard. We rely instead on movies. In our hyperscientific, academic age, spiritual warfare has become subjectum non gratum. There are more canon lawyers — substantially more — than there are exorcists.”

The end of the description of this volume states:

“Here, without fear or favor, Longenecker maps out the myriad places where evil lurks in our world, shines a light on its many faces, and details the countless clever tricks it uses to hide. He delineates ten sturdy principles that must motivate all Christian warriors who hope to expunge evil and stop it from returning. And finally, he explains in fascinating detail the art of immortal combat, showing how self-sacrifice and contemplation of the Cross can bring victory over any evil, no matter how hidden or how grave.”

And that is what we get. We have a volume that was fearlessly written. It tackles many issues others would shy away from. And it brigs the light and love of Christ into those places. The chapters in the volume are:

Part 1 The Heart of Darkness

     1. War in Heaven
     2. The Minotaur and the Labyrinth
     3. The Dragon in the Garden
     4. The Three-Headed Hound of Hell
     5. Medusa and Her Sisters
     6. Geryon and the People of the Lie
     7. Murder and the Mob
     8. Sacrifice and Scapegoats

Part 2 The Sword of Light
     9. The Secret Son
     10. The Little Lady
     11. The Full, Final Sacrifice
     12. Victim and Victor
     13. Only the Penitent Man May Pass
     14. Behold the Lamb
     15. Liturgy and Liberty
     16. The Swords of the Spirit

Further in the introduction we are told:

“And so it is that Father Longenecker ably tackles our culture of idolatry. He drills deep into this time of prevarication. Citing the mirages, exaggerations, and blatant untruths of our time, he shows how “people of the lie” have caused distress in every corner — and among those (don’t be fooled!) of every politico-cultural stripe.”

The volume will help us look at ourselves and be honest with ourselves. Fraying from a mythological example and from the ‘people of the lie’. Father Longenecker uses the Heart of Darkness to look at ourselves and the fallen world. Then in the second part of the book he focuses on the Sword of Light.

This book will help us realize the way the gospel has been watered down, and because of that why it is ineffectual. In our lives and in the world. We will gain afresh insight into our true enemy. How he slithers and how he hides, and how he constantly tries to manipulate. And we are given tools to help in the battle against him. This book is a manual, a guide, and also a warning.

You can take the challenge and like a soldier entering bootcamp pick up the book and work through it. And using this book to help prepare for the battle ad then enter the fray. This is an eye-opening book and one that I believe every Christian should read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Father Longenecker:
A Sudden Certainty: Priest Poems
Adventures in Orthodoxy
An Answer Not An Argument: Essays on Apologetics
Catholicism Pure and Simple
Challenging Catholics: A Catholic Evangelical Dialogue
Christianity Pure and Simple
How to be an Ordinary Hero
Immortal Combat
Is Anybody There?: The Question of God
Letters on Liturgy
Listen My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers
Mary: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate
More Christianity: Finding the Fullness of the Faith
Mystery of the Magi
Our Lady?: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate
Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing
Praying the Rosary for Spiritual Warfare
Saint Benedict for Busy Parents
Slubgrip Instructs
St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule & the Little Way
The Gargoyle Code
The Great Battle: Living by Faith
The Path to Rome
The Quest for the Creed
The Romance of Religion
The Vicar of Great Snoring
Why Do You Believe That?: A Protestant-Catholic Conversation

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