Brethren: Be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of His power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and pow- ers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace in all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Verse 12. Flesh and blood, which may either signify temptations of the flesh, or raised by mortal men. — Principalities and powers; i.e. devils, or apostate angels, who before their fall were in such ranks of spirits, and who are permitted to rule over the wicked in this world of darkness. Wi. — By which we are to understand the fallen angels. For as by nature, and from their creation, they were the governors of this corporeal world, and were deprived of this their power on account of their pride, they received it (though limited by certain restrictions) in order to tempt man. Estius. — Rulers of the world of this darkness. By these are meant the devils who exercise their power and authority in our inferior and dark atmosphere, by raising winds, storms, tempests, &c. By darkness may be understood the wicked, in whom Satan reigns as in a citadel. Menochius. — Our inferior world is called dark and misty in comparison of the world above, which is always bright, serene, and clear. Our atmosphere is called the cloudy and dark heavenly. Cicero, in his Tuscul Quæst. Prudentius likewise, in Hamartigenia, writes thus:
Non mentem sua membra premunt, nec terrea virtus
Oppugnat sensus liquidos, bellove lacessit;
Sed cum spiritibus tenebrosis nocte dieque
Congredimur quorum dominatibus humidus iste
Et pigris densus nebulis obtemperat aer.
Scilicet hoc medium cœlum inter et infima terræ
Quod patet ac vacuo nubes suspendit hiatu,
Frena potestatum variarum sustinet, ac suo
Principe Belial rectoribus horret iniquis.
His colluctamur prædoribus, at sacra nobis
Oris Apostoli testis sententia prodit. —— Estius.
— Against the spirits of wickedness: or wicked spirits in the air, says S. Jerom. Lit. in celestials. Wi. — High places. That is to say, in the air, the lowest of the celestial regions in which God permits these wicked spirits or fallen angels to wander. Ch.
Verse 14. Your loins . . . with truth, both as to doctrine and a good life, keeping your baptismal promises. — Having on the breastplate of justice, not only of the particular virtue of justice, but of all virtues in general. Wi.
Verse 15. Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel; i.e. prepared to walk in the ways of the gospel, as a soldier must be prepared and in readiness to march or fight. Wi.
Verse 16. The shield of faith. A lively faith working by charity, which will enable you to conquer your greatest enemies, and to escape their fiery darts, their greatest temptations, and attacks. Wi.
The Catalog of the Authoritative Statements of the Past Bishops of the Holy See Concerning the Grace of God
That God thus operates in the hearts of men and in the free will itself, so that a holy thought, a pious plan, and every motion of good will is from God, because we can do anything good through Him, without whom we can do nothing [John 15:5]. For to this profession the same teacher ZOSIMUS trained us, who, when he spoke to the bishops of the whole world concerning the assistance of divine grace, said: “What time therefore occurs in which we do not need His help? Accordingly in all acts, situations, thoughts, and movements He ought to be implored as helper and protector. Indeed, it is arrogant for human nature to take anything to itself since the Apostle declares: Our struggle is notagainst flesh and blood, but against princes and powers of this atmosphere, against the spirits of wickedness in high places [Eph. 6:12]. And thus He Himself said again: Unhappy man (that) I (am), who will free me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord [Rom. 7:24]. And again: By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace in me has not been void; but I have labored more than all those; yet not I, but the grace with me [1 Cor. 15:10].”