Friday of the 27th Week of Ordinary Time
October 9, 2020Today’s Prayer:
Lord Jesus, purify all my intentions, and give me discernment and strength to persevere in the battle against evil. Amen.Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
What happens after a person accepts salvation from Jesus? Can he or she live a good Christian life without working hard at growing in holiness daily? It’s easy to get lazy on the path to heaven. It’s also easy to give in to the impulses of our flesh-nature. It takes conscious and conscientious forward momentum to stay close to God.
While we’re still here in this sinful world, we suffer from the Law of Chaos. Everything decays, disorder is natural and order is unnatural and requires great effort. So, too, in our spiritual lives. Growth in holiness takes effort, and without that effort, our holiness decays. Daily. And demons try subtle and not-so-subtle ways to entice us onto the easy path. Daily. As Jesus points out in today’s Gospel reading, we can end up worse off than before our conversion.
Jesus is the “someone stronger”. He overpowered Satan by dying on the cross for our sins and then by overcoming death. It was our death that he took to the cross, and it was his life that he gave us in his resurrection, but we can only benefit from this if we choose to live in him, with him, and through him. Jesus has swept our houses clean, but now it’s up to us — with his help of course — to keep it clean.
Jesus gave us the authority, through our baptisms, to bind and cast demons away from us. However, the best and most effective way to defeat demons is to do the opposite of whatever they want us to do. Are you tempted to get angry? Forgive instead, even if you don’t feel like you want to. Are you tempted to demand your own way? Instead, do what the other person is demanding of you (as long as it’s not sinful).
We need to stop living in automatic mode and identify the ways that our lives are being ruled by the Law of Chaos. Then, we can choose to live by the Law of God’s Love. Putting effort into choosing holiness is so eternally and vitally important that the cost of our time and energy should not seem like too high a price.
We have to be overcomers, working on our holiness daily, consciously choosing behaviors that resist the Law of Chaos. One of the saddest examples of this, which I witnessed and caused me to discern the spiritual principles I’ve shared in this reflection, was the case of an old friend who was a priest with addictions. Although he did desire to grow spiritually, he was unwilling to pay the cost of recovery. I watched him wither emotionally and then spiritually. He ended up sequestered by his bishop to serve in a very small ministry, and soon after he withered physically as well and died an early death.
He had come alive in the Holy Spirit during seminary, and God graced him with a fantastic gift of miraculous healing and good preaching. However, although an initial conversion to Christ always turns destruction into resurrection, it cannot keep faith alive. On-going addictions cater to the flesh-nature, and so the person’s spirit disconnects from the Holy Spirit, and decay sets in.
Remember, with God all things are possible. Everyone can be rescued from the Law of Chaos, but often it doesn’t happen until they become miserable enough in their decay to desire change. Sometimes this happens after death in Purgatory. We must continually pray for those who are on the road of destruction. We must take time to discern what God is asking us to do to help them seek recovery. And we must choose to trust in God’s desire to resurrect all those we bring to him.
See more about this issue using our Podcast Series “Rebuking the Devil” @ gnm-media.org/rebuking-the-devil/.