What’s Going On?
Is it Spiritual Warfare? Is it Diabolical or Man Made?
I thought long and hard about whether I should write this article. I gave it to God and He gave it right back to me. I think He was telling me that He wanted me to make the decision and I know He would support me either way. Before I begin, I want to be perfectly clear. I write this not from a political perspective. In fact, I have only one agenda and that agenda is to open closed hearts, and if this article, written by a basically unknown writer, can open one heart, my agenda will have been successful.
So, What is Going on in our World Today?
Like most of you, I have heard many opinions about why our country is in such a dark place; it’s the fault of the politicians, taking prayer out of school, the earth’s grids are changing, the beginning of the end of time. The list goes on but the two opinions I hear most are; God is angry at us and Spiritual Warfare. If the sages of the world cannot agree, I surely don’t know the answer but one thing I do know is that we have lost our way and we must find it. There have been 248 mass shootings in this country since January, 2019. These resulted in 246 people having been killed and 979 having been wounded. Keep in mind, that these numbers reflect only those incidents that were on a larger scale and reported by the media, but what about the drive by shootings and gang shootings? What about the molestations, kidnappings and drug overdoses? What about the 70 plus law enforcement officers who have been killed while on duty?
There’s more. There is much more but we don’t need more statistics to get the point. When I pray for peace, I begin with the world and then go on to our country, our state, our neighborhoods and finally, our families. That we even have to pray so fervently, for peace among brethren is, to me, heart-breaking. Of all the opinions I have heard regarding the darkness of these times, the one that makes most sense to me is Spiritual Warfare but, in this, I don’t think of Spiritual Warfare as it is usually defined.
Is This Spiritual Warfare Diabolical?
Jesus gave to Saint Faustina, twenty-five lessons on protecting herself from the devil. He said, “My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare.”
Among the twenty-five lessons were these: 1) Never trust in yourself but abandon yourself totally to My will. 2) Put your self-love in the last place, so that it does not taint your deeds. 3) Shun murmurs like a plague. 4) If someone causes you trouble, think what good you can do for the person who caused you to suffer. 5) Be silent when you are rebuked. 6) Know that you are on a great stage where all heaven and earth are watching you. 7) Fight like a knight, so I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone.
In looking at and reflecting on these lessons, it is fairly clear to see that Jesus is teaching us how to live and His direction in all points, leads back to Him. But if we examine our own lives and put a compass on our path, where will we find that it is taking us? Not to Him, but rather from Him. This is, from my perspective, Spiritual Warfare.
It Begins with Ego
So, I see Spiritual Warfare as a battle between our souls and our ego; a belief that everything is about us; a lack of humility and an unwillingness to recognize, admit and change this.
Saint Augustine wrote,“The garden of the Lord, brethren, includes – yes, it truly includes – includes not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people, and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, my dearly beloved, who need to despair of their vocation; Christ suffered for all. It was very truly written about him: who wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the acknowledgement of the truth.” Do we recognize that we all belong to God? Do we understand that saint or sinner, we are all equally loved by our Creator? Or do we prefer to believe that this is not the case? With this as our blueprint, a seed has been planted and from this seed grows prejudice, racism, greed and the belief that we must be right and the other person must be wrong.
What’s Going On?
It is true that our world is in a very dark place and that truth is heart wrenching. There is much we cannot change. We can’t stop all the violence. We can’t end all the hatred. We can’t feed and shelter all the downtrodden but we can lessen the wretchedness, one person at a time. We are not responsible for the mindset of others but we are accountable for our own. There is blame, so much blame for every tragic event. We are angry, and that anger is often just, but blaming someone who disagrees with your opinion does not stop the tragedies. It adds to them. The only blame we should be calling is upon ourselves and our unwillingness to accept someone who is not reflected in our mirror.
“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” ~Pope Saint Gregory the Great~
One of my favorite quotes was given by Saint Augustine. When asked, “What does love look like?” He responded, “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
Where is our Love?
If asked to make a list of priorities, where would yours begin? It would, most likely, begin with love of family, good health and, hopefully, love of God. What comes next? Success? What is success? Is it financial gain, recognition for achievement, possessions? Does your list define success on a material or human level? We are pretty much all alike in that we want to be comfortable, healthy and loved. There is no wrong in this but do we allow our hearts to see that others want the same? The homeless veteran would like shelter. The hungry child would like bread. The parents who are tending to a dying child would like the miracle that Jesus performed when He healed the dying child in Capernaum. And the grieving family would like Jesus to perform another Lazarus miracle. Perhaps we see this with our eyes but do we see with our hearts?
Looking at the Earth from Above
A friend told me that he read that if we were above the earth looking down, we would see in the earth, some spots of black but mostly we would see white. What he meant is that there is much goodness here; goodness that by far outweighs bad. But we have to wake it. We have to become that goodness. And we can. One person at a time! Please, take a soul inventory. Look honestly at your priorities, prejudices and willingness to serve. Take inventory of your relationship with Jesus and work to make it better. One prayer at a time would bring Him great joy. After John the Baptist baptized Jesus, he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We must do the same; less pride, more humility, keeping Jesus as our focus. And always asking His mother to help us. She will get you to her Son. Remember the quote, “Through Mary to Jesus?”
Christ Has no Body
Saint Teresa of Avila summed it up beautifully with her poem, Christ Has no Body.
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
With more love, more prayer and a willingness to abandon our anger and biases, we can come to see others through His eyes. We can be His body, one person at a time.
“Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.” ~Saint Catherine of Siena~