Change begins with us
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Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12: 51-53)
Our upcoming elections have caused the greatest turmoil in our country in decades. This isn’t overlooking the campaigns and politics of the preceding 12 years, as today’s turmoil is in part an outcome of that. It is also an outcome of our oversexualized, senseless culture denigrating humans to mere sexual objects and holding us down in our animal passions. It is an outcome of us permitting our educational system to raise our kids for us, using ‘peer education’ which further isolates them from the reality that God created an age hierarchy for a purpose and elders really do have wisdom. We have become a society for whom taking part in riots (or cheering from the sidelines) is the highlight of our existence.
At its root, it is the domino effects from the destruction of personhood caused by the legalization of abortion. Once the human person no longer had intrinsic value as a child of God, people became disposable. Relationships became disposable. The void is filled with ideologies to numb the hidden pain. We have transitioned from an ideal of self-preservation to one of self-gratification.
Within that context we have the upcoming elections. These have caused great angst for many people, grasping for answers, seeking to control in an out-of-control world. Yet Jesus warned us He is here to cause division. The division of which He speaks is the kind that occurs when real Truth is spoken and lived: pure Truth, Truth with a capital “T”, God’s Truth. All that is not of God is illuminated, as the glow of Truth casts out the shadows within which lies hide.
HOW GOD WORKS:
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; (Eph 4:1-4)
The distinguishing feature of this real Truth with a capital “T” is Love. God is Love. Not full of love, like love, or a feeling of being loved. It is His nature, His essence. He can’t not be Love. We know when we are acting in God’s Truth because we first experience Love, and then are able to Love (even if it hurts as Mother Teresa says). The division of which Jesus speaks is one in which people react to His Love in us.
HOW SATAN WORKS:
Second Rule. The second: in persons who are going on intensely purifying their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, the method is contrary to that in the first rule. For then it is proper to the evil spirit to bite, sadden, and place obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, so that the person may not go forward. And it is proper to the good spirit to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing and taking away all obstacles, so that the person may go forward in doing good. (Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola)
Conversely, Satan’s distinguishing feature is partial truth, grounded in natural logic because it is devoid of true Love, the Holy Spirit. He engages our natural reasoning, emotions and passions to lure us to what we think to be right and just; false virtue. Sure of ourselves and grounded in self-reliance, we ignore the Holy Spirit in us whispering ‘something is amiss’. The fruits of these choices include rationalizing taking the lesser good choice often presented as the ‘only’ option, and ideologies that promote death for the false promise of having material needs met. Hence the need to discern the source behind our “inspiration”.
“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not.” (Ezekiel 12:2)
Satan’s hallmark is division. Divide and conquer is his strategy, our emotions and passions are his tools. He pits us against one another in an ‘either-or’ perspective; fueled with our natural reason we completely believe we are right, blinded to other possibilities.
It is imperative in these times to take a Love-check of the heart. No matter how good, right, well-intended and logical an idea, ideology, choice or action appear, it cannot be right for us to take it without Love in our heart. Recalling the Holy Spirit is the Love between God the father and Jesus the son, True logic (with a capital “T”) immediately illuminates this cannot be the right action for us. If we knowingly choose to continue with the action even after determining we have no Love in our heart–those times we say in our heart “I don’t care” or “I know I’m right”–well, we risk blaspheming the Holy Spirit. “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:29) We need to take our interior attitude very seriously.
This is precisely where Satan’s lures lead us, as taught in Rule 2. His primary tool is to use that which is either good, or the appearance of good. He will use our accurate knowledge of the faith to convince us we need to admonish another person before the Holy Spirit has had chance to open their ears. He will use our beautiful liturgies and create disordered attachments such that we judge others by their choice of style. He will use our devotions and create such attachment that we lose sight of the very God to whom they intend to dispose us. All these things are good but our disordered use of them is not.
One of Satan’s best games is to use our very religion against us. The outcome—division–speaks for itself. We can see how this is different from the division of which Christ speaks. Those who shun His Truth will not have ears to hear, prevented by their woundedness. We will have pity and compassion for them, not malice. Meanwhile, those attracted to His Truth are so because of His Love within us, not our natural abilities to convince them. As Jesus often says after teaching a parable “”He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8, 14:35).
When in a state of unrest or unlove, the first step is to sink into the core Truths of Faith. The one command Jesus gave us is to Love one another as God has Loved us. Anything that doesn’t flow from this Love isn’t of God. It is that cut and dry. Even a good thing can’t be good for us in this moment if we don’t have Love in our heart.
We live in turbulent times, fearful times. People on the street are walking images of pain. So are those sitting at our dining table. We are grasping for anything that will promise us control. And yet we have the answer before us: living His Truth, rejecting Satan’s tempts to invoke our passions and dull our sensibilities, and giving all decisions the Love test in mental prayer. This is how we are called to live, as vessels of His Grace. Change will happen, but first it must happen within us.
And all must be grounded in the sacraments so continue to pray for our beautiful holy mother church, especially Pope Francis, all clergy and religious.
If I saw an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee; first to the priest and then to the angel. (St. Francis of Assisi)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊