Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
The Spiritual Contest And The Mind
The first, and undoubtedly the worst, bad decision ever made, was made in a battle between two superior intelligences before historical time began. Though we image the conflict with St. Michael dressed in armor and wielding a spear over Lucifer, the most beautiful of the angels now turned into a writhing, contorted, dragon-like creature, the battle was not physical but rather intellectual in nature. The arrogant supposition on the part of Lucifer, that he was greater than God in determining the “right order” of things, was resoundingly contested and conquered when St. Michael thunderously proclaimed: “Who is like unto God!” The power of those words suffused with truth and piercing light and rumbling through the far reaches of the heavens was enough to cast the demons from the seraphic realms forever.
Intelligence, a God-given gift which makes us different from the animals, and gives us a likeness to God, can be cradled in either pride or humility. Humility recognizes the gift; pride glories in the gift without acknowledging the origin. Humility generates light; pride is blind to it.
We do well to remember spiritual warfare is not out there somewhere. It takes place inside of us, in the understanding and the will, the mind, and the heart. Jesus tells us the Kingdom of God is within, and “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” Matthew 11:12. You cannot run from this battle. Every man is put to the test within his very self.
We may feel at a distinct disadvantage in a battle where our foe knows every weakness we have and has a superior intelligence with which to fight against us. And yet, our victory is had beyond the limits of purely human reasoning and strength. When the mind, the intellect is filled with the light of faith, we are able to see things and assent to things we do not fully understand, and thus to be victorious. And when the will is informed by charity, by the love of God, it moves easily to that which is shown to it by faith.
When Jesus contends with the devil in the desert, he does not engage in dialogue, because what the devil says, is technically true. He simply reverts to the love and providence of the Father and manifests His determination to wait on Him, even in suffering, rather than follow any direction coming from a creature who has willfully cut himself off from infinite good.
All temptation follows the pattern of the first sin in the Garden. The devil attacks the understanding: “Did God really say that? That’s not true! He knows if you eat this fruit you will be just like Him, and He doesn’t want that. So He’s keeping it back from you.” Once Adam and Eve allow doubt to be sown into their minds, their hearts lose trust in God, and they choose what they should have rejected.
The same thing happens to us in our personal temptations. A thought comes to us, and we toy with it for a while and then start thinking it wouldn’t be so bad to do the thing after all. God will understand, etc. Check for the tail of the serpent when you find yourself thinking like this about things you know are expressly wrong. Our pride and our inordinate seeking after pleasure can blind us to truths which God is very clear about.
It is sobering to observe that these internal battles can affect far more than ourselves. Lucifer must have been so persuasive in his argument that he swayed 1/3 of the angelic hosts to follow him. So too, do we see the same principle play out in human history. The last century has produced ideology after ideology (nazism, fascism, socialism, communism, radical feminism, liberalism, conservatism, traditionalism, modernism, and on and on, masses of people following an often diabolically compelling and magnetic leader set on an appealing but fatally flawed idea).
Jordan Peterson, a popular speaker and engaging thinker says this about ideologies: “Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know- it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
This certainly has been evidenced over and over again in the last century, with the resulting human destruction numbering in the hundreds of millions. But this is simply spiritual warfare on a grander scale. Someone takes the bait in a bad idea, which usually has to do with creating a better existence but hides a lust for power. The attempted implementation of the idea ultimately destroys everything in its reach. The followers, and surrounding people pay the price with their lives because they are deceived into believing that utopia, (a perfect existence), here on earth is possible and that people will change and be happy if they just acquiesce to the plan.
It is merely a re-packaging of the original temptation. The serpent whispers the same lie to the modern age: your life will be better if you do what I say, not what God says. This is the seed of corruption that ruins everything from individual lives to whole nations under the sway of contaminated ideas. Pope Benedict XVI noted that: “Wherever politics (read ideologies) tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.” Truth And Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions
Be aware of your thoughts. They have the power of heaven or hell in them.
St. Mark the Ascetic says,”Every thought has its weight and measure in God’s sight.” If we can sin in our thoughts, we can likewise do good in our thoughts, exercising faith and holding onto trust in God. May Our Blessed Mother help us to put on the mind of Christ that we may fight the good fight and be victorious in the arena of our own souls.
- How aware of your thoughts are you?
- How do you discipline your thoughts, if at all?
- What would you say is the general tone of your thoughts throughout a day? Positive, negative, distracted,
curious and unruly? How would you describe your thought life?
- What does “putting on the mind of Christ” mean to you and where do you personally see the most prominent
attacks against that in your thinking?