“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:7-9
This scripture is at the end of the monastic compline. It is a call to the Brothers to always be on guard. For those that dont know, there are 7 liturgical hours to the day, Compline completes the day, where in the Monks/Nuns have prayed the psalsm and readings through the day (More of Catholics not being deep in scripture…I digress). When the Compline is complete, the brothers will approach Father Abbot, and he will bless them before they retire into the Great Silence..which happens just before sleep time.
Sleep Time. That’s when we are most vulnerable to oppression. Sleep can be more then the physical act of resting though. I would argue right now, the world is very much asleep. We turn a blind eye to our fellow man. We parade mediocrity for leadership, and are complacent with moral relativism, accepting everyone on their own terms..rather then aspiring mankind to reach the glory that God the Father intended for us.
This past weekend at mass, we heard the reading of Jesus at Capernaum. Capernaum was a cultural center for the Jewish people, and it had a marvelous Synagogue. It truly was an epicenter of the Rabbinic Jewish movement that would replace the more temple based Judaism of the day. In the reading, he banishes a demon
“In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.” Luke 4:33-37
Even demons recognize the authority of Christ. Because he is more then man… he is God in the person of the Son. Father then went on to share an experience with us of his own spiritual awareness. The devil HATES that God can relieve us of our burden of sin, and will do everything in his power to deceive and destroy. He can make something something seem beautiful, perfect or right… when all the while it is leading us to damnation.
Sometimes… Life is hard, and the Message of the Cross is this is not the end for us.. but simply a beginning to an end. However, life’s struggles can weigh us down to the point of complacency and often ignorance. That is when we are most vulnerable. Just like in warfare, often the element of surprise can be vital, so too our Enemy uses that against us, and before we know it… we have gotten ourselves in a mess that snowballs into despair of God’s mercy.. which is right where Satan wants us. His greatest hate of us…is that WE are made in the image and likeness of God. So he prods…pries, corrupts us until we either hate our Maker… or are unrecognizable….even unto ourselves.
Now more then ever we are in a situation in life..in this world…where we need to be Sober and Ready. Our Enemy is working over time. Dont believe me? Watch the news… Follow our government.. Be aware of the people around you..and the little things they might do or say.
There is hope though. That hope begins with trusting in Gods mercy above all else. Often we westerners get into the rut of Cause Effect in our understanding of the relationship… but really… its all effect, an effect of mercy. Trust in that mercy, and eventually all will be made right in the world.
Some of us are into “Pre Lent”… That might be Cheesefare and Meat Fare sundays… That might be Septuagesima and Sextuagesima Sundays..
Some might be thinking about lent, and what we might give up .
All of us will embark on a time and journey that will either make or break us.. and hopefully prepare us for easter. This is when we are vulnerable the most, so we need to be watchful and ready, and our eyes Fixed on going up the hill.
St Michael Defend us in Battle.