I recently attended a talk by a young dynamic priest who gave a very encouraging and challenging message. He informed the entire congregation that we are at war with the evil one, that the war had already begun and continues around us every day. He ended by asking us a very thought-provoking question: ARE YOU READY FOR WAR?
Looking at my oversized body due to the extra calories I had gained during the holidays, I was far from ready for even a jog, leave alone a war. This question however, penetrated deep into my heart and I began reflecting on what sort of war takes place around us.
I am sure if we are asked on whose side are we , we would rather promptly say that we are definitely on God’s side. However, this may not always be true. We may have good intentions but we tend to keep shifting sides. Our lips may proclaim that we are for God but the way we lead our life begs to differ. Before we go any further, let us first analyse this war.
We think we know who our enemy is and feel confident that we will be able to recognize him when faced by the challenge. But our enemy always comes in disguise. He may come to us through people, events, situations, choices and sometimes through our own feelings and emotions. All of these are basically good but the evil one can use them to get to us. Before we even recognize it, we are already trapped by him.
Plan of the Enemy:
Riches ? Power ? Honour ? Pride ? Self Centeredness
Our riches are a blessing from God which are not only material but also include our talents, relationships, personality, resources etc. These are given to us for a particular purpose but the evil one tempts us to make these an end in itself. We often find people running after riches and fighting for promotions at work etc. This is not in tune with the plan of God. God definitely desires us to do well in life but not at the cost of someone else.
God challenges us to use our talents, abilities, wealth and our strengths for his work. The riches tend to go to one’s head and this leads to a struggle for power and honour. This makes the person proud and self-centred. Christianity is a religion where ‘the other’ has lots of importance. The evil one wants us to be individualistic. Therefore, even if we pray a lot and do not relate well with people, we cannot be living a true Christian life.
We must not aspire for honour, glory and praise. Rather, we are called to give our best in everything we do, however small it may be. The evil one uses a softening process which means he will tell us to start small. Be unfaithful in small things first. Nobody is asking us to murder but what’s wrong in a little gossiping? And before we realize it, we are digging our own grave.
The message of Jesus is that of love. Loving oneself is just half the job. We are invited to go out and love our neighbour and this is what the evil one attacks the most. The community life based on love is the true symbol of Christianity.
Plan of God:
Detachment ? Spiritual ? Poverty ? Humility ? Self Emptying
The plan of God is simply to empty oneself. We can say in other words: ‘death of the ego.‘ People give too much importance to themselves and their needs and therefore are often upset, hurt and disappointed. But ‘death of the ego‘ means to be secured in our identity as a child of God. This death of the ego should be for a cause that God has called us for, otherwise the danger is death of the ego may soon turn to self-pity.
The plan of God is that we empty ourselves and live for others and with others. The process is painful and hurtful but true love will hurt. Only if we are empty can there be place for others in our life. If we are so full of ourselves and our problems, we will have very little time to bother about our neighbour.
The best part of this war is that we know God has already won thanks to the great work of Christ on the cross. Yet we need to complete the work of Christ through our lives like St. Paul mentions in Colossians 1:24:
Therefore, we need to always be alert and on guard, but not be obsessed with the evil one.
Our focus should be the love of God and his mission of love, not the evil one and how to escape his tricks. We should not give the enemy more attention than he deserves. After all, Jesus has got it all sorted for us!!!