I had a very productive visit with a customer in the store where I work, today. This gentleman is a priest, a retired philosophy professor, an expert in languages, a scholar and… a former exorcist. In fact, he was a technical advisor for The Exorcist. I kid you not.
We had a long conversation, in which I shared with him some of the trials and challenges I’ve been facing lately. It’s impossible to reproduce our conversation here, but there are some things I feel approved to say, after talking with him.
First of all, we do have an Enemy, the root of all evil in all its manifest forms. This Enemy hates what is good and right and true, and he uses numerous ends and means to destroy innocence, idealism, sanctity, and uprightness.
We talk about waging war against the world, the flesh and the devil. Basically, they all are components of a single battle against anything which would keep us separated from God and defeated in the pursuit of holiness.
Those of us who oppose evil, through a deliberate act of will – either in attitude or activism – will find ourselves assailed and challenged on so many levels it’s hard to imagine. We find ourselves in frequent conflicts with people we love, with family members, coworkers, friends. Controversies get stirred up, provocations exaggerated, all sorts of issues will arise that will serve to discourage us and to reduce our effectiveness.
This blog, for instance, is a tiny sardine in a mighty big ocean, even though we did find ourselves listed in a diocesan program this past weekend (thanks to Barbara K for that information!). The big fish are the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and other mega-organizations that have been fighting this Good Fight for years. Still, what we’re doing here has attracted some hostile attention and some hits from the Enemy —
At least, that’s what it feels like. And as I talked today with this priest, who knows a thing or two about the way the Enemy manifests his energies, he affirmed that it does sound as if there’s a bit of “meddling” going on.
Here’s the challenge: when we know what we’re facing, we can face it with strength and clarity – and that includes kindness. When we aren’t prepared, when we aren’t expecting the subtle manipulations, the “meddlings,” we can feel blindsided and react – as I did this weekend when caught off guard – in anti-productive ways. (I’ve felt as if someone’s been laughing at me, all week.)
There is no soldier in the Lord’s Army who is so insignificant that he or his efforts will go unnoticed or unchallenged.
Don’t get paranoid about this Enemy. Don’t give him credit for more power than he possesses. Don’t neglect our personal responsibility.
But know that we’re involved in a confrontation with those powers and principalities that are determined to see the destruction of souls – Be vigilent. Take nothing for granted.Do nothing of your own power, but immerse everything in prayer and devotion.
Encourage one another.
Renewing the effort – I remain
Your sister in Christ and fellow-soldier.