I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the nature of evil. It’s only, well, natural that I should do so, I suppose. This time of year tends to bring out the brooding, morose side of my introspection for several reasons. While the days are slowly getting longer here in my cold Northern home, winter seems to rage on with no end in sight. And as any Michigan driver can tell you, winter is the epitome of all that is evil: cold, unforgiving, brutal, and oppressive.
Yeah. I thought you wouldn’t buy that. There’s a deeper, more personal reason why this time of year makes me go just a little bit wonky. Shadows of bad memories tend to play through my mind in the quiet stillness of winter. It is easy to put these things aside in the hustle of summer, but when all is stillness and pure white, it is harder for me to ignore.
A year ago, I would not be writing this. A year ago, I would have been listening to those whispers in my head and letting them tell me their lies, because I did not understand their nature or how to combat them. I let them win, because I thought I was powerless, broken, and probably deserved what I got.
Those whispers in the back of my head were me. But they were also my enemy trying to pull me back into his service. Evil is sly and subtle in this way, and it is fantastic at exploiting our weaknesses. But here’s the deal: evil exploits our weaknesses because we allow it to. Because we make the decision to wallow, to listen, to believe. I have suffered in confusion and self-hatred for years because I made the choice to let evil tell me who I was rather than listening to the merciful love of the Lord of All who made me and died for me. For me!
I told you way back at the start of this blog that Free Will is mankind’s greatest power. God built us with the ability to choose which path we would follow. Satan knows this power better than we do, and loves to toy with us by telling us a critical lie: once you’ve made the choice to serve evil, there is no turning back.
He’s just bitter because that was true for him. As an angel without Grace, he only had one chance, and he chose to rebel. And in his rage and anger and infinite patheticness, he tries to surround himself with as many embittered, desperate, miserable persons as possible, so he does not have to deal with the consequences of his mistake like a grown up. He is a powerful spoiled brat throwing a perpetual temper tantrum, and he is not to be listened to because everything he says is a lie.
So why do we ever listen to him? Well, because once upon a time, our mother and father did. When they partook of the Most Expensive Fruit Salad, Adam and Eve cursed us with Original Sin. On a personal level, they cursed us with the guilt that goes along with knowing that we are a broken people… and that lovely thing we call concupiscence. We have within us a twisted dark piece that predisposes us to temptation and deliberately acts against our best interest. It is our weak point, and Satan’s ally. And it is part of every one of us.
Thanks, mom and dad.
So how do we fight this enemy, when the enemy is already within our gates, defiling our temple, and ransacking the treasure house of our soul? How can we possibly prevail against such reckless hate?
Good news! Great joy! We don’t have to do it alone!
God gave us allies, the angels and saints, to help us along the way. He gave us a desire to love him which is stronger than the darkness if we let it be. And most importantly, he gave us his Son, who was made flesh of our flesh, who bled and died horribly for us to free us from the eternal Death which was the final kiss of this curse. He gave us this same living flesh and blood to consume not out of a desire for us to practice ritual cannibalism, but because through this Blessed Sacrament, we are made anew. Every time you fall on your knees before God and cry “Mercy!” He is there and grants you more than you ask for. Every time you eat the flesh of the Lamb Who Was Slain But Lives and bathe in His blood, you are purified. His is not dead viscera that passes through our digestive system. It is living flesh that bonds with our flesh and makes us more Him every single time. Jesus lives within us, growing in power every time we allow him to.
And that weakness of our concupiscence? It is no longer a curse. It is an opportunity. That weakness within that Satan so loves to manipulate is strength to those who surrender it to God’s mercy. For when we look at our brokenness and place it before God, allowing the tide of mercy from the wounds of Jesus to flow over it and into our very essence, when we truly surrender to Him, knowing that alone we are like a rabbit in an alligator pit. . . it is then that we are made strong. It is then that we are made Saints. And in this way, the forces of hell truly will not overpower us.
Hey, demons. Guess what?
My Dad can beat up your dad. And my big Brother’s gonna get you.
In fact, He already has. You’ve lost. You’re beaten.