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Loving Good Music and the Soul

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Current Events, featured, Interior Life, Theology | 10 comments

Loving Good Music and the Soul

…there is a special quality in the essence of beauty, a special quality in the status of art: the conviction carried by a genuine work of art is absolutely indisputable and tames even the strongly opposed heart…Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn In his 1970 Nobel acceptance speech in Literature, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offered an address entitled, Beauty Will Save the World, a title he borrowed from Dostoevsky. Solzhenitsyn argued that Dostoevsky was not simply offering a passing thought when he articulated this phrase, but instead was providing a prophetic insight into how modern man may be saved from his own self-destructive tendencies. A world paradoxically convinced of the truth of relativism is a world lost in incoherence and inconsistency, the final result of which is cynicism. If one is proclaiming a so-called truth, that person must have the ulterior motive of simply trying to impose his truth on me so as to control me, so the cynic concludes. Thus, when evangelists seek to save such a world by proclaiming the truth of Christ, they will be seen as intolerant busybodies imposing their truth on others. It was for such an era that Solzhenitsyn, through Dostoevsky, offered these words. We are that era. I have run across this same phrase in several different places lately, especially in a  Fr. Robert Barron Word on Fire video discussing this very idea.  As Fr. Barron so eloquently articulates, beauty saving the world is a strategy for re-evangelizing the culture. My work with catechizing Catholic school teachers and parishioners has convinced me that these thinkers are on to something. Relativism is so ingrained in our culture that truth-seeking/finding is now viewed as a bigoted position. In a shocking and strange twist, it is Christians now who aren’t tolerated and will soon, it seems, be attacked for holding to the truth of Christ. We must evangelize with beauty, but how? A few nights ago, I was invited to a backyard concert at a friend’s house. They had willingly offered up their beautiful yard for an evening soirée in order to promote a group of young people touring the country and entertaining audiences with their music and art inspired by their love of God; or, more appropriately, the discovery of their being loved by God and thus love Him in return. What a pleasant coincidence! While musing on how to go about evangelizing the culture, God led me to some Catholics who were well ahead of me in doing something about it. This evening concert was a beautiful idea at a crucial time. This fusion of disparate groups of Catholic musicians and artists in order to form a traveling band of evangelizing entertainers was the brain-child of Jimmy Mitchell, musician and founder of Mysterium Records. Mitchell selected each of the musicians and artists based on their talent, their love of Christ, and their ability to engage and transmit beauty. He called his concert simply, Love Good Music.  I found each artist as excellent as they were young, and their message was as fresh as it was old. Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and forever! (Heb 13:8.) I brought my family simply hoping for something different to spend our evening together, not expecting the overwhelming confluence of multiple generations of families flooding my friends’ backyard with picnic blankets, folding chairs, and hordes...

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Fear and the Liturgical Year

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in Current Events, featured, Interior Life, Morality | 7 comments

Fear and the Liturgical Year

Christians are afraid. I read it in their blogs; I hear it in their voices. Recently, I, too, experienced a deep sense of foreboding. A couple of nights ago, I had trouble sleeping.  I had watched some rerun from the 1970’s and noticed something in this program—a program my family watched in my youth—that I hadn’t noticed before: the early stages of the inculcation of the homosexual agenda. Although subtle, from our present perspective, the intention was nevertheless apparent. I went to bed thinking, ‘My Lord, they have been working out their strategy for almost 40 years! No wonder this push is coming from so many different directions. The purveyors of this agenda have been at it for years and years while we have been asleep at the wheel. We are doomed!’ Not exactly the ideal closing thoughts to the end of the day of a trusting Christian. The next morning, just as I was beginning my prayer time, I asked the Lord to really speak to me that day regarding my fears. ‘I really need to hear your voice, Lord,’ I told Him, ‘to break through the darkness being caused by my fears and worries!’ As I opened the readings for the Mass, He spoke. The first reading was (surprise, surprise) the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These wicked cities were destroyed by God’s angels precisely because of their sexual impurity and licentiousness. The destruction, however, was the result of there being found no good person within the districts of these cities. This result was brought about but the refusal of the citizens in these towns to repent and live. They chose their end based on the warped response given to angels of light sent to them from God. Lot, the only God-fearing one of the bunch, was saved, along with his family. The Gospel reading was Matthew’s account of Jesus sleeping in Peter’s boat amidst a violent and raging storm that threatened to swamp the boat. The apostles were so afraid that they could only sputter out one word commands, arousing the Lord with incomplete sentences, “Help, Lord, Save!” (Mt 8:25.) Jesus awoke, examined the scene and asked one simple question before addressing the situation, “Why are you terrified?” (Mt 8:26.) He quickly offers His own answer, “Oh men of little faith.” He then calms the storm with His own command. Oh man of little faith. No truer word could be spoken. This statement hit me like a ball bat square in the forehead. This is why I was terrified, or at least fearful. I know intellectually that darkness can’t overcome the light. I know intellectually that Christ is God made man. I know intellectually that Christ has overcome the world by the victory of His resurrection. In depths of my heart where faith resides, this truth grows in shallow soil. The readings that day confronted me with this sobering truth. I was afraid because my faith is small. Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say that worry is soft atheism.  He was obviously inspired by this Gospel passage. The boat of Peter, a symbol of the Church, was besieged by a violent storm and in danger of capsizing. Any fool would know, let alone experienced fishermen, that this resulted in almost certain death. The apostles’ fears were...

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THE TRUTH, THE LIE, AND THE LAST BATTLE

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Current Events, featured, Interior Life, Politics, Theology | 6 comments

THE TRUTH, THE LIE, AND THE LAST BATTLE

The thing that bugs me most about all of the unfolding scandals and problems sprouting and spreading in our culture is the manifest inability for people to distinguish truth from fiction.  Worse, I fear that people are growing disinterested from even pursuing the truth. It seems as though we have taken Pilate’s words to Jesus, “What is truth,” as our own. When a political figure utters all kinds of obvious falsehoods to the media-fed public that is too distracted, disinterested, skeptical, or cynical to notice, this is horribly frustrating and frightening, and has led to a series of inconsistent and sometimes contrary states of affairs. For instance, when President Obama made his speech to Planned Parenthood recently and thanked them for the hard work that they do to make parenthood possible, and then invoked God’s blessing on their brutal assault on life in the womb, his contradictory platitudes were mostly received with approval, with only a thin minority in the media expressing shock or outrage.   Similarly, when debating atheists, my colleagues and I are always vexed at the atheist’s ability to take whatever point we are trying to make and twist it to his advantage. “You say that your God shows mercy to the sinner, but why did He make such evil people in the first place?” Try criticizing Obama in a room full of college students or professors and regardless of the evidence provided, you will be judged personally, and your evidence will be ignored or explained away. It is becoming commonplace to disdain authority when it is authoritative (meaning when those in authority are held accountable to the truth), and rally around authority when it is authoritarian (complete lack of accountability to the truth).  Benghazi, the AP and Fox news phone-tapping and email snooping, the IRS targeting groups at odds with the President’s agenda, Federal Programs that proffered assault weapons to drug cartels only to hide behind executive privilege in order to avoid scrutiny,  etc. are all examples of unaccountable government leaders. What gives? This absurd situation is as troubling as it is perplexing. I have spent many an evening racking collective brains with friends over a glass of scotch dissecting such strange affairs. Recently, a friend of mine asked me when the last time was that I read C.S. Lewis’ conclusion to his Narnia series, The Last Battle? Hmm. I thought for a minute, and then realized I had never read that particular book! He couldn’t believe it, and assigned it to me as homework like a high school English teacher. “That way we can discuss it next time we get together,” which was all the inspiration that I needed. I don’t intend to offer this post as a book review for this great story. Instead, I encourage you to read it for yourself. I do, however, want to offer some of the more prophetic and insightful points from Lewis that help me make more sense out of what is going on. There are many profound themes Lewis skillfully weaves through his book: manipulation of sentiment versus pursuing the truth, ends justifying means, cynicism versus conversion, as well as a scary portrait of the minimum necessary conditions needed for evil to appear triumphant over good. Lewis, like any Christian, knows that evil can never totally triumph....

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Following the Footsteps of the Early Christians in a Debate with Atheists

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in Current Events, featured, Morality, Theology | 12 comments

Following the Footsteps of the Early Christians in a Debate with Atheists

A couple of nights ago, my dear friend and colleague (and co-blogger) John-Mark Miravalle participated in his third debate in a year sponsored by SOMA (the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics) at the University of Kansas. The topic of the debate centered on whether or not one can tell the difference between right from wrong without the existence of God. For some reason, SOMA is quite interested in pursuing ongoing debates with Christians of whom they openly despise.  Praise God! They are willing to do what Christians too often lack the interest or courage to do–engage opponents on important points of divergence. As in the past, folks at SOMA brought in another professional debater and invited John-Mark to debate him, a backhanded compliment to John-Mark if there ever was one (both previous debates are still on You Tube.) This time, John-Mark was joined by his dad, Mark Miravalle, one of my former professors when I was in graduate school at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. As in previous cases, the atmosphere prior to the debate was tense, as the crowd of some 500 people filled Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas University Student Union.  Although the Christians were well represented (I would say over half), there were enough folks from SOMA or fellow travelers of SOMA to create a sense of anxiety visible on all involved. The debate was video- taped yet again and will be posted on the School of Faith website once it is posted on You Tube, so I won’t recount the entire two hours here. Instead, I would like to offer some brief reflections on the night: All presenters were logical and well prepared. They articulated their positions well, and it was often difficult to identify the weakness of their argument. Both sides were passionate regarding their position. Both atheist presenters seemed to assume that all theists, or at least Christians, believed that our morality rests on what is called the Divine Command Theory; meaning, given actions are good or bad because God says so, a weakness team Miravalle was able to exploit. As Catholics, we agree things are right or wrong because God says so, but also because they either respond or fail to respond to fulfilling our design. Actions that do are good, actions that do not are bad. The atheist team scored highest on offering what I call ‘rousting’ points, or statements that rousted the audience to an energetic response: “When I see a picture of a starving child I want to feed that child. I don’t need God to tell me, and I don’t accept the answer that some day that child will receive his reward!  Anyone who could help should help, and a god that does not help only proves that Christian morality is vastly unjust, at least more so than a moral system that recognizes how reasonable it is to help that child now!” To which much of the crowd responded with hoots and hollers. Of course, this particular version of the problem of evil retort has been addressed in several excellent books, not the least of which is C.S. Lewis’ classic, ‘The Problem with Pain.’ Team Miravalle scored the highest on the ‘torpedo’ scale because they asked questions that, if not answered, would sink their opponents. When the...

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Same Sex Marraige and Love, Updated

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013 in Current Events, featured, Morality, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Same Sex Marraige and Love, Updated

Many family members and friends have worked hard to help people like me understand what is at stake in the current debate regarding gay marriage. I have read and listened to many from both sides, and have been enlightened and I see now what changes I must undergo in order to embrace the world that is unfolding for me and my children. I understand the gay marriage position holds that sexual love is not connected with sexual complementarity. Neither is it intrinsically linked to procreation. Further, that marriage is not designed by God, nor is it a gift from him, for if it were, we would have no claims on it as a gift can only be received and appreciated as it is.  Rather, I have learned that society can change marriage at will. In reflecting on all of this, I thought I’d try updating Paul’s first letter and chapter (13) to the Corinthians, which is now obsolete. Perhaps this can be read in new churches for these new marriages, as we have changed the old concept of love for a more modern one, one that is more reflective of our enlightened mentality. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have tolerance, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the government so as to make all things equal and give over my body that I may boast but do not have instant gratification, I gain nothing. If I don’t feel good about myself, and, worse, you don’t feel good about me, I haven’t love. Love wants it now. Love seeks its own fulfillment. Love is not concerned with consequences. Love is desire. Love makes all desires good. Love seeks the self. Love is receiving. Love is a redundant gift. Love is sterile. Love offends and is easily offended. Love does not rejoice in what once was considered the truth. Love is not designed. Love is faithless. Love is not a gift. Love is godless. Love is its own god. Love bends others to its own rule. Love is fleeting. Love is not love. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became enlightened, I need to love like a man; I need to love like this, otherwise I am filled with hate. In the now, tolerance, diversity, and love exist, but the greatest of these is love. The question is, do you really want to be loved like this? With this conception of love, what is the difference between heaven and hell? So, I think I get it now: if someone tells me that they love me, I should flee for my very life! Clearing the Heart to See the Truth Subscribe today to receive an email once a week.  A great way to get regular insights into the Catholic faith....

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FRONT-LINE TRAINING FOR THE NEW EVANGELISM

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Current Events, featured, Interior Life, Theology | 1 comment

FRONT-LINE TRAINING FOR THE NEW EVANGELISM

There are evident signs of the spring time for the Church. The most obvious is the growing number of laity being trained for the front lines of the new evangelism. The second obvious sign is the number of laity who take seriously their call to holiness. When there exists a program that combines these two realities, God is readying His troops for an offensive. Scott rushed home from his last session of the Spiritual Mentorship Program because he received a frantic call from his wife regarding their plumbing. Water was gushing, things were soaking, and his wife was trying to contain her hysteria while handling a family of five kids. By the time Scott arrived home, the plumber was there vacuuming up the water and replacing the busted hot-water heater. Somehow, Scott recounted, their conversation turned to why Scott was rushing home on a Saturday night. “I told him that I was involved in a Catholic experience called the Spiritual Mentorship Program, where I was being trained to assist other lay people in their interior life.” “Interior Life?” He asked, “what is that?.” Scott explained to him that he was being trained to help other Catholics grow in their relationship with the Lord through prayer, study, and sacraments. The plumber raised his hand in the air and said, ‘Can I be your first guinea pig? “ He was a fallen-away Catholic on his way back into the Church and told Scott that he had been asking God in prayer for direction and help. Then he met Scott! The new springtime in the Church is quietly growing underneath the ice that has settled on the moral and spiritual landscape of this country. Like green blades of grass barely visible beneath the blanket of snow but then seem to magically pop up at the first sign of warmth, the Holy Spirit is preparing for new growth in His Church. In Kansas City, Kansas, a new program called “The Spiritual Mentorship Program” just graduated its first class of trained laity, religious, and deacons to assist the interior life of those who are beginning to experience a thaw from the long, post-Vatican II winter. This new program is being blessed by the Holy Spirit in so many ways. Stories like Scott’s filled the conversation areas during every break time. This program is a beautiful result of an apparent random conversation that had taken place a few years earlier in Italy, of all places. In the sweltering June heat in Rome, on a bus crammed full of commuters, Sr. Susan Pieper, co-foundress of the Roman-based Apostles of the Interior Life Community, asked the visiting Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas what his hopes were regarding the recent establishment of an American Provincial House of her community in his archdiocese.  Without batting an eye, the Archbishop exclaimed, “I want you, Sr. Susan, to train laity to do what your community does for the new evangelization. I want an army of trained spiritual mentors to address the needs of the Church.” So began the odyssey of putting together the Spiritual Mentorship Program, a collaborative effort between the Apostles of the Interior Life and the Holy Family School of Faith to forge a new army of spiritual mentors for Christ. This two-year program, a combination of on-location and distance education...

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It’s a Wonderful Life Celebrates a Good Life

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Current Events, featured, Morality | Comments Off on It’s a Wonderful Life Celebrates a Good Life

It’s a Wonderful Life Celebrates a Good Life

When I was a young retourner to the Catholic faith, I was struggling with desires to revisit a former way of life. Further, I wondered why I should put forth the effort to be good, or, at least, to try to keep the Commandments. This was my ongoing struggle. In an odd way, it was the cause of my apostasy. I fell away while in the military in Panama because I was tired of experiencing alienation. ‘Why’, I asked myself, ‘can’t I just fit in and do what everyone else is doing? Why do I have to feel so guilty about doing what I knew to be bad?’ And there was the rub: I knew in my conscience what was good and bad. My parents did an excellent job of instilling that sense in me, much to my apparent demise. This caused me undo harm, I believed, because it meant that I couldn’t do what everybody else was doing and live with myself. Hence, the alienation. The solution, I wrongly assumed, was to just forget my conscience and party and chase ladies like my buddies. I was simply tired of being the only one (so I perceived) who recognized good from bad, and feeling terribly guilty when indulging in the bad. So, around Christmas of 1990, I was having a repeat of some of these same feelings—desires to return to a former way of life I had renounced upon a recent return to the Church- and feeling the of anxiety about trying to live a good life. I noticed a movie advertised without commercial interruption highly recommended from the announcers on the local PBS station. The movie—It’s a Wonderful Life. I had seen this movie advertised before, even tried watching it once on Christmas day many years earlier. An old black & white movie without shooting and actual WWII footage left me cold, and so my interest lasted about 5 minutes…until this particular evening. I began watching out of simple curiosity. What could be so riveting about an old movie that lacked John Wayne and combat footage, I wondered? After about 20 minutes, I was hooked. By the time the movie was finished, and after utilizing half of a box of Kleenex, I discovered what was so riveting. This film (or rather the Lord through this film) spoke to me like no other, and at a time when I needed it the most. It targeted precisely the source of my anxiety. I asked ‘why be good,’ and George Bailey answered it for me. Subsequent to that first viewing of this great movie (I have viewed it perhaps 12 or 15 times since), I saw interviews with Frank Capra, the legendary Hollywood movie director of this great film. He mentioned how Jimmy Stewart was totally transformed in this movie, becoming George Bailey. He specifically mentioned the scene when George is in Martini’s bar praying to God for help. Jimmy Stewart became George Bailey at that moment, according to Capra, as the character completely enveloped him to the point where he no longer acted but responded. This was beyond coincidental I thought, as at that same point in the movie, George was praying/speaking for me, too. Why, I wondered, were my prayers always answered with a punch in the mouth? This...

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WHERE SIN ABOUNDS…

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Current Events, featured, Theology | 9 comments

WHERE SIN ABOUNDS…

“Jim”, a life-long Pentecostal who,  with his Catholic wife, is attending a class taught by the Holy Family School of Faith on the catechism for the Year of Faith in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas told me last week that he has thoroughly enjoyed learning what we have covered so far (Faith and reason, the Holy Trinity, Creation, and the Fall, just to name a few of the themes,) and that he has not heard one thing from me that he doesn’t already believe, and is looking forward to our resuming after the Christmas break. “Kate” is a young, attractive, 20-something fallen away Catholic, and is attending a Year of Faith catechism course, and has now returned to practicing her faith. “It just opened my eyes to what I have been missing, and I want more!” “Bill” is a mechanic and is currently involved in his parish’s RCIA program, and is taking the class as part of the catechumenate. He commented recently that he was so happy to be joining a Church that offers him the truth in a world that often offers confusing and morally relative advice that can “mess with you.” Bill is a recovering addict, and is now finding a source of strength in sobriety in the life and teachings of the Catholic Church. Since the election, so many people have come to me privately to tell me how worried and concerned they are about the direction that the country is headed. No doubt there is room for grave concern. The HHS mandate as well as the extreme pro-abortion/pro-homosexuality positions of the Obama administration is legitimate cause for anxiety. Our Lord warned us of persecution, however, and this is why St. Paul reminded the persecuted Christians in Rome to have hope, “where sin abounds grace abounds more,” (Rom 5:20). This may sound like wishful thinking in the face of terrible and insurmountable odds, but it is not. It is really true, Grace abounds more! Pope Benedict the XVI has taken a radical step this year in his obedience to the obvious promptings of the Holy Spirit when he not only declared this year as the Year of Faith, but further encouraged each Catholic to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In responding to this call, our Archbishop, Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, asked that the Catechism of the Catholic Church be taught to adults in parishes across the Archdiocese. There were so many requests from the parishes that we had to get creative in order to figure out how to reach at all of the interested parishes. The turn-out has been utterly incredible! There are parishioners from all walks of life who are hungry and excited to received knowledge regarding their Catholic faith. Someone from the USCCB’s office called the Archbishop and wondered what was happening in Kansas City, Kansas. They had never received so many orders for the catechism! Great credit goes to Archbishop Naumann for his commitment not to let the Year of Faith go by without responding to the graces offered by God. Further, credit especially goes to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for his prophetic leadership and courage. Something is happening in the Church in the United States. Yes, there are problems as the recent election displayed with...

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AMERICA GONE TO POT: THE LEGALIZING OF MARIJUANA AND THE LOSS OF OUR COUNTRY’S SOUL

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 in Current Events, featured, Morality, Politics | 8 comments

AMERICA GONE TO POT: THE LEGALIZING OF MARIJUANA AND THE LOSS OF OUR COUNTRY’S SOUL

Among the lesser talked about but just as troubling results from the travesty known as the Election of 2012 was the approval of the recreational use of marijuana in my once native state of Colorado, along with the state of Washington. This situation is sad and regrettable but unfortunately not surprising. The moral compass in our country was broken in the 1973 legalization of baby murder, and has only grown more warped with each passing fall lineup for network t.v. (I think writers for most current t.v. programs must have a bowl with three slips of papers in it which they select to determine the plot and theme for this week’s episode: sex, morbid violence, more sex.) Those who favored the legalization of marijuana in Colorado argued that regulating the drug would keep it from the “underground market.” O.K.  Other proponents argued that it is safer and healthier than alcohol. Hmm. Spoken like a true consumer of healthy, mind numbing narcotics. For the clearer-minded, these arguments should have sounded just a little convoluted and irrational. Should not the question under consideration be is marijuana use really good for America? Hang out with a few pot-heads for about a day and your question will be answered. Amidst bouts of laziness, irresponsibility, and conversations lacking both focus and substance, interrupted only by ravenous forays into somebody’s kitchen to snarf anything resembling food, anyone with half of a brain not dazed by the second-hand smoke would see that legalizing marijuana may not be the best of ideas. Voter response like this makes me yearn for a return to the days of a government ruled by monarchs named Louis. At least then I’d expect self-serving, short-sighted superficial rulings aimed at placating an egocentric faction of the citizenry.  So what‘s the difference between smoking a little weed and drinking a little alcohol? Is a drunk any safer behind the wheel of a semi than a stoner? The answer to this question is obvious: neither a drunk nor a stoned driver is safe behind the wheel of any moving vehicle, nor are any of the other drivers. Pot-users argue that motor function isn’t impaired with marijuana use the way alcohol use impairs motor function. This is like saying that someone handling dynamite in public is less dangerous than someone handling nitro glycerin. But what is a person doing having explosives in public?? Asking which poses the lesser danger is a foolish question if the goal of government is to protect the safety of its people. The difference between consumption of alcohol and consumption of marijuana is that a person can sit down and have a drink or two without the goal or end of getting drunk. In fact, he can stop once he feels the ‘buzz’ coming on, which is the sign that he has had too much and is about to intentionally damage his rational and moral judgment (hence, the buzz.) This is not the case with pot. With pot, the intention—whether to have one hit or more—is to get stoned, to get impaired rationally and impaired in one’s moral decision making. That’s what it means to get ‘stoned,’ or high, or whatever. Thus, what is called the ‘remote intention’ is different in these two cases. A temperate person can remain so with one...

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SATAN’S VICTORIES IN THE SERVICE OF GOD

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in Current Events, featured, Theology | 2 comments

SATAN’S VICTORIES IN THE SERVICE OF GOD

Christians should not be surprised when confronted with turmoil and persecutions in the world. Our Lord told us that we will face such things. When turmoil and persecutions come, however, it may be difficult to respond according to the Lord’s command to rejoice. With the results of the election, most of my Christian family and friends are not responding with joy, but are instead responding with despair. How are Christians supposed to rejoice when our fight for the principles of the Gospel seems to have ended in defeat? By remembering the End—the End, that is, of Christ’s work on earth. This past Holy Thursday, as I read through the details of our Lord’s passion, pondering slowly all of the horrible afflictions exacted upon him, I thought, ‘I wonder what Satan was thinking at the time?’ How perniciously pleased he must have been seeing his plan fall into place so perfectly. Then it dawned on me, even when Satan’s plans fall into place perfectly, in the end, he only serves God! In the end, he can only serve the good. However, he thought he realized his vicious goal of overcoming God. If we could have interviewed him sometime before Good Friday, and if he were truthful for once, his testimony may have been something like this (and no offense to C.S. Lewis as I borrow from his literary genre): ‘When I declared my independence from the insufferable tyranny of that great Coercer, I knew then that one day my vindication would come. I knew that this grand Bestower of burdens would enter into that world of beasts, believing he could win their favor. The fool! These beasts, who I can reduce to fornicating brutes at the mere power of suggestion, would never serve him or his rule. Feed their animal urges and they will forgo their powers of spirit willingly, so I told him before he violently expelled me from his empire. Now he thinks he has fooled me. I have been watching this creature of man, this so called Son of Man, this delusional so called Son of God, since he appeared at that river. He thinks he has fooled me. But I know who he is. He thinks he has proven his point; won for himself some chattel he calls his disciples. How assuredly he walks into my trap. I not only figured him out, but figured out that pathetic and paltry group of vagabonds he calls his apostles. Even now I have identified the one who will betray him. Yes, one of his own trusted servants, whom he handpicked! His own people will denounce him. They will desire a murderer to be released to them over this craven pretender who claims to love his own! He will see just exactly where that ridiculous affection leads him. Then he will be in my clutch! Once in my clutch I will overcome him. I told him that I would do this! I told him to his face, and for uttering this complete truth he seized then expelled me violently. So, I will seize him and expel him violently from this world he claims to love and wants to be loved by. This I will not do with any haste, however. I will savor my victory. I will beat his...

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