Posts Tagged ‘Vigilance’

Christians must guard against slyness of the devil

In Uncategorized on 2014/10/24 at 12:00 AM
ROME, ITALY(CNA/EWTN News)  The Holy Father warned of the discreet presence of the devil, exhorting those gathered to be astute in their spiritual lives.“We must always be on guard,” exhorted the Pope to those who attended Mass in the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse, “on guard against deceit, against the seduction of evil.”Referencing the day’s gospel reading, in which Jesus has just healed a possessed man and is accused of casting out demons by the power of the devil, the Pope noted that often in history there have been those who wish to “diminish the power of the Lord” by offering different explanations for his works, urging that his is a temptation which has “reached our present day.”“There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness.’”“It is true,” he affirmed, “that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter. No!”“The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil.”Observing that the Lord has given many criteria in order to “discern” the presence of evil in our lives, the Pope stressed that “we should not be naïve,” and that one of the criteria which has been given is “not to follow the victory of Jesus” just “halfway.”“Either you are with me, says the Lord, or you are against me” he said, noting that Jesus came to conquer the devil and “to give us the freedom” from “the enslavement the devil has over us,” which he cautioned, is not “exaggerating.”“On this point, there are no nuances. There is a battle and a battle where salvation is at play, eternal salvation; eternal salvation.”

He exhorted those in attendance to question themselves, asking “Do I guard myself, my heart, my feelings, my thoughts? Do I guard the treasure of grace? Do I guard the presence of the Holy Spirit in me? Or do I let go, feeling secure, believing that all is going well?”

“If you do not guard yourself, he who is stronger than you will come,” warned Pope Francis, “But if someone stronger comes and overcomes, he takes away the weapons in which one trusted, and he shall divide the spoil.”

“Vigilance…Do not confuse the truth!” stressed the pontiff, giving three criteria of his own to use in the spiritual combat.

“Jesus fights the devil: first criterion. Second criterion: he who is not with Jesus is against Jesus. There are no attitudes in the middle. Third criterion: vigilance over our hearts because the devil is astute. He is never cast out forever. It will only be so on the last day.”

Pope Francis recounted the biblical analogy of the impure spirit who leaves a man, noting that once the spirit is gone “it wanders in deserted places, and seeking rest and finding none, says: ‘I will return to my house, from which I left.’”

When the spirit returns and finds it “swept clean and adorned,” he explained, it then “takes another seven spirits worse than he, who come and make their homes,” and in that way “the last state of man becomes worse than the first.”

“Vigilance,” he stressed, “because his strategy is this: ‘You became Christian. Advance in your faith. I will leave you. I will leave you tranquil. But then when you are used to not being so watchful and you feel secure, I will come back.’”

“The Gospel today begins with the devil being cast out and ends with the devil coming back! These are not lies,” he urged, “it is the Word of the Lord!”

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to take these things seriously. He came to fight for our salvation. He won against the devil! Please, let us not do business with the devil! He seeks to return home, to take possession of us… Do not relativize; be vigilant! And always with Jesus!”

National Catholic News Agency

Advent: The Coming of the Lord Continues

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/12/21 at 9:11 AM

“The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’ or ‘presence’, said the Pope: “In the ancient world it indicated the visit of the king or emperor to a province; in the language of Christianity it refers to the coming of God, to his presence in the world; a mystery that involves the entire cosmos and all of history, and with two culminating moments: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ”.

Benedict XVI explained that these two culminating moments are first the Incarnation, and then the glorious return of Christ at the end of time. “These two moments, chronologically distant – and it is not given to us to know how far apart they are – touch us deeply, because by His death and resurrection Jesus has already accomplished that transformation of humanity and of the cosmos that is the final goal of creation. But before that end, it is necessary that the Gospel be proclaimed to all nations, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Saint Mark. The coming of Christ is continuous; the world must be infused by His presence. This permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel requires our continual collaboration; and the Church … in communion with her Lord, collaborates in this coming of the Lord, in which His glorious return has already begun”.

The Word of God traces “a line of conduct to pursue in order to be ready for the coming of the Lord. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to the disciples, ‘Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life … Be vigilant at all times and pray’, inviting them to simplicity and prayer. The apostle Paul encourages them to ‘increase and abound in love’ among themselves and towards others. … In the midst of the turmoil of the world, or the desert of indifference and materialism, Christians accept the salvation of God and bear witness to it by following a different way of life. … The community of believers is a sign of the love of God, of His justice that is already present and working in history, but not yet fully realised, and that therefore should always be awaited, invoked, and sought after with patience and courage”.

Vatican Information Service #121203

“It is a time of hope, and I live off this treasure”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/06/27 at 9:11 AM
“It is a time of hope, and I live off this treasure. It is not just a phrase, Father,” you tell me, “it is reality.” Well then …, bring the whole world, all the human values which attract you so very strongly – friendship, the arts, science, philosophy, theology, sport, nature, culture, souls – bring all of this within that hope: the hope of Christ. (Furrow, 293)

Wherever we may be, Our Lord urges us to be vigilant. His plea should lead us to hope more strongly in our desires for holiness and to translate them into deeds. ‘Give me your heart, my son’ [1], he seems to whisper in our ear. Stop building castles in the air. Make up your mind to open your soul to God, for only in Our Lord will you find a real basis for your hope and for doing good to others. If we don’t fight against ourselves; if we don’t rebuff once and for all the enemies lodged within our interior fortress — pride, envy, the concupiscence of the flesh and of the eyes, self‑sufficiency, and the wild craving for licentiousness; if we abandon this inner struggle, our noblest ideals will wither ‘like the bloom on the grass; and when the scorching sun comes up the grass withers, and the bloom falls, and all its fair show dies away’. Then, all you need is a tiny crevice and discouragement and gloom will creep in, like encroaching poisonous weeds.

Jesus is not satisfied with a wavering assent. He expects, and has a right to expect, that we advance resolutely, unyielding in the face of difficulties. He demands that we take firm, specific steps; because, as a rule, general resolutions are just fallacious illusions, created to silence the divine call which sounds within our hearts. They produce a futile flame that neither burns nor gives warmth, but dies out as suddenly as it began.

You will convince me that you sincerely want to achieve your goals when I see you go forward unwaveringly. Do good and keep reviewing your basic attitudes to the jobs that occupy you each moment. Practice the virtue of justice, right where you are, in your normal surroundings, even though you may end up exhausted. Foster happiness among those around you by cheerfully serving the people you work with and by striving to carry out your job as perfectly as you can, showing understanding, smiling, having a Christian approach to life. And do everything for God, thinking of his glory, with your sights set high and longing for the definitive homeland, because there is no other goal worthwhile. (Friends of God, 211)

[1] Prov 23:26