Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins


A while ago and I don't remember how long, because it happened gradually, I said goodbye to an old friend, one of my very important gods, among few that I worshiped, and perhaps the cleverest and most aggressive of them all. His last words to me were "You will be back, they all come back, no one leaves me forever." At the time, his words sent chills through my spine. He still shows up every now and then cleverly disguised seeking me with new creative methods, repeating old words of glorified promises and empty threats, but it is all in vain, since he is not allowed through the gates of my soul.

To use an image from Saint Padre Pio, this old god reminds me of a desperate dog on a chain, who can do nothing but bark while angrily wishing I come within the reach of his fangs. His aim is to devour me and consume me into his being. But as long as I remain at a distance, all that this vicious dog can do is bark. Let him bark for all I care, for God through his generous grace on me, has kept me at a safe distance.

Many today are easily outsmarted by this god and blinded by his short lived promises. They live their lives worshiping at his filthy altars. This worship chokes the remaining good within them, and destroys the love that God and others pour on them. It brings them, and those around them, lots of misery and suffering. It finally leads them to self destruction, utter darkness, and despair. Some are so used to slavery, as a way of life, that they have become unaware of their misery. Others are well aware and try to escape, but become convinced after many futile attempts that they can never be truly free.

The truth is, their god's words are nothing but deceitful lies emanating from the spirit of the father of lies who has been deceiving the human race from the beginning. But he could not deceive the entire race. Many times, and all the way to the cross, he challenged Christ seeking to be worshiped, seeking to deviate him from His Father's will for him, seeking to bring him down from the cross, in exchange for earthly instantaneous gifts and other lesser goods, yet he found the man Jesus much more powerful than him, bounded to his Father's will and driven by an unconditional love for us.

Today, I specifically write to witness to the truth proclaimed by the Apostle in Romans 9, that in Christ Jesus our Lord, nothing can separate us from the love of God, and that "In all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us." It is also important to humble oneself and be totally dependent on God with regards to when the freedom from these gods is given to us. God in his wisdom uses every experience we have and every second we live for our good and the good of others. So regarding time, let us say to God "Your will be done."

How does He set us free? The Holy Spirit incites us to call upon God's mercy through our prayers and fasting. God in his mercy speaks to us through his Son in scripture, and through his Church on earth and in heaven. He speaks to us through our spouses, children, family, friends, strangers, and those whom we least expect. He speaks to us in dreams, in thoughts that come to us while in prayer or meditation. He speaks to as as well in creation such as the stars, the moon, the flowers, and the birds, and every grace that surrounds us.

When God speaks to us, he invites us to welcome Jesus as Lord of our life, as sovereign King of our entire being. A kingdom cannot have two kings for our Lord tells us in Matthew 6:24 that "No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other". We must choose between serving the one who enslaves us for ever, or the One who call us His children, suffers and dies for us and our salvation, in order that we partake in His heavenly joy.

When we say yes to God, we must not look back to what we have left behind, like Lot's wife who looked back and lost her soul (Genesis 19:26). For Jesus tells us in Luke 9:62 that "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."

A yes to God comes with faith that He will dwell within us, empowering us to accomplish what we thought is impossible for Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:26 "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." When Christ lives within us, we live according to the light of truth which sets us free forever.

Now everything that relates to the old defeated god must go, his tools of worship, his filthy altars, all of it, even the slightest smallest thing ever must go with him. If not, we have lied to ourselves, leaving room for darkness where light must reign. For tell me ... where is the slightest presence of darkness in the sun?

When God is the Lord of our life, we are not concerned with tomorrow; we live in the eternal present where God lives. For the creator who is not subject to the created time, identified Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:15 as "I AM." So when the barking of the dog gets louder and the empty threat of our imminent future defeat comes our way, the Spirit of God reassures us that today "we conquer overwhelmingly" and tomorrow is of no concern to us. Jesus himself tells us in Matthew 6:34 "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." Therefore our victory is always in the now, with no anxiety about tomorrow. Having said that we are well aware that God's providence is assured eternally.

God also reminds us that it is never too late to turn away from what enslaves us. In Luke 5:32 He tells us "I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." Being his children, Jesus never leaves us, in fact he always comes to us. He tells us in Mark 2:7 "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do."

Lastly, let us remember that throughout our life, we must continue to carry our cross. This cross can sometimes simply be our struggle to say no to temptation. We must be aware of this cross and not willing to let go of it as long as God allows it in our lives. Our example is Christ, who was challenged over and over again to let go of it. He was tempted to do so by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:3-11), and then by Peter after Jesus gave him his name (Matthew 16:18-23), and then at the crucifixion by those who asked him to save himself from the cross if he really is who he claims to be (Luke 23:35-36).

Likewise, in this earthly life, we will be challenged to let go of our cross, to stop the struggle of saying no to our temptation, to choose the easy broad way. Our savior, instead, calls us to "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:13-14). Let our answer to these temptations be Christ's answer: "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mark 8:33)

The Apostle himself had asked God to remove an element in his life that has caused him pain, and God in II Corinthians 12 said to him "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" and the Apostles adds "Therefore, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Pray for strength to love enough to carry your cross, following Christ alone, and slave to no one. Remember his Resurrection will set you free. What does darkness have to do with light? "Take care, then, that the light in you not become darkness." (Luke 11:35)

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