THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Third Sunday in Lent
11 March 2012
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“Blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.” These words of Our Lord in today’s Gospel put into perspective all the rest of its lessons.
The devils who were cast out cannot return where the word of God is kept. The devils return (with seven others worse than themselves) only into souls that have not kept the word of God. Their souls were swept clean and made empty, they were adorned with the things of this world and not with the words of God. Souls left in this state are open prey to the devils.
The devil cannot cast out himself because he cannot be against himself; it is illogical. His kingdom would fall. We can also see that it takes the word of God to cast out devils. Only those who possess the world of God are capable of casting out devils. The devils themselves do not keep the word of God and therefore cannot cast out any other devils.
The strong man’s property cannot be overcome unless he is first bound and is rendered unable to defend himself. The devils first seek to bind those who have the word of God, by driving out the word of God so that they can then go in and take over all the person’s possessions. The strong man is only strong while he has the word of God. He becomes weak and helpless without the word of God.
These and many other things all point out to us the necessity of not only hearing the words of God, but more importantly keeping them. The devils are all around us attempting to enter into our hearts and taking them over. They are expelled by the word of God, but if this word is not kept the demonic vermin return with many more of themselves to re-infest the poor soul. That poor soul ends up even worse than it was in the beginning with only one devil.
Keeping the word of God is synonymous with loving God, for we are told, “He who loves Me, keeps my word”. So we can seek security in loving God. While we are on this earth we never have an absolute certainty of our love of God – our weakness constantly humbles us and reminds us that we have much further to go before we can truly say we love God with our whole being.
If we are truly to be blessed we must ever strive to love God more and more, and this is clearly manifested in keeping His word. If we are always living in humble obedience and submission to the word of God, we are in turn growing constantly in love.
This ever increasing love and devotedness to the word of God does not keep from us all difficulties, trials or tribulations, but it does prevent its ultimate loss. We see the example of Job in the old testament, where the devil was given permission by God to attack Job, but despite all the attacks the devil was never able to penetrate and take his soul. This we must remember and not become disheartened when we become subject to difficulties in our lives.
It is necessary that we each have a cross every day so that we may be found worthy to take it up and follow Christ. Keeping His word is at odds with the mores of the society in which we live; and cause a lot of hardships for those who love Him, but in the end it will prove to have been all very worthwhile.
We must strive never to let go of the Word of God or the Love of God, realizing that doing so is the only means by which we can keep the devils at bay. They may howl all around us but they cannot enter unless they first get us to throw the word of God out or if they can twist our minds with pride and/or vanity and thus allow ourselves to become bound and then allow them to destroy any good that may have remained.
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