THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Third Sunday in Lent
28 February 2016
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We are in the midst of a warfare, whether we realize it or not. In war, there is not just one battle, there are many battles. When the enemy is defeated in one place, we understand that he will regroup and make an assault from another side, or at another time. Unless we completely destroy the enemy and all his friends and relatives, we can assume that there will be other attempts to revenge themselves against us. The battles never end. We see this in the world around us, both in the history of the past and in the current events of today. We are at war, always hoping to obtain peace. However, the longer the war drags on the less peace there is or will be. An enemy that is put down, will only foment within himself hatred against us, and plan and prepare his counter attack. Does history any-where show us the losers in war being at peace and even grateful for their defeat? Perhaps our modern day "Jews" express this most explicitly with: "Never forgive, never forget."
There is besides this earthly warfare, a more serious war going on for our eternal souls. Our physical bodies and all the material things are insignificant in this war; the real goal is our eternal souls. It is a battle of God and His Heavenly Hosts, against Lucifer and his demonic hosts, for the possession of our souls. Strangely, however, the fate of our own souls is in our hands. It is for us to allow our souls to be conquered and taken possession of either, by God, or by the devils.
On the First Sunday in Lent, the Gospel showed us Jesus, in battle with the devil and how He overcame the devil in each of his attacks. This Third Sunday in Lent, we see a devil that has won the possession of a man. This man, of himself, is without hope; he cannot even cry out for help as the devil has silenced him. So very often, this is true with sinners. The devil silences them so that they cannot confess their sins to the priest and be forgiven. In this manner, the devil maintains his possession over them. However, through the efforts of others, relief often does come to them, just as Jesus brought relief to this man in today's Gospel.
This season of Lent, is a time for us to drive the devils out of our souls. It is a time to confess our sins and to be freed from them. We are then, invited to fill our souls with God's Life and Grace in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Though we may conquer the devils today, as we have done in the past (beginning with our Baptism), they will always be preparing for a return. They are seething with the sting of having been overthrown and cast out. They are immortal beings, so they will never die, our battles against them will never cease while we are on this earth. They will always be fuming, planning, and preparing for a later battle, where they hope to gain the upper hand once again.
We have been forewarned that the devils will not give up, and we are not safe until we are securely in Heaven. Now, we must strive to always be forearmed against them. Saint Bruno tells us that we must never allow them to find our souls empty, swept and adorned. That is empty of God's grace, swept not to clean up the dirt, but to scatter it about the home, adorned not with grace and virtue, but rather with evils.
Saint Bruno, further tells us that there are seven more devils that return because they must counteract the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost that once adorned these souls. "Because seven are the gifts of the Holy Ghost, by means of which every soul is converted to faith in Christ, and defended against the contrary evils. Therefore the unclean spirit takes unto him those seven wickeder, contrary, spirits, with which he defends the house against virtues. Namely, opposing the spirit of stupidity to the spirit of wisdom; the spirit of revolt and unreason to the spirit of understanding; the spirit of rashness to the spirit of counsel; the spirit of inconstancy and fear to the spirit of fortitude; the spirit of ignorance to the spirit of knowledge; the spirit of impiety to the spirit of piety; the spirit of contempt and hate to the spirit of the fear of the Lord."
Once we have driven the devil away from us during this Lenten season, we must strengthen ourselves with the graces of God. If we are careless in welcoming, forming, and fostering the growth of grace in our souls, we can be certain that the devil that once left, will return; and he will not return alone, but will bring others with him. This is the sad state of many souls after the Lenten season has passed. With God's help, may it never be the state of our own souls. However, we must do our part. Not only must we drive these devils from us, but we must fortify ourselves with the sacraments, sacramentals, and prayer. We must be always ready with the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, to repel every future assault of these demons.
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