by Chris Ketelsen, Oblate
For 2000 years Christians have contemplated and pondered the message of the Lord our God. For me, every Lent asks the question anew about the battle between Good and Evil. After all his defeats, how can Satan be compelled to keep tempting and offering prizes to the ones who will follow Life? Do not underestimate the power of Satan and his temptations!
At times I find myself amazed that Satan is listened to so avidly in this world, with all the sinful wickedness he has brought to this world. After the death of six million souls in the Holocaust, how can we be fooled again by another despot proclaiming such temptations? How many atrocities do we endure before we stop falling for the horrors of racism, anti-Semitism, and violence? When can we all decide to resist the honeyed words and glib pronouncements being fed to the masses? When do we unite against such wicked words? When do we refuse to accept the sins – the gun violence, human trafficking, and terrible neglect – of our world?
Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me,” but we ignore Greta Thorberg and all the little First Graders and Kindergarten children, who practice recycling to save the Earth, and implore adults to stop smoking and using drugs that pollute their bodies as well as the Earth.
How will we learn not to repeat the same atrocities, to refuse to fall for the same lies and wickedness? We must ask ourselves, “How much am I following the Devil into despair, denial of hope, and disbelief in God and the power of Good?”
One of my Spiritual friends advised me to begin praying the Prayer of St. Ephrem of Syria who, incidentally, is the patron saint of Spiritual Directors:
Oh Lord and Master of my life,
keep me from the spirit of indifference and discouragement,
the lust for power and idle chatter.
Instead, grant to me, Your servant,
the spirit and wholeness of being,
of humble-mindedness, integrity, humility, patience, and love.
O Lord and Sovereign, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins
and not to Judge my brothers and sisters,
for You are blessed now and ever and forever. Amen.
“And God so loved the world that He sent His Son to save us.” Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan,” and tells us how to push temptation away. When we all resist the devil, then we can love our neighbors and bless those that are having a harder time saying “no.”
Prayer and love will save the World! Practice them during Lent!
And then we will together celebrate Easter and cry, “Christ is Risen!”