By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, email@example.com
August 29, 2017
WE have to understand the proper relationship between war and peace. Christ himself who is the prince of peace recommended a kind of warfare that we have to undertake all the time. This can be gleaned from the following words of his:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword…Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…” (Mt 10,34 ff)
In another part of the gospel, he also said: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent bear it away.” (Mt 11,12)
We have to understand though that to be violent in this sense does not mean to be destructive but rather constructive, driven by love and the desire to be united with God and with the others in a way proper to us as children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves.
Our life here on earth cannot but be in some form of struggle. Aside from our innate urge to grow and develop that requires some effort, we also have to contend with enemies whose sole intent is precisely to bring us down, to divert us from our proper path toward holiness.
We are not simply ranged against natural difficulties, challenges and trials in life, but rather with very powerful and subtle nemeses. The natural enemies alone are already formidable.
But we still have enemies tougher than these. As St. Paul said, “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Eph 6,12)
Truth is many people – in fact, I would say all of us one way or another – are looking for effective ways to develop our spiritual life and to be skillful in the unavoidable spiritual warfare in this life.
People, including the young ones whose stirring for the spiritual can be sharp and intense if hidden, want to know, for example, how to pray, or how to keep it going amid the many concerns in life. Getting engaged with God all throughout the day eludes them.
They actually want to know how to grow in the virtues but do not have ample support to pursue the goals. For example, to remain chaste, if the interest still flickers, remains an impossible dream.
They see glimpses of the need for the cross, for sacrifices in this life, but they get stalled if not hostaged by worldly distractions. Many want to get out of their self-absorption, but no one helps them, giving them ideas or simply encouraging them.
We need to find ways of how to wage war to gain the peace that is proper to us. We have to do a lot of personal apostolate based on friendship and confidence. We should teach our friends in personal direction and confidential chats how to wage this spiritual struggle in the concrete environment they are in.
One clear principle to follow here is to motivate them to truly fall in love with God and with everybody else. That love has creative ways of waging war against the enemies of God and of our soul.