1 Peter 5:8-9New International Version (NIV)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith,because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Recently, I got news of yet another past childhood friend who is now dead. He had his past issues with drugs, and addiction. He was not the first I have seen this happened to. He wasn’t the first person I have seen lost to it, and he won’t be the last.
Walking around, if we keep our eyes open, we can see a lot of “tweakers” about, those who are obviously looking for the next fix, that next high to get them through their troubles. Troubles. Things they think are unbearable, that they need to escape from it.
Then there are those who we don’t even know are struggling with an addiction. It might be to gaming, it might be to alcohol, gambling, promiscuity. The root is always the same. There is a need to escape the world around them, which can often seem dark and uninviting.
In the past century, we have increasingly forgotten about the presence of our Enemy in the world. Its no surprise that he has become more present, and I firmly believe the rise in mental disturbances, addictions, wars is a result of this, especially addictions. Every addict I have known, there has definitely been an eery presence of oppression there. The very nature of the vice, whether its alcohol, drugs, whatever, seems to destroy not only the body, but also the very soul of the person. Body and soul are intertwined.
We are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26) and are “Temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19) – In short, we are the biggest target of the enemy. We Resemble in a physical form, what the Word Incarnate, the son of man, looked like. Satan is keen to see us corrupted, because it spits back at the God he rejected, and to his conscious validates his “Non Serviam!” (as opposed to Mary’s Fiat). All of us have value in that. All of us are in God’s image, which puts us first in Creation, even above the angels.
I think this is why those things, destroy people the way they do. They are sick spiritually. They have the Enemy in their ear.. telling them God doesn’t care, that they aren’t good enough, that they aren’t valued, but we were bought and paid for (1 Corinthians 7:23-25), and most importantly, we are children of the Almighty, not bound to yet another one of his creations.
We need to remember though, even Satan can appear as an angel of light. The very name “Lucifer”, means “Brilliant” or “Beautiful”, and as such, he can be seductive, and persuasive. The devil doesn’t always come with horns and pitchfork. Sometimes he comes in the form of that next drink.. or that next fix. I think in a very real way, given the rising heroine epidemic, he comes in the form of that needle, and offers not life, but poison to people. Poison that destroys their very soul.
I was pretty down yesterday over it – Honestly, I hadnt talked to the person in years… But looking through the pictures he had as of late.. and talking with a friend, this wasn’t the person I knew. The Same can be said about the others too. How deep the oppression was, that they could go from the brilliant, life filled people I knew, to where they ended up. It’s hard to deal with, but as with any problem, we cant properly deal with it, or fix it, without finding a root cause.
Yes, man makes his own choices, but He always has. But Satan has always worked to influence those choices. He did everything he could to make the Christ despair… Do you think you are any greater of a challenge in that?
So, I think the scripture above is relevant. “Be alert and of Sober Mind” – We haven’t been, we have been drunk with the secularism of the world, so much so, that we have ignored Who is truly set out to destroy it, and he is using us to do his dirty work.
The Prayer to St Michael, Now more than ever, is needed. I will find comfort in praying it today and every day, and especially after mass as our parish always does as a whole.
“Saint Michael Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell
Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.