Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Greatest Battle

Luke 17:20-25

Our God is a God of war indeed as scripture tells us (Psalm 24, 144).  However, His secret weapons are stealth and silence.  In today's Gospel Jesus warns us that we can't see the slow steady overthrow of Satan and that God's winning of the war will not be visible like an army of tanks rolling over the horizon.  He tells us that we won't be able to even observe the signs of the coming of the Kingdom.  The question then is, why not?  Why won't we be able to see the coming of the Kingdom?  Why won't we be able to point to the signs?

Jesus gives us the answer and it is a hard one to accept.  Why will there be no way to point to the Kingdom of God as it approaches here or there?  "...for behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you."

The battlefield is within.  The war rages upon the battlefield of our souls.  Our souls are either occupied or enemy territory, there is no unoccupied ground in this battle.  Our adversary does not sleep.  Happily, neither does our King.  He is ever at our side ready to lend us aid and help us fight.

But here again lies the difficulty.  We are physical beings.  It is extremely difficult for us to keep up the desire to fight when our weapons are largely invisible.  The very thing that keeps us alive and holding our ground is invisible; prayer.  Very often I'm talked into laying down my weapon and picking up the remote or a sandwich.  This sort of battle is not easy.

What other weapons are at our disposal?  The sacraments.  These at least are visible but still: bread, wine, water, words, and oil certainly don't have the same feel as an M16 or even a sword and shield.  Yet, these are the weapons for a battle field like no other.  These "weapons" would be worthless on any battlefield as we know it and would only serve to aid the body in some way.  Yet can't we say the same thing about modern weaponry.  Bullets and bombs are worthless on the battlefield of the soul.  The martyrs can attest to that!  Shooting bullets on this battlefield would have the same effect as throwing bread on the worldly battlefield.  God's ways and weapons are certainly not ours!

We know who wins in the end.  Our job is to continue to fight on this invisible front and help others to do so.  However, we must be careful.  Since this battle is largely invisible, our call to arms for our brothers and sisters must also be largely invisible.  Beating someone with a book or doctrine will only cause friendly-fire casualties.  Those things are important but I'll leave the heavier stuff to those above me in the chain of command who can decide when they are ready for it.

 I, for my part will strengthen my brothers and sisters through prayer and good example.  I will love them as though they were Christ Himself.  If the battlefield of their soul is enemy territory, I will be a spy and infiltrate it with love and compassion. Let us all pray for the grace to be the greatest warriors the world has ever known in the greatest battle the world has ever known...or not known.


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