Sunday was the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Gospel reading was of the Canaanite woman with an ill daughter. Now, what was so interesting about this Sunday, was that I was at a church that is far more conservative than I am. I seldom go to this church for Mass because I find that the spiritual conservationism can make me quite upset, and I hate being upset in Mass.
I remember expressing this opinion to my eldest son, and he said something insightful, he said: “Mom, the priest isn’t here to make you happy, he is here to make you think.” Fair enough. This Sunday what the pastor was saying sounded about as far away from good thinking as anyone can get, it was fire and brimstone which, as far as I am concerned, does not nothing but set up a vicious cycle of spiritual condemnation and worthlessness.
Father equated the “evil one” with the Gospel, for me it was a huge leap, but he forced it to work. Now here is where I have a problem with what he said.
First off, why are we calling the devil the “evil one“? Why give the devil more power by making the use of his name a talisman. If we begin to the fear the name we increase the fear and therefore the power of the devil, we give power to the devil. We have in essence, by increasing our fear, opened ourselves to the devil. Doesn’t the devil work through fear?
Secondly, isn’t it true that Christ rebuked the devil and therefore gave us the same power? After all in an exorcism this very power is used to rebuke and turn away the devil. We can not rebuke and turn away Christ, we can reject him but not rebuke him. If this is true, who has the greater power: Christ or the devil; Christ of course.
Thirdly, the devil is a rebellious angel, who thrives on crisis of faith, deals in death of soul, mind and spirit, corrupts positive individualism, (God’s creation of us as individuals with gifts and talents which we use in our mission with Christ-Baptism), distorts free will, and brings destruction to life, spirituality and emotion.
The devil works through man, is invited by man, creates in man a nature of hate; so why does Father seem to be saying that we have no power over the devil? Does it make sense that we throw our hands up in the air and say: “Well, we can’t do anything about it the devil is too powerful!” That can be what you take away from what Father was saying. Evil in the middle east, Ferguson, Mo, nothing we can do about it all the devil’s fault! Really, Father, really!
All Christians have the authority to bind evil spirits in Christ’s name (Mk, 16:17)
I for one believe in Christ and put on the full armor of Christ! There is a great article by Maximilian “Catholic Tools” Kolbe on the very subject of binding spirits/the devil. Here is an excerpt:
This may sound outlandish or even like you might not have any authority to say these words. But these simple words are extremely powerful.
For example how many times have you received communion and never felt like anything happened. If we truly knew what we are receiving than how much greater would we prepare for Mass and how much more would that Mass effect our life. In the same sense just because these words might not elicit a big theatrical scene, they still wage war against the Devil.
All Christians have the authority to bind evil spirits in Christ’s name (Mk, 16:17). Binding an evil spirit is using the Authority of Jesus Christ and His power to make the evil spirit stop what ever it is doing and not to make any further progress. It is silencing the spirit. Rebuking is taking authority over the evil spirit and stopping it, too.
When you command in the name of Jesus Christ you are telling the spirit to be disposed of by Jesus. One is not doing any of this with their own power, but the power of Jesus Christ. More of the article here
So, now we come to evil in the world. If you have the attitude of oh well can’t do anything the devil is in the world; than what’s going to stop you from giving up spiritually? Don’t/aren’t we seeing that everyday when people say things like: “Oh it’s too big a problem for me.” “The world is going to hell in a hand-basket.” “What can I do, I’m only one person!”
As our pastor always tells us when we think the same things, he reminds us of what his spiritual director tells him: “Get over yourself, God Needs You!”
What can you do? Pray. Work toward a righteous cause. Educate yourself on the problem. Write your congress person. We want change right now, ain’t gonna happen. We have to work for change and when the change comes work to keep it.
It’s too big for you, maybe but how ’bout a group of you?
Hand-basket and hell, only if we give up.
So, here’s the question: You going to give up?