Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

03 July 2016

We Are Not Alone

When Jesus sent seventy-two of his disciples out to share their stories of living in His story, He sent them out in pairs, like the "buddy system" we experienced as children. It is always good to have a little reinforcement, some extra encouragement, or challenge, when you need it. This describes the "Communion of Saints," the Church in heaven and the Church awaiting heaven, our brothers and sisters throughout the world and throughout the ages. In addition, the angels who eternally attend to the throne of God also show His providential care--especially our guardians who protect and intercede for us.

One concrete way to remember that we are never alone is the fact that Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer in the first person plural: God is our Father, who gives us daily bread, forgives our trespasses as we forgive, leads us not into temptation, and delivers us from evil.

It is important to know that we are not alone because the Evil One is not alone. Satan is the enemy of God’s plan, the enemy of man’s salvation. In league with that enemy are a host of other angels—beings of superior intelligence and freedom, just like the holy angels, but with the difference that they decided to invest that superior intelligence and freedom in a manner contrary to the desire of God. While they cannot best God, they seem to have a way with us human beings.

They do that by capitalizing upon our weak spots, which are our memory and our imagination: the ways we reflect on the past and the future. Remember in Genesis 3 how Satan injected doubt into the minds of the first man and woman, leading them to question whether (in the past) God really said we would die if we ate the forbidden fruit. Satan further polished that fruit to make it look more attractive, leading his customers to wonder how great they’d become (in the future) with all the power, pleasure, wealth, and prestige they could eat. No matter that they would be contravening the will of God in the process, that we would keep turning against one another by using violence and sex as tools for our advantage, meanwhile exponentially increasing our sense of loneliness.

Here’s the Good News: The offspring of the woman—Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary—has crushed the head of the ancient serpent. He has delivered us from the eternal hold that sin, suffering, and death threaten to have over us. Our weaknesses need no longer define us. In the Genesis story, mercy showed itself in the fact that our first parents didn’t die as soon as they ate the fruit. That gave them, as it gives us whenever we sin, the chance to repent, to seek appropriate reconciliation, and to live again.

By God’s grace we can again appreciate what is beautiful, learn what is true, and choose what is good. That kind of activity contributes to the betterment of our world and the splendor of our God. People on the fence of faith can look at us when we’re striving to live that way and say, “This Jesus, this Catholic Church, is worth something. It might even be worth my life.”

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