Know Your Enemy-Doubt
In the Temptation in the Desert, The Devil taunts Jesus:
Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,
And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
This is the world we are given into, it is not for God to be tested, but for us to be proven. We do not set the conditions asking signs, cutting deals. We confront evil in this world and in the confrontation we are asked to choose for or against God. God serves us of His Free Will, not by our command and for us to choose God, we must, like Him, serve of our free will. To say, “I will not serve,” is to choose the way of Satan and his demons, it is to choose the path to Hell.
As we go through life it seems we are beset by many evils, but evil is one, like love, evil is a force–like love, but far weaker. Evil seems strange, beguiling, at times even seductive because it is alien to man and not something that was of man’s original design. Neither was man made for evil, nor was evil intended as a tool of man, and fear, an element of evil confuses the spirit, muddles the will, weakens resolve and undermines trust. Fear is a gateway into evil. Fear of the “other.” Fear of “being less.” Fear of “lack.” Wherever fear is to be found, evil’s potential is palpable and can be strongly sensed. As fear grows, an all encompassing self-interest begins to take hold. We become “proactive,” we take measures, we take matters into our own hands anticipating the future,we forget God.
Doubt is most keenly and most dangerously expressed when, under the guise of merely pursuing our own interests, acting of our own accord, we fail to consider the will or intent of God. We keep God “in His place”–Church, Prayer, Holy Hour–and take upon our own shoulders the affairs of this world. Acting in one’s self-interest is contrary to the Will of the One to which all things are owed. Any act without consideration of God’s Will, that is, any act performed outside the confines of love (which is to will the good of the other for the sake of the other), is a faithless, sinful act that denies God’s Love for us. This is the greatest doubt. This is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit of which Jesus gave warning. This is diving off the pinnacle of the temple.
Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us. It is not possible to love one another, to will the good of the other whilst in the pursuit of our own self-interest. Jesus, God sustains us in all things, and so we are to give our lives to the spiritual and material sustenance of one another, but such gifts are only good if they are aligned with God’s Will for His Kingdom and not based on what we think they need, or what we would like to see in the world. God’s Will is determined, Jesus tells us, in prayer and fasting, listening contemplatively and self-denial, that is, setting ourselves and our agendas aside and trusting all to God; knowing God will give neither stone nor serpent in lieu of bread and fish. God knows your needs before you ask of Him. Consider the lilies of the field, they neither spin nor toil and not even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these. Meditate on the birds of the air, they neither sow, reap, nor gather into barns, yet God sees to their needs. When Peter walked on the sea, was it not by God’s Grace alone? Why, then, should we think we walk on land by any other means?
Peter did not merely step out onto the sea, Peter asked the Lord to bid him, “come.” We do not jump off temples crying out to God “save me!”, we cry out to God and should He bid us jump, we fall into His arms. He will not let us fall.
Man can only achieve what God places before him. Much like a child who, by his mother is given batter to stir under her close supervision, participates in the making of a celebratory cake. The child’s given part is essential and indispensable (the cake must be stirred), however, the child was merely entrusted to perform the essential act by the parent’s grace, so that the child may experience the joy of partaking in the celebratory delight’s creation. So do we participate in the creation of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is upon us. God wills it. God speaks it. God calls us to participate, to do our small part. Thus it is.
Trust in the Lord and unto thee all good things shall be given.