Deliver Us From Evil
May 2, 2018
Read any newspaper or enter into any conversation with someone, there seems like a litany of never ending hardships to discuss and confront in life, and this for some time. Events in Toronto tragically once more reminded us of the fragility of life and how we too easily take each breath of our existence and each other for granted.
There seems to be a general agreement that we are living in a world whose environment feels hostile, stressful, angry, and these conditions breed tremendous amounts of fear in the human heart.
And rather than answer the call to love one another as Christ does, we instead retreat deeper and deeper into excessive forms of self centeredness. This is after all safer and requires little or no commitment to helping Jesus redeem the world and save souls.
Recently a mother shared a conversation she had with her little daughter who like the rest of us was wondering if monsters do in fact exist and rather than hide under the bed are all over the place day or night. And she had this to say:
“For all of man’s history, Satan and his demons have tempted us to turn away from God. Satan was in the Garden of Eden, Christ drove demons out of possessed or oppressed people, and even now as you read this, they are out there battling for souls.
I am making a more determined effort to routinely pray, especially at night with my children instead of rushing them off to bed with only a kiss. As we concluded the Our Father together the other night, my daughter asked what “deliver us from evil” means.
Evil is not just a thing; it is a person — Satan, the Evil One. He was a good angel who chose, out of pride, to reject God, and so he fell from grace. Other angels followed him, and they act as his demons. Demons try to turn you away from God so your soul will be lost to Hell after you die. They can’t control you, but they can pressure you, suggest bad thoughts. That’s why I say you have to be careful about what you watch and listen too.
“So, ‘deliver us from evil’ means we are asking for protection from Satan?”
“Yes. Demons are more powerful than humans.”
As soon as I said that, I realized that I could not leave her in the dark with that thought, so I added, “Demons are more powerful than humans, but demons are not God, who is all-powerful. Satan is not God. Christ, who is God, already prevailed against Satan. It’s just that in our life as fallen human beings we have to fight spiritual battles for the salvation of souls.”
“How do you do that, Mommy?”
“We pray, just like I told you. We pray the Our Father and ask to be delivered from the Evil One. When you pray, you surround yourself with God, and you can ask his good angels, especially your own guardian angel, and the saints to surround you with protection too. Your prayers tell God that you do choose to love, to know, and to serve Him. You have to pray often, but you can rest assured that you are protected when you do.”
“Like a shield, Mommy?”
“Like a shield of love that will sustain you through your hardest times. Goodnight, little warrior. No bad dreams allowed.”
The practicality and power of prayer. Imagine that the world like a human being has an immune system. In order to keep our immune system strong we need to eat properly, get good amounts of sleep and exercise because if we do not we weaken our immune system and we expose ourselves to all sorts of dangers that can make us sick.
What a healthy lifestyle is to the body is what prayer is to the individual and the world. If the world seems like such a mess and many of the people in it, perhaps it is because of a lack of prayer.
Imagine someone whose heart is like an empty ocean, which depleted of water, looks like a vast desert instead. Now imagine that you are praying, and each time you pray for a particular person or the world in general each prayer represents a rain drop that falling from God’s hands in Heaven hits that dry and cracking ground, instantly unleashing a torrent of refreshing and life giving water. And with enough prayer that desert becomes an ocean of water and the land upon it fertile with life and beauty.
We have been entrusted with that power and we need to exercise it more and more. The Mass is the most potent from of prayer on earth and as a continuation and extension of that prayer is the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours which any Christian can pray and we have here every month in the form of Vespers.
What breath is to the body, prayer is to the soul and to the world. If you smoke excessive amounts of cigarettes, that can create an asthmatic condition where one finds it hard to breathe. Excessive amounts of sin and lack of prayer suffocates the individual heart and by extension the whole world creating extremely unhealthy environments and conditions that people feel terrified to live in or feel as though life, especially one’s own has no meaning and purpose.
Like a sword and shield let us carry our Rosaries with us every where we go, especially each week to Mass, praying that others will enlist in this battle for the redemption of the world and the salvation of souls.