Saint Marina, whacking one of
I LOVE the icon that I have featured on this blog post. It is an excellent inspiration to remember to defend myself against the demons that Satan sends out to torment the holy. Every Christian who struggles to reach perfection in spiritual life is, to one degree or another, a holy person. Every moment in which our minds are immersed in the Divine, is a moment of holiness, and the more holy moments we can string together, the more it infuriates Satan.
(New International Version)
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has
come on you to test you, as though something strange were
happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate
in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed
when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of
the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory
and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as
a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even
as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not
be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."
Satan will tempt a deranged neighbor to harass us. He will lead an acquaintance to lure us into unholy pursuits. He will send demons to visit our dreams and tear down our confidence in the Lord. He will do anything to weaken our devotion.
Satan does not have to prompt people who are devoted to sinful habits because they are already his minions on earth. If a person devoted to sin learns that we are Christian, they will persecute us because our quest for holiness insults them. They are taking a road that leads in the opposite direction, and they wish to justify their journey by taking as many people along with them as they can.
When we examine the lives of the saints, it becomes obvious that there is no earthly reward for being holy. In fact, just the opposite is true. Most saints had terrible sufferings. Asking God to make us saints carries with it a great deal of suffering. He is all too familiar with suffering, if you will remember, and we have to learn to link our sufferings with His.
Yes, we are all sinners. I am not saying that all Christians are holy, but I am saying that we aspire to holiness. We have our eyes on the Lord and we are straining toward him. Our mind is inclined toward His point of view, His values, and His teachings. Every step toward the Lord is a slap in the face to Satan.
The last few weeks have been a suffering to me. Nearly everything has gone wrong, with one notable exception, and I am slogging through persecutions. Persecutions and sufferings are a distraction from my primary mission, which is to pray for the world and to spend time with the Lord in contemplation. Sometimes it is a struggle to tear myself away from thoughts of the persecutions to thoughts of our wonderful Lord. I have to force myself to let go of the distractions and tune into the presence of God. Having PTSD makes it that much harder.
Reminding myself that Satan attacks the holy is somehow very calming, however. Things are going wrong, therefore everything is right in my life! It is an odd contradiction, but I know it is true. If everything was comfortable, all my needs were easily met, and no one was screaming and yelling at me, gossiping about me and working against me, I would suspect that something was wrong with my spiritual life.
I just thought I would put this note of encouragement "out there" for all my contemplative friends whose lives sometimes look more like a demented circus than a spiritual wonderland. You're doing alright.
God bless you all.
Silver Rose Parnell