LET’S never forget this fact of life. For as long as we livein this world, and if we want to be consistent to our dignity as children of God, waging a kind of war of peace and love is a necessity. We cannot help it. We have enemies who mainly are our ownselves. We have enemies because they choose to be enemies of God, and therefore also of our own selves. Yes, we can be our own enemies.
Christ, who is supposed to be the Prince of Peace, warned us about this. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth,” he said. “I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” (Mt 10,34) But we have to understand these words well.
He is actually telling us to wage precisely a war to bring about the real peace meant for us, a kind of war that is inspired by true love that comes from God himself. We cannot deny that with all the goodness God has done for his creatures, practically all of the latter have chosen to go against God. And among the enemies, we can be counted, together with the devil, as the primary ones.
But the war we will be waging here on earth will be a constructive war, not destructive. It is a war to win our way toward heaven. It is a war to make ourselves “another Christ,” a new man, stepping out of the old man that we all are due to sin. Any obstacle along the way, including those who are very close to us but who compete with God for our love, should be fought and rejected.
We have to remember that we always have to contend with powerful enemies in our spiritual life. The first one would be our ownselves, our own flesh that has been weakened by sin. There is such a thing as concupiscence, a certain attraction to evil that leads us to have a lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
Its urges can be strong and can make us feel that they are irresistible. We should not worry too much about them. As long as we beg always for God’s grace and we do our part of prayer, self-denial, recourse to the sacraments, and spiritual struggle, we can manage to take the wind out of these urges’ sails.
Then we have the world with many of its sinful, or at least, potentially dangerous allurements. There already are powerful structures of sin in the world, like pornography, religious indifference, secularism or a new paganism, and quite developed ideologies that are openly against God.
We need to know how to be discerning of the things of this world. More than that, we have to learn how to relate the things of this world to God, because unless we do that, there’s no other way but for us to be swallowed up by their ungodly dynamic.
Then there’s the devil, a very powerful spiritual enemy that can easily insinuate himself in our thoughts and desires. He is indeed very clever. He does his wiles often without us realizing it. But with God we can actually outsmart him. Let’s remember that while Christ told us to be innocent as doves, we should also be clever like serpents. We should be quick to reject those insinuations of the devil in our thoughts and intentions.