Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign: and a sign shall not be given it (Matthew 12:39)
As a follow-up to this week’s earlier post: Some People Choose Evil, I would like to expound further on the effects of evil and how it transforms what God intended as good into evil.
Each of us, born with a God given free will, have had many choices to make throughout our lives. Our choices fall into one of three categories: 1) They bring us closer to God and His will for us to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity, 2)They move us away from God’s will and to potential eternal perdition, or 3) If we do not repent, they reject God’s love and separate us from Him, leading us to damnation for all time.
The most wicked choice is to seperate ourselves from God by rejecting His love. This choice, unrepentant, will result in an eternity of being tormented by the personification of evil, the devil and all his demons.
(If you have not read The Last Four Things, by Fr. Martin Von Cochem, O.S.F.C., I suggest you do so. I believe this should be required reading for all Christians.)
St. Augustine, in the quote below, notes that in the depth of his depravity he became evil and without reason.
“I became evil for no reason. I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake.” – St. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine recognizes that his protracted separation from God’s love deformed his soul and intellect. In his deformity not only did he become evil, but he threw himself into it with all his being. He entered into a grand embrace of death itself.
How often in our own lives have we entered into this grand embrace of death?
The embrace of the destruction of all that is good within us brings us to the point of becoming evil and spreading evil. One does not need to look far to find different forms of evil seeking to destroy our souls. The distorted and evil soul, enslaved and deformed by its own depravity, is miserable and brings about the misery of those around it.
Make no mistake, there is evil in the world and people who have chosen to be evil. In this post modern Christian Era there are an increasing number of people making the choice of evil in their lives. Yes, the advancement of evil is a choice. We can just as easily choose to be good or evil. Both are the choices within our grasp. With a growing number of people refusing to bring the grace of baptism to their children, we can expect the rate of evil to continue to grow, but I digress.
Most of us have experienced the hopelessness that comes from grave sin. This sin alienates us from our Savior.
And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds. (Colossians 1:21)
Today, there are particular sins which continually reoccur in society. The persistence of these sins, as stated above, builds hostility toward all that is good and a greater propensity toward evil. Abortion, promiscuity, adultery, violence against innocents, child abuse, human trafficking, pornography are a few of the most common evil acts in a long list.
In fact, a large portion of society now celebrate many of the actions on this list. Here is one example: The abortion industry has been fully exposed selling the body parts of aborted children. Some of whom were born alive. How can a person deny that it is evil to kill an unborn child and sell its body parts? A person that denies this travesty of justice and affront against all humanity has embraced evil at the depths of their being. If they have not already become evil, they are most certainly in danger becoming evil.
In the words of the great evangelist, St. Paul, we must save ourselves.
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts 2:40)
Most of us have heard of the old adage, “If you wear a white glove and dip it in a bucket of black paint, does the bucket of paint turn white?” Of course, the answer is no. But, that poses two questions: How do we ‘save ourselves’? and What do we do in the face of evil people?
St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, gives us the first part of our answer:
“To keep the lamp burning we must put oil in it.”
Prayer is the oil that will keep our fire burning and will bring about conversions.
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Also, as stated in this week’s previous post, people who lack reason cannot be reasoned with. To take that a step further, we cannot participate in their evil or partner with those that persist in evil. Yes, Jesus dined with sinners, but He did not participate in their sin and He always called them to repentance and conversion.
Evil is a perversion of reason that we must resist. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness to light, and light into darkness, who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
In the face of evil, our call is to prayer and the sacraments. God’s loving gift of grace is our hope and will transform our own souls into those of the saints.
In order to combat evil the world needs saints. Our Heavenly Father’s will is for each of us to become saints.
JMJ, pray for us.
God is good!