The ARM of St. Michael
The forces opposing the attainment of chastity and purity are three.
The world today seems a pandemic of temptation. In some sectors, one encounters numerous constant dangers: unwholesome sights, sounds, experiences. Lust-infected media waits ever more proliferously, to leave the spores of obsession on the nervous system and memory. Lust addicts know well the trigger:immodesty.
The second adversary is the flesh. Sin wounds the flesh of the sinner. Chronic sin over greater spans of time distorts the flesh, bending it far away from the natural,original shape of health, into deformity. Sin habituates the flesh to a regime of behavior that begins to take on a life of its own, far removed from the initiating causes - the forbidden, illicit 'highs' of intoxication and escape.
The third adversary is one addressed in 12-step work without seriousness: Satan, the supernatural Father of Sin. Those who believe in the One power of the Savior, know that he came to overcome unclean spirits and the prince of all demons, the author of lust. As God has His armies of angels who do His work in the spiritual kingdom; Satan has his legions, his emissaries, sent to taunt, torment, tempt, confuse, exhort to despair and lead every person into the empty choices of disorder and sin.
In anonymous support group parlance, each person "has his demons", as if demons were somehow created by the person and the exclusive problem of the person. God did not grant us such frightening power. Risk of idolatry, yes, but power to create an entity of evil that did not exist before? No. In the catholic faith in Jesus, though there are acknowledged legions of individual demons, none are the possession or creation of a human being.
With Christ all three of these foes are conquered. Receiving Jesus in the sacraments and in his holy word and in his church, one is relieved from addiction to anything, from the disfigurements of the flesh and stops the unseen demonic torments.
He leads us by grace to see why "one day in God's house is better than a thousand elsewhere" and we come to prefer environments which do not expose one to filth, what is unclean and unholy.
In Christ, over time, with patience, we begin to watch our flesh change; our minds, our nervous system, our endocrine system, even the texture of memories and dreams, all the physical parts distorted by disordered choices begin to "remember" their normal intended shape and function. We see how our bodies want less and less, anything to do with acting out. Jesus transforms our very flesh, to want what was instead always intended: health, peace, work, responsibility, service, love, kindness, self-mastery.
Jesus has overcome the devil. Virtually everywhere outside the Church, the reality of Satan is a stumbling block for many people. As a comparative illustration, we examine the Church sacramental of holy water. Holy Water, is water that, in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and other Christian churches, has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of Christian) baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects, or as a means of repelling evil. The use for spiritual cleansing is common among several religions, from Christianity to Sikhism and Hinduism.The use of holy water as a sacramental for protection against evil is almost exclusive to Roman Catholics.
This is not some kind of testament to the credit of catholics; it is Christian witness to the power of Jesus' blood, his power to make waters clean, holy and purifying; things that would, for the contaminated legions of the netherworld, naturally be hated and repulsing.
The Devil is rarely if ever mentioned in the literature of the non-denominational 12-steps. But if there is a higher power, [and there is], there is also a lower power, an invisible force jealous of the supremacy of God, the Uncreated One. The Devil is always at work trying to ruin and distort the beauty and perfection of all that God has made. Being human, we are in the very field of this campaign of warfare, but so few seem to even know it. This is deadly for some. Those who know Christ, know that he has defeated the Evil One, the invidious Enemy - 'the desolator', the prince of darkness,chaos, madness, impurity, squalor, putrescence. Christ's God offering of redemptive death has paid in advance for the remission of all sins that will ever be committed.
Holy water is one instrument in the arsenal of 'conquering light', which is used as a visible means to repel what is evil-invisible. The power flows from Christ and assured by the majesty of His Church. The 12-steps affirm that we may 'have our demons'; but it is not for the addict to overpower or destroy such entities. It is for God, the Supreme Power, to make short work of them for us. For the Christian, the blood of Jesus, the blood of perfect Man who is also divine God, is the visible sign of the power obliging the Enemy to fall, "like lightning", away from his targets. All that is needed is faith, and to come to Jesus.
Thank you Jesus for coming to save the enslaved of the world. Stay with us Jesus, protect us Jesus, deliver us Jesus. Amen.