The ARM of St. Michael
Lust is more than an idol. Lust is a lover and the affair is with Satan. If this is a shock, it is because this is the last thing the enemy wants any of his long-hypnotized to figure out.
The corruptions of the Evil One have wrapped phantasm-tendrils around our hormones, our brains and yes our hearts. Under obsession we are entangled in a counterfeit that is stronger than we are capable of tearing away. Yet, somewhere along the line we chose it so. The Deceiver is well named.
Recovery and sobriety by grace allow us to see into our mistakes, our affliction and our sin. Yet we remain vulnerable, dreading temptation in view of so many past failures to walk in the opposite direction.
Always, the insidious thief steels toward us from behind, "under the radar", "striking at our heel". Memories in our wounded brains and nervous systems reach up from low places, dreams and half-remembered subconscious noise.
Unclean spirits can hide in a kind of 'sleep mode' for indeterminate intervals, suddenly to appear when they are least expected and most unwanted. This is one of several reasons to pray literally without ceasing, and a compelling reason to consider receiving deliverance prayer!
If we give even a little notice to the vague voice, how quickly the adversary twists around us, our way become impeded. We remember our Jesus, recognizing the brief presence in His apostle Peter, commanding "Get behind me Satan!"
Why do we do it? Why do we risk making the same boring, wrong and painful choice?
Falling anew, it becomes tempting to entertain the idea that I must possess the most hidden and oppressive wound of all, "the wound of stupidity". But if this is true, humans become excused from the extraordinary reality and gift of free will. This cannot be so. Free will elevates the human station. We are not beasts, but children made in God's image.
Our biography of sin and wound thoroughly scoured, one obstacle emerges in clear relief: the Devil himself. If we continue to fall despite the previous knowledge of all unwisdom to do so, how else can we go forward except to admit at last the unthinkable.
What is that? "I want to be free Lord, help my lack of true desire for freedom. Yes, I have loved the intoxications of Beelzebul and have tried to hide this tryst, but You Lord know everything, you know my heart and all that I am. Have mercy on me! Forgive me for my choices and grant me desire to resist the Devil."
The wound of stupidity is an excuse introduced to avert culpability, it is disguised pride obfuscating deeper truth. Just as when the Lord spoke that He desired not sacrifice but mercy, the opportunity here is to face the last deceit instead of raking up another substitute scenario. God wants the truth. And, He is all mercy, He is all forgiveness.
In addiction, one falls in love with the intoxicant, what is false, easy to manipulate and run away with. But the intoxicant is not 'alive' and makes no overtures. It is Satan who puts the bottle of intoxication before us, deftly trying to induce the temptee's step into the quicksand of fixation and engulfment.
And we have chosen this instead of the infinite beneficence and blessing of God, which human frailty and blindness cannot seem to recognize.
Satan has only one trick, the one our being is centrally deformed around. God has a tremendum filled with wonders and light that go far beyond honey and gold, beyond disordered passions and perverse drunkeness.
If God becomes the lover, no human can prepare himself for what the Creator can bestow out of His immense treasuries, for His friend, His loved one who chooses to humble himself, to be what he is, a frail creature who needs his True Father.
Patience emerges ever the eternal virtue. As recovering addicts we have minds that are impaired, we have no way to imagine what delayed (and divine) gratification looks like.
Now some may say that an addict must take up his cross of addiction. But that cross is not a cross of sin, nor is it a cross of deformity. The cross is the waiting to be healed of sin and deformity, all the while desiring it, asking for it and moving toward it trusting in grace to receive it. And at this festive passage of the Christian year several biblical figures are set before us as bravely patient souls who were rewarded for never giving up, letting all things be possible in God, even when one's whole life seems to demand the contrary.
Faithful Simeon, who was told he would SEE the instrument of salvation before he died, waits long enough until, one day God is suddenly in his very own human arms! And Anna who stayed in the temple, fasting, praying, [read: remained true to devout life, true to faith, true to prayer, true to God’s friendship], is rewarded for her perseverance with the same gift.
God sets free. Inspired by our forebears, can we wait on the Lord with 'terminal' hope even if it seems it will take most of life? He alone must be the center. God has to be our lover not Satan. If we jilt Satan, if we confess the truth of our stupidity without excusing it as a wound that conveniently skips over the atomic nucleus of personal volition, but owning it for what it has been, frail, misled and wrong, if the finger of God casts out the unclean spirit, His kingdom will come upon us.
“In His time” the gift comes, and its coming is sweeter than anything this life has prepared us for. “In His time” is wonder, unending delight, cosmic laughter, impossible joy, all of this connected to the glory of a destination that has no measurement. God can endow us with a sense of the price: ineffable poetry, metaphors of immensity and perfection.
Complete liberation is the Day of Holiest Desire, the same day He begot Jesus Christ. The metaphor is about glory, a long winding climb, a long building theme. He has the score in His hand, it's our life journey, the most blessed thing still ever before us, begging us to be faithful, to hope, to believe, to expect, to wait, Father and son, writing together.
It's bigger than you and I, bigger than our addiction, way bigger than Satan and his black bottle. Do you understand how big the gift that is coming, how big the dock has to be for it to pull into port? The Grandeur of His Time is inescapable mercy. Hope ever alive, keep praying, keep going, keep believing!
God of Heaven, take my life, take all of me entirely and use me for your glory. I am nothing, You are everything, you are all I have and all I need. I am yours, I give myself back to you completely. Possess me and grant me the desire to resist Satan that he will flee from me. In Jesus name I beg. Amen.