Choosing rechoosing

In 2 Corinthians 12: 1-9 St. Paul reveals that a demon afflicts him. God’s sufficient grace is granted to Paul, but permanent safety from the noxious tempter is not. The apostle goes before us all on this road of conversion, and to whom we pray. The eternal test of faith consists of keeping our eyes always on the Deliverer, not on the demon.

The passions of illicit sexual intoxication may seem insurmountable, but they are always accompanied also by a host of dread spirits, such as disorientation, confusion, stupidity, blindness, loss of bearing, loss of grace, darkness, obscurity, oblivion, fragility, hearing voices, other demons worse than the one who afflicts us, possession, insanity, sickness, illness, infirmity, insatiety, calamity, falsity.

The last is a spirit of mortal peril. Thinking errors, specifically self-deception, lead to wrong conclusions about our state including the invitation to “wounded” pride and self-judgment. Yes the demon never goes away completely, and since he doesn’t, with recurring falls, there remains the temptation to pronounce a controlling, self-entitled fatality about our condition. “I’m a disfigured person”. “This is never going to change”. “Why should I care anymore?” Self-inflicting statements like these betray the active dismantling of hope and faith!

True faith continues to make instead this untiring, on-going choice: God has made me in His image and likeness. This image is His very presence within my soul. This image allows me to become one with Him. God does not see me as disfigured. In the name of Jesus I renounce the lie that I am disfigured.

God’s thoughts are greater than human thoughts. We may become broken because of sinfulness and weakness, but concluding that one is “disfigured” (thus) “incurable” are negative assessments that do not come from Heaven or faith. Our souls, being in Christ, possess more than is realized. The Savior is our health and our salvation. Even now He heals, and never stops healing those who turn to Him with faith.

Satan wants us to see ourselves as disfigured, beyond help. But the baptized know, these are grand lies, and they are not who we are. No matter how many times we fall, no matter how black our soul seems to get, the Lord is never going to leave us. His Holy Face never leaves us! Forgiveness always awaits, new grace always abounds!

Paul teaches us indirectly that it is far better to have a demon than to be disfigured. We need the conviction to know, like Paul, “strength belongs to God” (Psalm 62). Christ is our inner strength, the wisdom of God for right choice. Because of Divine strength, unending care and readiness to forgive, we are going to win over.

Our Father cheers us on from His unfailing throne: “You can do it!!” What are we doing? We keep getting up, keep surrendering all to His grace and strength, we keep praying. We entrust ourselves in Silence like a babe on Protector’s lap. Amen! St. Paul, pray for us!