Army of Heaven
“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not vacillate; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” -Luke 22: 31-32
Conversion reveals the state of heart. Though the act to return to the old nest of sin sometimes seems absolutely unchangeable, it unveils vacillating faith, the reason God permits temptation. All return to sin is a deception, because the 'sweet home' of intoxication is a mirage. In the name of Jesus, I renounce a return to the lie, the old, the dead past, to that sin.
“It’s terribly familiar.” “I know how.” “It’s dependable, reliable.” “It’s forbidden, fun.” “It’s involuntary…” We know these excuses attach to the Deceiver, who thus plies God with his knowledge of our impure desires. In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit of ‘no resistance to sin’.
The enemy is the monster who mixes truth with lies. The name Simon means listen. The enemy for example, can tell a soul to go to confession. We go to confession, but not because the enemy fools us with false spiritual direction. Blessed the man of discernment, who knows the voice of truth from the voice of lies.
But since redemption moves us from temptation to grace, let us ask for something we may have never yet asked.
Salvation means safety. The dangers are an unreliable will, disordered flesh, the immodest world, a heart rooted in error, and finally, the angel of evil who will sift us because of our uncrucified attachment. Jesus, because this is never the work of a creature, let the Spirit of Truth change our hearts and minds from within.
God permits Satan to touch us because virtue and merit cannot appear without test. But the Lord assures that we are not tested beyond our strength. In our Father’s eyes, we are untouchable when faith in His Strength lives firmly in us. The Strength has no actual rival. What can fight God? Who or what can compare with God?! God doesn’t fight anything. He would not be perfect and Unopposable if He were anything but the Supreme Uncreated Omnipotence. In silent and calm trust then is our victory! Jesus, Thy will be done, You take care of it!
To be sifted as wheat means to encounter a test of faith, and maybe more than once. The purpose of sifting wheat is not to destroy it, but to remove the dust, husks, and impurities. Our unclean desires will not go with us to Heaven. So, knowing well the right desire by teaching, how do we “move the needle” against ancient vice, to help our poor desire to resist an ingrained satanic disfigurement? Jesus, help me to accept the martyrdom of chastity.
We are trying not to resort to self, to not turn inward to deal with arousal directly ourselves by acting out. Remember Sexaholics Anonymous: “The only way we knew how to be free of it, was to do it”. In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit of impossibility.
God does not set up the sinner to the weakness of granting first consent to sin, nor to ask a second request to reverse the first. There is a sort of madness here if I am going to give sinful consent and then contradict it with the exact opposite. In other words, entertaining both for and against at the same time is vacillation: insanity. God does not will us to be insane. God has decreed that we are not to give any consent to any sin, at any time. Yet He knows, if the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.
The way out is to prevent that one thing that appears every time of failure, that angel that we know too well, to not be permitted to bind our will. The trigger, which is always demonic, we ask to be blocked, or dare we pray it, reversed!!
Has the Evil One been holding my umbilical cord all my days? Mary, Undoer of Knots, wrest our spiritual umbilical cords from the claws of the perfidious one!
Boldly then, let us ask to be protected from the last phantasm, that one specific thing blind, unbidden, subconscious, nocturnal, synthetic, accidental. Let the Seducer, who has enjoyed it for too long, have no right nor access to our sexual faculties anymore.
After the world and the enemy, our own flesh emerges by far as the most challenging of the three adversaries to topple. Let us ask for peace to cancel obsession and “rumors” of obsession. God only acts in the presence of peace. If there be any fear, unrest, doubt, worry, still uninspected attached wrong desire, the Savior does not act.
We are not asking God to take away temptation. We are asking God to save us from the last thing that leads predictably to the vortex of the chemical gate, against our sobriety.
The ‘mind of the heart’ is the final battle field. We are asking what Maximus the Confessor termed custody of all thought, custody of the imagination, the dizzying purity of rectified intention.
We are asking for the power of silence to stop the trigger deep in the heart.
St. Maximus, paragon of purity, prayer for us!
Father Almighty, we boast in our long-failing weakness and stupidity, a body that does not obey our will. Hear our loud cry for mercy, o God, for like Paul’s, our defect is involuntary. Decades have humbled us. Look with favor upon this prayer, asked with persistent faith, believing in your goodness. Grant us what will bring freedom, a conquered mind, a truly clean heart, crucified flesh. Let us triumph over sin by the grace of Your protection, by Your strength working rightly in us, by the grace of fearless inner silence. Jesus said we can do nothing without Him. We ask gratefully in the name of Your Most Holy Son Amen.