Army of Heaven
Buried under addiction or compulsion, is a hard to recognize base layer, whose identification can lead to deliverance and freedom.
Many of us who’ve long suffered unwanted, involuntary behaviors, cannot see the narcissism which holds everything wrong in place, a remnant of the effects of original sin. Secretive, self-enclosed, and flesh-attached, the creature struggles painfully to let his own (ill) heart die completely and finally into the merciful hands of God.
God has created humans with the urge to ultimacy, that profound desire to bond with one perfection. He meant for that Other to be His Uncreated Self. Nothing will ever be greater!
But if God is not allowed to be the ultimate desire of our hearts, the bond of ultimacy does not also recede in a human, but will defer to another seat. For the struggling, physiological exhilaration became the Other, which the self at first manipulated at will, but becomes eventually manipulated by it. For us, because it went on for a long time, there came a deep possession by a spirit of “crack” intoxication.
So deep was attachment to excitement, that it became understood that to be in affliction was to be alive. To feel the rollercoaster of intoxication and sobriety was to live a drama unthinkable to get beyond. What could be outside a world bookended by alternated violence of passions and false satiety?
Well, actually, an eternal one. The world of grace, imperturbable peace, the abiding presence of God in the soul. The Kingdom of Heaven!
To find the narrow gate to liberation, we come to recognize the self-power-kingdom of flesh, at the tip of nose, always there, but easily missed. Conversion is to will the exile of one’s self from the empire of sensual attachment. It is dying to deep inurement to flesh.
Mary Magdalene is important to the Church on Easter morning, because she is absolute proof of what Jesus said: He truly came, not for the healthy and virtuous, but for the sick. The Magdalene was unwell, in fact, the sickest.
The Magdalene became highly adapted to her sin. Long-term, physical, psychological and spiritual adaptation: which today evokes addiction, obsession-compulsion, involuntary vice. One can be so possessed, that ‘me’ becomes identified with disfigurement itself.
She is also proof that such souls of profound “orientation” or “lifestyle”, can escape, by the grace of prayer and fasting and Divine Mercy. If the Magdalene can turn “all-wrong” around, we can too. She did it by clinging tenaciously to Jesus Christ, the God of every remedy.
Folks like her today go to Mass daily, confession frequently, receive deliverance prayer, minor exorcism, maybe formal exorcism; become profoundly, even excessively religious: who sit at Jesus’ feet continually, who pray at the first sign of incoming temptation, who come to do much penance.
Can the gate be found? Yes, at two requests. As has been repeated in this research, white knuckle human stress and strain are not the gate.
The first request is for help with resistance. Freedom does not come because sin is not resisted, which is to say, love of flesh is not hated. Why not? Because there is excessive attachment to it; normalization of sin; we were greatly accustomed to what excited us; we were highly adapted to the slavery to excitability.
Resistance takes only one form: prayer, because only God’s strength can win the day. On strength: God must increase, I must decrease. The results of this prayer are immediate, helping us out of the sticky premonition of “inevitable” excitement that temptation masquerades. Though it is not easy, there is freedom from sex. “Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, save us and the whole world.”
The second request is for release from the disordered desire to sin, transgression of the first commandment. Freedom from self-love that contaminates the root of the heart, that could never before think in any other category or option. Who tries to preserve his life will lose it. This also, following the wisdom of the Church, does not appear all at once, but must be found through progressive, discerned, hatred of sin.
If there is no desire for freedom, then one must pray for the desire, desire for release. We can only ask for chastity, victoriously, out of true desire, often in part paid for by lots of previous self-disgust and exhaustion.
We then remain attentive and seek special healing opportunities in the Church: support groups, healing Masses, healing services, healing retreats, healing prayer, deliverance prayer, exorcism, counseling, therapy …
And wait again… with patience.
As Jesus taught Luisa Piccaretta, if we destroy the self, there will be no ‘there’ to tempt. I must decrease to zero. Jesus promises us that we will be lifted above the fray, above the demonic brawl, which will no longer touch us. Time and grace help make the unholy memory of sin and desire for sin, fade.
What does this look like? Silence. Spending time with Jesus in silence. Desiring to silence the mind, to take captive all thought every thought, sinful or not. Silence habituates the mind away from thinking, away from itself, away from self, which is the real problem. If “I” ‘go away’ (ignore the mind, “destroy the self”), there is no target anymore for the spirit of sensuality. In silence, in an open available heart, God comes to occupy ‘our house’ and possess us.
It looks also like patience. You may have to wait for it. St Frances de Sales declared that the slow cure is the best cure. Ralph Martin has called the Christian journey a marathon. Waiting on the Lord, is true wisdom. We have to be open-ended, get rid of calendars, schedules, even sobriety dates, and be content to let God hand us perfect freedom in His time. Only God can replace stupidity with strength.
In the meantime, seeing, serving, and loving others, always waits to be applied, which is the most immediate way of all to destroy “the problem”, the old self. No explanation needed: go, act, love.
Amen Amen Amen My God, I can’t. You can, I abandon myself to You. My God, I am nothing. You are everything. I abandon myself to you. I am a useless & unworthy servant, a brittle stick.
God of Mercy and Forgiveness have mercy on me. You are the Living Water that sanctifies and perfects. Fill me with Yourself. Destroy my wickedness with Your purity. Strengthen my weaknesses with Your grace. Transform me with Your power. I cannot be perfect without Your help. You cannot perfect me without my will, not for lack of power but for excess of mercy. My God, I give You my will. Please give me Yours. Do it now Lord. Destroy my evilness. Possess me, here and now, my God and Lord. Amen.