After reading the two last posts you may suspect that I believe in a big, red creature with horns and tail. Just to clarify. I don’t. The lively pictures of art that Dante and others presented to describe the reality of hell and the devil does not accurately depict those realities I believe. In a way those very artists in trying to describe the spiritual realm, made this reality a lot smaller than it is. The effect of it being that today we are “stupid” or “fundamentalists” if we believe in the devil, we are laughed at if we say that we believe in an evil reality. The devil twisted the good intended meaning of this artwork. He is the “father of lies” and the biggest lie the devil ever pulled was to convince the world that he does not exist.
Now, as I said I do not picture the devil as the Hollywood movies does (Hellboy), I do not picture demons like the demonic vampires in “Van Hellsing” or other films. If I must picture “them” I do believe that they “look” a lot more like a “thought” entering your mind. Spiritual warfare is not so much about “seeing demons everywhere”. It is more about knowing who you truly are and how you operate, “know thyself” . Everything you need to live a life of excellence, of goodness resides within you, because if you (with the help of Christ) tear down the lies, you will see that Christ lives within you. Everything you need to be truly human is present deep within, because your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. Your heart is a dwelling place for God. It is when you discover this that you truly touch your humanity and you become whole.
It is no surprise that we have a hard time seeing our “divine potential”. The devil has tried to influence our thoughts by manner of twisting them. We receive our thoughts from how we experience reality through our senses. Those impressions crashes into our freedom of choice and a decision is made. After this we act out in the physical what we decided in the spiritual. Since our thoughts are influenced by the physical reality we find ourselves in (which is a consequence of other people’s decisions) we must be cautious. The devil has tried to take out the content of the structure and vice versa from a lot of important physical realities by swaying the ideas of persons (with those persons often having good intentions from the beginning). Some of the fundamental ideas that he tries to undermine and twist concerns the sacraments (this is no coincidence).
Eucharist – The use of wine or alcoholic beverages/drugs over all has never been more imbalanced as in modern society. Alcoholism, and the violence that proceeds from it has many victims. On the other extreme we have a puritan thought that claims that any consumption of alcohol is evil, this side can probably present almost as many victims. Neither side is true, both are addictive. The bread or food in the Eucharist is not spared the attacks either. The distribution of bread in the world is very imbalanced. 15% of the world’s population lives in abundance (and suffers cancer, obesity and heart problems for it) while the other 85% can’t afford to eat until they are full. There is enough food for everybody, that’s the physical reality. The spiritual reality is that we do not want to face the work it requires for everybody to have food. This laziness comes from the devil.
Baptism – Water is a necessity for life, yet huge numbers of people lacks daily access to healthy water. Many people suffer from thirst and disease because of a lack of water. Physically we could solve this with the knowledge we have today, but on a spiritual level there is greed and sloth stopping this work.
Chrismation/Confirmation/Unction. Oil is used in these sacraments. This essence of the fruits to anoint sick people and to bring about wonderful fragrance is today a huge industry filled with greed and a huge lack of morality, see my post https://frjakob.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/the-message-of-oil/ The ownership over oil (or other resources) is a very common reason for the modern war.
Marriage. The sacrament of the union between a man and a woman is under heavy “gunfire”. a) The term “marriage” has been hijacked for usage in relations that are not actual marriages. b) People question if there actually is something like “male” and “female” at all. c) Divorce is rampant (expected by many) with all the consequences. d) Many marriages are violent and abusive, rape (both within and outside of marriage) is common. e) Oversexual behaviour, pornography and “recreational sexual relations” has nominalized and secularized the meaning of this mysterious union. f) New life has become a matter of personal convenience. And on it goes.
Orders. The sacrament of the ordination is under attack as well. Many are the examples of persons that has been ordained that has tarnished the office of deacon, priest and bishop by abusive behaviour.
Confession. This sacrament has often become the moment where the above abuses mentioned are occurring.
These are examples of how the devil tries to twist the sacraments. Not to mention the twisting on a dogmatic level where the sacraments either are taken out from the church all together or they have become nominal. Our decision may change when we connect the blood of Christ with alcoholism. When we connect the word marriage with an abusive husband. Since the devil does not have the power to erase our original “image and likeness of God” he tries to effect our choice (which is given from God). He can not touch our desire to be known and loved, it is ingrained in us so therefore he tries to fill this desire with everything but the one thing that will satisfy us, Christ. He can not touch our freedom hence he tries to make us choose all the wrong things. He can not touch the structure of reality with a physical and spiritual dimension hence he tries to disconnect them. He can not touch our need for food and drink so he tries to put this out of balance. He cannot touch the distribution of grace in the Sacraments, he can not touch the Sacraments, hence he tries to corrupt the way we view them.