Journey into Freedom Day 25
The Ways of Good and Evil
Today we have a meditation from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola to help us become more aware of the influences upon us. We consider how evil will tempt us and how good will invite us. Evil is personified by Ignatius as Satan, the enemy of our human nature and good is revealed in Christ the giver of life.
Preparation: I come before the Creator of the Universe, the Father, the Mother, who loves me dearly. I ask that my prayer is according to God’s will.
The Gift: I ask that I may recognise the deceits of Satan to help me guard against them and recognise the call of Jesus and be given the grace to follow Him.
I reflect on the way of evil, personified by Satan on his fiery throne. Evil spares no individual, nation, city or place upon the earth—all are tempted. Evil sows selfishness, division, oppression and denies what gives life. The basic temptations which lead to most evils are a desire for wealth and possessions, which give the false promise of happiness. Evil then encourages us to seek honours and the esteem of the world, which lead to pride, where we consider ourselves better than others.
I reflect on the way of Christ, which is revealed in a gentle, humble Lord Jesus. He invites me to what brings life and joy:
- To the freedom of not being attached to possessions. - To a simplicity of life which gives contentment with what I have and who I am. - To have no need to seek honours or the recognition of others to build my ego. - To a humility which accepts others as my equal, whatever their place in society.
A Conversation: I talk to Mary, the mother of Jesus as a friend and imagine what she might say in reply. I ask her to pray to her son to give me the grace to follow Him in the highest spiritual poverty, and if He is willing, in actual poverty. I ask as well for the gift of being able to accept insults and ridicule for Christ.
I talk to Jesus, and ask Him for the same graces I asked of Mary.
I talk to God, the Father and I ask again for the same graces as I requested of Mary and Jesus. I finish my prayer with the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.
A Thought for Today: The battle-line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Enemy of our Human Nature
Christianity has personified evil under many names, Satan, the Devil, the Father of Lies, the Evil one, etc. Ignatius prefers the term ‘the enemy of our human nature’. Following the promptings of this enemy will cause us to turn away from all that is good and ultimately reject life itself. Our life will flourish when we can unmask this enemy and follow instead the promptings of God, the giver of life.
In practice it probably makes little difference if we believe in good and bad spirits—a world of angels and devils or not. What is important is to recognise those temptations that lead to emptiness and desolation, and the invitations from God to a live a life which brings human flourishing with a deep sense of consolation.