Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten the darkness of my understanding and sharpen my conscience, so that I may recognize God’s will in all things. Send forth Your light and truth into my soul!
Susan Skinner has written about a disturbing dream that speaks to our now and to what is coming: a deadly confusion – embraced as truth and reality – by more and more people. A confusion that will lead us to leave our faith – willfully – or without realizing it. We will give up all that is important for what isn’t.
Because the world will become our master and it will guide our choices. No longer will we choose Jesus in our families, in our places of work, or even, I suspect, in our worship. We will choose the god of the moment – anything that the world compels us to worship at any one time.
What Susan wrote hits very close to home as this is my suffering, my family’s suffering too. Each and every day, we are spiritually and emotionally hurt, sometimes even assaulted, by people who are angry that we are trying to choose Jesus when they won’t. My husband and I are suffering this on a daily basis at work. Our kids are struggling in school. It is not the usual disagreeable co-worker antics or the errant student or teacher.
It is far, far worse. It is a pervasive, multi-headed slave-owner mentality that seeks to control and force us all to bow down and worship its many gods – money, self, whatever the idol of the hour.
At the root of this abuse is the spirit of narcissism. We have the Holy Spirit. Satan’s is the spirit of narcissism.
It is the spirit of narcissism that will encourage us to neglect our children, spouses and loved ones, to favour ourselves. It will delude us to believe that as we try to break the glass ceiling at work, we are doing what’s best for our kids at home. Narcissism will whisper accolades into our ears as we go deeper and deeper into work, drawn not by need, but by the siren’s call to worship of money and self idolatry, leaving our homes, our marriage, our kids emotionally and spiritually starved. It is not about earning the honest dollar; it is about money replacing our hearts.
The spirit of narcissism feeds the winds of boredom. Suddenly, the Rosary is slow and ineffective, the Mass dull and uninspiring. Why isn’t the priest prancing around, where are the sermons of fire-and-brimstone? Narcissism pretends to commiserate with our spiritual lethargy – only to slyly draw us away from the Eucharist, from the Word of God, from the hard truths of the tenets of our faith, towards fads and trends, modern gurus and spiritual ear candy.
As the hour deepens, the voices that insist that we obey satan’s spirit will become louder and more convincing. It is easier to resist this nefarious wrecker’s wiles when it’s a single voice.
Not so when it is a chorus gaining in size and volume by the day as more and more people succumb to narcissism in all its shades and forms. People like our closest friends, co-workers, our superiors.
Our own family members.
Not so when those who have fallen employ various means, even emotional blackmail, to get us to cross over to their side.
Not so when we can no longer discern the fading line between truth and deception.
It will be very, very hard to resist but it will not be impossible. Susan Skinner’s words to us are to walk blind to know what is real. To not depend on our sight but to allow the Holy Spirit to lead.
To seek God in every way the Holy Spirit reveals to us, and then to depend on God to light the darkness for us.