Lent 29 ~ When You Leave

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You will no sooner have resolved to give yourself to God than Hell will send out its forces against you. The devil himself, the arch-deceiver, will renew his warfare and turn all his forces against you. Enraged at your desertion from his party, he will leave nothing undone to ruin you. . .  .   ~   Venerable Louis of Granada, The Sinner’s Guide


          In much of my life, one thing that stands out is the reaction of people when I dared to leave their party. Breaking away from my NPD mother. Leaving the friendship of the narcissist university mate I mistook as a friend. Choosing Christian work principles over flamboyance of worldliness. Going against the Napoleonic mindset of our parish ‘elite’. Or even taking the side of Pope Francis(!) – finding light and strength in his words that seem to set other teeth on edge.

          In each of these situations and more, when I dare to break ranks, sometimes, just questioning because something seems off to me, – it gets people foaming. Their anger used to frighten me. I used to backpedal when this happened, damp down my doubts and allow people to tell me that I was wrong – if it would just help calm things down.

          But not any longer.

          This reaction when I choose to go against the flow because I sense the Will of God does not lie here, this reaction of not mere anger but absurd anger, is a red flag to me. It tells me something is not right. Something is not of the true Christian spirit here.

          Something else is in control.

Enraged at your desertion from his party, he will leave nothing undone to ruin you.

          I am tired as I read these words for I have felt and continue to suffer from their very flames. Not every one of my sufferings is because of satan’s fury. Not every time I’ve chosen my own path and suffered for it, it has been because I was obedient to God’s Will.

          But I have come to know this different edge of the knife when I choose the Cross of Christ over the deceiver’s will. The rage and hatred is different. It cuts differently. It makes you bleed differently too.

          I have every reason to fear it.

          But since last Thursday, an old prayer has found its way into my spirit. Christ’s last words on the Cross which He Himself gave me on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross some years ago.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

          Every time I sense something in the air, stirrings of unease, or even in bouts of praise and thanksgiving, in moments of deep peaceful stillness, my spirit naturally falls into this ancient prayer.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

          Everywhere I turn, this prayer lies in wait to catch my heart.

          Not once do I turn away to seek a different prayer. Not once.