Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life is a Battle

God’s word relates that life is a battle. “Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle….” (Ps. 144:1). But this is mainly a battle against the Devil and his angels. Since Satan has been permanently excluded from the heavenly bliss, he wants to bring as many as possible to his kingdom, which is the hell fire of everlasting torment and punishments (cf. Rv. 12:7-17). The very finality of each and every person is either heaven or hell. Yes it’s true there are 4 last things: death, judgment, hell or heaven. But the very last, depending on your conduct is either eternal punishment in hell or eternal bliss in heaven. Find this out for yourself by reading Mt. 25:31-46, before it’s too late. In that part of the Bible Jesus shows who will be rewarded or punished eternally, that is, who goes to heaven or to hell.

Earthly life is constant battle against temptations from within and without. The devil makes use of our pride and vanity to tempt us to worldliness. So Jesus warns us: “What will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his soul?” (Mt. 16:26).

Doing battle also means using the right strategy. It’s different from facing a lion or a dog, because in such case, if you run away the dog or lion will run after you and bite you. In the spiritual battle of fighting off temptations to sin, the strategy to win relies on prayer, the sacraments, and God’s word. Meditating on God’s word will surely bring many benefits to the soul. Jesus has assured us: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). Some saints, like St. Alphonsus, had said you have only to blame yourself if you get to Hell of eternal fire since God in His mercy has provided for the means of repentance and conversion, if you ask for it sincerely, seek for it sincerely, knock for it sincerely. “For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him” (Mt. &:7-12). God’s word cannot lie nor be mistaken. We need the graces that are the fruits of prayer, meditation on God’s word and the Sacraments to strengthen us against temptation. “Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things” (1Pt. 5:8). The Lord Jesus had said—“The truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Consider therefore the triviality and transient nature of all things in the world and learn the eternal truths. With the help of prayer and grace you may come to realize the grain of truth in the sentence: When you reach the bottom you have only to go up. Of course this implies the attitude of being humble and therefore more considerate and kind towards others, more understanding, and happy at the success of others. “The Lord Jesus Himself said: “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35). Is there reason to be proud of earthly beauty or virility? There’s a food for thought from that Spanish rhymed expression: hoy en figura, mañana en sepulture (today a figure of beauty, tomorrow in the grave). There’s no room for pride in the passing things of earth that blossom today and vanish as quickly like a delusion. So God’s word keeps on convincing us to be humble and rely on God. “If you live in the shelter of Elyon and make your home in the shadow of Shaddai, you can say to Yahweh, “My refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust!” (Ps. 91:1-2). “Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night. He is like a tree that is planted by water streams, yielding its fruit in season, its leaves never fading; success attends all he does. It is nothng like this with the wicked, nothing like this!” (Ps. 1:1-4).

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