For most of my life I’ve rejected the analogy that my spiritual life is a battle.
I dislike war. I would say hate, but I’m trying to not use that word. So, maybe detest is a better word. I detest everything about war. The pre-meditated plan to kill another human being. The wanton destruction of decency. The innocence caught in the crosshairs. The horror and spirit that comes with war.
So, you can see why I would reject the concept of a battle when it comes to my faith.
And although I still hold that faith should be pure, peaceable, benign, I’m keenly aware that there is so much more going on than I first imagined.
Paul put it this way in Ephesians 6: 12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Until yesterday, I rejected that scripture, for the most part. But something happened to me yesterday. My blinded eyes were open.
I AM in a battle. Whether I like it or not, I must fight. Fight for what’s right. Fight for what’s pure. Honest. Lovely. Just. Fight like crazy because my life depends upon it.
I can no longer be a passive believer. I can no longer sit in my seat of comfort, scorning those who do wrong, while I do nothing. I can no longer pretend that there is no battle raging. That there is not a fight for the souls of men.
From the halls of Washington to the classrooms to the sanctuaries to our living rooms, there is a fight for our souls. The question is am I going to allow the enemy to win?
Will I fight against injustice? Will I fight against prejudice? Will I fight against immorality? Will I stand against hatred? Will I shed light on corruption? Will I tell the slaves of religion to take of their chains and walk free?
Will I stand up, put on my armor and fight?
And finally, after 35 years, the answer is yes.
So, I prepare to battle. My weapons are not of flesh and blood. They are peace, mercy, truth, justice, patience, faithfulness … LOVE.
And so today my prayer is this.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Prayer of St. Francis
Let the battle begin.