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June 29th, 2011

Mouth Of The Beast

Mouth of the beast

Everyone is amazed at the way the modern communication skills have been developed all over the world. We are spell-bound at the speed at which the humans communicate one another. There is hardly anyone now without a mobile phone, hardly anyone without a piece of news paper in hand, hardly anyone without a T.V set or internet. It is amazing to watch how over a space of twenty years or so, we enter into Facebook, a world of wonder and bewilderment.

But history has taught that any discovery has its both effects: good and evil, positive and negative. History is a lesson for us. Think of the recent nuclear development for clean energy and atomic weapons? What is happening now at the Japanese islands? How many thousands of people lost their lives and still live in the nightmare of the tragedy that is inescapable?

Increase of Evil/knowledge

When we turn to the Bible, we know its predictions being fulfilled in our own life-time: “Knowledge shall increase” (Dan. 12:4). But in the Septuagint, it is not ‘knowledge,’ but “evil shall increase” in the world, a statement which is in tune with what Mathew 24:12 says: “Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.” And according to the writings of St. Paul, the work of the devil is a ‘mystery’ that none can comprehend properly (2 Thess. 2:7).

We are just baffled in front of this mystery as it is being unfolded to us recently. And so, some even may ‘faint’ at the sight of it (Lk. 21:26); and the disclosure of this information is given ‘privately’ to the disciples (Mt. 24:3). It seems to many that ‘these are days of vengeance’ (Lk. 21:22). The term ‘faint’ hinges around the human minds that would be constantly expiring with tremors or ‘stop breathing.’ None of us want a type of panic created about the appalling events yet to take place.

Proliferation of shamelessness

We know from history that our mother earth cannot stomach certain iniquities and abominations committed upon her face; and so she begins to ‘vomit out her inhabitants’ through various ways and means (Lev. 18:25). One might probe into those abominations and ask: “what are those iniquities intolerable to the mother earth?” Perhaps they are the blatant crimes and immoral practices of various magnitudes mentioned in the pages of the Bible.

The book of Leviticus describes about the perverse proliferations of shameless acts such as lesbianism, homosexuality, gay-unions, bestiality etc. (Lev. 18:6-23). According to St. Paul, those who practice such abominable things invite the ‘wrath of God’ upon themselves and ‘receive the due penalties’ in their bodies for such deeds (Rom. 1:18,27). Pope Benedict XVI calls such current mentality as ‘the trivialization of the human body and sexual differentiation’ which invariably causes ‘widespread confusion in the sphere of affectivity.’

What was once limited to the bed-chamber is now displayed in every street corner and paraded in every garden park of the city? Privacy and the sense of shame is now lost to the human mind. “Their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things” (Phil.3:19). A shameless deed repeated a thousand times becomes a norm of today! And one loses the sense of shame and moral sensitivity. “They have lost all sensitivity (apelgeo) and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Eph. 4:19).

The word apelgeo implies ‘to feel no more pain at something’ or ‘to be dead or benumb to any feeling’ whatsoever, ‘to be callous’ or ‘despondent.’ Abnormal things become normal and normal becomes to them abnormal. What a paradox of life! Here some become ‘totally insensitive’ and benumb and ‘unconscious’ especially of the sense of shame in life. They ‘do not know that they are naked’ (Rev. 3:17).

At times still worse, they are ‘bold’ and courageous to parade their shamelessness. “The wicked put on a bold face” and a “brazen face” (Pro 21:29). And prophet Isaiah says that “they proclaim their sins like Sodom, they do not hide it” (Is 3:9). And most of our youth, die in shamelessness: “They die in youth, and their life ends up among the prostitutes” (Job 36:14).

Source of the problem

If you dare to probe into the source of certain shame deeds, we cannot but to arrive at the ‘mouth of the beast’ who indulges in misleading the fragile, the un-enlightened and the un informed minds. What does the Bible mean by the clause “mouth of the beast?” And how do we counteract and conquer them? This alone is the heart of the matter!

The unclean sprits (in the media) in the world have their origin from a monster being known as the ‘beast’ that God has allowed to function for a while during its allotted period of time. All those immoral acts and immodesty have their origin in the mouth of the dragon, the ancient serpent, the deceiver of the whole world. “I saw issuing from 1. the mouth of the dragon, 2. and the mouth of the beast and 3. from the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean sprits, performing signs” (Rev. 16:13).

As we all know that our “mouth” is the main means of our communication. Now our mass communication is somehow polluted and pilfered by the ancient dragon, the beast and their false prophets. The ‘mouth’ signifies the media of today, which has a negative bearing upon the young minds. The unclean sprit has a natural tendency to ‘go after different flesh after flesh and to get due penalty for it (Jude 7) in its own body. What would be the apt medicine for HIV and AIDS? Is it not to restrain oneself and the have self-control? “Who will pity a snake-charmer bitten by a serpent? So no one will pity a man/woman who associates with a sinner and becomes involved in his/her sins” (Sir. 12: 13-14).

Divine Remedy

Satan plans very carefully without coming into light. We have to confront him. What would be the right remedy to counteract the three fold negative “communications” (the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast and the mouth of the false prophet) of the enemy of our life?

A mouth has to be contradicted by another mouth. The divine mouth of the Lord Jesus who issues a ‘sharp sword’ (Rev. 1:16) must alone be able to counteract the mouth of the three malevolent enemies. On the mount of the beatitudes, Jesus sat down with his disciples and he ‘opened his mouth and taught them’ (Mt. 5:2). And man/woman ‘shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). Jesus is the ‘mouth of God’ for us now.

In our spiritual battle against the ‘mouth of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, the Word of God, and to take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). May God grant to us His servants ‘the sharp sword of mouth’ to defeat the evil ones and the defend our flock from the menace of the media.

– – – written by Fr. J. Eapan SDB

March 16th, 2011

Can The Evil Spirits Read Our Thoughts?

Can Evil Spirits Read Our Thoughts

The evil spirits easily identify our body language and promptness.

Can spirits, demons read our minds? Most say no. We wonder. Those who have encountered demons during deliverance and other situations have seen where those kinds of entities certainly seem to react to silent commands and prayers, or simple thought patterns in a way that goes beyond reading body or facial language.

It is said that in the afterlife, in the world of spirits, communication is not verbal but mind to mind (or spirit to spirit) and if it’s the case among spirits in the hereafter, why not also in the here? In the realm of psychic phenomena (and occultism) is the phenomenon of telepathy (mind-to-mind thought transfer). Moreover, there are peculiar times when evil or negative thoughts enter our own thoughts in a way that again seems to transcend physical cues.

Whatever the case, a related and equally intriguing question is what angels know about us, and here, a Polish magazine, “The Angels: Messengers from a Loving God” offers this in a recent article:-

“Angelic intellect and cognition are more perfect and more thorough than ours; nevertheless, their abilities are limited. The demons’ ability to know us is also limited by God. But, according to exorcists, if one conducts a pact with the devil, the latter will know all aspects of the spiritual life of a person and influence their way of thinking. We should ask the Lord for protection of our thoughts and intentions from demons so that they cannot sabotage our purposes. Degradation of demonic minds concerns the supernatural area of knowledge. Their speculative knowledge has been decreased and their affective knowledge connected with Divine Love has disappeared completely.”

Further states this magazine: “Both good and fallen angels do not know the future that is dependent on our free will. Besides, we too, do not know what we are going to do next because sometimes we change our minds. Only God knows us on the whole. Angels may predict our decisions on the basis of our susceptibilities, psychic condition, and on how we behaved in similar situations in the past.

Demons know about past and current events in our lives; they also know our psychical and physical nature which allows them to tempt us and do us a disservice. However, they do not know people’s spiritual experiences and God’s Grace revealed in souls. After their rebellion, a demon’s intellect only serves the evil one.”

That seems certain. As for the rest: a person’s speculation is just that, at least in this arcane realm: guesswork. In the afterlife the spirit world no thoughts are secret. What about the fact that angels respond to our prayers, including silent ones? If they can’t hear our thoughts, how can that be? What about demonic thoughts inserted at just the right moment? If thoughts can be sinful, is it not the evil one who is near every sin? And what about fear: is that not often unspoken and yet something that evil spirits respond to?

There is no real foundation for either argument in the Bible (with the possible exception of Daniel 2:27-28). “Since God has infinite power, authority and capability, he could have created Satan, Michael, cherubs, and other heavenly hosts to have any abilities he wanted them to have,” argues one Christian.

“It doesn’t seem we are told much about this. Seems like he could have created Satan to have the ability to read our minds and hearts if he had so desired. Since the ability to prevent Satan from knowing our thoughts is such a strategic advantage for a Christian, seems like it would have been specifically identified for us, it would rank way up there in the “armor of God” or would have been taught by Jesus.”

Of course, demons are in an excellent position to deduce what’s on our minds since they can see us from the outside, he adds. “They know exactly what we’re reading, watching on TV, they overhear our conversations, see our physical responses, hear even our ‘private’ words, and are no doubt skilled at reading our expressions. They see us when other people can’t, any time they wish.

Now as far as putting thoughts in our mind or exercising powers of persuasion, I don’t know how that works—perhaps there is a form of telepathy whereby they send a message, plant an idea, without being able to read exactly what we’re thinking. I agree there’s demonic activity involved in distracting us during prayer, but I think they don’t have to be able to read our minds to do this.”

What we do know is that fear empowers evil spirits, including unspoken fear. Replace it with faith in order to fight the enemy.

– – – written by Dr. Philip Kunnath

February 16th, 2011

Body and Satan

Body and Satan

The body is not really an enemy, but Satan sometimes uses our weak mind and body to offend God.

We have been told that the world, the Satan and the body are our enemies. God created the world and He saw it was good. He has asked us to put it to good use. The Satan in the form of a serpent tricked Eve and she ate the forbidden fruit and so God cursed him. He helped Eve to disobey God and so he is an enemy of God and goodness.

God created the body of Adam from the dust and He saw it was good. God loved the body and infused life to it by His breath .God also created another body, who is Eve. “This at last is the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” Adam’s experience of her proximity and togetherness overcame his solitude in the sense that man and woman are the union God ordained. Thus the body is not created as an enemy or as anything bad.

However body has been associated with sins like violence and immorality in sex. The association of sex with the body seems to be responsible for treating the body as an enemy. This does not seem to be right. The way we understand and express our sexuality shows our conviction about who we are, who God is, the meaning of love and the ordering of society.

Pope John Paul II in his theology of Body says that “Through marriage and the “one flesh” union of spouses, we discover the meaning of life. Christ teaches that the meaning of life is to love as He loves. Christ’s mission is to restore the order of love in a world seriously affected by sins against love. The union of sexes lies at the base of the human “order of love”. Pope John Paul in his pontifical teaching on the theology of the body projects the importance of marriage and the Christian vocation of husbands and wives. The union of the sexes is a great mystery (Gen.2:24). St. Paul reiterates, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery and I am applying it to Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:31-32).

Generally people are unfamiliar or sometimes uncomfortable with an emphasis on the body. Many of us grow up thinking of our bodies (their sexuality) as inherent obstacles to the spiritual life. However as Christians we must believe that everything God created is very good. Christianity does not reject the body. We believe in God who is creator of the flesh, we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh, we believe in the resurrection of the body. When we analyze our faith we can see our body is considered important; bathed with water (Baptism), anointed with oil (Confirmation, Holy Orders, anointing the sick), eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ ( the Eucharist), the laying on of hands (Holy Orders), confessing with our lips (Confession) and the unbreakable joining of man and woman in “one flesh” (Marriage)

We read in the Bible that Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, only after they committed the sin of disobeying God’s command. The purpose of life is to love as God loves, and this is what our body as a man or woman calls us to. The sexual difference reveals the unmistakable plan of God that man and woman are meant to be a “gift” to one another. Fatherhood and motherhood completely reveal the mystery of sexuality. God’s directive “Be fruitful and multiply” is not merely an injunction to propagate, but a call to love in God’s image and fulfill the very meaning of our being and our existence.

Marriage and procreation are not the only way to love as God loves. They serve as the original model, but whenever we imitate Christ in giving up our bodies for others, we express the body’s nuptial meaning. Christ calls some to sacrifice marriage for the sake of the kingdom. Celibacy for the sake of the kingdom is not a rejection of sexuality. It is a call to embrace the ultimate meaning and purpose of sexuality. The nuptial meaning of the body reveals the universal call to holiness in the model of the eternal union of Christ and the Church. The married man/woman lives in holiness when he/she does not do anything against fidelity to wife/husband. A celibate lives in holiness when he/she keeps up fidelity to Christ

Jesus said, “you have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Though Christ directly said of male lust, the principle applies equally to women. Christ does not seem to say that a mere glance or a momentary thought makes us guilty. As fallen human beings we will always be able to sense the pull of lust in our hearts. It is what we do when we experience the pull of lust that matters. We have the freedom to seek the help of God in resisting it or in indulging in it. If we indulge, it means we choose in our hearts to treat another person as merely an object for our own gratification and thus violate that person’s dignity and our own.

We are meant to be loved for our own sakes. The sexual embrace is meant to image and express divine love and that is why we hold that the married couple’s intimacy is sacred. Anything less may wound one party. Christ’s words about lust may sound severe and condemning. His words have power to save us because He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” When we have a problem with our body, here is the One who created that body to help us. We have to seek His help.

If the body and sex are meant to proclaim our union with God, and if there is an enemy who wants to separate us from God, he would definitely attack. He would first try to stifle the proclamation. He will keep men and women from recognizing the mystery of God in our bodies. He will try to blind us as he did it on Eve through the serpent.

We have to be vigilant. So it is a battle we have to fight. The battle is to be fought in our hearts. The body is not the enemy. It was created by God in his own image, by His love.

– – – written by K.C. Thomas

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