Spiritual Childhood and Demonic Pride


This text was a homily given on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at a Votive Mass of Saint Joseph on the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC through the Apostoli Viae Investiture Retreat.

Readings for Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time: Isaiah 10:5-7, 13b-16; Matthew 11:25-27

One thing that I maintain as a treasure in my coronary heart as a priest is just not solely the members of Apostoli Viae, my previous and present parishioners, and religious directees, however particularly my circle of relatives. I’m blessed to have three godchildren, two nephews, and a niece. I bear in mind three years in the past when my nephew Shane was 4 months previous, and my mother and father babysat him after I was house on my off day from the parish. I made a decision to supply mass in English within the Peculiar Type for my mom and father and my child nephew, Shane, who was in attendance. I bear in mind, after ending the Roman Canon, starting to hope the Our Father in English. Shane, barely six months previous on the time, begins saying, “buh buh bub buh buh. Buh buh bub buh buh.” It was like he was making an attempt to hope together with me. It was a kiss from God second. I advised my sister Colleen later  that night what had occurred, and she or he mentioned, “Oh, I pray the Our Father with him each night time earlier than I put him to mattress.”

“I give reward to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for though you have got hidden these items from the clever and the discovered you have got revealed them to the childlike. Sure, Father, such has been your gracious will.” Jesus immediately desires to remind me of my id in Him as a Baby of God and the ability of this nice reward.

What does it imply to be childlike? Elsewhere within the Gospel of Luke (10:21), Jesus makes use of the phrase little ones in reference to being childlike. As disciples of Jesus Christ and members of Apostoli Viae, that is on the coronary heart of the inside life- this child-like id and disposition in Christ. Like studying the right way to pray once we had been a child verbally after which early within the inside life by the best way of contemplation, each our prayer and our neighborhood life might typically sound and appear like a jumbled mess. But what issues is that once we pray, we invite the Lord of Heaven and Earth into the imperfect but messy cry of our prayer and our lives in all humility and belief and with no presumption. On this place of receptivity, the Father will at all times be there to help us. Saint Therese of Lisieux displays on this childlike want for sanctity whereas reflecting upon an opportunity to play the function of Saint Joan of Arc in a convent play:

Then I acquired a grace which I’ve at all times regarded upon as one of many best in my life as a result of at that age I wasn’t receiving the lights I’m now receiving when I’m flooded with them. I thought-about that I used to be born for glory…after seven years within the spiritual life, I nonetheless am weak and imperfect. I at all times really feel, nonetheless, the identical daring confidence of changing into an ideal Saint as a result of I don’t rely on my deserves since I’ve none, however I belief in Him who’s Advantage and Holiness. God alone, content material with my weak efforts will increase me to Himself and make me a Saint, clothes me in His infinite deserves. (Story of a Soul, Ms A 32r)

After we unite the brokenness and messes in our lives to the infinite deserves of the cross of Christ, the Lord at all times takes delight within the providing we make. He then vegetation and nourishes a seed in us by which we start to share extra totally within the mysteries of his ardour, demise, and resurrection within the mysteries of our personal inside life, even when its a joyful, garbled mess.

If we aren’t vigilant alongside the best way of religion by humility, we will develop into just like the Assyrian, who “seizes plunder, carries off loot, and treads them down just like the mud of the streets. However this isn’t what he intends, nor does he have this in thoughts.”  The Assyrian represents demonic delight that may so typically be refined in its affect on our hearts, minds, and wills. It additionally represents carnal knowledge that blinds us from seeing the workings of the Lord and listening to His voice for what they’re in themselves. Like a toddler throwing a mood tantrum, or needing management solely by itself phrases, I can so typically focus solely by myself will and what I need to do for the Lord. These expectations are sometimes stuffed with good intentions but typically will be distracted by activism, my want for management, self-interest, and vainglory. If the best way of contemplation and discipleship that the Lord calls me to embrace turns into nearly how I’ll serve on my phrases, what I’m owed, or retribution then I’ll observe an obvious angel of sunshine who’s a deceiver. With out such child-like vigilance, I simply can reecho the cry of Lucifer, I can’t serve. This cry would later be reechoed by the satanist Alister Crowley in addition to fashionable relativism, woke tradition, the heresy of modernism so rampant in our society and even corners of the church. This demonic prideful cry will be heard as I’ll do as I need as the entire of the legislation whatever the everlasting penalties on myself or others. Such a cry typically comes from a wounded, hardened coronary heart and might lead one subtly down the highway to scandal, apostasy, and destruction. For the Lord to heal and to tear this spirit from our hearts, we should be prepared to be stripped by him His love of God could also be totally perfected in us. Saint John of the Cross speaks of the truth of this essential purification and the way it leads every disciple to a share within the cross of Jesus by the contemplative life:  

Folks should be emptied of all such issues, insofar as they will, in order that nonetheless many supernatural experiences they might obtain, they are going to frequently dwell as if denuded of them and in darkness. Just like the blind, they need to lean on darkish religion, settle for it for information and light-weight, and relaxation upon not one of the issues of what they perceive, expertise, really feel, and picture. All these perceptions are darkness that can lead them astray. Religion lies past all this understanding, style, feeling, and imagining. If they don’t blind themselves in these items and abide in complete darkness, they won’t attain what is larger: the educating of religion. (Ascent of Mount Carmel 2.4.2).

Such prideful clinging onto issues within the mould of the Assyrian can solely be overcome by the give up and love of Jesus on the cross. This stripping of the center can be prophesied by Isaiah when he says, “Due to this fact the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will ship amongst his fats ones leanness, And as an alternative of his glory there might be kindling just like the kindling of fireplace.” The leanness and kindling of fireplace he speaks of is the purifying grace of the inside life foreshadowed by the darkish night time of the senses and darkish night time of the soul. These purifications permit the love of God to be really perfected in us by His grace in order that we will love Him, his graces, and the items of his creations in response to His divine order as He wishes it. That is so vital as disciples of Jesus and members of Apostoli Viae that we keep in mind that the blessings and items that God provides us within the inside life solely have worth insofar as they excellent in us the spousal love of divine union. Insofar as they flip us inward and puff us up, such issues can develop into harmful distractions that lead us to the demonic delight of the Assyrian. This purifying grace within the typically darkish stroll of the inside life is exemplified by Jesus’ cries on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” (Lk 23:34) and “Father, into your fingers I commend my spirit.” (Lk 23:46) In these acts and in the end in his laying down of his life and shedding his blood, Jesus delivers all issues, even our hopes and darkness to the Father for our salvation. 

Jesus additionally provides us the Immaculate Virgin Mary underneath her title of Our Girl of Mount Carmel and Saint Joseph as intercessors and aids.  Our Girl in her fiat, her sure, had many expectations fill her coronary heart. She at all times allowed the best way of prayer, belief, and like to anchor the wishes of her coronary heart. Her hopeful belief and give up allowed her to satisfy the divine expectations of salvation historical past in her name to be the Mom of God. This humble docility and receptivity was the anchor that gave her energy and light-weight amidst the darkness as she assisted her son in his formative years and public ministry, stood by him on the cross, held him in her arms earlier than his burial, and awaited in hope for his resurrection. These inclinations are what the Brown Scapular of Our Girl of Mount Carmel represents – a shedding of our expectations and wishes and a placing on the wishes of Jesus by the intercession and care of His Mom Mary.

Saint Joseph additionally fulfilled this function in his presence, his prayerful attentiveness and willingness to behave from his prayer. On this disposition of religion, he can be blessed to just accept a sacred belief, a stewardship of fatherhood and religion. That is seen within the blessing bestowed on him by God to behold together with his eyes and to carry and guard in his arms Jesus, the Everlasting Phrase, the Son of God as his personal son and to like and defend Mary as his spouse. This function is what Saint John additionally was entrusted with when he stands in for Joseph on the foot of the cross and takes Mary into his coronary heart and residential to be his mom. (Cf. Jn 19:25-27) This function like our residing out of the Charism of Apostoli Viae is what binds our neighborhood collectively is a superb reward that may be a thriller that doesn’t completely belong to us.  It’s a grace freely given by God to us and His Church we’re referred to as to embrace, faithfully guard, and cooperate with in response to His will. That is in order that we would do the one factor that’s essential in His eyes – enter into the center of Jesus our beloved by Our Girl and His Cross and love with His personal Sacred Coronary heart by our each day residing out of the inside life.

We now pray to Our Girl of Mount Carmel and Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons and Guardian of the Redeemer, that at this mass Jesus within the Eucharist might give us anew the grace of childlike religion and belief to embrace anew the decision to dwell, gentle, and paved the way of union with Him. We additionally pray that Jesus might purify our hearts of the demonic delight of the Assyrian in order that each in prayer and works, regardless of how messy or imperfect they might be, we could also be purified and really targeted on his name to divine union that he gives by the charism of Apostoli Viae. Via this Charism of Apostoli Viae, might we at all times abide in His love of the Most Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus it doesn’t matter what we might face on the highway earlier than us.

Picture courtesy of Unsplash.

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