Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘you shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1
In my last post I pondered the fact that Eve was not praying. I want to go further into this because it is important for all of us, ESPECIALLY in these times that we are living in. It is important to understand how the devil is training us to think so that even the most pious can be aware of the subtleties of the devil that can lead us off the path of God and into perdition.
Why do you think the devil asked Eve a question before he tempted her? He asked “Did God say, ‘you shall not eat of any tree of the garden?”
He was checking to see if his lie had taken hold. You see Satan had already been flinging poison arrows of suggestion at Eve. He had, unbeknownst to her been flinging this thought at her, “you cannot touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” And Eve, because she wasn’t taking captive her thoughts, and because she wasn’t communicating with God, had latched onto this thought as her own. She believed the lie that was being flung at her. How can we know this?
We know this because the devil posed a question to her. A question he knew she would answer in the negative – making her feel the power of her own authority. But when she answered him – telling him what she knew to be true, she answered wrongly. She said, “…God said, ‘you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it lest you die.'”
And it was here that the devil knew he had her and she was ripe for the taking and stealing of her authority. This is because God didn’t tell her not to touch it. The devil is the one who told her that. And he was a liar from the beginning. And here he KNEW she believed the lie. Because Eve believed it the devil knew she hadn’t talked to God. And Eve hadn’t discerned the source of the lie, believing it to be from God, what had actually been flung at her by the Devil.
This is important for us to understand because we need to be able to identify lies so we don’t become susceptible to the sin that follows suit when our foundation is built on a lie. I am going to give you some examples.
There are people who are stating you cannot disagree with Pope Francis and if you do disagree with him you are schismatic and going to hell? Is this true?
But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. Galatians 2:11
It seems we would be condemning Saint Paul if it were true.
On the flip side there are people who are saying Pope Francis is evil and therefore not the Pope at all. They are fighting against him to have him removed and openly say he is going to hell.
“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter”
(Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).
Do we have faith in what Jesus spoke out of his own mouth? Or do we believe the lie that the Holy Spirit has stopped guiding the church – perhaps sometime in the past – and that all that is happening now the God the Father is not in control of?
There are subtle lies everywhere. All of them trying to deceive us into action to put our mortal souls in jeopardy. One side saying accept all and be inclusive of all, including sin. While the other screams schism that will lead many to jump off the ship that Christ Himself said would not fail to drown in their own Pride.
“And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
Building your foundation on lies will only lead you to accept bigger and bigger sin. We already see it when our own Bishops cannot state that life is preeminent. That is a lie. A dead person has no right to anything. While at the same token a person who leaves the communion of the church puts his own pride before the word of God himself. Thank goodness ArchBishop Chaput saw through the division and lies and correctly spoke truth.
This is why I write SO MUCH about prayer. And about prayer being a conversation with a person. You will have no idea if there is a lie you are believing if you are not deeply in prayer with Christ. You should be asking God what He wants, surrendering to him and asking angels to protect your conversation with God so no demon can enter into it. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your sin. This is done in the quiet without the distractions.
In the comfort of our world Satan has used the gifts God gave us that helped us advance in technology and material wealth to lead us to believe that we can make it on our own without Our Savior. Instead of being grateful for our gifts we have been given, we are yelling and screaming at one another. And Jesus passes us by. Comfort is beautiful. It is a beautiful plague. And Eve had fallen prey to it as did Adam because in their comfort of good in the garden, they got complacent in the relationship with the one who gave it to them and the lie took root before the sin was acted out.
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
We see it happen time and time again in Scripture. Israel becomes comfortable and then they bow down to idols.
What are the idols you bow down to that keep you from God Alone? How can you even know what they are? One that I keep seeing repeatedly is that unity with one another can be achieved without Jesus Christ through the Sacraments at the center of it. This is making an idol of false unity and trying to put peace with other people above relationship with God Alone. These are the universalists and they wear Catholic clothing. Notice I didn’t say universal. Universalists preach a Gospel of idolatry. It cares not about the Sacramental Life and cares little about true conversion all the while proclaiming it in the name of love, but it is built on a lie and lies always lead to destruction.
The church IS UNIVERSAL. All are welcome and all are accepted. But what does this actually mean?
Because I work in the RCIA ministry I have to prepare the class to go through Liturgical Rites throughout the year. The first Rite is called the Rite of Acceptance (with an adapted combined Rite called the Rite of Welcome for those already Baptized). The Rite of Acceptance is a Rite that the unbaptized go through in order to move to the catechumenate phase of their journey. Prior to this Rite they are inquiring about the faith. But once they move forward the church accepts them BECAUSE THEY ARE CHOOSING to move towards the Gospel and the Sacramental life and move AWAY from sin. They are choosing to begin listening to the Light of Christ; choosing to Know God; and choosing to love their neighbor – in that order. Because we cannot know how to love our neighbor without first knowing God. If we don’t know God we live in a false love, which isn’t love at all.
This does not mean that they are not sinning. It means they are moving in a direction towards the Cross and away from sin. By the time we get to the Rite of Sending (to the Bishop), we the community are proclaiming that we have witnessed their continuing conversion. We don’t send people who are steeped in sin with zero resolve to change it. We don’t expect them to be sinless, we expect that they recognize they are sinners and that they’re moving in a direction with God to change it. This is the UNIVERSAL call. When they finally enter the waters of baptism, they have been through the scrutinies where they have examined their sinfulness and what they will leave behind when they enter the living waters. They are also given minor exorcisms because we know they are now entering the spiritual battle. After baptism, confession allows them (and us) to continue turning away from sin towards God. The people that Jesus came across all model this; Zaccheaus, the Samaritan woman, the Adulterous woman. They met Him, they heard Him and they moved away from sin.
I have seen people go through RCIA and leave behind birth control. I have seen them commit to chastity. I have seen them leave the homosexual lifestyle. This is what God can do. He can free you from sin and into a life of joy. He walks with you in the struggle and forgives you when you fall.
Contrast that with the Universalist movement, which accepts all, but does not mention sin or call people to conversion away from sin. It often comes in intellectual and psychological language with statements about consciousness and duality. It does not speak of sin. It is the result of humans seeking worldly unity through worldly efforts instead of relying on Jesus Christ. It is summed up in a bumper sticker;
Everytime I see this I think, is this the best we can do? I never remember Jesus saying, “I came that you might coexist.” He said,
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
While Christ absolutely still loves us even when we sin, He calls us out of it, into His perfection. He wants to heal us and for that to happen we have to recognize our sin, repent of it and hand it completely over to Him.
He absolutely wants us to respect the dignity of every human person and not to force people to love him because, of course, that isn’t love. But he called us to go out and make disciples of all nations. And he absolutely does give us a WAY. He is the Way.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:16
That statement is true regardless of your background. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH HIM. And he left us a church to show the fullness of the way.
It is hard to live the way Christ has asked us. This is why he said;
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? John 16:24-26
In these times we live in, it is imperative for each of us to identify the lies we may believe. This is half the battle. Once we identify the lie, we can keep our eyes on truth and speak to truth, and even if all appears to be falling apart we can know what it true and stay on the path of Christ. It will involve each of us being uncomfortable, but that is okay because,
You were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI