Some posts and comments of late, on various sites and blogs, express dismay at various reported words and acts of Pope Francis. People are concerned, uncertain, even afraid, because it is clear that Satan has deceived some Roman Catholic leaders to an extent and degree even greater than some cynics suspected. The flock is clearly nervous.
This post is intended to be corrective, a bracing reminder of who we are and what we're about.
A word about who I am: I was a new and ardent convert to the Church immediately before the changes imposed on the Church after Vatican II. While my relationship with the Church was derailed, my relationship with its Founder was not. I renewed the prayerful research that led me to the Church in the first place. I have been "going in and out" of various Christian pastures in my study for forty years. I came close to joining a different church only once; but, during the meeting where the pitch was made for joining, it became clear that, indeed, the fullness of faith can be known only in the one Church founded by our Lord. Some of my experiences and conclusions are recorded in older posts in this blog.
Now then. To review:
God created all there is, including ourselves. God's creation of the human experience was completed; it is not ongoing. Our discoveries and learning are ongoing. God gave us a clue to guide us as we learn: what God made was and is very good.
God has built in the capabilities we need to make good decisions. We are made in the image and likeness of God. What we call a "mirror" is a crude analogy. In essence, God is unknowable to us except insofar as we respond to Him appropriately. If we do not reflect God, we cannot perceive him at all, because he acts through his Spirit, intangible, and immeasurable, because he is everywhere. We have free will and can choose thoughts and actions that do not reflect God. Our ability to reflect God is impaired, in the same way a mirror is misty. Our understanding of God's purpose, and therefore our ability to follow his rules, is equally clouded, not least by our susceptibility to sensory input needed for our discoveries and learning. It always will be whenever we mistake knowledge about good and evil for "wisdom." We need discernment to distinguish good from evil. God's desire is to have a relationship with us in which we trust him so deeply that we truly do reflect his goodness. We have to remember what we know about him. In the end, clarity will come only through Jesus.
Satan is real. Since falling from heaven, he has wandered around, leveraging human curiosity and pride to distract and confuse, tempting even the people who do great things for him to do things that are evil, or even attacking people outright. He is our adversary. He means to capture that which is God's image and likeness, the human soul.
Jesus is a real person. IS, not was. Satan tried to distract and deceive Jesus, but it didn't work. Satan was as determined then as he is now to wreck everything. Jesus was eventually arrested, insulted, savagely beaten, mocked, and executed by crucifixion.
Satan has no power not given by God. In fact, Satan is used by God to fulfill God's ultimate plan of salvation. For example, Jesus' trial, abuse, and crucifixion, even down to its specific details, could not be a surprise to anyone who knew the Bible.
We need to quit focusing on fallible men, and proclaim Jesus. Jesus is real, Jesus is alive, Jesus works among us, Jesus died for us. The Bible is as clear about what is right and what is wrong as it is about how much God loves us. We can turn from God if we want; why in the world would we? Didn't Jesus show us exactly how important it is to God that we choose good??
Ann Barnhardt, God bless and protect her, shows how it's done (as reported at What's Up with the Synod?:
...Still glaring at me, the bishop then launched into the first of his two defenses of the September 8th catastrophic Motu Proprio. First, he complained about the “stack of paperwork” backlogged on his desk from all of the annulment requests he had to deal with.
I interrupted him with, “Yeah, that’s just awful – almost as bad as being nailed to a cross….”
Thus ended the episcopal bitch-fest about the unbearable existential burden of backlogged paperwork.(Read it all.)
What is our standard? What matters?
Do not worry. Do not fret. Satan didn't win then. He won't win now. Even if they come today and strip us of everything, flog us and nail us up to die, Satan has lost. Pay no attention to him. Focus on the One who is All. Strive to see him so clearly, and live the life he gives so abundantly and joyfully, that you begin to see who he really is. When your body dies, shuck it off like an old tent and go straight into the arms of the One whose image and likeness you are,-- ... and so loved.