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The battle rages
August 16, 2010
by Fr. Tom Balluff, St. Mary of Czestochowa Church, Delano

There is an invisible reality that exists all around us all of the time.

As Christians, we have always believed that by the coming of our Lord as a human being in the person of Jesus Christ, by his life, death and resurrection, that the final victory has been won for us. That in the person of Jesus Christ, death was defeated by the power of the cross. That by an authentic repentance, a truthful sorrow for our sins, we gain eternal life.

The war is over and the victory has been won. However, many battles in the heart continue to be waged.

We believe as Christians, that there is a heaven and a hell. Angels and saints work on our behalf helping us along in this life to ultimately work out our salvation here and now. They work tirelessly for us to join them someday at the end of our life here in this world.

God has allowed them to be part of our conversion process, helping us to turn away from evil and sin that we might experience the peace and joy that comes from being in relationship, friendship with Him. We are called to live in the happiness of knowing that we are loved unconditionally by a God that wants to guide us unto His paths and protect us from the many distractions and pitfalls that can come our way every day.

And yet, we must not ever forget, too, that there is a force out there that has at its core a malice, a meanness that desires us to be miserable and wants our demise. We call this reality the demonic.

The battle rages all around us. Are we aware of this reality?

The remedy, the answer to everything seems always to be the same – prayer, prayer, prayer! Certainly, Jesus gives us the gospel message of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as the blueprint to eternal life.

I would say that the more we spend time in authentic prayer from the heart, the more blessings and graces God will pour down on us, and through us, to our families, friends, neighbors, and even the stranger, the poor and needy.

I believe that there is coming a time when we all will need to stand up and be counted in revealing our Christian values and convictions. But in order to have a powerful impact in the battle that rages, we must know what the battle consists of.

In our hearts, are we kind and gentle, are we compassionate and forgiving? Do we understand when to hold others accountable with tough love? Do we fall into being mean and unforgiving? The true battles that are being waged right now are the ones that begin and are fought in the depths of our hearts and must be overcome by the grace of God.

It is prayer which allows us to develop that trust and confidence in our growing friendship with our Creator and His Beloved Son. Let me say this again because it cannot be over emphasized . . . it is through our consistent and authentic prayer lives daily that we will ultimately defeat the forces of evil in our world.

God has infinite power and glory. But we must learn to be humble and patient, learning to have trust and confidence that He knows what He is doing.

There is a battle going on and souls are at stake. How generous are we willing to be in helping each other to gain eternal life?

There is nothing more important in life than our relationship with our God and our learning how to tap into its transforming power. Let us live this reality truly, knowing that our choices have eternal consequences not only for us but even for our families, friends, neighbors and all of humanity.