Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Who Are Your Demons?

By Thelma Garry and Jack Finnerty

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; Then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim! Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail at the gate; Then it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will have pity on the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:14-15, 21-24

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. Matthew 8:28-34

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
"St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."

This prayer was composed by Pope Leo XIII after he had a vision of St Michael sending Satan and his evil spirits to hell. After falling into disuse after Vatican II, it is now widely prayed within parishes at the conclusion of Masses.

In today's Gospel, Jesus is driving away the demoniacs, the unclean spirits. This reading is widely interpreted to demonstrating the power and authority of Jesus. In addition, it also opens up the whole subject of those demons that we may encounter in our lives, or that may exist within us. Some say that there are "personal demons," that part of ourselves or personal issues that we are afraid to think about or talk about, or even a part of ourselves that we loathe.

Certainly, we don’t see herds of pigs jumping off cliffs as depicted in the Gospel, but we do see the results of evil inhabiting people in both subtle and more obvious ways. Demons come in many forms and are ingenious in their capability to convince us that there is no need to ward them off. Today, we are bombarded with advertisements and media stories that sometimes subtly try to entice us to embrace unhealthy products and to casually view moral decay and corruption.  Television, computers, Facebook and Twitter, DVD players, and movies are often vehicles that display poor role models and teach us and our children the wrong lessons. People often dwell in the world of unhealthy media entertainment for many hours each day; some become jaded. Many people enjoy large number of stories rife with violence, gore, and corruption, perhaps without recognizing that these stories are related to the evil and demons that Christ warns us about in the Gospels.

The promotion of “If it’s good for me then it is the right thing” has reigned in our culture for a long time.  This attitude has fostered such things as self-centeredness, greed, arrogance, pride etc., and promoted addictions. These and many other self-centered traits can be called our demons.

What are your demons? Are there any that you are afraid to confront or to recognize? Do you have a need to screen out some of the media offerings to which you are exposed?  If so, follow the advice of St. Matthew by asking Jesus to free you from evil influences that are present in your daily life.

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