Monday, February 1, 2010

Breaking Free of Our Own Demons

Today's Gospel according to St. Mark has a demoniac tortured by a legion of demons encountering Jesus. According to this Gospel account, the man is so possessed that he cannot be contained by any chains or shackles as he breaks them all. What I find so astounding about this Gospel is that the demoniac is drawn to Jesus, even offering Him homage by prostrating himself before the Lord. The Lord, moved with pity, drives the legion of demons out of the man and sends him back to his family in testament to the Lord's mercy and goodness.

Maybe we aren't running around foaming at the mouth or injuring ourselves literally, but whether we will admit it or not, some of us, myself included, have our own demons to exorcise. For myself, I'm ashamed to admit, it was an attachmnet to a not very nice word. Although I didn't use it at home or in polite company, it came out of my mouth all too easily at work. (It's nearly impossible to work in the military or the operating room without hearing some salty language every now and then). I prayed very hard for the strength to resist the use of this word. This month marks a yaer of my freedom from this shackle. It is only through the grace of God and the intercession of the Blessed Mother that I've overcome this demon. And when people use such language in my presence, I let them know that I'm doing my best not to and they can help me by refraining from its use in my presence.

The one thing that always fascinates me is how attacks never stop, no matter how holy I think I have become. The less we expose ourselves to that which is not holy, the less likely we will be to give evil a portal through which to enter. By seeking union with Christ and grower closer to Him through the sacraments, we leave little room for that which is unholy to overtake us. It may not be as dramatic as a demoniac injuring himself against the rocks. but the damage to our souls is real just the same.

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