Sunday, July 20, 2008

"The Struggle with Struggle"

"In spiritual warfare, what we sometimes fail to realize is that struggle is good. If we are struggling, guided by right intent and an enlightened conscience, we must understand that the struggle is good. However, the world teaches us that a struggle is bad. In our relationships, when Americans have a struggle--without the benefits of Christ and His Church, a pure intent seeking after righteousness, and a godly conscience--we make wrong decisions. In time, we come to believe that the struggle is bad. Every time there is a struggle, Americans are tempted either (1) to numb the struggle (through alcohol, excessive sleeping, drugs, the internet, video games, daydreaming, movies, and other forms of escapism) instead of fighting the godly fight; or (2) to get rid of the relationship which has, in our minds, caused us the struggle (e.g. divorce, damaged parent-child relationships, and broken friendships).
Also, in such a mobile society as ours, we don't necessarily have to form close relationships with anyone. Thanks to the phone, television, and internet, we have multiplied and magnified our separation all the more. Were we to surround ourselves with those whom God has given us (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) we might find the nature of the struggle to be different. That is, we tend to see ourselves in a truer light through those with whom we are in a relationship of mutual Christian love. Essentially, we should struggle as a family, not as individuals.
Returning to my point, the struggle is good. We must begin with that in mind. The struggle is good. If someone confesses, 'I still struggle with X,' the first thing that I have to remind myself, as a priest and confessor, and that which I have to counsel the penitent is: The struggle is good. It must also be remembered that the Enemy is not very original. The devil uses that which works. If we've fallen before, due to a particular passion, most likely we'll be greatly tempted in that area again. Warfare is waged. Yet, where there is no struggle the battle is already won. Whom do you think wins when we lay down our guard? God forbid that we allow the Enemy this victory! It's when we don't struggle that we become complacent. We become desperate. We become depressed. We become despondent. We lose hope. Given our comfortable American society, appreciating the truth that the struggle is good is indeed a difficult hurdle."
One Flew Over the Onion Dome by Father Joseph David Honeycutt

1 comment:

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

At my baptism and chrismation, I was very startled when more than one person wished me "a good struggle!"

But how true, and what a good wish!