Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
About eight years ago, when I was still in graduate school, I attended a town hall meeting with a dean candidate for my school. During the meeting, a female professor stood up and asked the candidate a question, “how would you deal with your own demon as a human being and as a dean?” The dean candidate was speechless and he could not believe that an educated female professor in a secular university would ask him about a “demon” that might not exist.
As people of the twenty first century, we might think that the Dark Prince Beelzebul is simply an imagination of the author of the Gospel that lived two millennial ago. Nevertheless, as Pope Francis reminded us that Jesus is still walking on the street, we have to remember that Jesus’ enemy Beelzebul is also still walking on street with his demonic troops. Indeed, the Holy Father refers to the demon continually. He does not believe him to be a myth, but rather the most insidious enemy of the church.
Jesus calls us to follow Him and one the consequences to be a follower of Jesus is to join in his fight against the Dark Prince Beelzebul. We might not want to join the fight, but we have remember what Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.