Please know that the following post is long and covers topics that are not my usual focus. However, the times we are living in are calling me to write from a place deep within that has been stirred by certain personal and global events during the past months. It is my opinion we (humanity at large) have entered a contemporary dark age that mirrors and aligns with historical periods such as: the fall of the Roman Empire, the Crusades, and the Inquisition of the Middle Ages.
Evil is stalking the earth and seeking the ruin of souls. Perhaps evil is also fostering the demise of civilization as we’ve known it. The earth is raped and pillaged daily by corporate greed while certain political voices spew hatred and pour fuel on the fires of racism and bigotry. Innocent people live daily in harm’s way while radicals terrorize their towns and villages. The list of travesties and torments endured by humankind have grown to monumental proportions. The state of the world and our personal lives often troubles one’s sleep and fosters fear and rage. Too many sleepless nights incites countless addictions into play to numb the body, mind, and soul to the ensuing chaos.
You may be wondering what has occurred to inspire this outpouring. I will briefly highlight a few reasons including: a recent car accident, the increase of incidences of rape, and the rise of terrorism.
My husband and I were in a car accident two weeks ago. We experienced a violent jolt when the car was broadsided when another car ran a red light. The airbags deployed and for several minutes while I gathered my wits, I actually believed someone had thrown a bomb into the car. There is a huge physical impact associated with airbag deployment. It is a disorienting and violent experience. It felt to me as if I had been inside an explosion. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
During my initial moments of shock, I felt spiritually transported. I was suddenly, through Grace, viscerally connected with countless others around the world that live daily with a thousand times the impact of what I had just experienced…through the ravages of war, the physical and emotional detriments of extreme poverty, and the chaos of human deprivation, bigotry, and fear for personal safety and the safety of beloveds.
For days afterward, this feeling of “global” connection caused me to have sudden uncontrollable outbursts of tears for our suffering world. The accident changed me. My sense of awareness of the depth of human suffering beyond the boundaries of what I had previously experienced on an intellectual level, became embodied within my being.
We sat in the car awaiting the police and I asked our driver, who happened to be from Palestine, if he was alright…should he phone his family? Badly shaken, he shared that a call would upset his wife. He and his wife had moved to the U.S. leaving loved ones behind. He cried as he mentioned their three month old son.
For the next twenty minutes until the police arrived, I thought about the endless and meaningless boundaries and labels that we humans have created… “immigrants and nations, them and us,” etc., etc. Again, intellectually and spiritually I previously held the intellectual and spiritual belief that the human family is one family beyond religion, race, or nationality. However, that Thursday afternoon sitting in the wrecked car I experienced the embodiment of the reality that the people of the earth are One Family.
Another monumental issue that has assumed residence within my being is my awareness of the incidence of rape of young girls and young women. I personally know several women who have endured the horror of sexual assault in recent months. The numbers are growing. For millennia rape has been an unconscienable yet “given” issue during war, but the question of why it is now so extremely prevalent in high schools on college campuses seems like a “canary in the mine” with regard to the health of our culture and patriarchal attitudes towards women. This one indicator alone signifies to my way of thinking that we are in serious serious trouble.
The sexual abuse of women all over the world brings feelings of rage. In my latest book, I write about the difference between rage and “holy outrage.” Holy outrage can become a catalyst for meaningful service and transformation….
Holy outrage yields passion. Passion begets service and ministry. Service and ministry inspire solutions to support healing, and resolve conflict. Solutions, healing, and resolved conflict foster peace. Peace gives rise to hope. Hope encourages renewal. Renewal aids the healing of broken hearts. Healed hearts beget Love. The Way of Belle Coeur: A Woman’s Vade Mecum
Rage is rampant these days but holy outrage is the spiritual, peace-making, and healing action that is born from an initial reactive response to abuse, betrayal, injustice, and evil in all its myriad forms.
The third factor that has inspired this post is the energetic fallout and fear caused by terrorism. This prevalence of evil is so pervasive it has been called the “new normal.” I don’t accept that. There is nothing normal about it.
There is so much more I could write and I’m sure you could add a chorus to this outpouring of what’s wrong in the world today. The list is seemingly endless: Addiction, consumerism, corporate greed, political unrest, racism, endless war, misuse of technology, and all manner of mistrust, hatred, and fear. Evil is stalking the world seeking the ruin of souls…
Because I’m a visual person, to my mind, I imagine there is a spiritual war raging in the ethers, throughout the invisible realm. It is a war between the angels of Light and the dark angels. At times this concept feels viscerally palpable. Whether my scenario is a literal or metaphorical event I leave to your discernment. However, I feel that energetically we humans are experiencing a spiritual war that is taking place in a parallel dimension. Perhaps we consciously or unconsciously sense this in the same way that we subliminally and physically absorb what is happening globally or personally, within our families and with our beloveds and friends in the here and now. Questions arise…
How do I respond to the onslaught of grief and despair that depicts the state of our world? What is God’s invitation for me at this present time? What is the call that comes with my deepened empathy and awareness for the condition of humanity? How can I best be of service to foster healing and peace? Who do I need to forgive? What is my definition of “right action?”
Personally, I feel called to engage in spiritual warfare. The three components of my response to the spiritual war that is raging are: Prayer, Presence, and Promise.
Prayer, takes form through my rededication to the prayers of the Rosary and to the writing of my daily prayers in a prayer journal. Throughout the day I also feel called to recite the Hail Mary or Jesus prayer as a mantra whenever dark or foreboding thoughts intrude. Daily spiritual practice and prayer are my shield from my own pervasive fears and anxieties.
Presence, is a path I seek with the intention and hope to become fully present to each moment. I pray to stay awake and aware to life’s challenges rather than succumb to fear, fed in large daily doses through the media. The practice of Presence is soul work. It’s not easy and many days I falter and fail. However, for me, I believe that engaging the full presence of one’s being within the context of all of life’s encounters through relationships, prayer, work, service, and the natural world is the spiritual practice of becoming a spiritual warrior. The outcome of this practice is the offering of Living Love and Responsive Action. Love, forgiveness, and servant leadership shine light upon the darkness.
Promise, reflects my committment to the spiritual practices of prayer and presence. Commitment, whether to daily physical exercise, a change of habitual patterns or addictions, or the full engagement with spiritual practice…all of these intentions facilitate change, healing, and blessing. When one person heals there is a ripple out effect that offers the invitation for others to heal their broken places as well. The practice of promise is personal. It is the intention to take a stand for Love when confronted by evil and fear. The sacred practice of promise is a covenant with the Divine Presence and those angels of Light I mentioned earlier. It’s important for me to remember there are spiritual (unseen) allies working alongside me.
I have discovered that in order to maintain the level of prayer, presence, and promise I’ve referred to, it’s essential to practice extreme self-care. This means self-permission for periods of immersion within the process of the creation and experience of beauty…arranging flowers in a vase, creating an altar, lighting candles, listening to uplifting music, preparing a meal for family, reading sacred texts and the wisdom of the saints, walking in nature, to name a few.
All of this is ultimately offer a beacon of hope. If you’re still reading and this post has stirred you in some way, please take heart. Good and evil have been in conflict since time began. What we are experiencing isn’t new, rather it’s ancient but now tangibly apparent through the instanteous delivery of the Internet and all forms of technological devices.
Over the past days as I’ve contemplated my feelings about these issues and others too numerous to mention, I’ve come to realize a fact that elementary and obvious but easily ignored. The fact of the matter is, it is how I respond to my awareness of evil that matters.
My prayer is to be given the strength not to feed and nourish evil’s presence with my fears nor engage it through its temptation and seduction. My hope and shield is that many of us will begin a Spiritual and Creative Renaissance as prayerful purveyors of beauty and truth. I pray that those who feel called will become a fierce and radiant presence of Love that with God’s help will turn the world around towards Eden.