Death to the Demons Within: Part 55 Mini-Course on Prayer

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Editor’s note:  David Torkington continues his series on prayer with the fourth and final section, “From Meditation to Contemplation”.  Read part 54 here, and begin with part one here.

The Mystic Way Part IV

In As You like it, Shakespeare said that all the world is a stage and the men and women merely players, each playing their part. Their parts are rather stereotypical and superficial, but in his other plays like Hamlet or Macbeth you see murkier parts that his characters play. They mirror the real world in which he lived and in which we live today. Although they pose and posture to deceive others, they are influenced by deep desires and urges that come from below stage in the unconscious. Sometimes something suddenly triggers the stage trapdoor and all hell is let loose, at least for a time, as unholy desires and urges flood the minds of the unsuspecting. 

What is often called a Freudian slip happens to us all, as has happened to me, flooding my conscious mind, exposing irrational prejudices and thoughts that shamed me. I have come to realize that there must be many other pernicious prejudices lurking deep within me. Whether we like it or not they all influence us although we hardly realize it and would be humiliated to admit it. I sometimes smile to hear the politically correct holding forth, blissfully unaware of what rules them from within.

The New Man and the Old Man

There are within all of us who are not immaculately conceived, innumerable drives and urges that if allowed to rule would destroy us, like sensual and sexual desires, the yearning for power and position, and myriad other desires and urges. If these desires are gratified, they only want further satisfaction until greed and rapaciousness destroy us, or anger and jealousy eat away at us as we try to destroy others who seem to have what we want. If we are not consciously and daily engaged in the spiritual combat that calls upon us to act selflessly,  then we will be unable to admit the New Man which is Christ so that he can do to death the Old Man which is ourselves. 

Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and therefore did not experience evil from within. But he did experience evil in others, pitted against him throughout his life on earth which finally succeeded in his being condemned and tortured to death. When the love that raised him from the dead was unleashed on the first Pentecost, it meant that we could be drawn up into his mystical body where our weak human love can be strengthened and fortified to rise with his. Only the ever-increasing inflow of love with which he returns from the Father can transform our hearts. 

We are transformed to the measure of our daily self-sacrificial living and self-giving as we persevere most particularly in the Dark Night of purification. The example of Christ should be sufficient to alert us, that in addition to the spiritual combat within, there is another conflict that we will have to face from outside.

An unprecedented upsurge of evil

Even the most conservative of commentators are warning us, and with good reason, that we are at present facing an unprecedented upsurge of evil both inside and outside the church. There may well have been such wicked and even devilish manifestations of evil before in the world, but now we have to face them from within the church and even from those to whom we should look for inspiration and guidance. It is because many other orthodox writers are revealing what I can only describe as satanic evils that are arising in the church, that I can instead  concentrate on  detailing how Christ wishes to destroy them and their perpetrators through those who would receive him. What Freud has called ‘unruly and irrational impulses’ the Desert Fathers called ‘the monsters in the deep’ or ‘the demons within,’ that can possess those who do nothing to contain them. The love that has been leaking from Catholic Spirituality for several centuries is now finding rock bottom in large groups of powerful clerics, religious, and some laity, who are demanding sacramental status for unworthy and unscriptural forms of so-called love that they practice. 

A Religion within a religion

 

They are almost a religion within a religion, frighteningly militant, and as the desires and urges that rule them are irrational it is impossible to confront them with rational argument. Because Scientology teaches so much irrational nonsense its adherents are told never to engage in rational debate with those who oppose them. Instead, they are told to attack viciously and personally,  looking for weaknesses to psychologically undermine them. You will find the same with the new quasi-sexual religion that is trying to insinuate its erroneous teachings and practices into the Church. They cannot argue against the truth for the teaching of the Church has been against them from the very beginning. Their main weapons are stealth, or when they are discovered, they shout down opponents and anyone who would oppose them. 

They relentlessly attack personally and do all in their power to undermine credibility. This brings me to the most heinous heresy of all that is already on the rise although it is only spoken of in whispers and behind closed doors. It is the return of Arianism. If their teachings are to prevail they will have to denigrate their main opponents, and  then Christ himself, for he is their main opponent 

The Return of Arianism?

If Christ’s teachings are no longer relevant today and must be adapted to the norms of our times then how can his teaching be divinely inspired? If, like Arius, they argue that Christ is not actually divine, although he is the greatest man to have lived who has said and done so much as the founder of our Church, then suddenly the way is open for the Church to be undermined from the inside. With reason on their side, they could argue that Jesus was ultimately only a man, and therefore his teaching for the ancient world was only human.  It may well have been right for the ancient world, but they believe that if he had been alive today he would be pursuing exactly the same agendas that they themselves are pursuing.  For they believe that they are accurately ‘reading the signs of our times’ and discerning the needs of the ‘modern world’. The truth of the matter is that they are, in fact, trying to introduce into the modern Church amongst other things, sexual agendas that cannot be reconciled either by the teaching of Our Divine Lord, the sacred scriptures and the perennial Catholic tradition.  In the vanguard of the coming storm, it should already be noticed that Christ will be mentioned less and less and Catholic Spirituality and traditional devotions hardly at all.

If you think that I am writing to shock you then you are absolutely right. The barbarians are once more ‘at the gates’ and there is no time to lose. So many of us have been sleeping; it is time for the ‘wild geese’ to awaken us or we will fail to see the steady downward slope down which a new breed of misguided clerics and prelates have been trying to lead the unwary. 

The Solution is not a body of truth but a body full of love

There is only one solution and that is not another contrary orthodox theology we already have, it is a person. The person is Jesus Christ Our Lord to whom we must totally abandon ourselves or we will be lost.  I have continually emphasized that we all have within us a profound primeval desire or yearning to love and to be loved. This yearning arises from the love of God, implanted within us from the beginning when we were made in his image and likeness. It is an infinite yearning for it can only be satisfied by God’s infinite love. Christ came to tell us of this plan, which St. Paul called the Mysterion. That this plan be realized for us all, Christ released love without measure on the first Pentecost. Those who continually try to turn and open their hearts to receive this love are called mystics because at baptism they are drawn up into Christ’s Mystical Body. But that is not all. His mystical body is not some vague, inert ethereal reality, but a living breathing supernatural person who is endlessly caught up in an otherworldly act of loving contemplation of the glory of God the Father. It is into this, his sublime, transforming mystical action,  that we are called to join him, by learning to love as he did so that our loving begins to synchronize with his loving. It is this that enables us to make the offering of our lives as he made the offering of his life, and then to receive the fruits of contemplation in return as he received them. 

The final objective of our mystical purification.

All the various ways and means of prayer that I have been writing about have been to do one thing: to raise our hearts to God in unison with the heart of Christ. In order that our prayer be ultimately successful, when it has sufficiently shown its genuine desire for God and God alone, a change takes place and we are led into purgatory on earth into the Dark Night of the Soul. This is the penultimate point in our journey into God. But by penultimate, I do not mean that the end is near because it is not. However, it is the place where our hearts are gradually purified from the influence of ‘the demons’ in our subterranean self, to be united, not just with Christ’s mystical body, but with his glorified body and his Sacred Heart as it lovingly contemplates the glory to which God has called us from the beginning. The ultimate destruction of the evil propensities that have for so long ruled our lives, is the final object of our mystical purification.  

Like a radioactive laser

With Christ’s help, our hearts are able to receive love in ever greater measure. Like a radioactive laser, this love gradually purifies and refines the mind, the intellect, the understanding, the reasoning as well as the memory and the imagination, all of which have been corrupted by the evil and irrational drives and urges that ruled us before. Now, towards the end of the Night, the mind becomes clearer to see what could not be seen before, and the feelings that were dormant for so long in the darkness are once more aroused. The Spiritual Betrothals can now take place. The longer this betrothal lasts, the more the mind with all its operations and the feelings with all their sensible warmth and tenderness can once more open and operate—but this time without the demons that perverted them before. The Mystical Marriage is on the horizon; the most perfect union possible in this life that mirrors albeit darkly, the perfect and everlasting marriage with God in the next life, where God’s kingdom of love, of justice and peace reigns supreme. 

David Torkington is the author of Wisdom from the Western Isles and Wisdom from the Christian Mystics which complement this series.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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