As I reflected on the incessant infighting about all kinds of things in the world, social media, and the Church, I wondered why we spend so much time fighting over trivial matters. I wondered too, why we take things into our own hands before asking God what He actually wants when it comes to the things which do matter. If we don’t invite God to be present in the midst of crucial issues, we can be led down a very dark path of deception.
You see, we spend so much time focused on things which are actually insignificant in the big scheme of things and so little time actually doing what God tells us, even in the big things. We want to be right above all else. Our own way is best. I noticed how people, especially on social media, cannot take correction even when it is warranted. The ad hominem attacks are plentiful, and even if correction may not be warranted, the worst of the other person is always assumed. Calumny, detraction, and presumption are flying all over the place. And I thought to myself, therein lies the great deception. We don’t know who our enemy is. We have turned on each other when we have a common enemy that we should be putting our enmity on. Satan laughs as this deception enables him to steal, kill and destroy.
We worry about all kinds of things about ourselves. We worry about when things will happen, how they will happen, and what will my place be in all of this. Will I be safe? What’s going to happen to me? We overlook our fellow man and listen to the poison arrows of suggestion that are lobbed at us. And as we do this, Jesus passes by. Waiting for us to recognize Him. Waiting for the invitation. Waiting for us to walk on water. But we sink. We still all think like Peter did as we await our worldly reward. The deception is that which takes our eyes off of Love. Distraction is everywhere. Mercy is scarcely found in us, even though Mercy is the conduit to love.
I see it everywhere, and I mean it as no condemnation of anyone, but if you put anything, and I mean anything, above God Alone who is good (Mark 10:18) and who is love, then you are subject to this deception. This is the place where the door is open to the devil and he can come in to twist your perception. If you put your intellect above love, your credentials above love, your need for validation above love, your need for healing above love, prophecy above love, you are letting love pass you by. You get stuck in your worldly focus of being smart, being wounded, being in pain, or wanting security or power in the future, above the two greatest commandments to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t get me wrong, God wants to meet us and fulfill us in all those areas, but in proper order. If we put Him first, all the rest aligns with His Will which wants to prosper us and not to harm us.
If you are unable to be corrected, it’s time to do an examen. Correction is sometimes warranted, especially from authority. The devil hates authority and does everything he can to undermine it. He is rebellion personified. It is why he hates obedience so much. And our individualistic society doesn’t understand it.
You are from your father, the devil, and you prefer to do what your father wants. He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all. When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar, and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
We should be operating as One Body in Christ. Looking at people with the eyes of love does not presume the worst about them. We should want for their salvation, not demise. We should extend mercy towards our fellow man at all times. We should not seek power. Love lives in humility. Mercy lives on the cross.
Do You Love Me?
Peter denied Jesus 3 times because Peter thought like the world does and thought he had to save Himself. When he finally realized he already had a Savior, who looked different than what he expected he wept bitterly but turned toward Him. Jesus gave Peter the chance to undo his denials when He asked him about love at the charcoal fire;
When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ (John 21:15)
Jesus is asking Peter to feed His lambs. Peter, and all of us who live our mission as priest, prophet and king, must feed them the WAY. The way is the way of love. It does not lead the lambs to the slaughter or destruction of the devil. Love is the first and foremost virtue, and it is the theological virtue that lasts through all eternity.
A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep. (John 21:16)
Jesus tells Peter to look after or tend his sheep. Tend to them with Truth. True love is not devoid of truth. Love comes first because without love, truth can become a weapon, which the devil will then use to destroy. But without truth, we do not have true love, which the devil also uses for destruction. The two things cannot be separated. Truth endures time because Truth is a person.
Then he said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)
Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep. Feed his sheep The Life. The love and truth in God permeate your soul, frees you from sin, allows you to accept and to extend mercy, and this is The Life. Freedom is not what the world says it is. Freedom, bathed in love, and grounded in truth, gives us a life of peace and joy free from the chains and sin of the world.
In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.’ ( John 21:15-18)
This last part, being led where you do not want to go, it is a handing over of your human will into the Will of the Divine. Earthly life becomes of no consequence, and heaven becomes our reward.
Recently I went to bed after having said the prayer ready for a restful nights sleep, but it was not to be. I was startled awake by a sensation pouring over my body, and a weight pressed so strongly into my soul, it physically pressed me into my bed. And the Lord spoke a word to me. “Mercy”.
I reacted, yes Lord, I know. Mercy, we have to have mercy. He persisted. “Mercy” And I knew in that moment the gravity of the Lord’s words to me, and how important this message is. Saint Faustina’s Divine Mercy image came into my soul and I knew I must speak about the things which matter and point out the great deception.
Put God first. Ask the angels to protect you, and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, so that God alone becomes your priority, and deception is unmasked.