Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Moving Target

Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.

1 Peter 5:8-9a

This is the reading for Tuesday night prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. It has always impressed me with the epistle writer's firm conviction of the real presence of demonic forces surrounding us, crowding within us, pulling us down, tempting us to abandon our hope in destiny and resign ourselves to tragic fate.

After the near-collision on the road to Brooklyn, this admonition from 1 Peter carries more weight for me. The evil one is real. The wrath of the demonic sets upon us without provocation and without warning. And you must swerve out of Satan's path as swiftly as you would swerve to avoid a fatal collision on the road.

[By the way, I don't believe Satan sent a wayward motorist to doom us. But I do think the ordinary presence of the demonic becomes more apparent to us through occasions of extraordinary and ultimate threat to our life and being, however fleeting they are. And I firmly believe it was a divine power that protected my postulant brother and I from an awful accident.]

A friend of mine wrote me yesterday: "Hope you're having fun wherever you are. I noticed on your blog that you appear to be celebrating your role as a moving target. Hopefully, you have been intercepted by friends along the way."

"A moving target." If he didn't read yesterday's post, then he doesn't yet realize how devilishly dark his remark has proved to be. After all, in earlier posts on my Boston travels, I did say "catch me if you can." Do you think only human creatures can comprehend and respond to our words?

A moving target ... actually, I like that one. For once, my friend's offbeat sense of humor is on the mark. A moving target: I can accept that in a mordantly ironic kind of way, especially after the journey back to Brooklyn.

Let the devil try and get me: he won't snatch me. I am in God's hands.

I am feeling really good right now. I am thankful for my life. I am grateful to be here with the Capuchins. I can't wait to go to Kansas and California this year and back to Boston next year.

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