What weakens our defenses
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - June 3, 2020 - 12:00am

Knowing that our life would always involve some struggle—in fact, it is often characterized as a warfare—we should always be on the alert, shoring up our defenses, sharpening our fighting skills, etc.

We should know where our ultimate strength can come from and when we would be loosening our defenses. It boils down, of course, to our relationship with God. Remember St. Paul saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4,13)

He proved that when he said: “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4,8-9)

The secret is always to be with Christ, to be with God in the Holy Spirit. The moment we distance ourselves from him, that’s when we are giving the enemies of our soul an opening, if not a foothold already.

In this, St. Peter gave us this warning: “Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pt 5,8)

We can never over-emphasize the need for vigilance and the strengthening of our defenses. This is not to fall into some kind of paranoia, but rather to be realistic about our life here in this world.

Thus, we have to see to it that we are always with God irrespective of the work we are doing at a given moment, the situation we are in, the circumstances that characterize our life.

We have to be most wary of our tendency to take God for granted, thinking that we are still ok because we are occupied with something and we do not feel yet the sting of our weaknesses and temptations, etc.

We have to overcome that tendency, because that’s what makes the enemies of our soul—our wounded flesh, the allurements of the world and the devil himself—happy. They know that they already have an opening, and it would just be a matter of time before they give us a fatal blow. This is the tendency that weakens our defenses. It’s when we do not take God seriously.

That is why in our moments of weakness as when we are already tired, let alone, bored and feeling dry, the common experience is that we would easily fall into temptations. Even if we know that we are being tempted, that what is passing through our mind is wrong and sinful, we do not seem able to resist it. We fall!

We reprise the very experience of St. Paul who once said: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (Rom 7,15.19)

Just the same, not everything is lost. God is always around to help us. In this regard, it is helpful to always remember the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the prodigal son, to keep our sanity and peace of mind intact. God never abandons us.

On our part, what we have to do is to always pray, to always keep the presence of God, ever discerning his will and promptings, since he is actually always intervening in our lives. In other words, God should be in our heart of hearts. Nothing else should occupy that core of our being. In the first place, he is already there. But we tend to replace him with something else. That is our problem.

We need to see to it that everytime we pray, we really pray and not just go through the motion of praying. Our conversation with God should be earnest. Our desire to look for him and to be with him should be kept intense.

We have all the means when we notice that our defenses are weakening!

DEFENSES
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