Christian war and peace

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

We have to be clear about this point. Our Christian life here on earth will always involve some war, some struggle and effort, some combat. But all of this would be done in peace and for peace. The combination may sound incredible, but that is what Christ is showing and telling us.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace,” he told his disciples. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16,33) If by faith and effort, we do our best to stick with Christ, we know that victory is always assured for us.

If we notice that we do not have peace while doing our warfare, we have reason to believe that we are not with Christ yet. We have to work on it. Perhaps a helpful prayer we can say can come from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah:

“Be glad and exult with all your heart…The Lord has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies, he has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear.” (3,15ff)

We already have been warned about our earthly predicament in the Book of Job. “The life of man upon earth is a warfare,” we are told. (7,1) True enough, we are told that our enemies are own flesh, the world itself and, of course, the evil spirit.

We actually have a formidable set of enemies. We have the “lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.” And as St. Paul warned us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6,12)

Aside from dealing with the enemies of our soul, we also have to struggle and exert great effort to be able to correspond properly to the supernatural destination meant for us. This will always involve some tension. But then again, as long we stick with Christ, we know that he is the one who will finish, complete and perfect everything for us and with us. (cfr. Phil 1,6)

We need to understand that Christian life is not just a matter of fighting against the enemies of our soul. It is first of all a matter of pursuing a supernatural goal, for which we have to be conscious all the time, coming up with the appropriate plans and strategies so that we can properly act on this truth about ourselves.

That is why aside from prayer and making all kinds of sacrifices, we need to study the life, words and deeds of Christ who is “the way, the truth and the life” for us, as well as avail ourselves of the supernatural means, especially the sacraments, so we can attain that supernatural ideal even while we are still in this world.

We have to be wary of our tendency to be ruled only by our natural laws. We need to avail and correspond to the supernatural grace that God actually gives us in abundance. To be sure, doing so would help us deal properly with the enemies of our soul also. It will be Christ who will be fighting for us and with us!

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