Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Fearlessly Intertwined and Rooted in God and His Saints Amid the Storms of Sin and Darkness

Imagine giant redwoods bending beneath the force of the wind as they sway several hundred feet back and forth towards the ground without breaking. 

A priest recently spoke of this - sharing that equally impressive to the redwoods' towering height is their massive root system that intertwines with the roots of other redwoods around them. As their roots stretch outward for great distances, they unite, intertwine and even fuse with the other trees' roots, forming a labyrinth of such strength that even the fiercest of winds and storms cannot uproot them.

This image of giant redwoods swaying hundreds of feet back and forth has stuck with me. Although I can't remember the exact distance spanned by the arc of their sways back and forth, (nor can I find it in my research) I remember that the tremendous distance quoted by the priest left me in awe. The priest spoke of this to highlight the strength of our unity with one another.

As I was pondering this in prayer, I came to marvel at a Divine Reality that the trees symbolized. It's profoundness and beauty brought me deep joy and grace amid the storms of sin and darkness of this world. For Satan has sown great evil and perpetuated lies, confusion and division not only within our society and our country - but within our Church, families, relationships - and if you are like me, even within our own minds and emotions. I don't know if this applies to you, but I can definitely relate to this quote from Chris Stefanick:
"Your head is like a bad neighborhood – don't go in there alone.”

The evil seems to be growing more horrific and destructive by the day as the vision of Pope Leo XIII foretold, for 
Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) 
Yet, if we understand that his lies are the same today as they were when he first spoke them to Eve, it is helpful in recognizing and resisting him:
For he always tells us that sin and disobedience is good, not evil -
and that choosing them will never harm us -
but will lead to our fulfillment.
Speaking not right, he insists, God is trying to keep goodness from us
because God is a liar and His Word cannot be trusted. 

Just as his lies are always the same, so is his plan:
Each lie seeks to destroy us and our faith and trust in God and His Word.
He seeks to destroy our God-given identity, our goodness and the glorious plan God has for our lives.
But, perhaps, most of all, Satan seeks to destroy our intimacy with God,
for God is not only our Creator but our Father, Who longs for us to live in union with Him and to call us His Children..
Then, always, after Satan tempts us to sin, he shows his true colors as the great accuser, who torments us with fear and shame and regret, while encouraging us to run and hide from God and telling us we have no hope of forgiveness.
"Satan was murderer from the beginning ... for there is no truth in him...for he is a liar and the father of lies. (Jn 8:44)
In the face of these lies, we must continually remind ourselves of who we are, Who God is and that God is with us.
We must remember He is concerned with our welfare and that He alone is Truth and Life. 

For Satan is the "thief who comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;" 
but, Jesus "came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10).
How often must we remind ourselves that the Truth is a Divine Person, 
Jesus Christ,
Who tells us, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me? (John 14:6).
And that Truth can be found only in Him and in His Word.

Reminding ourselves and filling our minds with Truth is like stretching our roots deep into God. 

This anchoring in the Love and Truth of Christ is necessary to have the strength to endure the ever-increasing evil of our times; which can seem like hurricane force winds and waves that are continually battering against us with such persistence and force that we would break under the strain if we were not deeply rooted in God through prayer and the Sacraments.

One of the greatest evils of our time is the large scale destruction of the most vulnerable and innocent.
This is perhaps most evident in the increasing number of states advocating and celebrating the murder of babies just moments away from birth, 
as well as the murder of those already born, who survive the attempts to kill them in the womb...

Another evil includes the horrific sins committed by some within our One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, Whom we love so dearly - as Satan seeks to destroy our Holy Mother Church both from without and within ...

Additionally, great evils have been waged upon and have already destroyed countless marriages and families.
Rather than live marriage and family life in and through God's grace -
never giving up on striving to be pure and faithful -
life-giving and self-sacrificing images of the Love of the Most Holy Trinity -
so many have believed Satan's lies and chosen lesser things -
even to despising one of the most truly awesome gifts given to humankind: 
that of being co-creators with God - chosen to bring forth immortal beings - each of us destined for unimaginable glory and honor when open to the grace of Christ.

Oh, if we had eyes to see and hearts to understand who we are in Christ and the great heights we have fallen!!!  

Added to these lies, are the diabolical attacks (aimed increasingly at younger and younger children) that confuse and manipulate men and women into rejecting the REALITY of who God created them to be
For he made us male and female ...
created in God's very own image and likeness ...
and how God rejoices in us, for He made us very good!

As a final addition to this enormous list of sins, are reports of preschoolers being targeted, not only with lies against their identities, but by pure evil - as the vilest hack into videos they are watching online - trying to get them to commit suicide and take the lives of their families.

The weight of sin and darkness, lies, and the distortion between good and evil is overwhelming... 
from the sheer weight and horror of the ever growing scandals of abuse and trafficking...
to the injustice of those who are guilty being applauded and being seen as good...
while the innocent and the godly are seen as evil and are consistently persecuted...

The storm is very fierce - not only from all these outside forces, but from the lies that penetrate and affect our thoughts, our wills, our emotions and our relationships... 
And at times we feel we are being bent to the ground under the weight of such evil.

However, in the midst of such unprecedented evil, 
we cannot allow it to destroy our peace, 
instead, we must continually pray - 
filling our thoughts with the Holy and Faithful Word of God, 
in order to stand fast in the Gospel of Christ - the exceedingly Good News
For Christ alone can right the most terrible of wrongs 
and even transform sin and death into glory unending!!!

For, even amid these insistent and vicious attacks of evil against life and faith and God Himself...
We are more than conquerors in Christ
when we are rooted in Him and in His Holy Word through prayer!
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?...
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 34-39
Like the interconnected roots of the redwood that enable it to stand fast amid the fiercest storms, so is our rootedness in Christ!
Our inseparability with Christ - Crucified, Died, Risen and Glorified, 
unites us to an infinite and glorious, 
ever-living root system of Divine Life!
We are rooted in the Most Holy Trinity, 
through Christ, in fact, we are even intertwined, 
bound and fused together with them!
Oh, the glory and the grace of this reality!!!
Being rooted with the Infinite Trinity, 
and the Love and Power and Strength of God -
Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Who can fathom this or try to describe it?
If we are rooted in them, what can come against us, as Paul said, that can cause us any harm???

And then, being held up and united and infused into the roots of the Eternal, Everlasting, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Loving God Himself - 
He likewise unites us to all who are united to Him
Thus, we become united and rooted to Mary and Joseph and all the angels and saints as well!
... this ever-increasing labyrinth of love and unity and strength! 

And if that wasn't enough, besides uniting us with Mary and all of heaven, 
He has rooted us into His Mystical Body ...
and every soul He has ever created from all eternity, 
who lives in union with Him
both those still living on earth, as well as those in heaven and in purgatory! 
And, because nothing is impossible for God, we surely, in His eyes, also united to those who will come after us, for He is outside of all time and space!

What a glorious union He has provided for us!!!

Even those martyred and baptized by the shedding of their blood or those baptized by desire are part of this indissoluble union. 
Imagine in God's infinite mercy and love, 
even the more than 1.5 billion babies who have been aborted 
in the world since 1973, 
who we trust are alive in Him and within His care, 
are a part of this glorious intertwining, uniting root system that God has established to be our support and strength amid our most pressing trials and temptations and doubts!

While never forgetting God avenges the blood of the innocent, for He hears their cries, and He will not be mocked; 
yet, He tells us His ultimate vengeance is to bring the sinner to repentance so that they too can glorify Him by their lives, and by their own sacrifice united to His, atone for the blood that they have shed:
For God does not rejoice in the destruction of a sinner, but that he be converted and live! Ezekiel 18: 23
So even our most pressing sadness and the deepest of our trials and the greatest of these evils can be offered for the conversion of those lost in sin - so 
even all these things will work for good for those who love God. (cf. Romans 8:28)
Of the tremendous heights of glory this causes me to ponder!!!

Not only are we united with innumerable saints and holy ones, but we are also united in the Holy Catholic Church, who has anointed us in our Baptism with a indelible seal of God, making us into God's sons and daughters, freeing us from the effects of original sin and death and infusing us with His Very Life, making us a dwelling place of the Most High!  

It is the Church who feeds us with God's very flesh and blood, soul and divinity - nourishing us, forgiving, healing and strengthening us, teaching and encouraging us with the Sacraments -
until the very Sacraments given to the Church by Christ will eventually carry us back home to Him - 
through the the Holy Priesthood Christ established, 
in which countless men have given themselves fully to God and are living in great holiness 'as other Christs', 
so that God could be with us always, even to the end of time!

So then, we are not only then surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, but we are also rooted in them, together with the Holy Trinity!!! 

How assured we can be, then, of the strength of the intertwining grace that God has put in place for us as long as we seek Him and His Ways and pray?

we can be steadfast and unafraid -
unwavering against the enemy's onslaughts

For the deeper we are rooted and intertwined with God and His Body - the more impervious we will be to these vile storms of sin and lies...

How amazing to realize God is at work in the minds and hearts of each of us, forming a formidable intertwining of Holy ones as He fashions us into great saints!

Who can fathom the greatness of his plan of salvation or the part He has deigned for us to play in it? 

So, let us not be discouraged, although the nations rage and make their plans against God...
How important it is to know and believe in what we cannot see!  

For what is seen is transitory, what is unseen is eternal.
For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor. 4:17-18
Even though the roots cannot be seen, it is their existence and their unity that provides and sustains the tree's life and it's resilience and strength... 
likewise, God IS at work in eternal unseen ways giving us life and strength and grace, as He unites us unto and into the vast multitude of His saints!

In times of doubt and despair, my prayer is that we ponder 
the tremendous height and depth and breadth of this
intertwining root system of LOVE...
of the life, grace, mercy and strength
that unites our souls and bodies 
with the Most Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 
with Mary and all the angels and saints, 
with the Holy Catholic Church 
in this great union of His Mystical Body, 
in which each of us plays a part
and has the ability to strengthen and encourage one another ...

I pray that this awe-inspiring reality penetrates and uplifts us as we seek to be LOVE and TRUTH, and LIGHT and LIFE in our daily life amid the raging storms of darkness, sin and evil of our time. 

For who can fathom how doing these small things with great love strengthen the intertwining roots that we create with one another? 

May each of us forever live united and rooted in His grace! Amen!

© Janet Moore. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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