\Because of our earthly condition, marked by our call to holiness in the middle of our wounded, if not sinful, condition, we cannot help but have war and peace in this life. They may be considered as fraternal twins, looking different from each other, but bound intimately from conception to birth and to the whole lifetime.
Truth is, in this life we have to make war to have peace. And peace can only come about, at least in this life, as a consequence of some war. Our life here on earth will always be a war of peace. We should not be surprised by this phenomenon anymore. It should be a given. Thus, Christ, who is considered the Prince of Peace, once said:
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father…” (Lk 12, 49-53)
But the war we will be waging here on earth will be a constructive war, not destructive. It is a war to win our way toward heaven. It is a war to make ourselves “another Christ,” a new man, stepping out of the old man that we all are due to sin. Any obstacle along the way, including those who are very close to us but who compete with God for our love, should be fought and rejected.
We have to remember that we always have to contend with powerful enemies in our spiritual life. The first one would be our own selves, our own flesh that has been weakened by sin. There is such thing as concupiscence, a certain attraction to evil that leads us to have a lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
Its urges can be strong and can make us feel that they are irresistible. We should not worry too much about them. As long as we beg always for God’s grace and we do our part of prayer, self-denial, recourse to the sacraments, and spiritual struggle, we can manage to take the wind out of these urges’ sails.
Then we have the world with many of its sinful, or at least, potentially dangerous allurements. There already are powerful structures of sin in the world, like pornography, religious indifference, secularism or a new paganism, and quite developed ideologies that are openly against God.
We need to know how to be discerning in the things of this world. More than that, we have to learn how to relate the things of this world to God, because unless we do, there’s no other way but for us to be swallowed up by their ungodly dynamic. We have to be clear that with the things of this world, it is always a choice between using them for God’s glory and man’s common good, and allowing them to separate us from God and others.
Then there’s the devil, a very powerful spiritual enemy that can easily insinuate himself in our thoughts and desires. He is indeed very clever. He does his wiles often without us realizing it. But with God we can actually outsmart him. Let’s remember that while Christ told us to be innocent as doves, we should also be clever like serpents.
We should be quick to reject those insinuations of the devil in our thoughts and intentions. Once we could smell that our thoughts and intentions are not inspired by God, we should give them no further attention./WDJ