It felt sometimes like my getting closer to the verge of the battle lines between good and evil. You work as a writer, you work at finding your way to deeper reality. And when I scratched the surface it looked more and more like a Christian battle with the devil. Demons could enter you and mess up your health. And I saw a good amount of that working at night, being around wine and alcohol. Night shifts, when you were tempted away, when people's demons came out. I regretted ever getting into such a business, but it was as if I knew that this was a place to encounter the spiritual poor who needed help.
Demons had entered me, when I was young and susceptible, when I was not wary enough, the same demons that haunted my grandfather, who had his battles. Shift work in restaurants.
If good makes a stand, evil is rebuked, goes away in angst. And when good comes around in your life, you feel like Simon Peter, "depart from me, Master, for I am a sinful man." You know good, you know where to find it, but it just seems the light of it dims sometimes and you get lost in things without thinking, yes, without thinking, along for a ride, as if you had no power. Where, how to fight evil but by reading the Gospels, so you have a kind of dry run, a plan, a schematic… And if you can, then maybe you're helping out humanity in a crucial battle.
It does feel strange to stand up, to expel the demons from your own self, if you can, of course with higher help, and I would hope, that just as the stories say, you are returned to health, mental, physical, otherwise.
To read from Luke, say, it's really all quite common, the number of people with evil spirits, unclean spirits, a fever in them that the Holy One of God can rebuke. How many people does Jesus cure? There's the demon talking back to him, throwing its inhabitant down on the floor, but departing without harming the man. There's the girl, the leper, the man lowered down through the roof, Simon's mother. And really, they are restored, made whole again, returned to alignment with God's heavenly order.
Jesus didn't go around like a doctor with a great variety of illnesses, fever, high cholesterol, joint inflammation, blood pressure, each on a separate basis, clinically…. Makes you wonder. I know, that would be a thought easy to laugh at, bitterly, particularly by those who've had to grimly face real illnesses. But the miracles are a representation, of an order beyond us, beyond our science. The miracles show that good prevails, or something like that.
As the poor know, it would be too terrifying to live in a world without that power of Jesus Christ to know the difference between good and evil and stand rightly. Yes, the poor and the sinful and the possessed, they would know a bit better than the rich person sealed off in their wealth with modern medicine and modern science at their call. You'd be far more feeling the need to believe, or find the Christian healing accessible. And I wonder, if you have succumbed to the notion that the only way to go through life is to amass riches and securities and protections, well, you're susceptible to not seeing the demons when they come to tempt, influence, enter… Sophistication doesn't do much good when there's some basic evil spirit gnawing away at you. Even an exercise program, even a career. The high place of the mountain, the pedestal of the Temple…
It takes being humbled to want to see it, or to know that you have to read, just to be able to fight through the day, to not lose your mind as you try to attend to things it seems you have to do if you want to eat and half the roof over your head. Maybe you just have to be humbled down to that poor reality for you to really wake up, for your belief to wake and then experience the joy you so badly need. How to put it into words, into a story, into language, into the thoughts in your own mind? Will some event come, like passing the man possessed with demons as you walk to work, whereby you pull out some faith and power, something dramatic like that? No, probably not. Probably you'll just find yourself clinging to that bit of sanity it all allows you, just taking along your own limping hurt Christian body through another day, as you wonder, what to do with life, what to do with faith even, wonder if you have enough faith, of if you just aren't weak. Well, you can only admit the truth. The truth will always help, a step that allows other steps forward, to know what's good from what isn't. And maybe your health recovers as you take up such good things.