Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Terror of Demons

Satan, in a damning habit of jealousy-inspired rebellion, has been hard at work to ruin God's relationship with humanity since the beginning. He and his demons have sought tirelessly throughout Scripture and throughout history to thwart the loving plan of God: first by turning God's beloved away from Him in the Garden of Eden by dismantling Adam and Eve's trust in their Creator; and again in the desert, determined and desperate to tempt even the Son of God away from His saving mission (again, by attempting to dismantle trust). This continued for ages in between, and without a doubt continues today. But (cue movie preview announcer voice) in a world...riddled with demons...the fate of humanity...rests on one man... (Darth Vader breathing)

Enter St. Joseph. A humble and righteous carpenter devoted to his craft in mind and deed and devoted to God and a woman in his heart. From the beginning of Mary and Joseph's betrothal, the dark forces of the world press against them and their relationship. Upon hearing that Mary is pregnant, and knowing it definitely isn't from him, Joseph is faced with the decision of a lifetime, literally -- the lifetime beig hers, not his. Legally, Joseph could have Mary stoned to death for adultery (and certainly, many of his peers would have expected it). But, we read, that he decides instead to divorce her quietly, sparing her life (and the Life inside her) in the process.

Enter an angel. One night while Joseph is sleeping, an angel of God comes to him to urge him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and to raise her child as his own. Joseph submits, and it is implied that he does so without hesitation or reservation.

He begins the journey of obedience facing trial after trial. Packing up and heading to Bethlehem for a census, assisting in the birth of the Savior of the world in a cave doubling as a barn because there was no room to stay anywhere else, packing up again to flee the the slaughter of sons ordered by a power-hungry king, saving the son he loved as his own. Weighed down with anxiety, he accompanies Mary back to the temple where they find the son they thought they'd lost. He watches Jesus mature, from the first glimpse of His face at His birth, to the wise and strong young man he helped raise, knowing all the while the life of difficulty he would endure.

Joseph is a simple man. A man who, being an expert in building things with his hands, became himself a tool in the hands of the Father, shaping history in a way no one else ever has and no one else ever will.

A quiet man. A docile man. A man quick to do what he's told.

...What are demons so afraid of?

Humility: unwavering and prayerful trust in God's wisdom. More specifically, humility which refuses to publicly shame a woman in a culture and time in which it is considered appropriate to stone her. Humility which accepts the gift of a child not biologically one's own, to raise and care for as if he was. Humility which gives itself wholly to the will of God, quietly pondering the righteous path apart from the noise of the world and culture which might tempt him away from it. Humility which cannot be moved to jump into the plans of Satan to leave God's Son and His mother stranded, starving, and possibly even dead.

Where demons bring chaos, St. Joseph remains at peace. Nothing is more terrifying to forces which depend on fear, restlessness, and hesitancy.

"Terror of Demons," pray for us now and at our death, that we may fulfill the will of God in this life and be wrapped up in the love of God in the next.

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