Deliver Us From Evil

The final petition of the “Our Father” builds upon the previous one about not falling prey to temptation.

The tempter, the one who hates us and wants to destroy our relationship with God, is Satan. This fallen angel is literally our enemy, for Satan comes from the Hebrew for “adversary” or “accuser.”

Having rebelled against God, the Evil One is bound for eternal damnation, and like a supernatural serial killer, he is out to bring as many people down to hell with him as possible. Satan tricked our first parents into sin, thus unleashing suffering, death, and corruption into God’s originally pristine creation. The Evil One has continued to make war against God – and His people – ever since.

As a result, we are engaged in a spiritual battle for our immortal souls.

This is not to terrify us, for Christ has utterly and irrevocably conquered through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and His victory will be made manifest at the end of time. We are safe as long as we remain in His protecting arms.

But at the same time, we must be aware that the devil is looking for opportunities to tear us away from God. Never open a door to evil; dabbling in the occult leads to real spiritual harm.

Let us pray as Jesus taught us, that we may be delivered from evil – from the Evil One, and from all of the tragedies, injustices, and disasters that beset our fallen world.

For more, see Catechism paragraphs 2850-54.

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Thy Kingdom Come

Although the Kingdom of God has begun to come in Christ, and continues among us through His Real Presence in the Eucharist, and in the Church, it has not yet reached its final consummation.

We therefore pray for its perfect fulfillment, when Christ returns in glory, and hands over the Kingdom to God the Father.

By looking forward to the Lord’s coming, our minds turn to the last things – death, judgment, heaven, and hell. We recognize our own need to prepare, so that we may be ready to welcome the Lord whenever He comes for us.

The liturgical season of Advent is focused upon the theme of preparation for His coming. We most often associate Advent with salvation history, setting the stage for our celebration of Christmas, the mystery of God’s becoming a newborn baby.

But Christ’s coming is not just a single historical event. We experience many comings of the Lord: He regularly enters our hearts through His grace, pre-eminently when we receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Let us reflect upon the ways that Christ comes to us, in history, in our lives, and in His ultimate return at the end of time.

For more, see Catechism paragraphs 2816-21.

Heaven and Hell

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 1023-29, 1033-37:

  • Heaven is the fulfillment of our deepest desires, a state of perfect happiness that lasts forever, without end, without any lessening of pleasure.
  • This eternal blessedness arises from the soul’s intimate communion with God, for Whom it was created and in Whom alone it can find its ultimate joy.
  • Because heaven is the state of perfect union with God, only those who die in God’s grace, and are completely purified, are able to enter.
  • The blessed see the Most Holy Trinity “face to face,” in what is called the “beatific vision,” and as a result become like God; these saintly souls radiate heavenly glory and reign with Him, in harmony with all of the choirs of angels.
  • Our earthly minds cannot adequately conceive, let alone explain, this exalted manner of being; by way of analogy, Scripture employs such imagery as a wedding feast, the Father’s house, and paradise (a royal pleasure garden).
  • But those who definitively reject God cannot enter heaven; God respects their free will, and abides by their decision to cut themselves off from Him.
  • Hell is this state of eternal separation from God; by turning away and depriving itself of its true home, the soul feels unimaginable desolation and suffering, which Scripture describes as an eternal fire.
  • God never predestines anyone for hell; rather, He continually reaches out, offers us His grace, and calls us to repentance.
  • Those who sin gravely against God and neighbor, willfully refuse to repent, and deliberately rebuff His love, are eligible to cast themselves into hell.
  • We cannot presume to judge the state of anyone’s soul; God alone searches the inmost heart and knows how culpable someone might, or might not, be.

Live Your Faith

If we want to live with God forever in heaven, we should already live faithfully with Him now on earth.

We can lull ourselves into a false sense of security that heaven is the default position, but Jesus Himself has warned us repeatedly of the real danger of hell.

This teaching should never make us despair, for God will eagerly embrace us in His boundless mercy, if we seek it.

But we should guard against the sin of presumption, wherein we take our spiritual lives lightly, and salvation for granted.