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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

08 June 2023

First let's read the passage from Gospel of St. Luke 11,24-36

First let’s read the passage from Gospel of St. Luke 11, 24-36

Why am I starting this conference with a demon? Shouldn't we be able to talk about conversion, about something positive, about the joy of finding God during the retreat? Of course, yes, but as we have said before, this joy is achieved through hard work and struggle, and spiritual struggle is primarily a struggle with our demons, which in the Gospel we read are called unclean spirits. What does it mean? This is not about lust, masturbation, disgusting sexual habits, but about impurity in the literal sense: dirt, spiritual garbage. The word spirit here is translated as wind, probably a violent wind. Imagine that such a violent wind blows into your soul, bringing with it a lot of garbage, blowing it into your soul. Sometimes on TV they show such a landscape after a hurricane. We see broken houses, overturned electric poles, ships moved inland and a lot of garbage everywhere. This is what our soul looks like after a demon has passed, with the difference that demons visit us more often than hurricanes. And they visit us not because they feel like it, but because we strive for good weather in our soul, for there to be light, sun, that is Jesus Christ and His grace. Keeping this light, that is, caring for the faith, will always involve some risk, not in any sense, but in the sense of the constant danger that evil poses to us. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil, as we can read about in the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent. At the end of this Gospel, there are words like this: after being tempted, the devil departed from Him for a time. It is not that we will be tempted once or a few times in our lives, we will be tempted all our lives, but never beyond measure, as the Bible says, and until the end of our earthly life. The measure of this temptation is different for each of us. I will be tempted differently as a priest, differently you as a father or mother, differently your children, but always in the same perfidious way and always to the same, that is, to abandon the Lord God, to deny God, to sin. And the devil rejoices in every momentary victory, and believes that one day he will achieve a final victory, which will be your complete eternal contempt for God. This victory does not come easily and takes time and the right strategy, which will consist in demotivating us, taking shortcuts, looking for easy happiness. Generally, we all know what it is and no one in their right mind wants to sin. The devil knows this too, and that is why he will try to push sin on us in such a way that we will accept it. The behavior of the demon described in the Gospel well explains the workings of evil. Let's start with the most obvious thing first, which is the realization of our sinfulness. He will see how in this Gospel the demon calls the soul of man: he calls it his home. The demon treats my interior as its home, a place where it resides, where it preys on me, feeding on my weakness. After all, the demon, which is a living organism, also needs to feed on something, and its food is my weakness, it is frustration related to sin, it is my fear, which it uses to tempt me and enslave me with even worse sins. Yes, my inside should be the temple of God, but it is also the seat of the demon that comes when I turn my back on my Creator and Lord. There is evil in me and I have to accept it, even though I don't want to. Just as the Lord God comes to my life with his love and grace, so unfortunately a demon sticks to me, enslaving my soul with fetters of sin, ropes of vices, shackles of addictions, leading to doubt. This is a truth that cannot be escaped. Accepting this truth allows me to better overcome my weaknesses, running away from it and denying it will bring me down and make it even harder for me to deal with sin. It's sad to say, but each of us has some demon around us, some demons that are constantly working to condemn us. Demons that we have provoked ourselves with our sins, but also those that have been following us for years and generations, that have been stirred up by others, that is, our loved ones or ancestors. It is important that we are able to recognize them in our lives, because recognizing them helps us to fight them later. Dear brother, dear sister, what kind of demon do you recognize in your life/ because your spiritual struggle, your struggle and also your inner healing will depend on your recognition. What binds your soul? What evil reigns in the house of your soul? Evil does not come by itself, it appears at the moment of committing a sin, which is our consent, my decision. It's good to know at what point the demon stuck to us. When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through waterless places, seeking rest, but it does not find it. It literally says there: do not teach. What does this mean? That the evil one cannot live without tempting and destroying us. He is unable to learn anything else in his life, he cannot survive in a different environment than our soul. The demon is constantly focused on me, he is learning me, he knows me perfectly, maybe even better than I know myself. Do I know him? Often, adults do not even know what sin is


and what types of sin there are. Sometimes, during confession, someone sees sin where there is none, and where there is evidently there, he claims that there is none. We are unprepared for the fight, we do not know if there is and how temptation works, for example, or what types of sins there are, for example sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance:

1. Intentional homicide

2. The sin of Sodom

3. The oppression of the poor, widows and orphans 4. Withholding payment to servants and workers

Do we know the types of other people's sins? 1. Counsel to sin.

2. To order another to sin.

3. Permit the sin of another.

4. Incite to sin.

5. Praise the sin of another.

6. Be silent about someone else's sin. 7. Not to punish sin.

8. Help to sin.

9. Excuse someone else's sin.

Do we know what are the sins against the Holy Spirit?

1. sin boldly in the hope of God's mercy (e.g. I commit a grave sin saying that I will go to confession anyway),

2. doubting God's grace (e.g. not believing that someone will be converted),

3. oppose some Christian truth (e.g. that God is the Just Judge),

4. envy your neighbor of God's grace (e.g. not believing that someone has sincerely converted),

5. be hardened towards the inspirations of the Holy Spirit (e.g. to do good),

6. postpone penance until death ("I will have time”).

This is what we must know to know our adversary as he knows us. When the unclean spirit leaves a person, it means that the person is not always tempted, that the devil also forgives, he also gives up. The best situation is, of course, after holy confession, when the human soul is flooded with Divine Mercy and protected by God's grace, but how long does it take? None of us can say, because it is impossible to predict. Freedom from sin does not mean the certainty of not sinning. The evil one is a master of patience, and just because we sometimes think things are all right, doesn't mean that sin will never happen again. The devil is so clever, perverse, and at the same time patient in his thinking that he can let go of the temptation even for many years, only to attack us again after that time, at a time convenient for him. 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. I'll be back, says the demon. It's a decision for him, a warning for us to, well, what? What happens that the demon enters the house so easily again and, moreover, takes with him other demons worse than him and begins to demolish our interior. Just look at the original Greek translation of this sentence. The expression "not busy" is also translated: to indulge in something, to be free (in the sense of having no occupation), to have time for something, to be not busy. Not busy with what, or maybe Kim? I think we all have the same answer in our heads: not having time for God, not taking care of God. Lack of responsibility for the relationship with God, not devoting time to God, not entrusting myself to God, results in the reappearance of the demon in my life, which will hit me with even greater force and lead to even worse sins. Why? What happened? What I did? I dared to purify my heart. Why did I clean them? To make room for God, but God is not there because I don't deal with Him, I don't have time for a relationship with Him. I sort out my heart, really, only for the demon to make an even bigger mess later, to litter my life even more. It is beginning to dawn on us what this Gospel is about: it is the image of a man who has confessed, but has done nothing more with his life, has not gone a step further, who thought that confession was the end of conversion, while it is only the beginning, the first step , clearing the heart, but then what? We often think similarly that cleaning the heart is enough. We have cast out the demons from our hearts with the help of Jesus, and they now have to wander around, homeless. We have done little to keep this God of life within us. We received Holy Communion a few times, it was enough for a few, several days, but the demon returned, stronger, not alone, but in the company of other demons and they start to reign in our hearts again, which makes us commit the same, and maybe even worse sins. Beloved, it is not enough to just drive the evil out of yourself, you need to replace it with something, and seriously. If we decide to break with evil, it is not to do nothing, but to keep the grace of Christ within us. Let us not allow demons to dwell in us, because, as St. Paul, we are all God's temple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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