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The Face of Evil

It's been a week since the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, and I've had time to think about it. I have debated with the gun control personal protection prevention advocates. There has been a discussion of mental illness, and how we can identify these sociopaths and get them the help they need. There have even been calls (by myself included) for "hardening" our schools. But all of these suggestions miss the mark (excuse the pun). The real reason is...

Satan.

I can't help thinking about those poor children and teachers, with Adam Lanza walking through the halls shooting at them. But in my mind, I always see Satan leaning over his shoulder and whispering in his ear: "The pain will soon be over, and you'll be remembered forever!".

Like discussions of God, discussions of Satan are not welcome in public school. Unlike God, Satan doesn't have a problem going where he's not wanted. Sometimes he enters into our lives. It's usually a little nudge here, a little push here. He needs to find chinks in our armor of decency. In the case of Adam Lanza, there was no armor at all.

I am sometimes a tool for Satan. I try not to be, but with my fallen nature, I really can't help it sometimes. What I try to do is twist out of Satan's grip occasionally, and if I'm lucky, mash his thumb. Adam Lanza, on the other hand, was a sock puppet. Satan had his had firmly up Adam's ass directing him to do what Satan wanted.

Did Adam know that Jesus loves him, and loves him even now? Does Adam know that Jesus cries for him and what he's done? I fear that Adam, even if he knew of Christ's love, did not truly believe it and dispaired of God's mercy.

I hear the politicians say that "we have to make it so something like this never happens again". Such arrogance. As long as there is evil in the world, something like this will happen again. If not with an "assault weapon", it will happen with a truck full of fertilizer, or box cutters in the hands of fanatics, or a home made bomb, or maybe a can of gasoline and a match.

We need to fight this with the body armor of faith, and the assault weapons of the Gospel, prayer and devotions. We need to put on the chest plate of Confession. We need to gird our loins with weekly (or even daily) Mass. We need to put on the helmet of frequent Bible reading, perusing the missives of the Doctors of the Church such as Teresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross. They battled Satan in their time, and they are the "special forces" of spiritual warfare. They intercede for us still, and are rooting for us in heaven.

But understand that Satan is not a counterpart to God. Satan is an fallen Archangel, as malign as St. Michael is good. Satan hates us with an eternal hatred. But Satan is no match for the Blood of Christ. God's grace gives us the power to resist Satan, but it is up to us to ask for it.

We need to bring Christ to those in the world. We need to bring His message of love, and His promise of help. We need to bring Christ to those like Adam Lanza, helping them to understand that they are loved, deeply and eternally by Jesus. The more Jesus we accept into our lives, the less room there is for Satan, until we accept Him perfectly and completely, pushing Satan completely out. Probably not in this life, but definitely in the next.

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