See this man. He is here. He is in the silence. He is covered with humility; He knows that you are precious. He knows that you are broken. He knows that you need gentle hands. He holds back his strength with an almighty humility that keeps Him hidden. He hides so as not to frighten. He hides because His brightness is so alarming that you would be blinded more than if you were to stare at the sun. He hides so that you will find Him, not fear Him. He says, “Do not be afraid.”
You can see Him. Just reach out and ask to have your eyes opened. When you find the bravery to finally hold out your spiritual hand, you will finally realize that He is really there. No relationship ever grew without communication. Communicate and find that He was, is, and will be there all along the way, and He will give Himself to you to be your own personal loving shield.
A SHIELD, MYSTIC PROTECTION FROM THE ARROWS OF EVIL
After discovering that He was there all along, you will realize how many traps He has already helped you avoid even without your knowledge of Him in the past. But with that newly found knowledge of Him, you will also realize just how evil some things of this world are, things that you may have actually cooperated in before. This will be frightening.
By this time you are standing fast—you will have discovered your purpose. By having your loins girded, you will have trained for the battle. By donning your breastplate, you will have placed protection over your heart with faith/reason, hope, and love. And by getting your feed shod in readiness, you will think that you are completely prepared.
BUT what happens next brings a whole new meaning to the battle that rages unseen—
the battle between good and evil.
There will be a sense when you begin the journey of faith that evil is winning and that you in your weakness cannot possibly fight something so integrated into humanity, slithery in its penetration, and aggressive in its destruction. You may become overwhelmed, as if you are walking in a dark valley to fight alone. While the breastplate gives you protection for your heart, something more is needed to protect your entire feminine being from the “flaming arrows of the evil one.”
This evil one most especially tries to break your trust in God. He tries to make God out to be the cruel master while he drools with anticipation to gather you into his fanged mouth. He presents people that have so little faith or no faith that you may begin to think you are the only fool in this world that believes in the MOST HIGH GOD. So, you may begin to distrust yourself. You may become confused on the differences between good and evil.
This is because the evil one wants you to lower your shield of faith. After this he can more easily get to your heart.
Believe me, from experience and affirmation from the Saints, everything about the awfulness of evil is true. He wants to devour your heart, shred it to pieces, taking along with his putrid-ness your intellect, until you feel so abandoned that you seem to be completely separated from anything that is good. Even any pleasure you felt before cannot connect in his Hell. Hell is a state of disconnect from any type of goodness, including the feeling of pleasure from the simple things. The evil one will either try to catch you from trusting in God’s goodness by making you feel miserable or catch you while you are in pleasure to prevent your moving forward to God’s even more perfect goodness. This can be done if you lower your shield.
His intentions are clear. He wants his own kingdom, but mark my words, it is a kingdom of permanent misery, not pleasure. Pleasure in this part of the journey is just where the battlefield exists.
Detachment from pleasure does not mean that pleasure is necessarily bad and that those feelings should be avoided but that they should not guide our decisions. Faith goes beyond a feeling. God is there whether we feel like crap or whether we feel like we are flying.
When you realize Jesus’ presence surrounds you in the dark and in the light, and when you can say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, I choose you, whether life hurts or feels good. I believe in You who are so worthy of my love because You are Love Himself. Even if I feel like you are gone, I will choose You. I believe!” Again, “I believe!” When you can pull this from the depths of your soul, then you will have raised the shield that He has given you.
Faith is the faithfulness (fidelity) to love someone even when it feels tough or when those it feels good—this is the shield. When you accept His grace, allowing Him to become that shield and move into your heart, hope will be restored, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. At these more difficult times, remember that He is the one actually doing all of the fighting. He just needs you to agree to let Him be the shield during all that darkness and confusion. And finally, when hope begins to take flight into your heart, you will become Love like Him because He will lend His overflowing Love until it is overflowing in you.
Keep the shield raised at all times. The shield is the Cross of Christ, the Cross He died on for you. Look on any loving wound of Jesus, His hands, His feet, His side, and remember He died and rose again for each one of us so that we could love Him and one another as He has loved us.
He has given you a shield because He loves you beyond anything you can ever imagine.
This shield of faith is infallible.
- As a mother, you pray for others through Him. You may not be able to see the answer to those prayers because your shield is lifted, but you trust that He is doing what is best for everyone. You pray because you know that you are not the answer to everyone’s greatest needs, but you know WHO is.
- As a sister, you pray with Him. You will know that He is there, even if you cannot feel Him. You may feel completely abandoned by Him at times, but He continues to say, “Do not be afraid, I am with you always.” At those times when you feel like you are fighting alone, He gives you more strength. You would not be able to pray unless He had not started praying first, having already won.
- As a daughter, you pray in Him. You so badly desire to trust Him even though you have been by hurt others who have broken trust. Others break trust; he never does. He works to prove it over and over again. You feel your own weakness in taking on these battles, but He says, “Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27), and you will be able to say in reply, “With holy David I shall be able to explain, “Thou alone art my shield; it is Thou, O Lord who teachest my hands to fight.” (St. Therese after seeing a statue of St. Joan of Arc).
He is our shield. We fight against evil best when we use the eyes that can see beyond—with faith. When we begin to realize the magnificent beauty contained therein, when hope beings to sprout and love to enter in, we begin to realize what an authentic woman really can be. She is a woman who knows just how deep Love can be.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Suffer me never to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me,
and at the hour of my death, call me,
bid me come to Thee
so that with Thy Saints I may praise Thee
forever and ever.
“I will be a shield to this city”