Friday of Week 5 in Ordinary Time
The serpent was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made.
Last week, I saw a post on Facebook asking if it’s ok for Catholics to participate in some Chinese New Year activities. If it’s a cultural aspect or if it’s a family tradition, I think that’s lovely. And in fact, Catholics are known for cultural indoctrination – we take what’s good in the culture and align it with our Christian values. But if we are talking about superstitious beliefs, like if something brings good luck, then maybe we have to think twice.
I once heard my aunt say that ‘there’s no harm done if you just follow the superstition’ just to make sure that nothing bad happens. Just like the snake, this statement was so subtle in suggesting that we trust something else other than God. There is harm done if we do this. It harms our souls. The moment we believe that other actions not related to God could be a source of luck, we are already questioning God being totally in control of everything. While outwardly, no harm seems to have been done, our souls are already tainted.
The other subtlety that we need to guard ourselves against is subconsciously making gods of the Mother Mary and the Saints. In our devotional practices, let us be clear that we are not praying to them. We are asking them to pray for us to God. The healings or the favours granted did not come from them. It came from God, but it was obtained via their intercession. We should always remember that they lead us closer to God, they are not the end of our devotions. It’s very subtle mistake, but there is real harm.
On the same topic, we should be careful not to treat sacramentals as talismans. They are not the source of power or of any graces. They are channels by which God chooses to give us graces. God remains the source of these graces. God can choose to impart graces through rosaries, relics, holy water and others. And we should always remember that the graces are from God.
Brothers and sisters, from the beginning of time until now, the devil always used subtlety to nudge us away from God, little by little. Let us be prudent and guard ourselves against these silent whispers.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me stay away from the devil’s subtle temptations.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for helping me connect to you through Mother Mary, the Saints, and the sacramentals.