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Monday, September 05, 2005

Those who fight monsters

"Those who fight monsters should take care that they never become one. For when you stand and look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Frederich Nietsche

I confess I do not know the true context of the above quote. I think I tried to read it once, but since I do not like Nietzche, nor do I agree with his philosophy, I became quickly bored and set the book aside. I never claimed to be disciplined.

And yet, I still ask that you take a look at the quote because, even coming from this particular source, there is truth.

I have fought monsters for many years, and I still fight monsters. All good Christians fight monsters on a daily basis.

There are so many dimensions to this, but I shall examine only a couple, due to my tendancy to be long-winded and likely lose any of my readers due to sheer boredom. Maybe Nietzche and I are alike in that way...we share the ability to put readers to sleep, especially those who do not share our sentiments. You, however, good reader, have all the power to simply click and move on, for there will be no test of this material. But beware, good Christians, for you DO face the ultimate test on judgment day...and how will you answer to this material? Will you be pulled into the proverbial abyss or will you stand with the Lord as you purport to do so today?

I think about this quote sometimes, and it makes me realize the filth and grime we as humans deal with every day. I used to be a police officer; once upon a time I begged for the job. I thought I wanted to explore the abyss. I thought I wanted to see the worst of human nature and stand against it as a beacon of protection. And instead, I became transfixed by what I saw. I became focused not on Christ, but on the trials and suffering of the abyss, and it changed me. I have lost my innocence. I cannot un-see what I have seen, no more so than I can un-do what I have done. I have looked into the abyss, I have explored the abyss, and I have been changed by the abyss.

For awhile, the change was real and it was internal. I explored New Age practices, I went to psychic readers and I sought to know and understand my future. I gave power to ritualistic practices and I saw Santaria as being closely related to Catholicism, and therefore acceptable. I let the abyss change my thinking and on my own, suspended the critical thinking which God gave me as a weapon against the darkness.

I have seen the abyss, and I became a type of monster, and even today I am trying to shed the vestiges of the darkness which held me captive for so long. It still holds me captive, but I know I have been ransomed. I will only be free on judgment day as long as I continue to gaze upon the face of crucified Christ and offer my sufferings to him. He has told us that "those who persevere to the end shall be saved", and I pray I can persevere, remain faithful, and one day kneel for eternity in God's presence.

And so I fight the monsters from the abyss as I work my way to the rim. I am still in the abyss, and I am still looking into it...and strugging to avert my eyes. I fight monsters...but have I become one in this struggle? I already know that the abyss has looked into me, and it knows my weakness.

This is a spiritual battle, the one we all face, to different degrees. And even today, although my career has changed, I am still fighing the monsters and seeking to remove the eyes of the abyss from my soul.

What is my other point? Oh, yes.

Spiritual warfare, the kind we all face every day. It is not just our daily struggles to fight against crime if that is our place in life; it is also, and more importantly, the awareness of the Evil One, the fallen angels around us.

Yes, they do indeed exist, and we must be careful to recognize them even as we seek to avoid giving them power through our fear, through inappropriate attention, etc. We have to recognize what they are and understand when they are attacking, but we must also understand that they have no power over those of us who have been claimed by the Lamb and who seek to follow in his foosteps.

So continue to fight the mosters, for it is the good fight.

Recently I went into the sacrament of Confession and, holding back tears, described the recent spiritual torture I have been undergoing for weeks. He is a wise priest and he asked me what could have opened me or allowed this attack? I offered a few explanations...both situations in my life of which I have no control, and a recent decision to seek God's will in the form of possible religious life. This wise priest offered that God may be allowing this trial to befall me in order to make me stronger for the battles ahead, for they will not become easier. The battles are attacks upon my human weakness...and I felt my strength flagging.

I was mortified to explain my sins, as always, however, the grace of God is greater. Every time I go to Confession, I expect the priest to berate me for my weakness, to chastize me for my misbehavior; however, rather, I see Christ. I hear Christ, and rather than condeming me as I think I deserve, Father gently tells me that I am spiritualy growing, that God is working in my life and that I must pick myself off and go on and resolve to do better to overcome the weakness. He explaines that this trial, this demonic attack is allowed for my own good and that I am doing the right thing to humble myself before God and admit my weakness. None of us are able to carry on without the strength of Jesus Christ to support us. He absolved me in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and I crosssed myself and thanked him. As I stood to leave, Father said to me, "Keep up the good fight!"

I know he has suffered these same attacks, has struggled with the same issues, for he is human as well. Yet he speaks for Christ in the sacrament. So rather than going away with my proverbial tail between my legs, I leave joyfully, knowing I do not fight this battle alone; I fight these monsters only with the strength of Christ, for on my own I am useless andI am worthless. It was God who gave me life and God who sustains it. And ultimately, it is to God's arms I will return when this life is done, should it be His will and grace to lead me home.

But the juxtaposition is this: I (we), cannot become so focused on the evil forces against which we do battle so as to forget that we sin on our own and we suffer our own consequences of errors and the errors or sins of others. By giving credit for every misfortune to dark forces, we are giving power where there is none; so we must be discerning. We must educate ourselves and be very given to prayer.

We are in a time of harsh battle, my friends, but our enemy has no power. We have the cross, the mercy of Christ, and the reality of God who bears us up. We stand well within the light of Christ when we follow in his footsteps, and he leads us gently through the snares.

Psalm 91 states,

"You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High;
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty
Say to the Lord my refuge and my fortress,
my Rock, in whom I trust
For he will deliver you from the snares of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a buckler and a shield
You will not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday....

{sic}

Becaue you have made the Lord yoru refuge
the Most High your habitation
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.

For he will give his angels charge of you
to guard you in all your ways
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone..."

Praise the Lord!

We are all charged with fighting monsters, and the Lord knows that the abyss will look into us and seek our damnation. And so in his mercy he gives us angels to bear us up in battle and lead us through the darkness to Christ who is our light, our life, and our salvation.

So as Father said to me, I say to you...Keep up the good fight!

God bless you all,

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nietzsche was a genius, a student of theology, a historian. He could teach you a great many things, were you willing to listen.

By the way I hope you die in a car fire for being such a preacher of an outdated religious faith.

--jay

Adoro Te Devote said...

Thanks for commenting, jay.

Thank you for being such a good example of someone who is "with the culture" as opposed to "outdated" such as myself. Wishing my death really underscores your high moral perspective.

I will pray for you, and in fact, if I die in a car fire, that would be a wonderful thing for we as Catholics believe in a wonderful afterlife. So you see...your insult does not have the impact you probably hoped.

I'm leaving your comment up as an example of the vitriol and hostility of the "enlightenment" you worship, the cult of self.

God bless you anyway.

Tim said...

That priest was cool! Aren't confessors just the greatest guys?

"Keep up the good fight!"

Wow, anonymous is a real creep. May the Lord rebuke Him and bless him with a repentant heart that he would receive mercy.

Anonymous said...

Didn't actually read past the first three lines, but the quote is not given any context by Neitzshce. It Appears in a list of proverbs in Beyond Good and Evil.

the.real.trogdor said...

Wow,

Methinks I am going to do some serious reading on here.

Mate, great to read what you're writing.

Via con Dios,

Josh.

p.s. I am also a christian, and I do some writing as well. My own blog is at www.asimplechristian.com. Would be happy to see you.

Free from the machine said...

You completly missed what Freidrich Nietzshe was try to say with that. He was not promoting christian values at all in fact he was denoucing it's moralities and values. He continued to do this in increasing amounts of criticism of the christian faith. If you had read some of his books. Especially The Gay Science, On the Genealogy of Morality, and The Anti-christ, you would know this. However you just see the quote somewhere and decide oh it must mean that my god is telling me that I should breath my religous belifs down peoples throats without ever looking to see it's true meaning. I pity you for your ignorance. Also I find it shocking that someone could corrupt and bastardize that quote to the level of using it to push their archaic religious views on others. It sickens me that someone would even do that to Nietzsche's work.

Adoro te Devote said...

Free from the machine ~ Too bad you're not really free of your own biased agenda.

YOU completely missed the point of my post. I was not saying any such thing about Nietzche, and in fact, I stated I disagree with his philosophy, but YET there is truth in that one particular line.

I took it out of context not to expound on his work, but on my own meandering thoughts. Being that this is my blog, I get to do that, and if you disagree, you get to disagree. However, do not think you can sit there and deign to tell me that I am "BREATHING MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS DOWN OTHER PEOPLES' THROATS". What a bunch of tripe.

YOU stopped by my blog. I didn't come after you. YOU chose to take my post of of context and inflict your own meaning upon my intentions as well as what I do or do not understand.

For your information, I read this philosopher in a class in college; I completely disagree with his mindset and yours. Get over yourself, and if you don't like what I have posted here, then move on.

Unless my post struck a chord and you recognize some truth that you can't live up to. That's not my fault.

The truth hit me hard, once, too, and I reacted very much as you are now.

Awayuki Hayashi said...

I think your use of the quote was appropriate for the message of your entry, whatever the context or original intention of the text. It has often been used and interpreted for many different purposes - to warn cops, psychologists, lawyers and those who work with the extreme disturbance of humankind that there is a fine line between sanity and insanity.

Like the anonymous posters, I am not a Christian. Unlike the anonymous posters, I recognise that Christianity is a faith of love and compassion, as many of my friends and family are Christians, and as a person of faith, I believe I am called upon to treat your faith with respect and reverence.

I'd like to apologize for those people who came to complain.

Adoro te Devote said...

Awayuki Hayashi ~ Thank you for your comment, and for your apology on behalf of others. You shouldn't have to apologize for anyone, but I guess I've done the same thing on behalf of others who should have known better, too!

Like you, I've seen that quote widely used, with and without further context, and in just the situations you've described; I only placed a spiritual context on it this time, as you recognized.

As Christians, we respect the faiths of others, as well, whether we agree or disagree with them; everyone has a right to worship in the way they choose. It's called "free will" and God gave it to everyone! :-)

And even though you're not Christian...God bless you!

the-hated said...

hmm combing Nietzsche ideas with Judeo-Christian ideals, i guess pigs can fly, maybe there is hope for unification among religious theology with philosophy, next unifying science. i won’t convert to a Christian because of this but i am amazed you were opened minded enough to take other ideals to thought, i suggest you finish reading some of Nietzsche books as well as Plato which would be more to your suiting. im a very spiritual person, taking the positive ideals from Christianly, wiccan, pagans, neopagan, goetia, Taoism, existentialist, metaphorical and literal versions of Satanism and a few ideas from shaman and Buddhism they appear to contradict at first but that is only if you dont read and search for yourself, to me they are all one in the same. im not trying to offend you by saying i think of demons as both metaphors and rarely literal neither do i want to often you by showing that i study religion like another philosophy class, i merely want to congratulate you for showing that a faithful Christian can be opened minded enough to add philosophy into their religious beliefs because like most ppl, the stereotype is that they are one sided but as i see from this, you are not. :)

Adoro said...

The hated ~ Thank you for your comment, but by its very nature you reveal that you know very little about Christianity, and therefore, Catholicism. Much of the theology and terms used in Catholicism comes from the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, among others. My religion is all about uniting reason and faith. Have you ever heard of Thomas Aquinas? His Summa Theologica is full of philosophy (and I, being a good Thomist, have read and studied much of it!) I have also had to study Plato and Aristotle. St. Bonaventure is famous for a heavily-philosophical work, "Journey to the Mind of God" which is available to read online.

I would encourage you to look more deeply into Catholicism; you may be surprised.

You can find out more info at www.newadvent.org and specifically, for the Summa www.newadvent.org/summa or www.op.org/summa

By the way, you may be interested to know that some of the early heretics of the Church were heretics because they went wrong philosophically, which is also what destroyed their understanding of Theology. Tertullian comes to mind; he believed that if some philosophy was bad, it all was bad, so threw out the baby with the bathwater.

Really...look more into what I've stated here. You will find your views at least with regard to Catholicism changing. (I can't comment on other Christian religions in general, but you will prob. find a lot of philosophy also in Greek Orthodox, Coptic, and Russian Orthodox churches)

I hope that helps!

Adoro said...

the-hated ~ I found your comment so interesting (especially in its embrace of mythology, specifically that Christianity is devoid of reason) that I gave it its own post:

http://adorotedevote.blogspot.com/2010/08/faith-isnt-faith-unless-reason-is.html

Antonio Mejia Guzmán said...

That quote isn´t from Nietzsche, it was written by Mark Twain.

Adoro said...

Antonio ~ No, It isn't from Twain. Twain, like many others, quoted it, but it is from Nietzche, sad as I am to admit it. But then again, what is Nietzche but a human personifcation of the Abyss he describes? That is poetic justice.

If you have something to the contrary, some source to support yourself, then post it. Otherwise you are nothing but a Troll, Antonio.

A a Troll to contradict the Trolls that already came before you in this very post.