9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Prayer is a powerful deed. It is often confusing as to what exactly we should pray for and how we should pray. The Lord's Prayer above was given to us as a perfect example of how to communicate with the Divine. All needs and issues are covered in this simple 65 word prayer. For one year, my resolution was to say this every morning before I got out of bed. The knowledge that this is uttered constantly through out the world by millions of souls is both comforting and amazing all at the same time. Even when you do not understand the language it is spoken in, you always know when it is being said, for there is a deep calm that envelopes the environment when it is recited.
Something that can be difficult is the part about being delivered from evil. In so many ways, we think we can give the Divine suggestions and commands when it comes to how Spirit interacts in our lives. Particularly when it concerns the deliverance from evil.
I have practiced medicine for over 25 years. In that time, I have heard every story imaginable in terms of human suffering. Deep healing in my estimation must include emotional and spiritual healing. When a particular patient was strong enough to start remembering the abuse she endured as a child, it shattered her concept of a loving God. "How could a loving God allow such vile acts be done on an innocent child?" She cried to me, with big tears rolling down her cheeks. "How could God leave me?"
The images flooding the media and imagination these days are of dark hooded men severing the heads from loving, gifted people who were trying to help those harmed by war. The collective response to these heinous acts is to deny the humanity of the perpetrators, labeling them as worse than animals deserving of annihilation. Global support now exists to do just that, raining bombs, drones and missiles upon the lands where these people are reported to be hiding. Somehow, the raining of violent mass death is justified. One priest said to me when I was asking him about how we could meet this evil in a new way, because the old ways only prolong the problem, he responded, "well, the evil must be stopped."
Can evil be stopped? Who exactly should stop it?
I have faced pure evil more than once in my life. There is a cold and stifling nature to it that defies explanation. The only thing one knows when confronting it, is that it IS evil. We can be frustrated when evil prevails, and it seems to be doing just that on all levels. Goodness and mercy are punished, while evil is richly rewarded in the material realm.
These are times of great evil. In Anthroposophical cosmology, this is the time of the incarnation of the great Satan, the greatest evil ever known has been unleashed upon the Earth. No wonder we are all so tired. But the Divine tells us what we are to do in these instances. These are spiritual battles, and we are not to fight them in the physical realm. We are to put on the Armor of God and protect ourselves from the Spiritual Warfare that swirls about. We must fill our thoughts with Spiritual Truths, the Word of God, and of images of Beauty, both from the natural as well as the artistic world. The Apostle Paul speaks to us in Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Do you notice a glaring lack of emphasis on weapons of war in this verse? We are to arm ourselves with truth, peace, and faith, for the evil one does not understand these things. He and his legions operate on fear and mistrust. To think one can wipe out evil with weapons and war is the greatest idolatry possible.
My Priest remarked in a recent Bible study, that there are worse things than being beheaded by a terrorist. Once before, she told me after a friend's daughter had been brutally murdered by a crazy man, that when the soul looks back on their death by such violence, it is remembered as an event of sublime joy because even though the person lost their body, it was ultimately a triumph of life over death. I told my patient that God was with her when she was violated, and that the Christ understood from personal experience the betrayal that she felt from her family. She took this to heart and began the long process of forgiveness and healing.
We are the people armed with the knowledge of the Resurrection. The Christ experienced the greatest betrayals and murder, and yet he triumphed, all to be closer to us and to guide us in our personal and collective evolution. If we armor ourselves with truth, peace and faith, we can withstand evil and ultimately transform it. Those who perpetrate barbarity did not come from a vacuum. If we wish to transform evil, we will have to love on a level and have faith on a level that surpasses all that we have done before. We have many models, the ultimate ones being the Christ and the Madonna.
The Black Madonna's speak profoundly on this transformation. Their somber scarred faces and narratives of endurance through all trials are the examples we must emulate in this great age of evil.
We will endure, we will transform and we will triumph through love, compassion and peace.