After we have attained a certain age and gained a bit of experience we realize that almost everything that happens in this world is controlled by forces outside ourselves. When I was very young on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, living in a small village, it was like living in Frodo’s Shire (as in Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). We were poor but it didn’t bother us, because everyone else was poor too. We didn’t starve because there was plenty of codfish and herring in the Bras D’Or Lakes nearby, and a few acres where you could plant your potatoes. We lived in our own little world.
But as I grew older and my horizons widened, I began to realize that the world didn’t belong just to me or to my kind, but that there were all kinds of people out there trying to make their way in “this vale of tears.” There were good people everywhere, trying to make a living, and trying to get to Heaven. But there was a terrible force out there, more terrible than the forces of Mordor. This is because, as St. Paul tells us, our battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high” (Eph.6:12). If you are a citizen of this world only, the battle is already lost before it begins. This world is the real Mordor, under the power of one far worse than the Dark Lord, Sauron. Jesus Himself said that it was the devil who was “the Prince of this world” (Jn.16:11).
But many do not fear “the world-rulers of darkness.” Television and movies are fixated on stories about vampires, zombies, witches, and demons. The “spiritual forces of wickedness” are played up, but true religion is ridiculed, and Christ and His Church blasphemed, while people watch, fascinated.
The big losers in our “Mordor” are the innocent children, who do not have the knowledge or experience to protect themselves. They are targeted not only by pedophiles, but by the media and the whole education system. They are not taught to love God and to keep His Commandments, but to live as if there were no God to Whom they will be held accountable for their actions. They are even given “how to” lessons. The deepest pits in Hell must be reserved for those who lead the little ones into sin. Our Lord said as much.
The Prince of this world does not work alone. Besides his demonic companions, he has conscripted most of the powerful men and women of this world, secular and even religious. Control the leaders and you control the masses who follow them. Where can we find a ruler or a statesman who is faithful to the Gospel and who honors Christ as King? There is wickedness in high places! With scarcely an exception they conduct their government activities not according to what God has ordained in His Commandments, but according to what is politically expedient. They justify their wars and their conquests by lies.
Their destinies are described prophetically in the second Psalm:
“He who is throned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them. Then in anger he speaks to them; he terrifies them in his wrath: ‘I myself have set up my king on Sion, my holy mountain’… And now, O kings, give heed; take warning, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before him; with trembling pay homage to him, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, when his anger blazes suddenly” (Ps.2:1-6;10-12).
How can we live in a world out of control, which denies God and His Anointed One? St. Paul gives us a detailed set of instructions in today’s Epistle. To sit back and do nothing, to remain in our sins, means to become a pawn in the devil’s conspiracy, a useful idiot in the plot against Christ and His Church. We must become Christ’s soldiers, and put on the armor of God:
“For the rest, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high. Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect” (Eph.6:10-13).
Thus armed, we become part of the valiant company of the saints. We have the companionship of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, who faced hardship, sorrow and persecution, as they strove to raise and protect the Child Jesus, helping Him prepare for His mission as Savior of the world. Then we have Sts. Peter and Paul and the other Apostles like our own St. Jude, who spread the word of Christ to the nations at the price of their own blood. We have the holy martyrs and saints of all time, of whom St. John records in his Apocalypse:
“After this I saw a great multitude which no man could number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Apoc.7:9,10).
Already on earth we are members of that great company of the Communion of Saints:
“But you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the Church of the firstborn who are enrolled in the heavens, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus, mediator of a new covenant and to a sprinkling of blood which speaks better than Abel. See that you do not refuse him who speaks (Jesus). For if they did not escape who rejected him who spoke upon earth, much more shall we not escape who turn away from him who speaks to us from heaven… Therefore, since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we have grace, through which we may offer pleasing service to God with fear and reverence. For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb.12:22-25;28,29). †