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What weakens our defenses

June 03, 2020 - Wednesday 4:06 AM by Fr. Roy Cimagala

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            Knowing that our life would always involve some
struggle—in fact, it is often characterized as a warfare—we should
always be on the alert, shoring up our defenses, sharpening our
fighting skills, etc.
            We should know where our ultimate strength can come from
and when we would be loosening our defenses. It boils down, of course,
to our relationship with God. Remember St. Paul saying, “I can do all
things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4,13)
            He proved that when he said: “We are hard-pressed on every
side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but
not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4,8-9)
            The secret is always to be with Christ, to be with God in
the Holy Spirit. The moment we distance ourselves from him, that’s
when we are giving the enemies of our soul an opening, if not a
foothold already.
            In this, St. Peter gave us this warning: “Be sober-minded
and alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring
lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pt 5,8)
            We can never over-emphasize the need for vigilance and the
strengthening of our defenses. This is not to fall into some kind of
paranoia, but rather to be realistic about our life here in this
            Thus, we have to see to it that we are always with God
irrespective of the work we are doing at a given moment, the situation
we are in, the circumstances that characterize our life.
            We have to be most wary of our tendency to take God for
granted, thinking that we are still ok because we are occupied with
something and we do not feel yet the sting of our weaknesses and
temptations, etc.
            We have to overcome that tendency, because that’s what
makes the enemies of our soul—our wounded flesh, the allurements of
the world and the devil himself—happy. They know that they already
have an opening, and it would just be a matter of time before they
give us a fatal blow. This is the tendency that weakens our defenses.
It’s when we do not take God seriously.
            That is why in our moments of weakness as when we are
already tired, let alone, bored and feeling dry, the common experience
is that we would easily fall into temptations. Even if we know that we
are being tempted, that what is passing through our mind is wrong and
sinful, we do not seem able to resist it. We fall!
            We reprise the very experience of St. Paul who once said:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but
what I hate I do…I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do
not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (Rom 7,15.19)
            Just the same, not everything is lost. God is always
around to help us. In this regard, it is helpful to always remember
the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the prodigal son, to
keep our sanity and peace of mind intact. God never abandons us.
            On our part, what we have to do is to always pray, to
always keep the presence of God, ever discerning his will and
promptings, since he is actually always intervening in our lives. In
other words, God should be in our heart of hearts. Nothing else should
occupy that core of our being. In the first place, he is already
there. But we tend to replace him with something else. That is our
            We need to see to it that everytime we pray, we really
pray and not just go through the motion of praying. Our conversation
with God should be earnest. Our desire to look for him and to be with
him should be kept intense.
            We have all the means when we notice that our defenses are