Enduring Words of Advice: Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.
Are you seeking a different perspective in life? Are you seeking to find out why you are here on the earth? Are you looking for a better life in this world and the next? Then you are surely in the right place, right here and right now. The problem is that you were the first person on earth to want these things nor will be the last. The common thread throughout history is that clothes may change, speech may change, the toys may change, but people apparently do not change that much.
Now, you may ask the question, how did you come up with this nugget of information? The answer is simple: look at the Holy Bible. Many people have been taught or thought that the Bible was some just out of date book full of history. My friends, if I ask you, what is history? What would you say it was? Is it a book that no one really reads? Is it a class where a coach teaches more about sports than what took place in the past? What is history?
History is defined as the story of humans over a given period of time. There is nothing really out of date about studying people and their behavior. If we did more of that we would actually see why Sir Winston Churchill in a 1948 speech given at the House of Commons said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We do not really know much about the past and this is why we are so surprised to find out history is not what we think or thought it to be. Rather it is more in lines with G.K. Chesterton when he wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”
Why has it been left untried? It is because we do not know our history. Some traditionally interesting historical nuggets to digest at this time may be helpful to wet our appetite for this concept. I will mention three interesting facts that will make you wonder about history even more.
First, history could play a great role in the climate change debate. Are we experiencing climate change? Yes. Is this change caused by man through the use of fossil fuels? Well, let us look at history. Scotland and Northern England during the Middle Ages was very warm. They grew grapes and the moats around the castles were warm enough so that they could put in alligators to help guard the castles. The climate was much warmer than today and there were far fewer people on the earth or in Scotland and Northern England. Not only this but there was not the fossil fuel consumption that we have today. Could it be that history is what happened then and it is not the history we are learning about, correct?
Second, in the Church, there is a large movement by the young and old alike to flock to the traditional Latin Mass. The Latin Mass is beautiful and I can not blame anyone for enjoying a rich Divine Liturgy, but if you think that you should go to a Latin Mass because it is somehow more correct you may not know your history. Jesus did not speak Latin. He spoke Aramaic. Latin was the language of the crucifers not of Jesus Christ.
Third, a great deal of the facts that Peter was the first Pope. Yet, if we study history, we find that Peter may have been the first Bishop of Rome- Rome was not the place where he was first a Bishop. The honor goes to the town of Antioch. At the time of Peter, Antioch was the third-largest city in the Roman Empire. Antioch and not Rome was the place where Peter was made the First Bishop.
Now, since we have learned, history is important. Let us look at three passages in the following passage of St. Paul in a letter addressed to Rome.
First, Roman, “ Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.” Look at this sentence carefully, is this what we are actually teaching, or more importantly is this we are practicing? This is a problem because in our society today- we are putting one group of people against another group of people all the time. It is also heavily implied that we must hate the opposing group because they are not us or like us. Is this what Paul was telling the people of Rome?
Second, “Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Some people are under the false idea that you are a “Good Catholic” if you attend Church regularly. Well, brothers and sisters, this does not appear to be the case. You have to contribute- time and treasure to the Church along with following the teachings of the Church. You are not a good Catholic in name only- you are one by thought, words, and deeds.
Third, “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” During this COVID 19 Pandemic, nearly 5 million people worldwide have lost their lives. We can not be worried or be paralyzed by evil in the world so that we lose our eternal reward in the next life. Brothers and sisters evil only conquers if we let it. With God’s help, all things are possible and if we continue to do good we will conquer evil.
Please read the real words of wisdom here. Read what Paul told the Romans and better yet- practice these words by making them part of your everyday life- you will be very glad that you did.
Romans 12: 9-21
9. Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;
10. love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.
11. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
12. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
13. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,j exercise hospitality.
14. Bless those who persecute [you],k bless and do not curse them.
15. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.
18. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
19. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
20. Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”
21. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.