The recent riots have exposed a reality that those of us who are devout Catholics have always known to be true. What is that reality? That there is an epic battle that has been taking place since the beginning of time. While the battle has involved different types of weapons and different forms of communication, the participants in the battle have always had one thing in common — they have always been separated into two opposing camps.
The first camp consists of truly good people who believe in Almighty God and do their best to follow His commandments. The second camp consists of truly evil people who (1) do not believe in God or (2) claim they believe in God but show us by their behavior that they are liars and frauds. The people in the second are truly evil. Instead of practicing and promoting virtue, such as kindness, hope, patience, and charity toward others, they promote hate, immorality, division, and violence toward others.
As a society, we frequently seem to be surprised by the behavior of people who are truly evil. Unfortunately, we don’t really have any predictable ways of recognizing and dealing with these people before it becomes obvious that they are evil.
I don’t know about other cultures, but in America, there are many good people who have trouble recognizing evil in others. I think the reason for this is, in part, because the good people were taught and conditioned to believe that “there is good in everyone.” As a consequence, they are constantly on the lookout for the good in others.
Despite what should be obvious signs that certain people are evil, there are numerous good people who come up with reasons that excuse the behavior of evil people. They blame the environment the evil person grew up in, the difficulties the evil person experienced in their lives, or the specific circumstances that led the evil person to behave in a certain way.
Most of us would agree that there is good in everyone. What we really don’t think about — or avoid thinking about — is that as a consequence of original sin, we were all born with an inclination toward evil. We are all capable of becoming truly evil.
So what makes a person evil? From a Catholic perspective, people become evil when they (1) allow themselves to be consumed by one or more of the seven capital sins, or (2) intentionally choose to engage in and embrace one or more of the seven capital sins. As a reminder, the seven capital sins are pride, lust, anger, avarice, envy, gluttony, and sloth. A person who is evil always ends up engaging in gravely sinful behavior.
When a person voluntarily engages in gravely sinful behavior, the person becomes an agent of the devil. It is at that point when evil metastasizes inside the person’s soul and begins to spread like cancer. And like cancer, the evil nature of the person does not usually reveal itself until it has destroyed the soul and conscience of the person.
As Catholics, we have an advantage over other individuals when it comes to resisting and overcoming evil. We have, among other things, prayer and the sacraments — baptism, confirmation, confession, Holy Communion, matrimony, holy orders, and anointing of the sick.
Through daily prayer and the sacraments, we have the ability to remain in the state of grace at all times. When we are in the state of grace, we are agents of the Holy Spirit.
If we assume that we can avoid evil without daily prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments, we are surrendering to pride by assuming or believing that we can resist the temptation of evil on our own.
We live in a world in which we are surrounded by evil. In order to always remain in the state of grace, we need to make sure we pray a daily rosary, attend Mass and receive Holy Communion on a regular basis, and go to confession as often as possible. Of course, there’s more that we should be doing, but that’s a good place to start.
We hear from our politicians that if we vote for them, they will restore the “soul of America.” Many of them tell us that they have a plan for such a restoration but because their plan is devoid of God and His commandments, it will be impossible for them to restore the soul of America. The restoration of the soul of America will only occur when enough individual souls possess an absolute belief and faith in Almighty God.
The restoration of the soul of America will not begin in earnest until parents of students who are in kindergarten through 12th grade are provided with financial vouchers that can be used to educate their children at home or enroll them in schools of their choice. Many of those parents will then use their vouchers to send their children to schools that will teach their students that they were created in the image and likeness of God and that their happiness is dependent on them turning to God in prayer and following His commandments.
While there are limited exceptions, our public school system has become a training ground for future generations of evil marauders whose purpose is to destroy our civil society.