Spiritual Scoping…

Many of these things, but more especially the apparitions of devils and Angels, which are related by other persons who have had visions of the Passion of Jesus Christ, are fragments of symbolical interior perceptions of this species, which vary according to the state of the soul of the spectator. (The Dolorous Passion, 241)

In similar visions a person is often conscious of such things which are not written, and words can only express a portion of them, although to the individual to whom they are shown they are so clear as not to require explanation. (The Dolorous Passion, 283–Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich)

Bl. Anne’s Catherine Emmerich’s recounting in her visions of the Passion narrative of the Gospels include many interactions of the demons’ fight against the Christ. Not nearly as many as described by the Bl. Mary of Agreda in her own account of the Mystical City of God in which demons even run the humans involved in the conspiracy to overthrow our King! The demons first mis-perceive who Jesus is and influence Judas Iscariot to overthrow our Lord, then upon presuming he might indeed be the incarnate God and killing him would be a mistake, they attempt to influence Judas not to have our Lord killed, they even warp Pilate’s pagan-guided mind into scoffing Jesus but at the same time, declaring him an innocent mad-man while Herod gives the Jewish leaders a bite back in the abdomen for excommunicating him and agreeing with Pilate’s decision, even becoming reconciled friends with Pilate! But the demons are behind it all…and they attempt to spare Jesus from death while at the same time causing much torture to him as they can.

I have not read Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich’s account of the Biblical Revelations of Jesus Christ in which she covers the entire life of Jesus Christ so I hesitate to make a quick judgment on all her visions and which of the two beatae displayed more of the supernatural elements in their story. The main point is this–there is an element of spiritual scoping. People like the Apostles who wrote the Scriptures failed to include the demonic battle going on during the Passion of the Christ because the spiritual scoping was different from the two beatae. I wonder if it might have something to do with that nasty intellect of men getting in the way of faith as it often does? (Which is not to say intellect is bad. I myself, being a male and a passionate intellectual, find that to be quite a strength because it makes me less prone to deception whereas the strength of faith makes one much more prone to deception as well–strengths are also weaknesses.)

Yes, the Apostles missed a lot. Even St. Peter after having just been given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven said to Jesus, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” (Matt. 16:22) upon being informed that Jesus was to die. Then he slashed off the ear of Malchus (John 18:10), and then proceeded to deny Christ three times (John 18:15-18, 25-27). St. John cared more about outrunning St. Peter to the tomb (John 20:4), and St. Thomas was skeptical of the Resurrection (John 20:24-29). Naturally, they missed a lot of what was going on throughout the Gospels. Namely, that there was indeed a Satanic conflict with our Lord.

Matthew talks about this–Matt. 4:1-11. Luke talks about this–Luke 4:1-13. Mark talks about this–Mark 1:12-13. And John talks about this–John 12:31, 14:30. But Matthew speaks of one temptation of Jesus. So do Luke and Mark and Mark in not vivid detail. In John 8, Jesus calls the disputant Jewish leaders children of the Devil but does not say much else nor is it clear who the said “ruler of this world is” but we assume it is Satan.

So Jesus is clearly fighting against the demonic throughout. But then John does not mention the three temptations of our Lord. Why not? Perhaps there is a spiritual scoping that we have been missing. Jesus indeed went 40 days into the wilderness and was tempted by Satan which is what we celebrate and reflect on in Lent. All throughout Lent. Lent ends with the death and resurrection of our Lord. His victory over…who? His victory over death and…Satan. The 40 day wilderness journey of our Lord is a matter of another literary technique called thematic patterning. Thematic patterning is of course a common element in not only the Scriptures but in the Church life. We build Lent around fasting because Jesus fasted for 40 days. BUT…he was also tempted during that time as well. And it starts from the beginning of his ministry until his death. But Matthew and Luke don’t say that. They say he came out of the wilderness. That’s because this life event of Jesus’s is an example of God’s thematic patterning. According to Wikipedia, “In a skillfully crafted tale, thematic patterning may emphasize the unifying argument or salient idea disparate events and disparate frames have in common.” Is not God the author? Is not God the most skilled author?

So do we see the temptation of Jesus unified in the Gospel of John? Do we see the meaning of Lent coming to us? Do we see that the 40 days of fasting was the victory and that the death was the victory and the resurrection the victory march? It becomes so clear now!

The people try and make him king and he resists (John 6:15). They tempt him to turn things into bread (John 6:25-34). And then to show himself to the world essentially surrendering to the death they have planned for him immediately (John 7:3-6). These were the exact same temptations of Satan. The spiritual battle occurs before our eyes but “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). In our own sense of spiritual scoping we often times neglect the presence of the demonic forces in our lives because we can only touch and feel the flesh and blood. This is why it is important to acknowledge the demonic. They are against salvation. Not just simply Christians but against salvation.

In our today’s world, we are filled with spiritual conflicts and the demonic continues to shriek out in our present state with wars threatening to break out, overthrows of God-established governments on the verge, great destruction and bombs, and the persecutions of Christians in the Middle East while those protecting Christians are labeled as evil and brutal dictators or tyrants. As we have seen as we joined our Lord in his own walk to the Place of Skulls, we see he was spit upon and called evil things. Declared a blasphemer and falsely accused. So it is with us if we choose to join him. Be armed with his same arsenal of weapons. Which was the weapons of prayer, not condemnation. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)

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About newenglandsun

A student. Male. Passionate. Easily offended. Child-like wonderer. Growing in faith, messing up daily.
This entry was posted in History, New Testament, Old Testament, Trinity. Bookmark the permalink.

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