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August 18, 2008 Tug of War Holy Spirit: Each one pulls hard. To win is to overcome the resistance of the opponent.
Once toppled and fallen, the “enemy” can be dragged to the side of the victor. This game is played over and over again in daily power struggles.
Sometimes the outcome is predictable. A parent has the strength to compel the disobedient child to comply.
The more skilled competitor in a sport will outrace the ones less able.
What is it in humans that revels in such trials of strength? Is it a matter of natural delight in power or is it ugly and evil pride? Of course, it can be either.
Looking at the negative type of tug of war, can some only enjoy superiority by forcing another into submission?
For believers, tugs of war become more complex trials. Love of power is to be conquered by the power of love.
In the process there is no lack of bloodshed. You cannot figure it all out beforehand. At any moment self-assertion can overtake the goal of love.
Consider the familiar display: three men on crosses. Each one has lost the tug of war with the Roman conquerors. In defeat, the bad thief tries for a last power play by taunting Jesus as a false Messiah. Your savior, takes a different path. He speaks out the despair of seeming defeat “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me.” (Matthew 27:46) Then he changes the nature of the trial in the words “Into Your hands I commend My spirit.” Jesus lifts the battle from the physical realm. He shows you that what really counts is the battle to keep faith in the Father’s love in spite of all appearances. Out of the victory of hope over despair, He has an overflow of mercy to forgive His earthly enemies, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
As if sensing the shift to the new battleground, the good thief begs Jesus for a secret supernatural victory even for himself, a man justly condemned to death. When you find yourself losing the tug of war in your attempts to get what you want, which of the three on the cross will you imitate: the bad thief taunting God for not helping him win; Jesus, trusting the Father to bring a higher victory; or, like the good thief, putting all your hope on the Redeemer? Sometimes it is good for men to cry and to cry out.
(A few minutes after this locution I thought the Holy Spirit added: Do you see how the mercy chaplet shifts you from love of power to the power of love?) Note from Ronda: Before World War II a Polish nun received visions and words concerning praying for divine mercy. After her death and after World War II was over, how much mercy was needed. If you are not familiar with this very popular Catholic prayer search the web for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy).
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. She is a dedicated widow, mother, and grandmother. Ronda converted to the Catholic Faith from a Jewish, though atheistic, background and has been a Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Loyola Marymount University, the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is an international speaker and author of some fifty books about Catholic thought, practice and spirituality. One of her latest is LAST CALL, published by Goodbooks Media. Dr. Ronda is currently teaching philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. You can contact her via e-mail by clicking here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org directly. Visit her websites: here and here.