- St. Paul elaborated on the distinction between the two ways throughout his letters. He argued that we need to be prepared for spiritual warfare to prevent being tempted to enter the wider road. He wrote that we need to “… stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God that you may be able to resist....” (Ephesians 6:11-17) These words were a beacon of hope because when he lived, to remain a Christian, and thus to live the way of goodness, justice, mercy, and love, was to risk one’s life. Not to, was (and is) to risk one’s soul.
The biggest threat today is that of riding the wave of popular culture, buying into the values of society rather than those which are rooted in the gospel of Jesus. When we embrace materialism, the culture of self, hedonism, neglect of the poor and marginalized, lack of civility, and moral relativism, we are treading the wider road and we are in danger. When we turn a blind eye to something which we know to be wrong or unjust, we are treading the wider road. And even more insidious, and which can incapacitate us, are the temptations of worry, fear, discouragement, spiritual laziness (neglecting our relationship with God), and falling prey to deceit.
©Michele L. Catanese
* Pope Francis issued a papal decree that the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, this year on January 26, is to be the day of celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God. Therefore reading, praying with, and sharing the Word of God in all we say and do should be our priority. For more, go to https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-01/sunday-word-of-god-fisichella-press-conference.html
Images: All of the photos are my own.
1. Photo: Walking path to the glacial lake near Mt. Cook, Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand.
2. Photo: Sign on the trail in park near Lake George, NY.
3.Icon: St. Paul the Apostle by Fr. William Hart McNichols. If you are interested in a copy it can be found at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-paul-the-apostle-196-william-hart-mcnichols.html
4. Photo: This was painted on a wall in one of the squares in Munich, Germany. It is presumably St. George slaying the dragon, a representation of God prevailing over evil.
5. Photo: Walking path near Tomintoul, in the Highlands of Scotland.
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