The apparent victory of evil

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to be ready for this. Evil, though it surely will not have the last word, will always have a degree of victory over us in our life here on earth. Let’s not be too idealistic that we can wipe it out completely in our lifetime, or even the whole life of the world, the entire span of time.

Not even Christ, our savior, in all his divine power could completely end it here on earth. Evil in all its forms will continue to hound us until the end of time. In fact, it continues to mutate into more subtle and more dangerous forms as we ourselves have also learned how to combat it with better means.

That is why Christ had to go through his passion and death, because in spite of all the good that he said and did, evil simply continues to rage. What Christ did was to show us how to handle this lifelong predicament of ours.

And that is simply to learn to suffer and eventually to die with the same attitude, with the same spirit with which Christ suffered and died on the cross. It is only by doing so that we can aspire to share in his resurrection, the final victory over evil.

It therefore is wrong to think that the ideal state to aim at in this life is never to have anything to do with evil, whether it is our personal weakness, temptations, sins, or those of the others, or evil in general that is proliferating around us.

That would make us fall into an anomaly called perfectionism that can lend itself into various forms, like Puritanism, conservatism, idealism and many other isms that do not correspond to the objective reality of our human condition here on earth. What we have to do is meditate very closely on the passion and death of Christ, and try our best to live out the precious lesson taught there.

Yes, we have to do everything to follow the teachings of Christ on how to be in the truth, how to be charitable, how to ceaselessly preach the truth to everyone, how to do a lot of good, how to avoid sin and temptation, etc. But it cannot be denied that at the end of the day, evil would still have some hold and dominion over us.

That is why St. Paul said: “All people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise. No one is seeking God…” (Rom 3,9-11)

St. Paul himself, for all his zeal for God, said: “I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells in me.” (Rom 7,23)

So, let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that we are sinless or rid of any stain of evil, whether of our own making or that of another. We just have to learn how to accept this reality of our human condition and unite ourselves to Christ in his passion and death so we too can share in his resurrection.

Whatever personal responsibility we may have in evil in all its forms, we should just ask for mercy which Christ is offering us readily and in abundance. And we should just move on, doing our best to follow God’s will as revealed in full by Christ.

Let’s remember that when we find ourselves in the very pangs of evil and tempted to fall into despair, let’s make Christ’s words on the cross as our own: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” “It is consummated.” “Father, into your hand I commend my spirit.”

And let’s just move on, believing with strong faith, that God will take care of everything.