Scandal of Evil: No Match for the Cross of Christ
Satan's power is not infinite. His power is only as strong as his creature-liness. Satan is not the Creator. (And it has really been ticking him off.) You simply cannot compare a finite creature, even if it is a powerful spirit, with the infinite omniscient omnipotent Almighty God.
No matter what evil comes our way, we must understand that evil only exists in the realm of creatures. It has no existence in God's reign. There's no denying the devil can have influence in this world, but, truly, the devil's powers have limits.
And so, we see that the action of God versus devil from the beginning was not a very fair fight. God will overcome. We have the constant assurance and witness of the saints that have gone before us.
St. Catherine of Siena has words for those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them: "Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this in mind."
St. Thomas More, prior to his martyrdom: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best."
Okay, so maybe you and I are not quite yet the saints we are called to be. We still may be wrestling with the question of evil, and our sins as a result of it. This truly is a battle that we are in, and Lent often brings the battle to our minds more intensely.
The Catechism acknowledges the battle: "the ways of [God's] providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God 'face to face' will we fully know the ways" God has guided us. So we must persevere. (See Catechism, par. 314.)
We are helped in our struggles by the example of the saints, but we are truly saved by "fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror." (Cf. Lk. 11:21-22; Jn. 16:11; 1 Jn. 3:8.)
In other words, Jesus is indeed the answer.
For God did not abandon us. He sent us a Messiah and Redeemer in Jesus Christ. By his glorious Passion and Death, Jesus who is God and Man, does battle with the power of evil in all its hideous creaturely forms. Remember, the power of Satan cannot prevent the building up of God's reign.
Many people are bothered by the scandal of the Cross—its messiness, its intensity, its brutality, and its total annihilation. It really was, however, the only answer to the question of sin and evil and the death that came with them.
The Catechism declares that Jesus' death on a cross "makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam" (Catechism, par. 411). That's a good word to hold on to for our meditation for the remainder of Lent: superabundantly.
What's more, St. Leo the Great taught: "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away."
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good."
And so as we will hear in the Exultet sung at the Easter Vigil this year, we just might harken a little more carefully to the words: "O happy fault . . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!"
Here's one of my favorite quotes from the Catechism that is worth memorizing:
The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom. 5:20). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 420.)
Jesus does everything superabundantly.
When I cling to that superabundance through grace, it soothes my scandalized heart every time.
This article was previously published at CatholicExchange.com.
Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, speaker, and the host of the Among Women Podcast and blog. Her book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood is published by Ave Maria Press. Subscribe to “A Word in Season” via email or RSS.