What we have to remember is that God is kindness and mercy itself. If you feel that your Christianity is asking you to do something unkind, there are two possibilities: either you’re mistaken that it’s unkind, or you’re mistaken that Christianity demands it of you. God is charity. He was charitable to His sinful children until the end. He wants you to imitate Him in perfect charity. As Saint Isaac of Syria, who unlike the writer of the Three Days of Darkness instructions is canonized, put it:
“What is a merciful heart? It is the heart’s burning for the sake of the entire creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons and for every created thing…. [the merciful man] continually offers up tearful prayer, even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth and for those who harm him, that they be protected and receive mercy…. because of the great compassion that burns in his heart without measure in the likeness of God.”
You see? Christians don’t have to burn overpriced beeswax candles to keep demons away. We’re supposed to have compassion for everyone, including demons if it comes to that, and to burn our own hearts with perfect charity.
If you hear a private revelation telling you that you’re supposed to lock people out, you can disregard that one. It’s clearly not from the Lord; it’s either from men or from the Enemy, and neither of those is in charge of you. The commandment of the Lord is to love your neighbor. Yes, there are such things as evil spirits, but the way to keep out evil spirits is NOT to buy a bunch of talismans or follow a list of arbitrary superstitious rules. The way to keep evil spirits out of your heart and life is to be charitable toward your neighbor. Give to the ones who ask of you. Show mercy to the ones who knock whenever you can.
I don’t think there will be a literal Three Days of Darkness at the end of the world. I could be wrong about that. I know for certain that, in a very real sense, it doesn’t matter whether there will be or not. If there should come a time when the sun is darkened and we’re all plunged into terrifying, preternatural night, our beeswax candles will not save us. Buying a bunch of Saint Benedict medals will not save us, particularly if we’re using them superstitiously instead of with devotion and submission to the will of God. Not even essential oils will save us on that terrible day. Only God can save us, and God is mercy and kindness. Those who have shown mercy to their neighbor will find that they’ve been entertaining angels all along, and the angels will carry them to paradise.
But, seriously, I think you’re safe on that score. The devil will not try to tempt you into an act of charity. It’s far more likely that he’ll try to tempt you into wasting your money on essential oils and sacramentals that you’ll mis-use as superstitious talismans to protect you from the Three Days of Darkness, all while ignoring charity. Or, of course, he might convince you to go into the snake oil business and sell Three Days of Darkness kits to others.
Whatever should happen, even if the sun should be blotted out, all that is required of us is charity. You can’t buy charity in a kit, and you can’t obtain it by tying yourself to the bureau. Charity comes from God who gives freely, and is exercised by giving freely. Open the window. Open your heart to your neighbor.
And the Virgin Mary definitely doesn’t want you to fight demons with essential oils.
(image via Pixabay)