Today is Thursday the 29 October, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo sing: ‘We Nhliziyo yami’: ‘O my heart be wise when your enemies surround you. Keep praying; ask the Lord for help. For he is powerful. That is your weapon; do not lose it. Pray without ceasing, for the Lord is powerful.’
Today’s reading is from the letter to the Ephesians.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
Emboldening words today from St Paul. They could be the words of a deeply respected army general to his beleaguered troops before they go into battle. This is a spiritual battle and St Paul is in no doubt whatsoever about the powers of evil that confront us. How do you react to this conviction of his that there are spiritual forces of evil at work? Do you have any sense of this kind of struggle in your own life?
St. Paul urges us to put on the whole armour of God. What does your armour look like? Does it fit well? Can you imagine a scene where you are given and then put on the whole armour of God? Is it a magnificent piece of shining equipment? Or does it look altogether different? How does it feel to be wearing it?
As you listen to the passage again, consider each piece of the armour of God and what each one represents for you.
Do you need equipped for something particular in your life just now? Do you need to claim a truth, perhaps, or stand firm in the face of some opposition? As you bring this meditation to a close, speak to God, as your great ally who has overcome all evil. Ask Him for whatever courage you might need to meet the challenges of today.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.