St. John writes to us in today's Office of Readings (from Universalis) about Christ, the Anti-Christ, and the world. To me, "the world" as often used by the Lord and St. John is like a mob whose spirit is not God's Holy Spirit, and by refusing to order its will with that of God, is a spirit contrary to God. St. John calls that the Anti-Christ which denies Christ. It is particularly chilling to read St. John's words: "Well, now he is here, in the world." While it might have been the emperor Nero whom he had in mind, there is no doubt that the same spirit opposed to Christ is still in this world, long after Nero himself had turned to dust.
It is sadly the case that many among us prefer not to think about the existence of wrong, of evil. We must not cover our eyes, nor our children's eyes, in that way. To do so would be to abandon ourselves to perils that we would not see and cannot defend against. The anti-Christ is waging a war against us, and we must resist. Its spirit opposes us. It opposes life, and since life begins at conception, it opposes conception and attacks the unborn. This spirit opposes love, and since love is nurtured in the home from the love shared by husband and wife, this same spirit opposes marriage and the family they raise together. This spirit opposes Christ, who is our teacher and redeemer, so it opposes truth, which is the basis for all teaching. Thus it also exalts our egos, inciting us to deny that we need redemption. I think this spirit also opposes hope, because one cannot struggle mightily without any hope. So it screams at us that we are totally depraved, beyond redemption and beyond even the desire for redemption.
But we have conquered this spirit before, because Christ conquered it before, but it is hard to see that, when one closes one's eyes to our heritage of martyrdom and centuries of triumph. This is the one sad loss of those among us who reject the memory of the people of God, the Church, and the treasures of their experience in having dealt with the age-old temptations and attacks against God and his flock, which are old tricks used anew in this day and age. We forget them at our own peril, for, knowing in our heart that something is amiss, we seek the answers in the wrong places. But The Church remembers, and she offers up the lessons of the past to anyone who is willing to listen.
Reading from 1 John 4:1 - 10
It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust; test them, to see if they come from God, there are many false prophets, now, in the world. You can tell the spirits that come from God by this: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh is from God; but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus is not from God, but is the spirit of Antichrist, whose coming you were warned about. Well, now he is here, in the world.
Children, you have already overcome these false prophets, because you are from God and you have in you one who is greater than anyone in this world; as for them, they are of the world, and so they speak the language of the world and the world listens to them. But we are children of God, and those who know God listen to us; those who are not of God refuse to listen to us. This is how we can tell the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood.
My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.