Follow by Email

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Belief in the Supernatural

My coming close to Christianity was not a conversion, in fact I was raised Catholic. It was not an epiphany, for I wasn’t struck by a sudden perception of universal truth. It was an assent and a relationship. It had its moments of adrenaline running through my blood when I thought that I had finally grasped something important. It was so pervasive that I had to put down notes, then entire pages. Should I jump to the conclusion that my interest deprived me of any objectivity? My enthusiasm wasn’t typical of my personality: I had never felt so passionate about anything before. Do I have to assume that this passion has impaired my
judgment? Or would it be more reasonable to take my feelings into consideration as the factor that allowed me to direct my cognitive energy in the proper way?

I had been reading about Jesus for some time when one night I woke up sensing an imminent danger, an unusual occurrence for me. I hesitate telling you what happened next, for I’m fully aware of how silly it sounds. I haven’t felt so stupid since I was nineteen and I had to sleep with my mother for a week after having seen the movie The Exorcist.
I felt a strong pressure on my chest and between my shoulders, as if someone was squishing my body with both hands. I registered the peculiarity of that sensation, but at the same time I felt so tired that I fell asleep again. Several times during that night I found myself half-awake, experiencing that pressure in a sort of stupor. The following morning I wondered what had happened  and I got scared. I must admit that the thought of an evil presence crossed my mind. When night came again I didn’t dare to turn off the lights around the apartment. Luckily I didn’t have to be ashamed to tell my husband that I was afraid and why, because I knew he would understand in spite of his professed  rationality.

A day later I run to church. I almost couldn’t bring myself to talk to the priest, although I knew that if anybody in the world would believe my evil perception, it would be precisely a priest. Nevertheless, I was embarrassed. I quickly asked him if he could give me something, anything to make me feel safe at night. He offered me a Bible and a cross that doesn’t look much like a cross, being a reproduction of an Irish one from the 8th century. Had it looked more like what it was, I wouldn’t have had the courage of hanging it on the bed. A crucifix in my room? It was just too weird.      
For several nights I was still afraid, although I did believe that the cross was protecting me. I don’t know what I experienced and I don’t feel the need to investigate it. But if that was the Devil trying to get a hold of me, he obtained the opposite result, for I started reading the Bible all over again, this time the English version that the priest gave to me

Having failed his attempts to corrupt Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke Satan “departed from him for a time”. The Devil will give it another try, as he always does. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was tempted not to embrace his cross, but he carried it to the very end. That was his victory over evil.. Instead, we limited human beings are not even aware that Satan is ruling our lives. Those moments in time when he wins us over are often the moments when we feel his domaine less than ever. I was not aware of his presence until I become aware of God’s presence. Initially I thought that the reason for this combination was quite banal, that is: Once you start believing in the supernatural you start believing in all sort of things. But later I understood that this is just a  simplification of a larger problem. I concluded that there is more than a simple belief in the
supernatural to the simultaneous perception of good and evil powers. They are both deeply rooted in our psyche and, if we start listening to our soul, they come to the surface at the same time. Evil involves our sense, whereas God speaks to our hearts. The latter brings a spiritual dimension to our lives. The first brings deception.

During his forty days as an ascetic Jesus fasted. It’s hard to imagine how fasting for a day might feel, let alone for a long period of time. I’ve read that while the body weakens the spirit is strengthened. Freed from the daily attachment to flavors, the will acquires power. The mind becomes sharper, more detached. Initially the craving is hard to suppress, but then it vanishes.The conscience is enlightened, but at the same time subjected to the risk of believing in its omnipotence. It was at that moment that Jesus was tempted. The allure of infinite power was before him, but he chose the humble ways of a wandering preacher. He wasn’t going to be a
warrior and he wasn’t going to free his people by the sword. Instead, he would be the Lamb of God and our Lord.




Manny said...

"Evil involves our sense, whereas God speaks to our hearts."

Antonella, that is an incredibly profound thought.

I can't say I've felt anything that would suggest an evil presence, but I do blieve I have felt Christ's touch. It was in a moment of prayer and I felt a hand on the back of my head and sliding down to my neck. I know it was Him.

Antonella said...

A caress from Jesus, how beautiful! Two times I've had the feeling that He was wrapping His arms around me, the last time a couple of weeks ago in a moment of intense sorrow. He put me to sleep.