“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” asserted Abraham Lincoln during his acceptance speech for the Illinois Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1858. Three years later Lincoln would be sworn in as President of the United States and would be leading his country through the American Civil War. Of course, Lincoln did not come up with those famous words from his House Divided Speech on his own. He borrowed them from Christ, who explained in Matthew 12:25, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.” This wisdom from Our Lord is crucial in understanding that division is one of the main battle strategies of the devil. Satan always seeks to divide us.
Christ, on the other hand, wants to unite us. In His High Priestly Prayer in John 17, Our Lord prayed “not only for [the Twelve], but also for those who believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you sent me, so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”
The devil wants civil war. He seeks to divide because he wants to destroy. Christ seeks to unite because he wants to glorify and perfect. Destruction or glory—this is the choice the Church, the nation, and the world face. On the surface it would appear to be a simple choice, a no-brainer. But consistently throughout history humanity has chosen the devil’s path to division and destruction rather than the way of unity and glory through Christ. And the same continues to happen today.
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To defend ourselves against the wickedness and snares of the devil, it is helpful to understand his tactics. The devil “is a liar, and the father of lies.” He will tell us whatever he needs to in order to wreak havoc in our lives and send us on a path to destruction. In his excellent book Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits, author Dan Burke explains, “The bad spirits cause desolation and lead us to the world, the flesh, the devil, selfishness, and ultimately hell. These spirits only seek to do us harm.” The devil will use our selfish and wicked desires, our addictions, our fears, our vanity, and our pride to destroy us. Unlike the devil and his bad spirits, the Lord’s good spirits “cause consolation and seek to lead us to God, to the Good, to selflessness, to union with God, and ultimately to heaven. These spirits are dispatched by God and only seek our good.”
The devil has successfully used these tactics for millennia. He played both sides during what is commonly known as the Protestant Reformation. He turned leaders of the Catholic Church toward their own carnal desires and away from God, causing corruption and wickedness. Then he fed on the pride and vainglory of the “reformers,” and the princes and kings who supported them, convincing them to abandon the Church to form thousands of their own independent congregations, instead of working on real reform from the inside. This division of the Church led to bloody wars between Protestants and Catholics that lasted all the way into my lifetime.
The devil has done this again and again, dividing the Church, dividing nations, and dividing the world so that we will destroy each other. It is easy to spot the devil at work in the world because of the fruit he brings forth. As Our Lord tells us, “You will know them by their fruits… every good tree bears good fruits, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” The devil brings forth the bad fruits of division and destruction. And he is doing it again right now.
The devil’s destructive forces have taken many forms over the millennia, but one of his most successful and deadly in modern times is Marxism. Marxists seek to tear down and destroy. Marxists hate the world and its Creator. They believe that they are morally superior to God Himself and can do a much better job at building a just society. But before they can do that they must destroy the old society. That means they must destroy what Mao and his Red Guards called the Four Olds: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. Thus, things like the Church and the Constitution must be obliterated.
Like their father, the devil, the Marxists destroy by sowing division. They divide based on class, age, gender, race, and sexual desires. They turn people against each other using the deadly sins of greed, envy, wrath, and pride. Then they burn everything to the ground. The entire system must be destroyed completely and utterly. The Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas are blamed for all the evils of mankind and therefore anyone who still holds to them is evil as well. These evil people who adhere to the Four Olds find their property stolen or destroyed, their reputations sullied, their families persecuted, and themselves either executed or sent off to the gulag or work camps where they are tortured for years, sometimes until the day they die.
Many of the well-meaning followers of Marxist ideologies (including a large number of Christians) believe that after the old, evil system is destroyed that a new and just system will be erected in its place—the perfect Communist society. But this never happens, because the devil cannot build; he can only destroy. There is not a single example of a successful Marxist revolution being followed by the establishment of the Communist ideals. Without exception, every Marxist revolution has been followed by terror, oppression, and mass death due to famine or execution or both. In the 20th century alone, Marxists killed approximately 100 million people. And the devil danced.
The devil is using the Marxists again, this time to destroy the Church and America. Through the propaganda of his servants, he is dividing us in any and every way he can. Like their father the devil, the modern Marxists lie to achieve destruction. They have even convinced some of the faithful that sins aren’t sinful, that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere, that God cares only that we are happy, that objective truth does not exist, and that we can define our own truth. All too often they are even able to convince people that God does not exist at all, and in the words of famed atheist Bertrand Russell, “the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.”
The Marxists have also convinced large numbers of Americans of destructive lies. These include the absurd lie that police hunt black men for sport, that all white people are racist, and that the entire American system is racist and is rigged against black people. Through their lies the Marxists have convinced a depressingly large number of young black people that no matter how hard they work, they will have little chance to succeed due to white privilege and systemic racism. The Marxists tell us that we are better off without police, that we are better off without a strong family structure, and that we are better off without God. Then they riot and burn cities, all while continuing to lie by asserting that it isn’t happening and that everything is peaceful. If we continue along this path of division, the endgame is obvious—the devil wants civil war, and he is going to get it.
Is civil war unavoidable at this point? The Transition Integrity Project (“TIP”)—an organization made up of self-important people who really do not like President Trump—recently claimed to have “war-gamed” the likely fallout from the upcoming election. According to TIP, the only way to avoid a civil war, or at least massive civil unrest, is if former Vice President Joe Biden wins in a landslide. The Biden campaign is echoing that sentiment, with Biden himself asking, “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?”
But Joe Biden is not going to be the savior of America. Neither he nor Donald Trump can stop the devil’s plans for a civil war, because the true causes are not physical, but spiritual. Thus, only God can save us. Just as God told the Israelites, “If my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.” The way we can avoid the coming destruction is by turning to Christ. The devil divides, but Christ unites! The devil destroys, but Christ glorifies!
We are never completely abandoned by the Lord no matter how bad things get. He is always willing to demonstrate His inexhaustible love and mercy if we appeal to Him. This is a time to pray and fast, to mourn in sackcloth and ashes. We should organize novenas within our parishes to pray that the Lord God forgive the great sins of this nation, that He not remove His protective hand from us, and that He lead us all back to Him. We should be praying the Holy Rosary every day, with this or a similar intention. And we must demonstrate to our neighbors that Christ unites, by showing them love and respect and by being the light of the world that Our Lord wants us to be.
We can defeat the devil and his servants who are trying to destroy us if it be God’s will. If we turn to Him, He will work through His Church—through us—to defeat this great evil that threatens all of mankind. Just remember how the Lord worked through the Blessed Virgin to reveal to three shepherd children in Fatima instructions that would save the world from war and end the scourge of Communism in Russia. Following Our Lady’s instructions, Pope Saint John Paul II consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984. The Berlin Wall came down just five years later, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union in the ensuing years. Even secularists who do not believe in the Fatima miracles admit the importance of the Church and the pope in bringing down European Communism.
The devil wins when we are divided. He loses when we unite ourselves in Christ. The time to do so is now before the devil gets his civil war.
[Photo credit: Eze Amos/Getty Images News]