During this time of year we see many horror movies on TV. The Halloween season tempts us with visions of demons and hell. CS Lewis once wrote that he thought he knew what hell was – this existence for ever; and that is probably not far from the truth. Not being with God forever is a major aspect of hell; when we turn our back on God eternally. Of course this isn’t all that hell is; Jesus talks about pain and suffering and eternal torment where Satan is king and love is absent. But, and this is my opinion, those torments pale in comparison to being Godless. I can’t think of any worse punishment than me turning my back to God, source of any and all good, and not being able to experience love. Our whole existence is meant to love, love God and love those around us and to not have that? What anguish – what despair – what loneliness!
Sadly, CS Lewis, in his comment on hell, was also being prophetic about humanity – about the path mankind is heading down. Society is giving us all sorts of self-centered reasons and philosophies that seem liberating but all the while just leading us into the ego-centric whirlpool of turning within and shutting God, true Love, out. And at the same time God is being forced to the sidelines if not banished from the social mindset totally. How much easier is it to allow this to become our eternal state if this is all we are familiar with? Satan’s job is becoming so much easier.
But that is what we are here for, to be the light of love in this darkening world. Christians all across the world are called to shine forth the vision of true humanity, the fullness of mankind – to witness to what completes us, what truly liberates us. The Holy Father wrote: “the essential characteristic of man is his likeness to God, his capacity for love…” This love; not the false love of self-centered desires, is the inner spark that we can shine. This light of God glimmering through us is a threat to Satan precisely because it is powerful lure to those in mankind who haven’t seen it. Satan can’t compete with hope, and that is what we offer. Satan can’t replace love, and that is who we introduce. Satan is defeated with true joy and peace; because it comes from the hope and love who is God.
So in this season of goblins and ghouls, we can, in fact join in the celebration by witnessing to love; by pointing those around us away from the visions of hell to the Beatific vision. We can celebrate joyfully by making fun of Satan; because we walk with the light of Christ; knowing that eventually we will be with Him face to face – if only we walk with Him here.