The Quiet Power of the Word
In the spiritual battle against Satan and its malevolent works to sunder the presence of God’s kingdom in the Church and the world at large, Jesus often obtains victory through the “Quiet Power of his divine word.” I borrow the phrase “quiet power” from Vincent Brecht’s notes on a bible study reflection on Mk. 1: 21-28 held at the Star barn. Humbly, Jesus shows his power and authority through his sacred words and exorcisms in this bible passage. I see this quiet power at work in the rites of the baptism of children. For instance, just before I baptized Adam a few days ago at our parish baptismal font, I said a Prayer of Exorcism before baptism by acknowledging that God sent Jesus into the world “to drive out from us the power of Satan, the spirit of evil;” and standing on the authority of the Words of Jesus, the Holy One of God, I quietly expelled any presence of the spirit of evil in the baby. No physical or loud manifestation is sometimes seen to accompany Satan’s resistance to the word of exorcism in the baptismal rite. Yet, in faith, Satan was expelled using the word of Christ. That is how he often asserts his words' power and authority, quietly and humbly, in his humanity.
In Jesus’ battle against Satan, St. Lawrence of Brindisi says, Christ could have accomplished victory “by using the weapons of his might and coming as he will come to judge, in glory and majesty but he willed to fight Satan in our weak flesh. It is as if an unarmed man, right hand-bound, were to fight with his left hand alone against a powerful army. So Christ conquered Satan with the right hand of his divinity bound and using against him only the left hand of his weak humanity.” Jesus Christ is still demolishing demonic holds in our lives today in the simple, quiet power of his humble humanity and authoritative words.
There are power and authority in the word of God for those who listen to it and accept it (Deuteronomy 18: 18-19). For those whose hearts are not hardened but obedient to the word of God (Ps. 95: 7-9), and those who are not distracted by the world but adhere faithfully to the word of God (1 Cor. 7:32-35), they shall experience the quiet power and authority of Christ over the rebellious and malevolent spirit of Satan. Though God sometimes permits Satan to inflict our lives and the world, if we hang on tenaciously in faith to the efficacious word of God, we will be protected from demonic attack and given strength to resist its destructive lure. God works quietly but powerfully in his Sacred Word. Embrace his Word now!
In Christ the Word of Life,
Fr. Bernard, OP