Gradual Relapse, Sudden Collapse

Posted March 31, 2008


One of the most fascinating and dramatic of televised news events is the instant collapse of a dynamited skyscraper. One moment the edifice stands in all its grandiose splendor, and the next moment it is a heap of rubble hidden in billowing dust. The stark suddenness of the change excites our fascination.

But is it really sudden? The implosion was the result of a long and detailed preparation of the building’s interior by the demolition crew, with strategically planned sequenced explosions.

John 13 tells of the collapse of two apostles, Judas and Peter. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is not too surprising since it was a prolonged and deliberate plan. But Peter? How could this ardent disciple, the first pope, curse and thrice deny his Lord within minutes, even after hearing Jesus prophesy to that effect? Any devout but careless soul, “pre-ignited” by the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:16), can suddenly collapse.

Satan and his “familiar spirits” are familiar with one’s particular areas of weakness; he knows to place the dynamite charges. David’s weakness was a lust for Bathsheba; an entire generation paid for it. Peter, after boasting that he would even die for Jesus, still “leaned on his own understanding,” contrary to Proverbs 3:5. Ponder often the words of Paul: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Cor 10:12). The only assurance we have of not falling is derived from unwavering trust in the Lord.One-Minute Meditations for Busy People by Fr. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.