Breaking down the reality of evil
Although this topic has been taken up in a column of mine some years ago, I believe it is good to make another review of it if only to know better the true face of this reality of evil in our life, its causes and sources, and its potentials for worse things as well as for a greater good. Yes, evil can occasion a greater good in us.
Besides, with the new developments we are having now, it is good also to update and adapt our understanding of evil to the new and changing things of the world. This will help us to be more able to deal with this phenomenon better.
At bottom, evil comes about because it is an abuse of the good things God has given us. Evil cannot exist on its own. It has to refer itself to a good that is being misused or abused, intentionally or unintentionally.
We can say that God must already have known this from all eternity when he decided to create the universe, and especially the men and angels who, with their spiritual nature, with their power to know and to love with their intelligence and will, have the capacity either to do good by following God’s will or to do evil by disobeying him.
So, it’s not that God had to scramble with a Plan B in his work of creation because it was messed up by us. He already knew from all eternity that evil would come about, and he has a way of dealing with it that will always lead to his own glorification and to our own good.
Truth is after the fall of our first parents who were created in the perfect condition of what is known as the “state of original justice,” all of us with the exception of the Blessed Virgin cannot help but have an attraction to evil. This is what is called as concupiscence which is not restricted only to matters of sex.
Concupiscence is a generalized attraction to all kinds of evil which, due to our spiritual nature, can have infinite possibilities. We cannot avoid it anymore. It’s kind of made part of our genetics. No matter how saintly we like to be and we try to be with our best efforts, this concupiscence can manage to rear its ugly head at any time.
We should not be too surprised and worried about this, since worrying will only make things worse. Worrying weakens our personal resistance to concupiscence and can give a footing to the devil who will always be around, eager to take advantage of the situation.
What we have to do is just to try our best to pray and, as Christ suggested, that we learn to deny ourselves and carry the cross. In other words, we should lead a very active life of self-denial, penance and mortification. We have to be wary of our tendency to be self-indulgent or simply to be on our own, because that would only make us easy prey to the allurements of evil.
Let’s also remember that while we bear this concupiscence all throughout our life, it can never dominate us for long if we don’t let it. It can always be overcome—obviously with God’s grace and not only with our own efforts.
Besides, in the most mysterious wisdom of God, this concupiscence can occasion a greater good for us. It attracts God’s mercy to us. It points to us where we have to be most careful and vigilant. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” St. Paul assures us in his Letter to the Romans. (5,20) And “God does not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” (1 Cor 10.13)
We should just be sport about this wounded condition of ours in this life. Christ takes care of everything. And when we are struck by evil, let’s go back to God as soon as we can, usually going to confession with utmost sincerity and contrition.*
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