Stand Your Ground But Remember Sometimes There’s Victory In Retreat

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The greatest oak tree was once a nut that stood its ground

Irish Wisdom

When posting off my application I had my Gandalf the grey moment and said, “So it begins” to myself. Then, turning to my wife I explained, “Now, expect hell to open and to be attacked like you’ve never been before. He’s coming and it won’t just be one thing, but one among the many. If this call is real, he will use everything and everyone he can to stop it.” She replied, “Ah don’t be silly, this is wonderful news and it’s going to be great.” She thought I was being a bit of a depressing fool.

But now it’s happening and we are going through the Hell. Audrey explained it’s weird how right I had been. I let her know, “Oh. . . he doesn’t want me in there. He’s raging”. The devil at the moment is purposefully trying to put his foot into my little domestic Church and destroy it with scandal, accidents amidst other problems.

As I said before, it’s never always one thing but a combination of everything. Think of how pressure builds inside a pressure cooker. That’s how it begins and it increases. On the day we had our major issue with these neighbours spreading rumours, there was a massive police presence on the road never before seen.

Then that very afternoon on the same road there was a major car accident where the car with squished like a tin can all beside our house. My son broke his toe and kept having accidents in the home. My wife screamed in the car when she saw the accident, “what on earth is happening this week and especially today?”

I explained that there’s a spiritual war going on around me and sadly innocent people are the collateral damage of that war. The earth feels the effects of the fight but it’s all accidental to us and the unspiritual never notice its invisible origins. Try to explain it to them and they just laugh at you and see you as a crazy person.

To add insult to more injury I had just finished up my second meeting with a bus company hiring me for another job. I was told that I needed passport photos to get the form sent away. Behind me the workers phone rings a few minutes later, “There’s been an accident on the road back into town and is blocked. There’s a car on its roof but nobody hurt.” I just sighed and thought, “him again.”

It was another setback for me but when I got there a truck was pulling the car upright again and I didn’t have to wait at all. I got my passport photos done in the town and made it back safely. It was funny because when leaving the house I told the wife yeah, hopefully he doesn’t get me today.

The heat is so bad that we thought we needed to move away and go with our first plan of leaving the town. I tried to sit my wife down and show her how discernment works (not that I’m some expert). I said, “Don’t you see? He wants us to get out. Anything he can do to prevent the progress in the diaconate (should it be a genuine calling) he will do it. Not only does he want us out and to discourage what is taking place, he is also trying to kill us.

Sliding her hands away from her face, I saw an expression of realization on it. I told her “if you want to move that’s fine, but we must remain in the diocese.” We must stand up to the Sodom and Gommarah that Ireland has become both inside and outside the Church and stand our ground.

Then I read a saying in a book I bought this afternoon that read, “The Oak Tree was once a nut that stood its ground”. If we want to grow in our faith and relationship with Christ we must learn to stand firm amidst the turbulent wind of insults, rumours and accusations that only serve to strengthen our roots in Christ. We must not be discouraged and that is happening to us all. When it came to the diaconate I felt the heat and wanted to get out of the kitchen too.

I decided to strike a balance and when it came to moving from our house, I admitted defeat. People came to me and said, “Why allow these people to push you out of your home?” I replied, “Sometimes there is great victory in retreat. What may appear as defeat is often a victorious move should Gods hand be behind it.

Right now the quality of the people we live beside is having an adverse effect on the upbringing of my sons in the faith. With that in mind, a move with the righteous end of keeping their souls Christian is one of victory not defeat. In the eyes of the world it appears we’ve lost, but not in the eyes of the Lord who sees it as a winning move should it be in His Will.”

But when it comes to the diaconate, I am once again taking nature and the Oak tree as my inspiration. I will stand firm, but for how long? I don’t know I’m weak and in need of prayer and Gods grace. All I want is Gods Will. If it’s meant to be it will happen and if not I will happily disappear into the shadows of society where I’m most content to be anyway.

Knowing when to stand our ground and when to see victory in retreat is not always easy to discern requiring the Grace of God. Sometimes St.Paul stood his ground taking a beating and at other times he retreated and ran away in territory he was unwanted. St.Paul discerned the right decision to make.

Right now, I’m no Paul but I’m trying to do the same. I’ve found an equilibrium. Run away from physical problem and stand my ground on the spiritual one that pertains to the diaconate. No! I’m going nowhere . . . for now.

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