Thursday, 11 September 2014

[The Spiritual Walking Dead #1] Haven, Weapon, Companion: 3 Things to Prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse

Image © AMC TV

Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes woke up from a coma in a hospital room. The situation was strange: the room was empty, machines dead, bedside flowers had long withered. When Rick walked out, he saw even stranger things: there was blood here and there, and the hospital was abandoned, messy, and partly dilapidated. Slowly Rick came to a conclusion: his little town had been overrun by the walking dead.

Imagine if we are in Rick’s position. What would we do? Surely, since we would not be in possession of weapons, we would run and hide; for Rick, his temporary haven was in the home of a gentleman and his son. But since it is not wise to stay unarmed, we must search for a suitable weapon; Rick went out to the nearest police station and heavily equipped himself with guns and bullets. Lastly, just like Rick, we would need to find other survivors, and if possible, a community.

Now in many ways, what Rick Grimes did were similar to what we ought to do before starting a battle against spiritual zombies. Firstly, of course, we need to “wake up” from our long slumber: in spiritual context, this means we have to experience some kind of conversion, either through baptism or through a conversion of heart, the latter may take place some time after our actual baptism and may occur repeatedly throughout life. Our eyes must be opened first in order to realise the kind of situation we are facing, so that we may wage the correct war correctly. Without true conversion, we won’t be able to perceive clearly the dangers around us.

And then, we need to “hide”. At the beginning of our conversion, most likely we won’t have any weapons. But there is one thing we can do: we can run. Hide. We “run” from the things we now realise as bad and sinful. For instance, we may want to start avoiding certain places that become occasions of sin. We throw away books harmful to our faith. We distance ourselves from bad company. At this stage, our faith has just begun to grow; as a young, green, fragile sprout, it needs gentle and watchful protection at all times.

But of course, we know we cannot always run. There will come a time when we have to fight back. Holy Communion, regular confession, prayers, Sacred Scripture, spiritual readings, fasting, those are our weapons. Just like real weapons require strength to carry and wield, these spiritual weapons also demand our willpower in order to be constant and faithful to them, and for them to be effective.

And what would become of the man who fights zombies all by himself, even though he has guns and barriers? Doubtful that he can last long. Likewise, in spiritual war, we need to have a friend, a comrade, even a community with a common goal. God created man and woman to help each other (cf. Gen 2:18). Jesus sent out His disciples in twos (cf. Mark 6:7, Lk 10:1) after equipping them with teachings and graces. Even the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity are a community, a family, that is, a family streaming with living, eternal love. Man is a social creature, and this reality is especially vital in the journey towards holiness. With a trusted companion, or in a community, we would survive longer, better, and somewhat more easily.

Haven, weapon, and companion. These are the most important first steps to prepare ourselves to fight zombies. To be sure, for some of us who have possessed all three, it does not mean we can slack off: there will always be a renewed and repeated need for the three things according to the advancement of our journey.

Have we taken the right steps to battle our spiritual zombies?