Betting on the Strong Man

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

When a strong man armed keeps his court, those things are in peace which he possesses.

Luke 11:21

For his pains in casting out a devil of dumbness, our Lord is accused of being in league with the devil.

On its face, the accusation is preposterous, assuming as it does that Satan is dumb enough to be “divided against himself.” Yet in a deeper sense, not intended by the crowd, the premise turns out to be true. For any creature to seek to live in opposition to its Creator is a fatal self-contradiction.

Though the devil’s war against God is suicidal, however, we should not so easily respond with contempt for his perverse but pervasive influence. For if Beelzebub is a weakling when pitted against his Maker, this does not automatically put us beyond his grasp.

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man,” Christ warns, the liberated soul happily sweeps and garnishes his house. Sadly, however, his efforts only furnish him with hospitality for “seven other spirits more wicked” than the first.

How can we secure ourselves against such an invasion? A clue comes when “a certain woman from the crowd,” much wiser than the multitudes, blesses the womb that bore Christ, and the breasts that nourished him.

As our Lord’s “Yea” indicates, the Virgin Mary is indeed blessed. Chief among those blessings are the purity and garnishing of her soul, which have never suffered the intrusion of any minion of evil.

Mary’s soul enjoys this security from sin for one simple reason: “blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”

When we follow the one and only strong man with all our heart, allowing him to keep our court, the goods he bestows so generously upon us become truly ours, to keep in peace.

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