As I moved on into the book of I Kings, David's long reign came to an end and Solomon was annointed king after a failed attempt by Adonijah to appoint himself king. Shortly after becoming king, Solomon had a dream in which God asked him how could he gift him, to which Solomon replied, "Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil," whence came what we speak of today as Solomon's great wisdom.
Reading: I Kings 3:19
Meditation: Discernment between good and evil -- what a great gift! And to have the wisdom to think to ask for that instead of something more evanescent or of lesser ultimate value! Solomon did indeed choose well. May we all, if ever given the chance, choose as well.
I suppose that this particular action/verse stopped me in my tracks because this is been a topic that has had me in its grip in recent days. I posted yesterday on Modern Mysticism about nightmares and the visitation by evil forces while asleep at a time when I did not want to believe that Evil, as such, could really exist. I have also posted earlier on Blest Atheist about some unnerving experiences that seemed to be Evil up to no good.
At times, I find it very difficult to discern between Good and Evil. Perhaps this is because I expect to find only Good. (Yes, I am naive in that way.) Perhaps it is because I expect God to protect me from all Evil. (I suppose I am naive in that way, too, although God has never failed to rescue me.) Perhaps Evil can be so enticingly sweet at times that I simply do not want to believe that it is really Evil. (Yes, triply naive, I admit it.)
A couple of years ago, a friend told me that he was being chased by Evil. I remember how scary that was. I remember how much time we spent in prayer together. I also remember how much time I spent in prayer alone, dedicated to begging God to deliver my friend from evil: 20 hours! In the end, Evil lost and God won. It was, however, a battle. I guess that this is what we are being told over and over again in the Bible: there is a battle between Good and Evil, and we are often part of it.
Most recently, an acquaintance with whom I am required to interact at times seems to be caught in a battle between Good and Evil over him, but he does not seem to recognize it. I have pointed it out, and I have seen his face take on strange castings, so strange that I am relieved that I have never had to be alone with him at these moments. I am not the only one who has noticed these facial disturbances and a sense of evil, not emanating from within him but present all around him. He is a believer and professes belief, but sometimes the words sound hollow and his eyes look vacant. I don't know how to help or whether I should help or even if I have properly discerned evil in this case. I may be completely wrong. So, I pray for him. And I pray for me -- for the kind of discernment that God gave to Solomon (even for a small part of it).
And that is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I must retire to prayer to continue to ask again for greater discernment, to repent for those times that I have mistaken Evil for Good, to thank God for protecting me from evil when I was too naive to know that I was surrounded by it, and to give praise for the way in which He leads me to safety even when I do not know where I am going except that I am following Him. After that, I will spend time in contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will now leave you to your prayer and contemplation, but first, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I hope you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts.
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs that follow the enumeration of Monday Morning Meditations on the sidebar of this blog and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.