"More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
--Philippians 3:8 (New American Bible)
For several weeks now, I have been feeling a vague sense of depression, discouragement, unease, restlessness, and dissatisfaction and couldn't figure out why. Then it hit me. I had allowed my prayer life to atrophy because I had become far too concerned with TV shows, comics, podcasts, blogging, internet surfing, and fiction writing. All of those things, taken in moderation, are not in and of themselves sinful, but without Christ they are empty. They are like Twinkies or some other dessert: as an occasional treat they add sweetness and excitement to life, but a steady diet of sweets without the "solid food" or "meat" of Christ (1 Cor. 3:2) is sickening, unhealthy and unsatisfying. All those things without Christ are, as Paul says to the Philippians, "rubbish." The New Jerusalem Bible puts it a little more strongly, using the word "filth," and the old Douay-Rheims Bible puts it even more strongly still, using the word "dung." Dung! Poop. Feces. Excrement. Who wants that? Not me.
Since Thursday of this week, I've made sure to allow time for prayer and Scripture reading every day, and I can already feel a difference. May I keep it up, "staying awake for even one hour." (Mt. 26:40). I want to scale back my time in front of the TV. The time I spend surfing Catholic blogs and internet sites and listening to Catholic podcasts, as worthy as it may be, is really no substitute for actual time before Christ in prayer.
I want to re-evaluate my fiction writing, too. I believe I mentioned that I was working on a story in which Superman meets The Shadow, a tribute to the classic, cornball pulp fiction I love so much. I've always loved The Shadow as a character, but I do know that The Shadow's creator, Walter B. Gibson, was heavily involved in the occult. I don't want to do anything, even indirectly, that would promote such things. Is it all just harmless make-believe, or an opening for something more sinister? Am I worrying over nothing? I don't know.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
For the text of the Prayer to St. Michael, a Hat Tip to Our Lady's Warriors.