We have heard the word ‘devil’ since our childhood, but what does it literally mean? We know it describes the being who is our enemy and adversary, but it has something else to say to us.
The devil is rather one who, spiritually speaking, does everything in his power to separate us (dia-bolos in Greek meaning ‘the who who divides’) from the vertical link uniting true believers with God, and which alone saves them from solitude and death. (Luc Ferry)
The Greek words dia and bolos mean ‘across’ and ‘who throws’, respectively. Put together they identify someone ‘who throws across’ – one who creates chasms, ruptures connections, breaks down relationships and divides. This is what the devil is – The Divider.
This is obvious when it comes to our relationship with God. Of course the devil would want to muff that up. But, it is not only that. Anywhere we see division, we see the devil at work. When we look at our life and discern carefully the places where division exists, we have spotted the trail of The Divider, like the trail of gutted land left by deforesters.
This is a fundamental and profound element of the spirit of the antichrist. Can’t we look into history and the world around us and sense a dominating, Bow-Down-To-Me kind of force that seeks to divide people(s) and break things (especially relationships) apart? And can’t we sense it closer to home too? Can’t we also look into our lives and sense something that is trying to isolate us? It doesn’t necessarily divide us violently, but we just drift into lives of hermitage we aren’t called to and can’t handle. We have to struggle against something that makes us settle with going-it-alone. In summary, we are tempted to live without community.
Perhaps this is a temptation that plays particularly well on the American psyche, but, given how unobvious finding a community is these days, we can give up on trying to find one. We can say, “Well, I guess it’s just not in the cards for me, and, besides, I’m fine with the way life is. Perhaps I don’t really need a life in a community anyway.”
This is a lie. 99.9999% of people are called to live their lives in the context of a larger community where they can know and be known, regardless of how hard it is to find that kind of community. And it is hard! That’s why the lie is so tempting! But just because it’s hard to find water in a desert, doesn’t mean we can acquiesce to a life lived without it. Just because a lie is tempting, doesn’t make it any less of a lie and harbinger of death.
In our time more than ever, do we need to do everything we can to not live as Christian orphans, cut off from our family. We need to find our brothers and sisters. It is really hard. We live in an age of a communal desert. But we must not let The Divider do what is always his priority #1 – to isolate, to drift apart, to divide. Building and protecting community, like guarding a womb, is one of our most sacred missions. Without it, our life is short and the clock is ticking. So fight for it doggedly. Seek it out diligently. And protect it with vigilance.