There is one thing that all these men, women, and children had in common, says the book of Revelation: These are the ones that have come out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14). What is the great tribulation? Life in this valley of tears, life where there is rape, alcoholism, satanism, the peer pressure of youth, dysfunctional parents, sexual addiction, physical deformity, but none of these things had the power to defeat the Saints once they admitted their powerlessness over them and surrendered to a Power greater than themselves. God's power is the power of love, and love desires the freedom of the beloved. If we surrender ourselves to that Power, we too, will find the freedom that the Saints enjoyed in this life and perfect happiness in the life to come.

But we have to be realistic. We are wounded. St. Paul perceived that in the depths of man's being, man is not at home with himself, that there's a struggle going on in man's soul.

Man Divided Against Himself

St. Paul realized that man is divided against himself. Though animals may have many external enemies to combat, they have no opposition from within themselves, as man has. Man cannot be sure of self-loyalty. This struggle in man is not simply a matter of the flesh against the spirit, but rather in the very depths of man's being, man is not at one with himself. The executive branch and the legislative branch of the soul are in open conflict: What the mind knows to be right and good the will refuses to carry out, and in direct opposition to the well-being of the person. The alcoholic, for example, knows that he is killing himself

and he does it any way! The lust addict knows the diseases he is vulnerable to and can pass on to his spouse, yet he continues in this betrayal. There is a force at work in man that seeks to deliver him over to slavery. This force, this law, once it is indulged, inevitably leads the person into slavery. St. Paul calls this law the law of my members.

This law is not evil in itself but rather leads to evil once indulged. Take the prodigal son. He does not leave his father to go and sin and loose everything, to wake up one day with nothing, eating with pigs. Rather, he sets out to enjoy his inheritance by doing whatever he wants, except sin. Soon he finds that he cannot stop short of sin, and one day he awakens to find himself no longer master of his desires. He has lost everything, despite his good intentions, and is now captive to the law of sin and death.

We freely indulged ourselves, kept giving in till we became a slave: to food, sex, drink, drugs, pills, or codependent in our need to please and fix, etc. We could no longer function without our pseudo crutches. We became captive to the law of sin and death.

There was only one way out: to admit we were powerless. §

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