A famous philosopher, Socrates, once said that no one knowingly does the wrong thing and that evil is the result of ignorance. He also goes on to say that the person who commits evil needs to be punished in some way so the debt is paid otherwise we carry a spiritual burden. This is interesting because it automatically reminds me of Christ and how He gave up Himself to relieve us from that spiritual burden. But what if ignorance towards evil is a good thing?
Let’s take St Mary and the story of the Annunciation as an example. We read the following response from St Mary to the Holy Archangel Gabriel’s announcement that she will give birth to the Saviour of the world: “How can this be, since I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34) Her response was simply restating her vow to consecrate herself to the Lord as a virgin forever. Women around her, however, found pleasure in getting married and experiencing normal marital relations, especially since it was believed that any one of them might have the privilege of conceiving the Messiah BUT we see here how the Holy Virgin, who did not focus on that blessing, ended up receiving it! Her ignorance in not knowing a man therefore proved to be a blessing beyond anything she imagined.
Throughout my teenage years and during University, I would often hear the same line over and over in different forms:
“Be open to new experiences”
“You haven’t lived until you’ve…”
“Don’t be so close-minded and old-fashioned”
There is so much focus on trying new things and exploring “options” that we’ve almost lost sight of what’s important anymore. Consider how the devil tempts us in our daily lives, like that student who gets involved with drugs “just to see what the big deal is”. Or the youth that wanted to have premarital sex so they can “practice before marriage”. Or the employee who drinks “just to fit in”.
This reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve, and how the Lord wished to preserve them from experiencing any evil. God knew the ways of evil just as a physician knows of cancer or terminal illnesses without having experienced it themselves. But do any of us become wiser by doing any of these acts? Do we learn to be any holier from throwing ourselves into these sins? Can we possibly become fireproof by increasing our exposure to fire? Who can forget Christ’s words on the cross when He said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Because mankind was ignorant to the sin they committed, the Lord prayed for their forgiveness in His loving kindness. One cannot help but wonder whether Christ was repeating the phrase, “for they do not know what they do” from the Virgin Mary who said earlier “I know not a man”. Did He mean to empha.sise the ignorance of His children? Thus, let us also pray that we “know not” evil and strive for goodness and likeness of Christ.
So how can we ignore evil in today’s society?
- Become living sacrifices to God by not being “conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
- Strive to stay away from sin! Do not become participants because the more we experience sin, the less we know about it and desire to engage further!
- Pray, pray, pray – cliché I know, but it is powerful beyond explanation!
SAYG ~ Monica Salama