On Darkness, Light, and Spiritual Warfare

By Fr. Richard Soo, SJ

Earlier today a number of Christians in Vancouver gathered to pray for Hong Kong. My priest, Fr. Richard, walked us through a guided prayer time and shared a few reflections. I’ve compiled some of them here; they may be helpful for those of you gearing up for October 1st in Hong Kong.

As we pray for Hong Kong, where have we experienced darkness, and where have we experienced light? Where have we experienced temptation to discouragement, and where we have experienced grace?

Let us not be afraid to explore and pray through those places of darkness and discouragement, because unless we pray those darknesses, we won’t let God into that space — into our heart. In fact, our anger may actually be God’s anger, and Hong Kong’s pain may actually be God’s pain.

And so let’s take a moment to remember the difficult, heartbreaking moments that we‘ve seen either on the internet or on the news. Let us imagine, let us feel God’s pain and God’s anguish for that person in that situation. […]

Let’s also take a moment to find our experience of God’s grace in the context of the protests in Hong Kong. In the past few weeks, what have you seen or heard that made you feel inspired, that made you feel more alive, that made you feel God’s grace? […]

There are many, many places where you can talk about the politics of Hong Kong. In this space, however, we offer you an opportunity to share the faith/spiritual aspect of what is going on in Hong Kong. What is God doing there? What is the pain that God is experiencing there? How do you experience the spiritual warfare taking place on the streets of Hong Kong?

In spiritual warfare there are at least two levels. The first is the external one — for example, what is actually happening in Hong Kong. So we might say, “justice and freedom vs. tyranny and oppression.” But the devil wants more than that, because he’s after each one of us as well. And so in the context of the events in Hong Kong, if the devil can attack our spiritual life and bring us to despair, he will. And he’ll use all of the darkness and the horrible things going on to attack us. But the good news is that the Holy Spirit is also at work. And the Holy Spirit will use all of these events — even the darkest ones — to bring us to salvation, and to prophetic action. So we must continue to pray through these things as well.

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Discernment vs. Neutrality To any Hong Kong churches that are still refusing to take a public stance in order to remain neutral: now is the time to speak up.