In today’s first reading, 1 Peter 5: 5b-14, St. Peter prays that we be clothed in humility in how we relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.” His reasoning: that, by humbling ourselves ”under the mighty hand of God,” we might be exalted by God. Peter also reminds us that Satan is roaming the world “looking for someone to devour.”
My heart aches as I think of that reality. Recently I read a book by a young woman, who, as a teenager from a rather affluent suburb of a big city here in the U.S., was lured into the commercial sex trade. She was deceived by a smooth-talking, affectionate young man who prowled around the high school “seeking someone to devour.” As the luring young man primed her, for a time, with loving attention, gifts and affection, he then brought her to the place where the men for whom he himself was working waited. The torturous nights being raped by a number of men who paid “their bosses” was horrendous. Sometimes this prowling man would call her out of classes. Eventually her grades fell to unusually low standards. Teachers did nothing. The policemen patrolling the high school did nothing as she left class and met “the charming man” at her locker. If she did not cooperate, she was warned that harm would come to her family. She also was physically beaten if she resisted. Every night for two years, the one luring her would also wait for her late at night to secretively leave her home and meet him in an expensive car hidden in the neighborhood. She would then be driven to the designated place where pimps awaited her.
Yes, Satan is prowling this world in disguises! “Resist him,” Peter asks us, “steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings—the pain, in this case, of following the Spirit’s nudge to act on behalf of this young teenage girl. “The God of all graces who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To him be dominion forever. Amen” Following God’s call to help others in need may be difficult. However, becoming Satan’s slave to disobedience is far more painful!
To whom/what do I give dominion each day? What will lure me today away from what God is asking of me?
Am I aware of persons prowling our high schools, our city blocks, our neighborhoods seeking young girls--most victims of human traffickers are between 12-14 years of age? Do I see suspicious behavior? If I am a teacher/a parent, do I notice changes in otherwise successful students/children that warrant my attention? At midnight, is my child in her room?