There is a darkness we all recognize in our own way. We need not seek it out, for it always finds us. It lurks not under the bed, nor in the closet. It needs not the blanket of night. The day does not scatter its minions. Of course, I speak of what we commonly call evil. It is a name, but also much more than that. It is a state of being, or lack of being to be precise. Its existence is tied up with ours, yet it also seeks to destroy us. It is a parasite of the worst degree.
In haste to smoke out this beast from its lair, some create a scapegoat, a singular figure which to blame, to fight, to engage in battle on the fields of spiritual warfare. They muster their weapons that amount to incantations, spells that cloud the senses and distract them from the gathering storm. They call this darkness by name. They call it Satan. And they are foolish to speak its name, for he surely does appear. Reflections in their own mirrors, reflections mistaken for a foreign enemy, an intruder.
Some deny the existence of evil. They say it is merely a condition brought about by ignorance, corruption, class warfare, or other societal factors. Others claim a spiritual being is the manifestation of this darkness, commanding an army that is waging an unending war on this earth. One wonders, if we were to set up a colony on an alien planet, would this dark prince follow us there? Is he omnipresent, equal with the divine light of the Almighty? Or is such a demon merely another pawn in a greater force of evil, spinning a terrible web that entangles us all? So many questions. How are we to stand up against such an onslaught?
Surely, we can recognize what is basic, what is evident to all. Call it what you wish, there is a sickness that infects us. All is not well. Evil is here, calling our names each day. It is subtle. It cares not what we call it. It laughs at such debates. We must cast down the idols of our self-declared immunizations. We must look inward, to those spaces we've locked away. It is there we shall find it. Are we its origin, or merely catalysts? The distinction is irrelevant.
What is the nature of evil? It is both present and absent. It is everywhere and nowhere, much like darkness itself. Darkness consumes the cosmos itself, yet it is still the absence of light. It is the same with evil. Love is the substance that fills the spaces in our hearts. To be fully human is to know this love perfectly. Any crevice, any corner of the soul not drowned in this light of love is but a nest for ravens, cawing and pecking at our being. Look at your neighbor. Do you feel the indifference rising up in you? Do you feel a disconnect, a natural isolation from all and any who do not share your petty interests? The language of evil is indeed found in our very bones.
Oh, justice. Do you hear her? She calls you to join her. You both have so much work to do, rounding up the enemy. Look, they are everywhere! Are we the only righteous ones left? Of course not. Do not let the false sirens lure you in so close. Your zeal to fight this darkness is a tool it wields against you. To change the world, we must first love those who stand in our way.
It is then, and only then, that we can face down the shadow of our own soul.