Recently, as a comment on the attack in Nice, I have written some notes on the evil inside man’s heart and I have invited you to discern its possible presence in our life since it is that evil, however small, that contributes to significantly fuel the greater evil in the world.
Self-knowledge has long since been identified as one of the fundamental keys to individual and social progress: and, if we reflect upon ourselves, we can know who we are, where we are going, why and how.
Moreover, this awareness, along with suitable guidelines for reflection, can help us to make more useful choices for our own and everybody’s good.
How can we do it?
With this reflection, I would like to continue this dialogue with you all, making some remarks in view of this goal.
All of us have come across evil and have had to face it.
Even if not many would be able to give a philosophical or metaphysical definition, all of us know very well from personal experience what it is.
And this is exactly what we should be concerned about: talking about our daily experience, constantly tinged with what we generally define as “evil”.
On this point, I think it could be useful to offer some guidelines to start distinguishing the different types of evil that can affect us.

  • First of all, the evil associated with our body and with our psyche, with our nature made of “corruptible flesh”: it is illness, the evil we probably fear most.
    It happens to us, it befalls us!
    We may have some responsibility, like a disorderly lifestyle, or we may not.
    Anyway, we tend to ignore such responsibility, we are not interested in it, or, even worse, we do not want to acknowledge it.
    When illness reaches us, always unexpectedly, we are certain to be suffering a wrong.

  • Then, there is another form of evil, the harm that others inflict on us.
    It may be physical or psychological, sometimes also social and spiritual.
    Also in this case, we feel we have suffered a wrong at the hands of others and rarely we try to find a personal responsibility (personality, character, attitudes, choices…).

  • There is yet another form of evil that we feel to be intimately ours, that gushes from our heart and that is made of our limits, our incapacities, our passions, our fragility, our sins, the kind of evil that damages us and that offends God; the one that we are often unable to keep aloof from…

    Let’s stop a moment here, on this last type of evil: I would like to urge you to give thought to this reality that affects us deep in our hearts.
    Where exactly does this interior evil stem from?
    Is it just ours or does it come from “someone else”, like the harm inflicted on us by other men?

    I am convinced that it would be very important and fruitful to get to know if also in our heart, we are under attack from “somebody” against whom we should defend ourselves!
    Believers know that the devil exists, our enemy; however, they do not always know how and where to detect his deceitful action.

    Along with prayer, a very useful spiritual exercise, which many spiritual masters have always advised, is looking into our thoughts, desires, feelings, plans, and ask ourselves if we can already detect the presence of our Enemy.
    And before that, it would be very useful to understand whether the good we are beginning to do, is “really good”, i.e. it does not do anybody any harm, as God wants.
    This could be the first fundamental exercise to deliver the inner and the outer world from that evil that lives there, surrounds us, suffocate us…
    fra Giuseppe Paparone o.p.