“Dirty City” by Dan Krall
FOUR years ago, I heard a strong word in prayer that has been growing recently in intensity. And so, I need to speak from the heart the words I hear again:
Come out of Babylon!
Babylon is symbolic of a culture of sin and indulgence. Christ is calling His people OUT of this “city”, out from the yoke of the spirit of this age, out of the decadence, materialism, and sensuality which has plugged its gutters, and is overflowing into the hearts and homes of His people.
Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues, for her sins are piled up to the sky… (Revelation 18:4-5)
The “her” in this Scripture passage is “Babylon,” which Pope Benedict recently interpreted as…
…the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010
In Revelation, Babylon suddenly falls:
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast…Alas, alas, great city, Babylon, mighty city. In one hour your judgment has come. (Rev 18:2, 10)
And thus the warning:
Come out of Babylon!
Come out of her streets! Come out of her dwellings lest they collapse upon you!
We would do well to turn off the noise around us for a moment and enter swiftly into the meaning of this warning. What do these words mean? What is Jesus possibly asking of us? I have many thoughts, some which I continue to ponder in my heart, and others which seem very clear to me. Certainly, it is a call to examine our conscience, to see if we are not just living in the world—in which we are called to be salt and light—but living by the spirit of the world, which is opposed to God. There is a massive tsunami sweeping through the world and the Church today, a spirit of paganism much like that of the Roman Empire just before it’s collapse. It is a spirit of indulgence that leads to emotional and spiritual death:
Lord Jesus, our affluence is making us less human, our entertainment has become a drug, a source of alienation, and our society’s incessant, tedious message is an invitation to die of selfishness. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Fourth Station of the Cross, Good Friday 2006
And in the midst of it, Jesus speaks a stark word:
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43)
It is time to quickly withdraw our hands from the excesses of this generation, the indulgence in alcohol, food, tobacco etc. and above all, material consumerism. This is not a condemnation, but an invitation—an invitation to freedom!
Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin… And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. (John 8:34; Mark 9:45)
That is, if we are walking in the same path as the world, it is time to quickly set our feet in a new direction. This applies especially to the realm of television and online videos.
Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked; nor lingers in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of scorners, but whose delight is the law of the Lord and who ponders his law day and night. (Psalm 1)
Christ’s Body—baptized believers, bought with the price of His blood—are wasting their spiritual lives in front of the screen: following “the counsel of the wicked” through self-help shows and self-appointed gurus; lingering “in the way of sinners” on empty sitcoms, “reality” TV shows, or base YouTube videos; and sitting “in the company” of talk shows that mock and scorn purity and goodness, and of course, anything or anyone orthodox. Immodest, hyper-sexualized, and occultic entertainment are now standard in many Christian homes. And the effect is one of lulling the mind and soul to sleep… lulling Christians into the bed of the Harlot. For that’s how St. John described her:
Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. (Rev 17:5)
Come out of her! Come out of Babylon!
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna
It is time for the Body of Christ to make choices. It is not enough to say I believe in Jesus… and then indulge our minds and senses like pagans in corrupted, if not anti-Gospel entertainment.
So gird the loins of your understanding; live soberly; set all your hope on the gift to be conferred on you when Jesus Christ appears. As obedient sons and daughters, do not yield to the desires that once shaped you in your ignorance. Rather, become holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, after the likeness of the holy One who called you (1 Peter)
It is time to walk, or even run, from those associations, parties, and socializations which lead us into evil. Jesus sometimes dined or visited the places of notorious sinners—but did not sin. Most of us are not that strong, and so must do our best to “avoid the near occasion of sin” (words from the Act of Contrition). Besides, Jesus wasn’t there to indulge, but to lead those captive to the flesh into freedom.
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery… and make no provisions for the flesh. (Gal 5:1; Rom 13:14)
Jesus is not inviting you into a closed, sterile world… but into a wilderness of freedom (see The Tiger in the Cage). Babylon is a deception. It is a deception. And its coming down upon the heads of those who have been lulled into her gates. The streets of Babylon are the wide and easy road that leads to destruction, and Jesus said “many” are on it (Matt 7:13). That would include many in His Church.
The inundation of many modern images today pollutes the soul, distracts the mind, and hardens the heart. Like scentless and deadly carbon monoxide, the spirit of the world is seeping into our homes through television, the internet, mobile phones, gossip magazines, etc. slowly killing souls and the soul of families. Indeed, such media can be used for good. But if television is causing you to sin—cut the cable! If your computer is opening you to the portals of hell—get rid of it! Or put it in a place where you cannot sift through sin. Better to have little or no access to a browser, than to lose your soul. Better to go over to your friend’s house to watch the football game, than to dwell for eternity separated from God.
Come out! Quickly, come out!
Beware of the lies of the devil. His deception is simple, and has been working well for millennia. He whispers to us consciously or subconsciously: “It is too big a sacrifice! You are going to miss out! Life is too short! This blog is fanatical! God is unfair, rigid, and narrow-minded. And you will become just like him…”
The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!” (Genesis 3:3-4)
Is that true? What are the fruits of pornography, drunkenness, unrestrained passion, and material indulgence? Do we not die a little inside each time we “eat of this fruit”? It may look good on the outside, but it is rotten through and through. Is the world and its trappings bringing life or death to your soul? That”death”, that restlessness, that ill feeling we get when we indulge in the world is the Holy Spirit convicting our souls that we were made for God, for a higher, supernatural life, not the empty molecules and illusions of this world that cannot satisfy. This nudging of the Spirit is not a condemnation, but a drawing of your soul towards the Father, of the Bride (whom the Church is) toward her Bridegroom:
So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. From there I will give her the vineyards she had, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. (Hos 2:16-17)
God comes to us when we withdraw from the noisy city into the desert of prayer (James 4:8). There, in solitude, when we have opened our heart to Him is where peace and healing, love and forgiveness are poured out. And this solitude is not necessarily a physical place. It is the space in our hearts reserved and kept for God where, even among the din and temptations of this world, we can withdraw to converse and rest in our Lord. But this is not possible if we have filled our hearts with love of the world.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal… For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matt 6:19, 21)
Jesus does not promise riches and fame or even material comforts. But He promises life, abundant life (John 10:10). There is no cost, for we have nothing to give. This day, He stands outside the gates of Babylon, beckoning and welcoming His straying sheep to come back to him, to follow Him into the wilderness of true freedom and beauty… before it all comes down…
“Therefore, come forth from them and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch nothing unclean; then I will receive you and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
- Confession, the gate to the wilderness of freedom: Confession… Necessary?
- We are living in a State of Emergency
- Why we are living in dangerous times: The Great Deception
- Living under Babylon’s roof: The Great Deception – Part II
- In Pope Benedict’s words: The Great Deception – Part III