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Prayer, scriptures are weapons for spiritual battle – Dominican priest*

By Kaelanne Jordan, kjordan.camsel@rcpos.org

Christians attending the January 4–6 National Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) conference at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya were reminded of their “challenge” to be “doers” and “hearers” of the Word.

If we don’t do what we speak, we are considered “hypocrites,” Msgr William John-Lewis (in photo), priest for the Diocese of Roseau, Dominica said in a talk on the closing day, Sunday, January 6.

Msgr John-Lewis’ presentation was titled ‘Accept salvation from God to be your helmet and receive the Word of God from the Spirit to be your sword’.

He affirmed the Word of God must direct every believer. Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ, he said. “Not only to know the Word as something which dictates your life but something with which you can do battle.”

Msgr John-Lewis reminded participants of the temptation Jesus experienced in the desert while fasting for 40 days. “And Jesus quoted scripture as His defence: ‘Man does not live on bread alone….’ And Satan attacked again, and Jesus again used scripture to fight him: ‘The Word of God says you shall worship God alone and Him alone shall you serve’.”

Commenting on this, Msgr John said the greatest “weapon” is prayer. He said that as disciples, we ought to develop an attentive and prayerful attitude to the Word of God—the life and light that illumines our life and nurtures and strengthens our faith. “…Embrace it, proclaim it and put it into practise,” he urged.

“Our Blessed Mother was very privileged. She carried a baby for nine months; she carried the Word for nine months. I will never be able to do that. I’m the wrong gender…. But you know what, I can still carry the Word of God within me,” Msgr John said to applause.

On salvation, Msgr John-Lewis questioned person’s response to the question: ‘Are you saved?’ He said whether persons thought they were saved before, we are saved.

Msgr John gave the example of a French prince who was the victim of theft. The law of the land at that time was 40 strokes in public. The accuser, Msgr John-Lewis shared, was the prince’s mother.

“He said he will administer the punishment because that is the law of the land…. And as he[flogger] drew back, the prince said ‘Wait’. And he removed his coat and the clothes on his back and he went and covered his mother and said ‘Now let the punishment begin.’

“That my dear friend is what happened to you on the cross,” Msgr John declared.

He continued, “When our backs were against the wall and they were ready to whip us to death, He took off His clothes…and He embraced us and said ‘Go ahead, let the punishment begin’.”

During his talk, Msgr John-Lewis broke into song: ‘He looked beyond my fault and saw my need’ and ‘To God be the glory’.

The programme continued with a session on empowerment by Fr Cornelius Philip FMI, praise and worship, testimonies and Holy Mass with Archbishop Jason Gordon as chief celebrant.