In the translation of St. Mark’s Gospel, which Canon Pym made for the unlearned modern, one finds a new phrase on the lips of Jesus. The disciples have lamentably failed, in public too, to effect a cure on the boy who was brought to them in the grip of some evil force, madness, despair, epilepsy, we do not know what. Naturally they take the first opportunity to enquire privately why their efforts have been fruitless. Jesus says, “You can’t expect to drive out evil like that unless you equip yourselves with prayer.”He seems to be pointing out to them their naïveté in underestimating the power of evil, in thinking it would vanish at their wish or word or work, in imagining they could overcome such a powerful thing without prayer. They probably knew this but it’s much pleasanter to forget it, much easier to blame the sick boy or the devil, the weakness or our common human nature. Dare we remain so causal about praying? Devils will go on torturing humanity as they tortured the boy in St. Mark’s story until we learn to drive them out by equipping ourselves with prayer that will empower us to love even our enemies.
Cure or Kill?