Sunday, 17 October 2021

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost: The reality of spiritual battle

    “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high.” The words of St. Paul’s Epistle ring true in every age, for a crisis is never one dimensional. It is never merely an earthly crisis, wherein evil men seek to accomplish their desires completely divorced from a spiritual reality. Rather the earthly and spiritual realms are interconnected, meaning that in any, and in every, earthly crisis there is a spiritual element which is to be addressed. 

While various politicians and activists clamour about their respective concerns, the issue which is often ignored is the spiritual element of a particular crises. Even for those (very few) honest public figures, who recognise the crisis in society, they will often seek to solve it with legislation while ignoring the necessity for prayer, or for policy which draws society back to the moral law. Ultimately, any action which is not rooted in adherence to the law of God is destined to fail, and is like constantly attempting to cover a wound, instead of attempting to heal it instead.

Indeed, the ultimate source of catastrophe in the world comes from the disorder brought about through sin, through demonic influences, and through the fallen nature of man. Thus, in order to address any issue, a solution must be two-fold, combined of a material and a spiritual element.

Such is the message conveyed by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians, as he writes about the spiritual battle which they must be prepared to face. And while modern society, and even the modern Church, may seem less inclined to listen to the rhetoric of spiritual warfare, the facts remain that we are indeed engulfed in such a battle. Ignoring it is of no use; formulating the most intricate policy, while rejecting any spiritual solution, is also of no use. “I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Part of the wiles of the forces of evil is to seek to distract souls form the spiritual reality of the current crisis, and attempt to convince people into all sorts of activities, only to disctract them from attending to the spiritual necessities of each day which play a crucial part in combatting the forces of evil. Temptations will occur that time spent in prayer is of no use, or would be better spent in other, more visibly productive activities. In short, the devil makes use of any means possible to divert souls away from paying attention to the spiritual reality, for as long as souls attempt to combat the forces of evil using only earthly weapons, then their efforts will be in vain. 

Hence St. Paul writes to instruct the Church that She must be first and foremost adept with the weapons of the spiritual realm. Armed with these, the forces of evil will waste themselves upon the bulwarks of the Church, as She fights with the all-powerful weapons of God.

“Therefore, take up the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breast-plate of justice, and having your feet shod with the readiness of the Gospel of peace, in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is, the word of God.”

This is not to say that souls should abandon any attempt to remedy the ills of the world, and instead abandon themselves to constant prayer, but nothing else. On the contrary, the Church has the mission of preaching the Gospel, converting and saving souls, and this cannot be achieved if everyone remains reclusive in their homes, never venturing out into the world. Spiritual and temporal remedies are necessary, and while the temporal must be guided ultimately by the spiritual, it should not be disregarded. 

Indeed, there have been times and may well be again, when the military style language of St. Paul is not restricted to mere allegory, but is translated in a more literal manner. Souls may well be called upon to take up arms in defense of the faith, of morality, of the Church, of the family. During the Sack of Rome in 1527, the Swiss Guard were killed down to a man in their defence of the Pope from the Masonic and Protestant forces. While God has raised up many holy martyrs whose blood is the seed of the Church, so He also raises up champions for the Church, such as those members of the Swiss Guard, so that the Church may defend Her own when the forces of evil turn against Catholics.

Consequently, the response to the evil of modernity and the crisis of the day, must always be guided by the acknowledgement of the spiritual battle which is being constantly waged. Only when this aspect is addressed can the Church, or indeed any man, hope to bring about the reordering of society in accordance with God’s law. 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

The month of the Holy Rosary

October continues to give numerous feasts of Our Lady for the Church to celebrate. Only days ago, She honoured Our Lady of the Rosary, recalling the 450th anniversary of the triumphant victory over the Islamic forces at Lepanto. Tomorrow the Church pays homage to Mary once again in the feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin, and the day following is the lesser found feast of Our Lady of the Pillar. Added to this is the month-long dedication to the holy rosary, and the 54-day rosary novena which commenced on the 7th of October, for the intentions of the Church and the world.

    The need for devotion to the rosary increases with every day, as the devil continues his war against God and the Blessed Virgin. The satanic hatred which he bears for the pious virgin-mother, means that his attacks are turned against her, and so it is increasingly common that those virtues which she embodies are the ones which the world and the devil reject. Purity, chastity, humility, oblation to God, and willingness to suffer: all of these were exemplified by Mary, and are the trademarks of the Catholic life. All of these same viruses, then, are the subject of relentless attacks in modern, pagan, even satanic society. 

    Is it even possible to walk down the street without seeing signs, hearing music, observing behaviour, which treats such admirable virtues as if they were the practice of fools and madmen? On the contrary, the world argues, the opposing vices should be allowed to flourish: let impurity be practiced by all; let children be coerced into believing themselves the opposite sex; let promiscuity and abortion be rife; let there be no suffering in this life, but only hedonistic pleasure. Above all, argues the world, let there be no hint of humble, self-oblation to God.

    In contrast, the rosary recalls the intimate union of Christ and Mary, documenting her co-operation with His salvific mission, the horrendous sufferings, tortures and death, and the glorious resurrection. The first mystery recounts her act of profound humility, uniting her will with God’s, desiring only to do His will and not her own. The Annunciation is the antidote the daily message of the world in every way, a point which makes meditating on it and the Joyful mysteries all the more essential. Each of the mysteries of the rosary is centred upon humility, oblation to God, willingness to suffer for Him, and the desire for souls. Each one is an opportunity to imitate the Blessed Virgin, and to join her as one of the Friends of the Cross, as St. Louis-Marie de Montfort wrote.

    Pope Pius XII wrote of this aspect, in his 1952 encyclical Ingruentium Malorem: “And truly, from the frequent meditation on the Mysteries, the soul little by little and imperceptibly draws and absorbs the virtues they contain, and is wondrously enkindled with a longing for things immortal, and becomes strongly and easily impelled to follow the path which Christ Himself and His Mother have followed. The recitation of identical formulas repeated so many times, rather than rendering the prayer sterile and boring, has on the contrary the admirable quality of infusing confidence in him who prays and brings to bear a gentle compulsion on the motherly Heart of Mary.”

    The world in which evil is promoted as a virtue, in one in which the Church has utmost need to heed the call of Mary at Fatima, when she asked for the daily recitation of the rosary. Indeed, in the times when the satanic assault is directed on the family, what better way is there to combat it, than to meditate on the actions of the Holy Family, and for families to strengthen themselves through the recitation of the rosary. “In vain is a remedy sought for the wavering fate of civil life, if the family, the principle and foundation of the human community, is not fashioned after the pattern of the Gospel,” notes Pius XII.

    As promoters of the modern satanistic worldview become emboldened by their apparent victories, Catholics must take heart from the fact that Our Lady has already noted how such men are destined to fail. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” she said. In order to join in bringing about this triumph, Catholics must heed the call, coming from the Mother of God, to pray the prayer which so angers, infuriates and confounds the devil. By this means, every household becomes a fortress of prayer, devoted to imitation of Mary, and imitation of Christ. With the home of a Catholic family thus becoming an “earthly abode of sanctity,” the reversion of society to God can begin. 

    “This meditation will bring to the knowledge of the little ones the main truths of the Christian Faith, making love for the Redeemer blossom almost spontaneously in their innocent hearts, while, seeing, their parents kneeling before the majesty of God, they will learn from their very early years how great before the throne of God is the value of prayers said in common.”

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost: The reality of spiritual battle

     “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world rulers of this dark...