Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Spiritual warfare is NOT some future event which will suddenly overtake us in the so-called ‘end times.’
These ARE, as every time preceding our own time since His Resurrection, Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the end times.
Spiritual warfare is the nitty-gritty of baptized daily life.
It is not the exclusive prevue of monastics, it IS reality for every one of us.
You cannot choose to be a conscientious objector, nor live as a non-combatant.
Either we are Christian soldiers or we will become that euphemistic bromide: collateral damage!
Our stark, and I suggest most urgent choice, is to choose if we shall be swept along by the tide of history, without participating in it actively as faithful disciples of Christ – or –  choose through the strength and ongoing grace of Baptism to follow Jesus, to be with Him, fully engaged in the struggle between good and evil, life and death, to be true Christian warriors, passionate intercessors with and in Christ, crying out with Him to the Father for the fullness of Divine Mercy upon the whole world.
It is to choose to be with Jesus a sign of contradiction, thus living icons of hope, or to so blend in with the culture of death in its darkness we are invisible.
In many respects the entire Holy Gospel according to Matthew is a template, a battle plan if you will, for participation to the full in Christ’s spiritual warfare, and victory, over satan.
Matthew also presents us with the Gospel of compassionate love and truth.
When we gaze upon our brothers and sisters enslaved within the culture of death, become the ‘people in darkness’, yearning even if they are not sure they are, for light to shine upon them, not for us some gnostic holier than though egomaniacal attitude.
Lord no!
Ours should be hearts that are as His Heart, burning with love and hearts “…moved with pity for them because they were [are] troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” [cf. Mt.9:36]
One simple way of being engaged in this spiritual warfare, being living signs of contradiction and icons of light, life, hope, is to be proclaimers of the Gospel of Life, builders of a civilization of love, following the template Jesus Himself gives us in Matthew 25: 31-47 wherein Jesus makes everything so one-to-one personal between us and Him in the very person of all our brothers and sisters.
Of course spiritual warfare finds its primary battlefield within the depths of our own hearts and souls, and before we can courageously venture forth to the wider battlefield all around us we must first be fully, and constantly, engaged in this prime battle, this prime place of the struggle.
It is from this place that, if we struggle to be fully engaged and faithful, even if sometimes we get wounded in some skirmish, we will emerge graced and strengthened by the Holy Spirit with the purity of heart, the courage, prudence and discernment to face the great battles of the wider war.
We draw reassurance and courage throughout the battle from the blessing-promises, the guidance of how to be shining signs of contradiction from Jesus’ words: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. [Mt. 5: 3-16]
In the ebb and flow we experience within the battles of spiritual warfare we can look around within the darkness of the culture of death and perhaps from exhaustion, the weight of cares, even temptation via poisoned thinking suggested by the evil one, and believe that the battle is not going so well for the side of the Gospel of Truth and Life.
Much like the infamous HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film, satan speaks to us a similar lie as HAL did to Dave, the lone surviving crew member on the ill-fated voyage: “Just what do you think you’re doing Dave? Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down, take a stress pill, and think this over….”
At such times it is critical we remember we live within the reality of Christ’s victory over satan, sin, death.
There is in the 19th century hymn by William Chatterton Dix, ALLELUIA! SING TO JESUS, lines which powerfully express this abiding truth: “….His the victory alone….has redeemed us by His Blood….not as orphans are we left….faith believes, nor questions how….shall our hearts forget His promise, I am with you ever more.?”

Monday, January 30, 2012


It began some weeks before Christmas, a spike in conversations, phone calls, emails, snail mail with a constant theme: souls feeling crushed under the weight of anxiety, darkness, and doom.
While Christmas brought a few days of respite from the constancy of priests and laity from various countries speaking with or writing to me about what they were experiencing, world news in general with weather extremes, famine, unrest, war, economic chaos, simply underscored what so many were experiencing.
In particular those aware of and fully engaged in lives dedicated to intercessory prayer, seemed to frankly being given, or permitted to experience, external and interior sufferings unceasingly.
For several weeks now I have tried to be attentive to those who have spoken and written, to pray and listen, to watch vigilantly to world events and, with the help of Our Lady of Silence, strive to be deep in the silence of God.
One of the first “words” I heard interiorly was from an old hymn, popular in my childhood not just for revival meetings but even on Sundays!
Perhaps its most famous use during the war was at the end of the film: MRS. MINIVER!: “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe….At the sign of triumph satan’s host doth flee….Like a might army moves the church of God….we are treading where the saints have trod……”
You don’t hear this hymn much anymore, certainly not since the 60’s when it was grossly misinterpreted as being a war-song, in the sense of battles between nations.
In truth it is a hymn rooted in Sacred Scripture, for example 2 Timothy 2:1-4:  “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.  Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
Relativism, secular humanism, and just a basic fear of being a sign of contradiction in this modern, anti-Christian culture of darkness and death has made for throngs of the baptized so cowered by the surrounding culture they are afraid to grasp the above Pauline principle of the role of a true disciple of Jesus: oneness with Jesus in the struggle for the salvation of souls, for the transformation of this culture of darkness and death into a civilization of light, of life, of love.
Yes, equally sad and dangerous, are those Christians with such an apocalyptic bent who basically disdain other human beings, and while prophesying ‘the end is nigh’ don’t really yearn to see the beautiful face of Jesus returning, rather they want God to come and smack down those they deem to be the real sinners.
Thankfully each Holy Mass begins with recognition of our personal sinfulness and absolute need of Divine Mercy.
In his novel, published the same year as the horror of 9/11: THE CONSTANT GARDNER, John le CarrĂ© casts a critical an eye, long before the current economic chaos, towards the darker side of the emerging capitalist world order and puts these words in the mouth of one character: “And tuberculosis is mega-bucks: ask Karel Vita Hudson. Any day now the richest nations will be facing a tubercular pandemic and Dypraxa will become the multibillion dollar earner that all good shareholders dream of. The White plague, the Great Stalker, the Great imitator, the Captain of Death is no longer confining himself to the wretched of the earth. He is doing what he did a hundred years ago. He is hovering like a filthy cloud of pollution over the West’s own horizon, even if it is still their poor who are his victims.”
Virulent strains of TB are certainly present among the homeless in our larger cities, leprosy, and myriad other sicknesses plague the human family – yet the greatest disease, the most virulent plague destroying Western civilization in particular, and fueling the hatred of Islamists,  diminishing the fabric of society, reducing entire populations below minimal replacement reality, and itself the bloodiest of wars, is the plague, the holocaust of abortion coupled with the systemic actions of government, media, which daily weaken the sacred institution of sacramental marriage and family life.
In Revelation chapter 6 we find revealed for us two devastating apocalyptic events which certainly, starkly, illuminate the reality of spiritual warfare in our day.
Rev. 6:5-8: “When he broke open the third seal I heard the third living creature cry out, ‘Come forward.’ I looked, and there was a black horse, and its rider held a scale in his hand. It said, ‘A ration of wheat costs a day’s pay, and three rations of barely cost a day’s pay. But do not damage the olive oil or the wine.’ When he broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature cry out, ‘Come forward.’ I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider was named death, and Hades accompanied him. They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth.”
Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan ; ebola, leprosy, TB, AIDS; drought, extreme storms; massive unemployment, sovereign debt crippling entire nations; Islamist terrorism; homelessness, gang warfare: how can we deny we are at war?