Monday, February 28, 2005

A Declaration of War and a Call to Arms

War has been raging against us, though we do not recognize it. We have been happily doing our daily business; our lives seem so normal and uneventful. But this war rages, mainly far away, and we think there is peace here.

Pinellas County, Florida, Circuit Court Judge George Greer gave Michael Shiavo permission to remove his disabled wife's feeding tube. The death is to start on March 18th, 2005, at 1:00 p.m. The wife, Terri Schindler-Schiavo, has a condition that does not meet the commonly-accepted standards for ending a patient's life, and so this extends the bounds of what the Pope calls "the Culture of Death".

Many Christians and others of good will are outraged by this, are realizing the great extent of this warfare, and no longer want to passively accept what is happening in the world. They are ready to declare war against this evil, recognizing that the opposition has already declared war against them; they also are ready to take up arms against the enemy, instead of just passively watching.

This is a war of good versus evil, of right and wrong. In this war we have two distinct enemies; the primary enemies who are hate-filled and seek only destruction, and the secondary enemies who are unwitting dupes or fools, and who do the work of the main enemy. In this war, we will not be satisfied until the primary enemies burn in Hell forever. The secondary enemies must be corrected and chastised, with utmost severity.

These enemies are not whom you might expect. The primary enemies are Satan and the evil spirits; ever since Lucifer the light-bearer, said "I will not serve", and became Satan the accuser, he has waged war against God and His creation. The secondary enemies are ourselves. Whom do we serve? Do we love the Lord Our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength, and with all our spirit, and our neighbors as ourselves, or do we have residual favorite sins, which we keep as concubines of our hearts, thus serving evil?

But what of these activist judges, unfaithful husbands, and the strident supporters of the Culture of Death? Some may say that they are our enemies, those whom we oppose in this war. But can we blame them, ultimately? They perhaps never had a conversion, perhaps they never had faith, which is a gift. They live in our world and our culture, which has been teaching everyone about material progress, secularity, progressive politics, and never about the Laws of God. Modern ethics has taught Man to ignore the Law written on his heart, using endless nuance and utilitarian doctrines. Christianity is banned in many ways in our world. Our secular laws impose these ethics on us, and our public and even most Catholic schools accept these ethics as correct. This kind of thinking exists everywhere in our world, including our churches.

This is spiritual warfare. According to Saint Paul: "Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

But the Spiritual Warrior must have a level of perfection unknown in the world today. The weapons of the Spiritual Warrior are the Sacraments, prayer, and penance, but we must be well-disposed to use these weapons well. How hard it is to do it!

The ancient Desert Fathers fled the world and the destruction of society, to the wilderness, where they battled the demons and their own desires directly. They used extreme ascetisim to purify themselves for the fight. The monastic tradition uses community, obedience, and constant prayer in the battle; and it was the monks who saved civilization. The Medieval friars used poverty and preaching in the fight, and brought the flowering of Christendom. Warfare was taken to education and the arts in the Counter-Reformation. Up to our present day, lay associations have taken the fight from within the world, while not being of the world. Since our Modern culture has been called 'the synthesis of all heresies', our methods of warfare must meet it on all fronts, so we should strengthen all of these spiritual methods.

According to the Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft, evil is real, is immortal, is obvious, and that too great a knowledge of evil is not good; and also that evil defeats itself, for evil can only mock, not create, and that evil seeks destruction, but cannot ultimately profit from it. Weakness is better than strength in the fight against evil, for evil's plans are ultimately defeated by itself. Dr. Kreeft says that weapons against evil are sacrifice, humility, friendship, and words. The example of the Holy Martyrs show how weakness and self-sacrifice overcome evil. Friendship avoids the perils of being divided and conquered. Humility is the opposition to pride, which is a first step to sin. Words, efficacious, sacramental, words are of great power against evil; Kreeft says that the phrases "I love you" and "I hate you" are not just words, but weapons. Evil, however, will ultimately defeat itself, and in the end will unwittingly work for the ultimate good.

No man is all good or all evil; we all are morally some shade of gray, but grayness implies the existence of both black and white. It is our duty to purify our fallen souls, otherwise we hurt our cause.

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