Spiritual Combat is the Normative State of the Church

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If we have a very modern view of religion, we might think that the best church is one where one enjoys a steady diet of fun-filled get togethers with others from their parish: what many call fellowship. It almost becomes the sum total gain of their church experience. Their non-confrontational stances are easy to accept and their focus on being tolerant of secular views makes them unthreatening to society as a whole. They avoid like the plague any controversial stand that might look to the world as being old fashioned or even medieval in the adherence to ancient and irrelevant traditions and doctrines of their father’s faith.

I see this often even among Catholics who do not do ‘fellowship’ extremely well, trying desperately to try to gain this carefree happy church feeling as if it were the goal and end to the church experience. Unfortunately, such a modern outlook is only diverting our eyes from the task at hand. To be a good Catholic is not however morose. It may not be happy, happy, happy but it is not without joyful satisfaction if we live our faith as our forefathers have lived it for some 2,000 years.

Happiness is different from joy. Happiness speaks to the well being of our mental and physical situation. That is an unrealistic view of the world we live in and the war that the Church has constantly waged against the world, the flesh and the devil. But joy is a deeper satisfaction of the heart, for it resides strictly in our souls and is the gift of God, given by His grace. This love for us is without parallel in any other church. We find our joy in suffering with Christ, in enduring with Christ amid the darkest of times. We rely on Him and revel in being able to be used by Him to spread His word, His love and His Good News: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Well nearly everyone, even some of our own Catholic brothers and sisters, priests, theologians, Biblical scholars et al ascribe to a watered down version of Christianity and reject the Cross. So, maligned as we are, it becomes the joy of the saints to be united with Christ in His continuing mission among men. It seems counter-intuitive to the world that we can find joy in suffering and persecution.

As for myself, I find consolation in the fact that the Church is being persecuted, scandalized and attacked. Why? Because it is what I would term “the negative proof of the True Church” and that I can have confidence in the Church as being the Church that Christ founded to call the world to the salvation of their souls by applying the Sacrifice of Christ to their souls: He is our All in all.

The negative proof is also born out in our historical look at the attacks She has weathered over the years. Sometimes I think that our Church is known better as the True Church by Satanists than She is by our own members and the mocking world.

You see, Satanists have long broken into the Catholic parishes to steal the consecrated hosts within our tabernacles. Now they will risk life and limb to do this so that they can desecrate and demean our Lord in the Holy Sacrament. They use the Sacrament of the Altar (the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ) to perform the most diabolical form of worship that exists on the face of the earth: the black mass. The entire ceremony is to ridicule, debase and desecrate Christ our Lord. These Satanists will not break into Anglican or Methodist churches to secure their form of communion bread. They realize, as do we (or we should), that Christ is only present in the consecrated hosts that can only be found in the Catholic Church. Sadly, they may believe more in the Real Presence and the gift of the Priest than do many Catholics sitting in the pews on Sunday.

It is our spiritual combat with all these forces that is a mark of our acceptance of the Sacrament of Confirmation where we were given the grace to fight this battle. The one caveat we usually ignore is that we must use this grace. We must exercise this gift to be among those who will, in the end, be welcomed as honored and valiant warriors by our Lord.

14 Replies to “Spiritual Combat is the Normative State of the Church”

  1. Jay

    The surest way, according to the Saints, to defeat the forces aligned against the Church is to love and pray. Love is the summit according to Paul and I constantly go back to it.

    The Spiritual Combat is very necessary and those who object to the use of the word combat don’t understand the foe, who will use any means necessary to eradicate love. Love and prayer are the bedrock of spiritual combat.

    Reply
    • servusfidelis Post author

      I agree but we can’t lose sight that our love is for the souls of the individuals. There are some who equate love these days to not hurting anyone’s feelings. If it takes reprimand and correction or even excommunication it is all done for love of the misguided soul of the sinner, and for the love of Christ and His Church. We cannot allow corruption to linger unchecked in the Mystical Body. The antidote is always to lovingly apply doctrine and correction and if the situation is severe, the equivalent of surgery; excommunication.

      Reply
  2. The Catholic Nomad: Reclaiming the Sacred

    Good observation.

    The difference between Catholics and Protestants is that Protestants go to church for fellowship whereas Catholics go to church to worship God.

    The Protestant world is all about fellowship. Singing, clapping, getting good feelings going, hearing great sermons, getting all pumped up together in a room.

    Catholics do not go to be entertained or have a massive group vibe – they go to worship God. Fellowship and the rest can be done outside of Mass in other settings in a Catholic Church, but it is not the main reason to go.

    When I see Catholic Churches where it is all about fellowship and getting “pumped up,” I know they have lost their Catholic identity. They are morphing into Protestants.

    Reply
    • servusfidelis Post author

      I go to a church that just before the final blessing we get people announcing all sorts of gooey things; like birthdays, anniversaries, awards their kids got and the like. The pew sitters all clap and laugh and I sometimes just have to leave and visit the memorial for my departed friend, a monsignor, and ask him to provide me with the final blessing. After all, he is a priest forever.

      Reply
      • The Catholic Nomad: Reclaiming the Sacred

        Oh no. I know what that is like. I used to have to sit through it back home. Another part of why I hit the road.

        I remember when that would happen, I would try to imagine a priest at a full Extraordinary Rite parish doing that – and by a full ER parish, I mean one with the correct high altar, communion rail, etc. The full setting.

        Somehow, the thought of the Father suddenly turning around from such a solemn and reverent service and shouting out, “so, any birthdays?” seemed ludicrous.

        Yet in the Ordinary Rite setting, it just somehow fit. Irritating to someone who wants reverence, but in the overall environment, it somehow does not seem as shocking or out of place.

        Something to ponder. I think it really suggests how the ER environment holds tight to the sacred, where the OR environment lends itself so easily to novelties.

        Someone knew what they were up to when the introduced the Ordinary Rite. It is interesting that there were Protestant advisers at Vatican II and one Protestant even said that a Catholic Mass was now something a Protestant could no longer be afraid to go to. 🙁

        Reply
  3. Jay

    In Corinthians Paul stated Love never fails. He seems a good source on the subject as he understood the forces aligned against the Church.

    Of course love doesn’t mean feel good pats on the back. Love, as described by Paul, St. Augustine, St. John of the Cross and John Paul the Great, is also an understanding of responsibility. When people are corrected it is done out of love. when we engage in Spiritual Combat it is done out of Love for Him.

    Orthodoxy is not incompatible with Love. In fact the opposite is true. Chesterton, for all his wit, loved the Church and defended her marvelously.

    We can discuss all of the above with Love at the center of it. That was my point.

    Reply
    • servusfidelis Post author

      Exactly right. I just don’t want anybody to conflate love, as the secular society does, with “tolerance”. What kind of love would a father have for his son if he didn’t punish him: “For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Heb. 12:6)? That was what I wanted to elaborate to the readers.

      You spoke well and understand this point in exactly the right sense; that the motivation for all our actions should be love and love alone.

      Reply
  4. lighthousecatholicgirl

    servusfidelis, I like reading your blog,it is very informative. I have to say it drives me crazy when at the end of mass some times, especially if it’s a special choir,they ask everyone for applause. They are not performers! This makes me crazy. While I’m complaining, I also can’t stand watching people waving to each other on the way up and back from communion.

    Reply
    • servusfidelis Post author

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. It is not appropriate. My quote yesterday was from Pope Benedict XVI speaking about the inappropriateness of applause during Mass. The problem is, the Pope speaks and few listen. If you did not see the quote, here it is: “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.” __ Pope Benedict XVI

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      • lighthousecatholicgirl

        98% of my church holds hands during the Our Father, and they raise up their arms and hands like priests.I’ve never seen this in a catholic church. ( I do not hold hands-and my children question me on why not because everyone else is doing it. I told them if you know it isn’t correct it doesn’t matter if you’re the only one in the church not holding hands-a good example of not folding into peer pressure,

        Reply
        • servusfidelis Post author

          Sadly, it has spread thoughout our churches when at first I thought it would die out as a fad. Unfortunately, we ignore that which is actually mandated by the Church and accept novel changes and gestures as if the Pope had himself demanded them.

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          • lighthousecatholicgirl

            it doesn’t help when the priests and alter servers are lined up holding hands like a human chain. Every week our family is looked at like we’re the wrong ones!?To make matters worse I receive communion on the tongue not in the hand-again, I’m the rebel. Whatever. I have to do what I was told by the lovely priest who taught me our faith.

            Reply
            • servusfidelis Post author

              Don’t let worry you. Just do what you’ve been doing and put it out of your mind. You are there to worship your Lord and to receive Him into your soul. Nothing else is your responsibility.

              Reply

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