So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Warrior or Wuss? 'To be' or what 'not to be' this Lent and throughout the year.

Have we in the West become flaccid in the Faith? Yep, for the most part. Have we devolved into limp-minded liberal religionists? Ditto.

The evidence against Catholics behaving as Catholics should behave.

  • Catholic politicians who are barely Catholic and who, siding with elements hostile to the Faith, enact unjust laws that harm and destroy innocent unborn lives.
  • Catholics who are living in sin who, without recourse to the Sacrament of Penance or are divorced and remarried without the benefit of a decree of nullity stating their first union was not valid, habitually receive Holy Communion.
  • Catholic teachers failing Catholic students. Catholic doctrine and practice not being taught nor modelled in Catholic schools.
  • Professors at Catholic universities contradicting the Magisterium and promoting dissent from Catholic moral teaching.
  • Catholics practicing artificial contraception as frequently as non-Catholics.
  • Catholics abandoning the Sacrament of Penance.
We've allowed ourselves to be taught by cafeteria Catholics that Christians are weakly meek, meaning timid, as in pushovers. The true meekness of the warrior (as portrayed in the Beatitudes) is confidence in God, the One Who is really in charge of each man's life and every human being's life.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe was meek, but he was no pushover. He was humble. Relying on God, Maximilian possessed an indomitable spirit that allowed him to offer himself in place of a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII. Maximilian knew that God was (and is always) in charge, that his life belonged to God, and that his life was not his own. By placing God first in his life, Maximilian made the battle not between himself and the Nazis but between God and the forces of darkness. Maximilian wrestled against the dominions and powers behind the scenes, the dark powers influencing and manipulating events, not the mortals who were the willing minions of said demons. God was on Maximilian's side. Because he had already died in Christ through baptism, he could give his life in sacrificial love for his fellow prisoner. This is why we call him Saint Maximilian.
In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place, and died as he had always wished – in service.

We've allowed others to define us down. Many, perhaps most non-Catholics, have formed an opinion of the Church and Catholics based on what they've gleaned from the mainstream media. Sadly, even many Catholics buy into the news-for-profit media reports without any critical evaluation of the content and sources. If the comments on blogs, media sites and casual conversation in Tim Horton's, laundromats, staff rooms and social gatherings is any indication, far too many people with whom I've shared conversations are convinced that Time Magazine, CNN, CTV, CBC, NBC, BBC, etc., are paragons of journalistic integrity. However, those same armchair critics of the Church fail to access primary sources that, with even a cursory perusal of said sources, reveal a near extreme bias in the mainstream media against religious institutions and people of faith.

The front lines in the culture wars. The Church needs warriors to defend the Faith. We do not need weak-kneed Catholic legislators, for example, who manipulate voters so they can retain power for the sake of retaining power while they vote for policies that contradict common sense and are often openly hostile toward Catholics.

We need Catholics who can stand on their own two feet in the midst of a lion's den (workplace), can wield a verbal sword of truth spoken in love in a timely manner on the battle field of ideas (at universities, coffee shops, in checkout lines in a grocery store, in doctor's office waiting rooms, in pubs!), warriors who will lay down their lives for their brothers and sisters in response to people who say and do evil things.
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.—Ephesians 6:12.
Them's fightin' words. We've allowed the language of spiritual warfare to be watered down. Liberal religion is androgynous, neither genuinely masculine nor feminine. Liberal religionists recoil when confronted with robust masculinity and femininity. They shun authentic beauty and avoid the God of revelation, i.e., God Who is truth and beauty incarnate—Jesus Christ.

The good news is that pockets of orthodox resistance to heterodox religion may be found in staff rooms, class rooms, bookstores, businesses and, yes, even governments—civic, provincial/state and federal! There are large pockets of resistance. Catholic warriors are everywhere! Many also belong to organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, or the Catholic Women's League. Many, many warriors are freelancers for Christ and His Church. They are often hidden among the thorns, picking their battles, keeping the Faith.

Are you a real Catholic warrior?

A warrior is first and foremost a faithful disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, a disciple who fully embraces the Catholic Faith. If you are a warrior, you are
prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.—1 Peter 3:15.

A wuss, by contrast, habitually shrugs off the Faith when it is unpleasant or inconvenient to defend what is right and true and good. The wuss has no need for an examination of conscience. Thus, he has no problem excusing his behaviour or defending his selfishness.

A warrior is armed with the sword of the Gospel. The Gospel, to a warrior, is not a flaccid arrangement of sentimental platitudes. No, the Gospel is the truth spoken in love. Like any warrior, a Catholic warrior is prudent, wise and indomitable, never tiring in the face of conflict, turning aside persecution by embracing his enemies, but always standing his ground, never compromising the Faith nor his integrity.

The warrior is humble enough to admit when he is wrong, and through the Sacrament of Penance he seeks reconciliation with God and neighbour. The warrior is armed with the word of God which he believes is true for all. Warriors, therefore, are definitely not relativists. A warrior proposes the truth; a warrior acknowledges that God disposes people to the truth.

The wuss surrenders his dignity, which is to say the Faith, by shrinking in the face of confrontation. He knows what he should do, but falls apart and turns tail when the going gets tough. The wuss casts Jesus in his own image, rather than configuring himself to Christ. The wuss belongs to the ‘Church of Nice’. The wuss wants to get along with everybody (Who doesn’t?), but does so at the cost of truth, justice and his own integrity. 

The wuss is a quisling, siding with the enemy and betraying others to gain acceptance by worldly and seemingly powerful men. The power that the wuss seeks is fleeting, and so the wuss reduces himself to a mere caricature of a christian. The religion of the wuss is liberal religion, which is to say a religion made in his (man's) own image.

The religion of the warrior is the revealed Faith, the Faith delivered to the apostles by Christ and handed on by the orthodox successors of the apostles. The warrior is a tenacious conservationist, preserving the Faith inviolate. His commitment to the primacy of Peter is unflinching and rooted in the experience of the apostolic fathers who maintained the same conviction, i.e., that Peter’s successors are the supreme pastors of the Church. The primacy is not one of honour—a concept foreign to the Office of Saint Peter—but one of service. Christ, Himself, warned against seeking honour and prestige. No, the Office of Peter is one of love and power.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”—Holy Gospel according to St. John 21:15-19.
The warrior is the king’s (prime minister's, president's) good servant, but God’s (and Christ's vicar) first.

The wuss is an innovator who attempts to adjust the Faith to fit the world. The wuss is a democratic religionist (or religious democrat?) who imagines he has the power to vote doctrine 'in' or 'out'. In other words, he believes he can remake God in his own image. He is a relativist: truth is whatever he feels it to be. Feelings, to the wuss, are more important than the Faith. Thus, to the liberal religionist, the Faith should be substantially conformed to the whims of any age, time or place.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you (warriors), always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.—2 Timothy 4:3-5.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
While the warrior turns his cheek to attacks perpetrated against him, the warrior does not hesitate in his defense of the weak, the poor, the marginalized and the suffering. The warrior, like Saint Maximilian Kolbe, offers his life in place of another. The warrior knows that all human life is sacred from conception to natural end. The warrior knows he is successful if he is faithful to God’s commandments. He loves the Lord and keeps His commandments. He is a lover of truth and goodness.

In summary:
  • The wuss is lukewarm.
  • The warrior is fully alive in Christ Jesus.
  • The life of the wuss is bland.
  • The life of the warrior, an individual who confronts sin in himself and in the world, is filled with deep joy and a peace only God can give.
  • The wuss only knows the joy of the world, an immersion in sensual pleasures which, divorced from the grace of God, soon become meaningless distractions.
  • The warrior knows meaning in this life because he knows that ultimate meaning and salvation is only fully found in Jesus Christ!

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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