“What do we do?” – A militant answer
Continuing on with our series on “Well, what do we do now, Sarge?” posts, we offer this little essay by a long-time reader. Bree A. Dail works in some mysterious analytical capacity for the Department of Defence of the US, and manages a defence consultancy firm in Virginia. I asked her for her input because, being of a military background, she is possessed of something of a “let’s get er done” attitude. Not much of a one for sitting, wailing and lamenting.
It is my opinion that we must start taking more of a “militant” attitude to everything we do as Catholics, including prayer, and Bree seems to share this. I think her input is doubly important since she is, like most of us reading and writing about this crisis, just regular folks. Not a priest, not a bishop, not the foundress of a religious community. Just a working schlep like you and me.
She approaches the problem in a practical way, but, as we have discussed here at length, emphatically not in terms of “activism”. I think we’ve all done enough letter-writing, signed enough petitions, gone on enough “marches”. Let’s try a procession now instead, even if we have to do it at home, in that interior sanctuary we each carry around.
(And there’s a tease at the end… No, even I don’t know what it is…)
Reclaiming the Narrative Of Authentic Catholicity
Bree A. Dail, MDY
Recent Vatican PR scandals notwithstanding, these last years have been plagued with more than just a sense of foreboding, betrayal, anger and helplessness. These reactions are natural to injustices witnessed and experienced, especially when considering that the very foundations of our Faith are being openly compromised by those meant to support, defend and instruct them. For the individual layman or simple parish priest, however, there is a double edge to this sword: the impression one is screaming against the storm.
Things to do:
In my experience as a military officer, it was ground into our training, early on, to never approach a superior officer with a problem without solutions to recommend solving it. When briefing these, we often use the acronym, “BLUF” (or Bottom Line Up Front). Get to the point, as it were—skip the emoting, the fluff and the lamenting—these don’t contribute to the solution.
BLUF: Gaining the Tactical Advantage through Prayer
Indeed, this is a war. The blessing is, we have access to the weapons that will level the playing field against an enemy far stronger than any of us…and better still, every Catholic may utilize them.
First—the Holy Rosary. St Padre Pio called this the “greatest weapon against the evils of the world, today.” The Rosary allows for the individual warfighter to not only pray the powerful vocal prayers of the Ave, Pater and Gloria, but encourages him to utilize his imagination in order to meditate upon the mysteries of each decade. Meditation quiets the lower faculties, and as Fr Ripperger admonishes, the demonic cannot stand the soul who meditates. This is the essential foundation point.
Secondly—Marian Consecration and Eucharistic Adoration. The “two pillars”, as St John Bosco envisioned, with the Church firmly anchored to them, are essential to this fight. I highly recommend St Maximilian Kolbe’s consecration within the Militia Immaculatae.
We have another major devotion that any and all Catholics should be actively engaged in. If you are tired of simply “taking the blows”, and desirous to take an active role in “punching back” in this war: join the Auxilium Christianorum. I cannot begin to stress how powerful these simple prayers of spiritual warfare are. Developed by exorcists, hundreds of thousands now pray these prayers of spiritual combat on a daily basis—and miracles are occurring.
Things to understand:
Those who purposefully spread error in our ranks, often do so by presenting what can be surmounted as forgeries of the Truth and of Joy— these false copies being inauthentic and uninspired, like an obvious façade covering a dilapidated structure. Or, even better analogy, like their continued promotion of obscenely garish artwork, it takes little to recognise their cheap forgery of Beauty. What must we do, then, to combat this inauthenticity?
First, observe the patterns of our enemies…they divide, they set us against one another. They drive error through propagation, but silence those who propagate Truth and Justice. They promote garish, self-focused art and liturgy, but stifle those who would refocus them towards beauty and the justice of true and selfless worship. They isolate us from community; they beat us down with false joy under the auspices of “charismatic” and “ecumenical”, while being none of these things. They dismiss the value and dignity of suffering by emoting false compassion. They shirk their responsibilities and then excuse sin by claiming it is “mercy” for the ignorant.
Each of us may join in this fight by looking inward at how our passions are affected by their assaults, and work on the opposite Virtues. Once we engage the Virtues, we deal a blow to their divisions. From there, we will begin to discern our individual missions in the ongoing fight, with passions rightly ordered and “out of the way” for the Glorious Work of the Holy Spirit within us.
BLUF: The Truth Cannot be Compromised.
The heterodox, because of their adherence to dishonesty, will always present as inauthentic and unoriginal. We have the opportunity to change the narrative by simply presenting the Good, the True and the Beautiful. We must become attractive and engaging (not stuffy and dowdy!) but to do so, first, we must train ourselves in the foundations of our Faith, and arm ourselves with the spiritual weapons we’ve been given. God knows the battle is raging, and no man is exempt. The clarion call is sounding—what will your answer be?
Finally—keep your ears and eyes open for big news in the near future. There are plans being worked, which will be fully revealed on Holy Saturday, here in the US. Internationally, similar plans are being formed, and will follow shortly after. Think Lepanto…but our enemy is the driving force behind chaos and disorder. Each of us will have a chance to play an active role.
I’m only going to add that the Auxilium Christianorum prayers and spiritual apostolate is one of the best I’ve ever encountered. I know people – some of them VERy well known – who have used them to rescue their flagging faith and drooping spirits. They are especially effective at helping us to overcome interior temptations, temptations of the mind to despair, to give up, to think “Oh, nothing we do matters,” etc.
We’re seeing more and more signs that the whole business in Rome is moving along together with a general rise in the demonic. And that stuff can’t be addressed by online petitions. At the same time, we are seeing more evidence that Our Lady is taking a direct role in the rescue of Christianity, the conversion of Muslims and seculars alike.
Auxilium Christianorum is one of the few things I’ve seen that addresses that stuff directly and unequivocally, and with a refreshing matter-of-factness. AC, in other words, is specifically oriented toward helping Christians wage spiritual warfare.
The Church teaches us that it is divided into the Church Triumphant (which includes the members of the Church in heaven), the Church Suffering (this includes the members of the Church in purgatory), and the Church Militant (this refers to those members of the Church who are alive in this world). Because we are part of the Church Militant, we are in a spiritual warfare and this spiritual warfare requires that we recognize, as Saint Paul teaches us “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The members of the Auxilium Christianorum should always bear in mind the reality of our state as members of the Church living in this world. Despite St. Paul’s teaching, many Catholics do not take seriously their obligation to wage war against the demonic forces. It is for this reason the Association of the Auxilium Christianorum was founded.
We always struggle with the same temptation, to think of prayer as something that doesn’t quite count as “doing something.” This goes back to the desert tradition, where the wise old Desert Fathers were always admonishing eager young monks, “Stay in your cell.” And the young monks always struggled with the temptation to go out in the world and “do something useful.” We material beings have difficulty trusting in the purely spiritual.
If it seems too simple to “just pray” I would add only the words of the servants of Naaman: “It’s easy, so why not try it?”
Naaman the foreigner and commander of the army of the king of Aram, who received a message from Elisha to cure his leprosy by washing seven times in the River Jordan:
5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lordhad given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.[a]
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels[c] of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.