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제목 Our Attitudes in the Spiritual War (2015-02-15)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-02-22

 


Our attitude in the Spiritual War (2015-02-15)   

 

 My dear brethren, 


Today we have the marvellous epistle of St Paul on Charity. It is useful to know that the Church gives also to read ad Matins from Abraham, who became the “fathers of nations” by his marvellous faith: the father of all those who have the one true Faith in every nation of the world. Not only did Abraham have a great faith in God, but also a marvellous charity, that is love of God above all else, even above his own son Isaac: he did not hesitate to offer him in holocaust to God, out of obedience to God’s command! Truly he practiced what Our Lord taught: “he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Mt. 10:37). Abraham was worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ, by his great faith and charity.


Now we must know that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). But also without charity it is impossible to please God, as St Paul says today: “if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Why do we need both? Fundamentally, because God is not only “Light”, but also “Charity”: indeed St John gives two marvellous “definitions” of God in his first epistle. First he said: “this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and there is no darkness in him” (1 Jn. 1:5). And then he said: “God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4:16).


“God is Light”, that does not mean that God is physical light, like the sun; but God is spiritual light, the light of truth, “that enlighteneth all men” (Jn. 1:9). Ignorance is darkness of the mind; truth is the light of the mind. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). God is both the supreme intelligence and the supreme truth. That Divine Truth is so much above our nature that St Paul can write that God “inhabiteth light inaccessible” (1 Tim. 6:16). Yet He deigned to call us to a super-natural beatitude, that of seeing Him face to face, to enter into that Light: “For with thee is the fountain of life; and in Thy Light we shall see Light” (Ps. 35:10). If a beautiful landscape draws our admiration, the vision of God will be so beautiful it will be our eternal beatitude!


God is also Charity! God says to us in Jeremiah: “Yea I have loved thee with everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee” (Jer 31:3). Not only did God put the first man and woman in a paradise on earth, but even after man’s rebellion, He still offered a Redeemer, in the very person of His only-begotten Son, Who offered Himself as a Sacrifice on the cross for our salvation, thus marvellously “overcoming evil by good” (Rom. 12:21). “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son;” (Jn. 3:16). Thus the psalmist, filled with gratitude, says: “The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever” (Ps. 88:2). And the beloved Apostle John writes: “In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because He hath loved us first, and sent his Son to be a propi¬tiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:10). “Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19).


My dear brethren, we are not God, we are not by ourselves, but He made us: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: he made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Ps. 99:3). This seems evident, and indeed it is an evidence that we are not God. Yet the drama of the modern world is man making himself God: man pretending to be independent from God, man refusing to submit his intelligence to the Light of God’s truth, refusing to love God more than himself, refusing the Law of God, refusing any law that man did not make, any order that man did not make.


See for example the notion of “human nature”. God made us; He gave us a “human nature”, a soul in a body, with faculties in the soul and in the body, and with certain laws that we ought to observe: for instance, that we should worship God, that our body should be subject to our soul, that our passions should be subject to our reason and controlled by our reason; that we should not be slaves of our passions, etc. But modern man rejects the very notion of “human nature”, with the obligations that go with it; they reject it so much that you have this modern theory of “gender” as if everyone can choose one’s own gender: an absurdity! As if the DNA of our cells were not a given, that is not object of choice! So this modern rejection of human nature leads to all kinds of unnatural vices.


A very good priest of the 19th century, Father Gaume, wrote this [slightly adapted for Koreans – the original was written for French people acquainted with the history of the French Revolutions]: “If, taking away its mask from the Revolution, you ask her: Who are you? She will answer you:


“I am not what people think I am. Many speak of me, but few know me. I am neither this uprising, nor the overthrow of monarchy into republic, neither the overthrow of one dynasty by another, nor the passing public disorder. I am neither the shouts of the insurrection, nor the fury of the revolutionaries, nor the bloody fights of the barricades, nor the tanks of Prague or of Xiamen. I am not Robespierre, nor Lenin, nor Stalin. These men were my sons, not me. These deeds are my works, not me. These men and events are passing, but I am a permanent state.


“I am the hatred of any order that man did not establish and in which he is not king and God at the same time. I am the proclamation of the Rights of Man rejecting the Rights of God. I am the foundation of a religious and social state upon the will of man in place of the Will of God. I am the dethroning of God and setting Man in his place. That is why I am called Revolution, that is the turning of things around.”


These words of Father Gaume describe very well what Revolution is, and they help us to see how far it has developed all over the world, not just in communist countries: most of the countries of the world now make no reference to God’s law at all; most approve in their laws things such as abortion which are most clearly condemned and forbidden by God’s Law. Some go so far as to claim a “right for abortion, right for homosexuality, etc.” How could there be a right to do that which is intrinsically wrong??? The same thing cannot be right and wrong at the same time! God said that killing the innocent is wrong, but man says there is a right to abortion??? The so-called “Declaration of the Rights of Man” is practically a chart of the “rights of man without God”, a shout: “I shall not serve! I shall not submit myself under the Law of God.”


So, as you can see, there is a huge spiritual battle going on in the world. It did not start today. In a certain way it started with the rebellion of the Devil (“I shall not serve!”), entered the scene on earth by the sin of Adam and Eve and will continue until the end of the world. God Himself has described the two sides in this beautiful prophecy: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen. 3:15).


Which side do we choose? We cannot remain indifferent. The very fact to be indifferent to God is an offence to Him. By our baptism, we have chosen to be children of Mary, to be “seed of the woman”; we have renounced Satan and all his works and all his allurements, i.e. his deceits and cunnings. We have rejected Satan’s kingdom of darkness and hatred, and have resolutely chosen for Christ, and His Kingdom of Light and Charity. We have chosen to be of the camp of the Woman and her Seed, who shall crush the Devil’s head.


But there are, sad to say, many Catholics want to conciliate the world, and the Prince of this world; they do not want to fight against the Devil anymore and want to serve God and the world at the same time. This reconciliation with the spirit of the world is the mark of Vatican II; Pope Paul VI himself said it in the discourse on 7th December at the end of the Council: “the challenge with which was faced the Council was this: the religion of man making himself God – because it is one – challenged the religion of God who made Himself man. What happened? A clash? An anathema? It could have happened; but the old story of the Samaritan was the light of the Council: a great sympathy for man… we, more than anyone, have the worship of man.” These words, especially the last, are very scandalous!


On the contrary, we have resolutely chosen the true religion, that of God who made Himself Man, the religion of the Incarnation, of our Lord Jesus Christ – and we reject the religion of man making himself God. Life dispels the darkness; our Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the world (Jn. 8:12); He dispels the darkness of unbelief and of sin. He alone can heal the soul from its darkness and sin, and fill us with his Light and charity. And He teaches us that we should not hate the sinner, but hate sin and strive to save the sinner from his sins. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, and every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Note in passing the contrast between Islam and the true religion, Catholic religion: Islam will kill those who oppose it; Catholics strive to convert those who oppose Christ, and – like our Lord – are willing to sacrifice themselves to obtain that conversion!


In this big battle we need the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. How do we get it? First of all by prayer, and contemplation: we need to contemplate God, Who is Light and Charity; in the mystery of God’s inner life, we see the Father who begets His Son by way of intelligence; we see the Holy Ghost proceeding by way of love – Charity – from the Father and the Son. That contemplation inflames us with love for God, through our Lord Jesus Christ who revealed us this great mystery. That contemplation itself is a gift of God, and we should ask for it. Ask and it shall be given! Our Lord wants to give us even more than we want to receive. He wants our salvation more than we want it ourselves: He died on the Cross for our salvation! So we should not fear to ask for the graces we need in this battle: He will help us and give us the victory. St Joan of Arc said: soldiers shall fight and God shall give the victory. In the spiritual battle it is even more true. So, prayer is the very first and most needed weapon of the spiritual battle for our salvation.


The second weapon – that goes with prayer – is the firm will and deliberate decision to keep our soul free from sin; that decision must be absolute, without any condition and any limit. Sin is simply out of question. St Paul says: “let it not even be mentioned among you”: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints:” (Eph. 5:3). We cannot do good around us, unless first we live united with Christ, in the state of grace, and therefore with no compromise with sin. Sin is out of the question. We must say an absolute NO to sin. If we feel weak in this regard, we ought immediately to pray, begging the good Lord to strengthen our resolution and begging Him to keep us from giving in. We must be sure that He will grant this prayer, which is most pleasing to him, since there is no greater desire in His Heart for us than “our sanctification”: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes. 4:3).


The third weapon is mortification: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Mt. 9:23). Lent is coming; it is a most important time to practice mortification generously, fastings, vigils, longer prayers and readings, etc. Be careful to keep the Friday abstinence not just during Lent, but throughout the year. Some people say: “I forgot…” but how could you forget that our Lord Jesus Christ died on a Friday? We must always have our Lord Jesus Christ in our thoughts, live with Him, and never forget Him.


In all this, we should do all that under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, living close to her through constant prayer and recourse to her intercession: this is the sure way to have your prayers answered, to remain always pure and faithful to the chastity of your state, to remain humble and faithful to God, to our Lord Jesus Christ. Under her mantle, you are secure. May she give us to partake of her victory over the devil, crushing the serpent’s head under her feet. Amen.

 

Fr. F Laisney (sspx)