Posted by: fvbcdm | March 1, 2013

Feast of Saint Hedwig (28 Feb 2013)

Our catechism divides the Church of our Divine Lord into three categories: the Church Triumphant in heaven; the Church Suffering in purgatory, and the Church Militant on earth. “Militant” means “fighting.” So what are we fighting for, and what against?We are fighting FOR the extension of the Kingdom of Christ upon earth, that is, that every human being will come to know, love, and serve Christ during his or her stay in this world. We know that that is not going to happen in every case, but we do what we can that it be brought about. And we are fighting AGAINST evil, sin, Satan and his fellow demons, and—let’s not forget—we are fighting against ourselves insofar as we are elements of evil in our own pilgrimage from conception to entrance into eternal life.

Infected as we are by original sin and our own sins, we are proud, selfish, greedy, self-indulgent, and malicious. This is why, when we celebrate this holy season of Lent, which is the special time for combating evil in our lives and promoting good, the Church recommends three practices to us: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

By prayer, we humble ourselves before God, we recognize his sovereignty over us, and we ask him for what we need in our pilgrimage through life. Thus we combat our pride. By fasting, we say NO to our own desire for self-indulgence, for pleasure, for treating ourselves as though we were deserving of rewards and prizes because we’re such fine people! We know better than that. And by alms-giving, we see our neighbor not as the object of malice nor as a threat, but rather as a fellow-pilgrim through life and a brother or sister under the universal fatherhood of God, whom Jesus commands to address as “Our Father.” If he is our Father, yours and mine, then you are my brother and sister, and I have an obligation to love you in the sense that I want your salvation, and I will do whatever I can to bring it about.

Thus we fight; thus we are militant. By every prayer, by every act of self-denial, by every kindness to someone else, we are fighting for the kingdom of Christ, and we are bringing about that which we pray for in the Our Father when we say “thy kingdom come.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown., O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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