After Paris, Time to Go to War
By Chris Sparks (Nov 18, 2015)
Another terrorist attack. Another international metropolis brought to a standstill by guns and bombs, wielded by a few against innocent civilians, interrupting what should have been an ordinary (or extraordinary) night and making it another date that will live in infamy.
11/13. Friday, the Thirteenth, a time of horror in Paris, capital of the "eldest daughter of the Church," as well as one of her greatest persecutors in the time of the French Revolution and the Terror that ensued. Friday's tremendous attack against France happened in the reign of the first pope named Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, whose merchant father had been so taken by France during his business trips that he changed his infant son's name from John to Francis.
France, a NATO power, immediately called the attack (or attacks, really) an act of war. With that, it would seem it is NATO that will be going to war, not merely France.
And so should we. Go to war, I mean.
Oh, I'm not saying anything specific about the use of armies and navies, of bombings and retaliation against the purported Islamic State. I'm saying we need to fight this foe like Catholic Christians, like the adopted sons and daughters of almighty God, following in the footsteps of the greatest men and women France has ever known.
We must fight in light of the reality of the situation, namely, that terrorism is of the devil, not of God. "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground" (Eph 6:12-13).
How do we resist? We fight as did St. Jean Vianney, whose long hours hearing Confessions, great mortifications and fasts, tireless preaching, teaching, and prayer, and love of our Lord and Our Lady all culminated to snatch many thousands of souls from the grip of the devil. And it was the devil who raged at him from the mouth of a possessed woman that if there were three such priests as Vianney in the world, the devil and all his works would be finished.
We fight as did St. Therese of Lisieux, whose "little way" is one of the most powerful tools for the spiritual life in the Church's arsenal, and also one of the most accessible, most usable by all, as explained by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, in Consoling the Heart of Jesus.
We fight as did St. John Eudes, the great teacher and promoter of devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, a teaching reiterated and expanded by the visionaries St. Catherine Laboure and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, as well as the French Jesuit St. Claude de la Colombiere.
We fight as have generations of French Catholics and saints: with the Rosary and devotion to Notre Dame, to Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception; with the Miraculous Medal and the waters of Lourdes; with all the great power of God's grace mediated through prayer, the Sacraments, the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition, through all the Mystical Body of Christ.
We fight with forgiveness, with prayer for our enemies, with works of mercy for our neighbors, with friendship, loyalty, and love for our brethren in the faith.
We fight by praying and seeking to serve all peoples, all nations, with the resources of the Mystical Body of Christ, whether they be in France or in places like Lebanon, where ISIS attacks also happened last week; in Syria and Iraq, so ravaged by war; in our own cities, our own neighborhoods, our own families, where sometimes, closeness can make it hard to see the needs we can most easily, most quickly address.
We fight as Jesus did, as St. Faustina did — by becoming the means through which Divine Mercy floods the world, transforming hearts, minds, and lives, defeating the enemies of humanity and of goodness by turning them into friends, brothers, kinfolk.
So take up the weapons of our warfare: the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, veneration of the Divine Mercy Image, the Stations of the Cross at the 3 o'clock hour, offering up sufferings, and all the other great spiritual tools offered us through the treasure trove of the Catholic faith. Take up the works of mercy in a serious, abiding way, lighting candles against the darkness instead of cursing it, becoming the beacons of faith, hope, and charity the world needs, rather than giving way to despair, fear, and hatred.
Take up your crosses anew, and follow Jesus, and all the world shall be renewed. Become the Christians you were born to be, and you will set the world on fire, as St. Catherine of Siena once said.
Go, and bring the Holy Spirit to all the ends of the earth, even into the hearts and minds of ISIS. Go; fight; win in the onrushing night, for there is enough light in us to turn all darkness into light, if only we believe, if only we trust, and if only we love.
Go. The French and the world need that light, the Light of Christ, for the night presses close and the hearts of humankind grow cold. Go — the hour is late, and the need, great. Go, Christian soldiers, and through the grace of God, renew all things in love.