Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival (3 August 2014)

     Welcome once more to “Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival”, RAnn’s weekly convocation of Catholic bloggers at This That and the Other Thing.  The main site is here, where we hang around the barbeque grill swapping posts and swatting mosquitoes (and black flies here in Maine; nasty critters).    

Saint of the Week, St. Ignatius of Loyola

     But first: Thursday of this past week was the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, whom I mentioned in passing at the time, but did not have to opportunity to give the attention he deserves. I’ll try to make up for that lapse in this retrospective on the week past.
      Like St. Martin of Tours, St. Ignatius had been a soldier before he turned his life over to God.  After his conversion he sought to live his life in a different way.  Instead of the military officer’s stern and harsh way of addressing his subordinates, for instance, he employed a humble and gentle mode, even when administering necessary discipline.  At the same time, he never lost his “fighting spirit”, even if he expressed it in a different way; and instead of directing his fire at human enemies, he was now concerned with “the principalities, . .  .the powers, . . . the world rulers of this present darkness, . . . the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
     In fact he saw the inner life of every believer as a battlefield, where each one of us must choose between following the battle standard of Christ, or that of Satan.  His distinctive spirituality includes an emphasis on the “discernment of spirits”, which is a prayerful sifting of feelings and other influences to determine whether they are from the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the Devil.
     Having self-disciplined himself in this way, the Christian should then, like a good soldier, submit to his superiors in obedience:  “ . . . we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it”, St. Ignatius says in that part of his Spiritual Exercises called “To Have the True Sentiment Which We Ought to Have in the Church Militant”.  Not, however, simply the outward obedience that is required of the man under arms, but also the inner obedience of both the Will and the Intellect, as he explains in his famous Letter on Obedience [text here] . In other words, an obedience born of love, not fear.
     This seems a good time to remember the concept of the “Church Militant”, and that each of us is called to be a Soldier for Christ.  I’m not talking about soldiering in a literal sense, although with our ancient conflict with Islam heating up again it’s likely that there will be an increasing need for it.  I’m thinking more of the war to defend ourselves and our culture against the “spiritual hosts of wickedness” that St. Paul mentions in his letter to the Ephesians.  Of course, the two are not unrelated: the Jihadists and their allies can see the spiritual decay in our culture, which only serves to embolden them (just as Osama Bin Laden says he was inspired by the apparent weakness of the United States after our inelegant withdrawal from Somalia).  As the forces of Jihad discovered at Lepanto, however, they can’t hope to succeed against a Christendom united in Faith and fortified with Prayer; against Secularism, well, what’s to stop them?  The battle, then, will first be won or lost in the heart of each of us, and in our Churches and communities.

     And that is the post that I would have written on the Feast of St. Ignatius.  As for the week's other posts:

Monday: After reading an article in Catholic World Report about the shameful neglect of Joseph (“Don’t-Call-Me-Papa”) Haydn, I thought it best to make up for my neglect.  And it’s about time. “Haydn – ‘The Heavens Are Telling’, from The Creation” [here]

Tuesday: The evidence shows that so-called "incremental" anti-abortion measures really do help, not only in reducing the incidence of abortion, but in moving public opinion in favor of Life. “News From Texas: Pro-Life Laws Work” [here]

Thursday: The Liturgy of the Hours starts with the Invitatory Psalm, which draws us into the daily drama of prayer. “The Invitatory: A Call To Relationship With God (LOH 4 – Throwback Thursday Edition” [here]

Friday: I was once accused, many years ago, of being President of  The No-Fun Club, a title I have since proudly embraced.  And so here I once again discharge my Presidential duties, loudly harrumphing at Devil mascots, skulls on Children’s clothes, and other perfectly harmless emblems of the Culture of Death. “Why would you want Satan as a mascot?” [here]

     A final thought: The baseball team known as the Tampa Bay Rays played for the first time in 1998.  For their first ten years the name was actually the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (named after a fish, to be sure, not the Prince of Darkness himself); in those first ten seasons they finished in last place nine times, second to last once.  In 2008, the first season after the team had exorcised the word “Devil” from its name, they went to the World Series as American League champions.  Now, I’m sure that’s just a coincidence but, hey, just sayin’ . . .

These Guys were losers . . . 


. . . and these guys were American League Champs