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Sunday 4 May 2014

When do we walk away from evil and when do we engage?

Like all military personnel, those in the Church Militant need to make decisions on when, where, who in terms of engagement.

Now, strategists have different views than those on the ground, sometimes. And, sometimes, armies have to deal with invasions not predicted.

In the spiritual world of spiritual warfare, the rules of engagement are simple, really.

Do not go into enemy territory, (sin and occasions of sin), and once defeated in an area, be wary.

Those who engage the enemies of God are usually our prayer warriors, such as the contemplative orders of Benedictines, Cistercians, Carthusians, etc. who are on the front lines.

Sometimes we are brought into situations which we did not intend to enter by friends or family.

Number one rule is that one cannot be alone in the fight. Christ sent out the disciples in twos for a reason.
I have written about this before here.

But, sometimes we have to walk away from evil.

Christ told us this:

Matthew 10:13-16
13 And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you.
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet.
15 Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
16 Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.
These are hard words. and how long should we wait for results in a situation of either evangelization or conversion to walk away?
Some people cannot walk away, such as those who are in a family to which they are committed, or in a marriage.
But, the rules of engagement from Christ are clear.
1) Bring peace but if those in the house do not want this peace, it will rebound on you.
2) Those who immediately turn away or do not heed your words, need to be left alone. If such people are fallen away Catholics, they need to hear the truth of their situation. If they do not change, walk on.
3) Wisdom is given by God as well as simplicity of heart.
So, some of you are thinking, this post has not yet addressed the question of time.
God will tell one either by circumstances or by discernment.
Example: a person close to me had to leave a job where those in authority over him were engaged in theft. After he told the company, and the company refused to listen, he left in order not to be supporting the evil therein. Later on, others in the company found out and left as well. The problem was not dealt with and years have passed. But, those who left are no longer cooperating with evil. The problem may have been dealt with..I do not know. Those Christians had to leave otherwise, they would have been cooperating with evil.
In another situation, a woman witnessed child abuse in her family by her husband and her father. She had to report these horrible sins and then, she had to leave. Those who had to face the law did not need her support, as she had been abused as well. Such a story has been repeated over and over in rural areas. There are times one must stop talking and do something. She needed to tend to the healing of her own soul and those of the women involved. She is a faithful Catholic now.
Leaving sometimes is the only correct response.
Some families are so caught up in evil that the only way one can save one's own soul is to separate one's self from that evil.  I have known people who had to leave husbands who refused to repent of serious evils or wives who refused to repent. One couple I know broke up after the wife refused to stop using contraception. The man got an annulment, and then had a happy marriage with children. That was a long time ago and the Church acknowledged the unrepentant wife as breaking the commitment of marriage.
To dust the dust off one's feet sometimes takes tremendous courage.
Many people are confused, but here is the number two rule of engagement. If one's own soul is in danger, or if members of your family souls' are in danger, if the situation causes one or more people to sin, one must dust the dust off one's feet and move on.
I pray for those today who need to courage to do this activity. Being a solider of Christ means blessing those who want to be blessed with the Truth, Who Is A Person.

One does not have to befriend those who are caught up in evil, if those people have no intention of changing..
Another example: a friend of mine years ago married a Catholic man who fell away from the Faith. He began to out to brunch at the same time he use to join his wife at Mass. He joined his family, who had also all fallen away. The wife went to Church alone for years and years and years. Now, he had come back, waking up to the fact that it was his family who had led him into years of mortal sin. They are in a new relationship, now, in their marriage. She did not leave the marriage, but prayed and prayed. She also confronted the husband and eventually, he changed, he repented. She has shared this story of grace, and her friends rejoice.
God gives people a certain level of discernment in order to know when to leave bad situations.
Too often we protect others from conversion, we protect others from the grace of God.
We stand between God and the other person because we have not left them to God's Justice and Mercy. We play God.
Pray and know when to stay and when to leave.

Emergency Prayers Two

The baby I asked you all to pray for is now in the hospital on oxygen. Please, please pray for her and her parents. The baby is only three weeks old.

Judas Window?

This is an odd development since I visited this church in the not so distant past.

My own opinion is not based on the fact that some people commit suicide, but on the fact that Judas was the betrayer of Christ and called by God, "the son of perdition".

It seems to me that having a window dedicated to Judas and to suicide, which also includes the silver given for Christ's arrest is no appropriate.

Comments from readers?

Thanks to D. for sending me this.


Years ago, I assigned a history project for a class of mine. The students were to find out someone in their ancestry who had fought in a war and write about that person. If the person was still living, the student could interview that man or woman.

One student had a grandfather who fought in WWII and interviewed him. One girl was a direct descendant of Robert E. Lee. Another girl's great-grandfather was a Native American who had fought at Little Bighorn.

These young people found out something about themselves when they wrote the stories of the past and collected items and photos, if possible.

Most schools, even high schools, no longer teach history. This state of affairs is purposeful, to create a people without identity, without a past.

We all have ancestors, which may sound like a silly thing to state, but many people in America have no clue as to family history.

My family is not "close" in the sense that we visit each other often or even live close to each other, which we do not. We fall into the 50% of the Americans who live 50 miles or more away from parents.

Some families have members who live close to each other. Some live in different countries, or even on different continents. But, wherever people live, I sincerely hope they know from whence they came and who the families were in the past.

Some people are adopted, like my niece, who is from China. Those children grow up with two sets of parents, or with one set who are the ones they come to know and love. Of course, a Chinese child knows, if being raised in a Caucasian family, that she is adopted, and, of course, her parents have told her the story of her adoption.

Still, the child wants to find her mother some day. This is natural and good. We need to know our ancestors.

But, many families have been torn apart by war, calamity, even poverty. I think of the English Civil War, which divided families into Royalists and Parliamentarians, the Anglo-Catholics and the Puritans. I know of a family which became divided between Catholicism and Protestantism, and still is divided today after 400 plus years.

But, they share the same ancestors, which they can trace to the 12th century. Most people I meet in the States can, at the most, trace their heritage back to the 18th century, or the mid-18th century. Some have lost all their history, coming over as displaced persons when children and barely remembering their past.

Two people I knew in Canada, now both dead, came from Czechoslovakia, managing to get away as young teens just as the Nazis took over in the sell-out of the Munich Agreement. The woman I knew, married to the man who had another story, never saw her family again after her father told her to get on her bicycle and travel to Switzerland somehow. She left just as the German army came into her town, and she never saw her father, mother and sister again. Her sister just "disappeared". Years later, I tried to locate her sister through various agencies online, but there was no history to be found.

Finally, people helped this young teen get to England, and then to Canada. But, she lost her heritage, her history, her ancestral stories.

Many Millennials have no clue as to their family histories. Some parents have not passed down any information, except vague stories of some being German, or Swiss, or English.

We are part of the past, as well as the present, and the future. I cannot help but believe that if people knew who their ancestors were and who they are in relation to Europe, America would not be so provincial and ignorant about world affairs today.

If you do not know your ancestors, try and find out. If you do, treasure the past they lived which is part of your genes, your personality, perhaps your physical appearance.

It is good to know who we are from those who went before us.

News from Europe

Someone phoned me yesterday and explained the feelings found in Poland and Lithuania over the fighting in the Ukraine. Ukrainian flags are being flown in Poland as a sign of unity with that country, and both Poles and Lithuanians are nervous about the Russian belligerence. I do not think that Americans understand what is happening abroad at all. I was glad for this first-hand account from someone who has been talking with young people involved in politics in Poland.

Many of the peoples of Eastern Europe believe that Putin wants to restore the old Soviet Union as it was.

I suggest we pray to St. John Paul II concerning this possible huge problem.

Question: Does anyone out there remember this?

I do not have a copy of a long blog post and comment I wrote comparing test match cricket with the Tridentine Mass and limited overs with the NO.

Do any of my readers have a copy of that?

UPDATE: the one on Bruther Eccles is not the one I wanted, but one from 2007 or 2008 which was a long comparison of the TLM with test match cricket and the NO with limited overs.

Good luck, but I cannot find it.

Prayer Request Two Tonight

Some friends of mine are under a totalitarian government and fear for their own freedom of speech. Please pray for them as well, being Christian brothers and sisters.

Emergency Prayers Now, Please

Two dear friends of mine have two children and the youngest, an infant, is very ill.

Please pray for her.

Thanks, STM

Continuing The Mini-Review on The Attributes of God

I have posted the one on God as Good here.

More later....

Becoming One's Enemies

The great saints of the Church have taught us to concentrate on the Life of Christ and the Attributes of God, through mediation and active contemplation. The main reason for this is that we become like those we think about the most.

This is why it is important to marry a person who is holy. You will become like your mate.

This is why it is important to think of Jesus and Mary, not one's self or one's enemies.

Forgiveness comes with looking towards Christ on the Cross.

Those who concentrate on the evils of others will become like those people unless a personal detachment or objectivity, the sign of the saint, has occurred. Objectivity demands humility.

Here is a dialogue from Ben-Hur which underlines my point here:

Photo is not from same scene

Esther: Oh, Judah, rest. Sleep. For a few hours of the night, let your mind be at peace.
Judah Ben-Hur: [bitterly] Peace! Love and peace. Do you think I don't long for them as you do? Where do you see them?
Esther: If you had heard this man from Nazareth...
Judah Ben-Hur: Balthasar's word.
Esther: He is more than Balthasar's word. His voice traveled with such a still purpose... It was more than a voice... a man more than a man! He said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Judah Ben-Hur: Children of God? In that dead valley where we left them? I tell you every man in Judea is unclean, and will *stay* unclean, until we've scoured off our bodies the crust and filth of being at the mercy of tyranny. No other life is possible except to wash this land clean!
Esther: In blood?
Judah Ben-Hur: Yes, in blood!
Esther: I know there is a law in life, that blood gets more blood as dog begets dog. Death generates death, as the vulture breeds the vulture! But the voice I heard today on the hill said, "Love your enemy. Do good to those who despitefully use you."
Judah Ben-Hur: So all who are born in this land hereafter can suffer as we have done!
Esther: As you make us do now! Are we to bear nothing together? Even love?
Judah Ben-Hur: I can hardly draw breath without feeling you in my heart. Yet I know that everything I do from this moment will be as great a pain to you as you have ever suffered. It is better not to love me!
Esther: It was Judah Ben-Hur I loved. What has become of him? You seem to be now the very thing you set out to destroy, giving evil for evil! Hatred is turning you to stone. It is as though you had become Messala!