Jesus states this bluntly: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” [Mt.12:30]
Yet there appears to be a paradox within all that has been said about spiritual warfare.
A paradox apparent in these words of Jesus which are explicit: “…I say to you offer no resistance to one who is evil.” [Mt.5:39]
This is the passage where Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, to go further than we are forced too along the road.
We can fall into the trap of either assuming fighting in spiritual warfare means head-on confrontation, or the trap of the other extreme, a form of passivity.
Mostly spiritual warfare means loving without counting the cost, forgiving without self-interest, bearing one another’s burden with a light and generous heart, embracing the cross, suffering, spending ourselves in generous intercessory prayer, among which potent weapon is the Holy Rosary, fasting and in particular being faithful to the duty of the moment in our chosen vocation.
A mother who tenderly and patiently cares for a colicky child, a husband who worn out from his day’s labour surprises his wife with a night out, just two examples of how we build the civilization of love with Jesus and defeat the enemy.
It is rather simple: the Holy Trinity, God: first; everyone else: second; last/third: self.
It is to always have before our hearts the teaching of St. Peter: “For this you have been called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When He was insulted, He returned no insult; instead, He handed Himself over to the one who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” [1 Pt. 2:21-24]
It may feel unfair that we should suffer in silence when the other side gloats and screams their position – yet the power of silent, prayerful witness in front of the slaughter-houses where babies are murdered is a peaceful, powerful sign of contradiction and truth of life in the face of evil and death.
When we contemplate Christ in the cross our hearts will be enlightened with understanding by the Holy Spirit about the immense power of sacred silence.
Bl. Pope John Paul has taught us in his letter on human suffering, SALVIFICI DOLORIS: “Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ…”
In spiritual warfare most of us will not be called to martyrdom by blood.
All of us however are called to the martyrdom of death to self, of laying down our lives moment by moment in union with Jesus, as the Servant of God Catherine Doherty teaches in her book MOLCHANIE: “Consider the martyrs in the Roman coliseum. Who can count them all?….Many not only forgave, but like St. Stephan, implored the Lord not to hold against them what their persecutors were doing……You must enter a whole new dimension, cross the bridge of God’s silence into His love….you are completely in love with Him…You stagger…like a person intoxicated with love, seeking your Lover…..back and forth He walks the desert of your souls crying out, ‘Don’t you know how much I love you!’ You answer, ‘You are God. You understand. You brought me to Your silence, and Your silence brought me to Your love. And now I want to identify myself with You completely. I want to die for You.’”
In his book WHEN JESUS SLEEPS, Archbishop Martinez encourages us: “The very state in which Jesus is found in the Most Holy Sacrament is a state of silence….He placed Himself in that state so that He might have nothing else to do but love…Let us not forget it: the summit of love is silence. Love that can still be expressed with words has not arrived at its perfection….Let us understand the silence of the Eucharist and put ourselves in unison with Jesus in that wondrous stillness.”
Our Lady of Silence will teach us this truth and in this, as in all aspects of Gospel life, Our Blessed Mother is our consolation, model, help, and protection.
The final word here, then, on being faithful to Jesus, soldiers of Christ, pilgrims of communion of love, is from Bl. Pope John Paul in his encyclical THE GOSPEL OF LIFE: “Mary…helps the Church to realize that life is always at the center of a great struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness….by His Incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every person…..Mary is a living word of comfort for the Church in her struggle against death. Showing us the Son, the Church assures us that in Him the forces of death have already been defeated…The Lamb who was slain is alive, bearing the marks of His passion in the splendour of the Resurrection….we…pilgrim people…people of life and for life, make our way in confidence to a new heaven and a new earth…O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, to you we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast number of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together will all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.”