He Took Away the Armor

He Took Away the Armor


Here we are. This is the 106th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, and the 139th anniversary (exactly 33 years apart, to the day … the life of Christ) of Pope Leo XIII’s terrifying vision of a conversation between our Lord and Satan, in which Satan was given 75-100 years to try to destroy the Church. After having the vision, Pope Leo XIII immediately went from the Vatican Chapel to his private office and wrote the “Prayer to Saint Michael”, giving with it the instructions that it be prayed after all Low Masses.

And today, of all days, a call has been put out by Muslim leaders for a “Jihad” … a “Day of Rage.” Oh yeah, it’s also “Friday the 13th”, for all you superstitious folks.

More than interesting are what today’s Mass readings are calling us to on this day: “Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; gather the elders, all who dwell in the land, into the house of the LORD, your God, and cry to the LORD!” (Joel 1:14). You can find the Mass readings for October 13 here: https://bible.usccb.org/daily-bible-reading

But, it is in today’s Gospel that I feel we are given insight for discovering what has been Satan’s primary tactic for destroying our Church, and how we find our way out of this “darkness and gloom,” to quote from today’s First Reading.

First, note that Jesus performs a supernatural miracle and, right away, some in the crowd see him as a threat and accuse him of being in league with Satan. In other words, the supernatural is a threat to the designs of those who prefer, as Judas did, a Church that is more like an organization or business. They prefer to be in league with the world, and so they do not want to pose any threats to their “bottom line.” Threats must quickly be marginalized.

Then Jesus presents to them an image: “When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied…” (Luke 11:21-22).

“Strong man fully armed … he takes away the armor.” THERE! Directly from the Son of God! Jesus tells us what is the very first and primary tactic of Satan!! “He takes away the armor.” I have been preaching and teaching on this very thing for years! How did Satan try to destroy our Church over those 100 years? HE TOOK AWAY THE ARMOR!!

St. Paul reveals exactly what Jesus meant by “armor”: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

The armor of God is the “supernatural power of God … Grace.” For 100 years, Satan worked, especially upon Church leaders, to desacralize the faith; to rid it of anything that points to the sacred: sacred art, sacred architecture, sacred music and special attention to the sacred offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. All of this worked to predispose the faithful to “truly believe” in the supernatural power of God.

Add to this, those who advocate for this “sense of the sacred,” are being persecuted and marginalized. They are, like Jesus in today’s Gospel, seen as a threat. I believe most priests understand that we must make every attempt to assist the faithful to “armor up” with God’s supernatural grace, and that a return to a “sense of the sacred” is the way to predispose them to enter into this “true belief.” But, the priests are afraid. They are afraid that the vicious attacks on them and the division that would result in moving in this direction is too much to endure. So, the “Sacramental dispensary business” endures. And, we remain easy pickins for Satan’s attacks.

Here we are, October 13, 2023 … our churches are emptying, and many of those who remain treat the Most Holy Eucharist as a potato chip. And we wonder why evil believes this is its time to move in and deal the last blow.

Support brave priests who actually want souls in a state of grace. It is not the time for us to disperse in silent self-protection. It’s time to …