by Fr Richard Heilman | June 29, 2017 12:50 PM
Any combat training and tactical planning begins with a process of intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. Recon (reconnaissance) is a military term used to determine the enemy force’s disposition and intention, gathering information (or intelligence) about an enemy’s composition and capabilities.
So why has the devil been so effective in our times? What is his strategy? Let’s do a little “Recon.”
Like any General commanding an army, he looks for vulnerabilities; he looks to exploit weaknesses. Satan needs to look no further than the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Envy, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth.
Pride & Envy
Pride and Envy lead the list for a reason. They constitute the “first movement” of those who go “AWOL” or break ranks with God’s army. Pride is the inordinate love of self — a high esteem in our own abilities also known as vanity. Pride fools us into thinking that we are the source of our own greatness.
In our times, we see this pride on full display in those who count themselves as possessing a “superior knowledge” over that of the “unwashed masses” … the irredeemable deplorables.
Of course, the knowledge of the riffraff is based in Natural Law; in an adherence to the basic concepts of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong. For those filled with pride, this “common knowledge” possessed by “commoners” will just not do. No, the elite class must have knowledge that transcends; is superior to the knowledge of commoners. This is why those who count themselves as a part of the elite class constantly take the rival view to some of the most basic understandings of right vs. wrong … they must be superior to the riffraff. This is their euphoria; their intoxication; their drug.
Envy enters in when those who are spiritually and emotionally weak, desire to be counted among the elite class. They, too, seek the prestige found in associating with those who they believe to be a superior class of people. This need to “fit in” begins, for most people, on any school yard playground. They long to hangout with the “cool kids.”
In our culture, today, the cool kids – the self-professed elite class – are all of the major institutions – The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, and literature. They relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism, because this stands contrary to what the deplorable, unwashed masses believe and live.
This prideful elitism made its way into our Church. While the cultural elites were taking control in the world, the ecclesiastical elites were doing the same in our Church.
If we once believed we should speak the truth to our people, we must now coddle them, for fear of offending anyone. If we once heralded beautiful churches, we should now build ugly functional ones. If we once believed in the miracle power of God, we must now repudiate that as backward. If we once believed in the sacred, we must now place our focus on the profane. And so forth, and so on.
What were all of these? “Rival views” to what we have held as true. This is what pride looks like. Believing in one’s own knowledge as being superior to what is commonly held.
A prideful elite gained dominance in our Church, and these elites have wallowed in the euphoria of telling everyone else how wrong they were, and insisting everyone believe how right they are.
The immense damage that has been done, while these self-professed elites ingested the drug of their sense of superiority, has left our Church in a shambles. Our once spiritually strong, beautiful and sacred church has been turned into a feeble, ugly and profane (emptied of divine content) Church by “elites who thought they knew better.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote,
“If men and women are really made for heroism and glory, made to stand in the presence of the living God, they can never be satisfied with bourgeois, mediocre, feel-good religion. They’ll never be fed by ugly worship and shallow moralizing. But that’s what we too often give them.”
In the wake of this devastating rebellion, the number of practicing Catholics has plummeted, in just the past 50 years, from nearly 80% to under 25% (5% in many parts of Europe). And yet, one still wonders the percentage of those 25% of “practicing” Catholics who are truly devout and 100% orthodox (an unquantifiable number). And the ecclesiastical elites are still claiming their superior knowledge of feeble, ugly and profane remains what is best for the Church. They are sick!
Spiritually speaking, many have crossed into the dry and lifeless valley of the dry bones prophesied in Ezekiel 37. Dead in their sins, with the rigor mortis of indifference hardening their hearts, they are without the breath of the Spirit, destined for eternal damnation, unless some campaign of search and rescue is launched.
And yet, diminished as we are, how many even recognize, or want to recognize the gravity of our situation? Dr. Peter Kreeft wrote: “You cannot win a war if you are unwilling to admit we are even at war or you don’t know who your enemy is or you don’t know what strategy your enemy is using.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote,
It is characteristic of any decaying civilization that the great masses of the people are unaware of the tragedy.
Humanity in a crisis is generally insensitive to the gravity of the times in which it lives.
Men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because they have no standard outside of themselves by which to measure their times. If there is no fixed concept of justice, how shall men know it is violated?
Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world; the great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on, because they have lost the vision of the heights from which they have fallen.
Within the Church, the loss of supernatural grace and the intoxication of worldliness – the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth – means indifference and complacency have laid hold of a multitude of souls, making them quick to scorn anyone sounding an alarm as too dark, too pessimistic and prophets of doom.
It is no less than heroic to risk the inevitable chastisement that will, in all likelihood, follow any efforts to sound an alarm.
Satan, and his army, have claimed a great deal of souls in our times. It is high time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. We can’t even begin to do this without God’s supernatural grace.
Go to Confession, frequently
Adore the Blessed Sacrament, frequently
Pray the Rosary, frequently
Present yourself as reverently as possible in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, frequently.
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