The Church Militant:Taking Up Spiritual Arms in Praise of Christ
pilgrim souls," and "ever-flowing font" for thirsty souls, an "abundant sea" upon which we float our rickety humanity, a "sweet olive tree" with strong branches, a "spouse, gentle to the soul" and always faithfully in love with us.
The fifth spiritual arm is to remind ourselves that we must die: the memento mori. Recollection of our mortality is a "time of mercy," as it reminds us of time's flux and time's uncertainty and the continual and urgent need to amend our lives "from good to better." We have to render an account for our time, and nothing recalls this than remembering that we must die, and after death comes judgment. (Cf. Heb 9:27)
The sixth weapon identified by St. Catherine of Bologna is to remember the good of paradise, of heaven, of the afterlife, which is really to remember that we have been promised union with God. Recalling our eternal good and our promised life of glory gives us strength be "strong and constant in persevering in doing good solely for the pure love of our Lord God."
The last weapon St. Catherine adds to her accoutrement of arms is "the memory of Holy Scripture." Scripture must impress our minds, form our hearts, and it must be the mother of our counsel and the source of our consolation. Scripture should be viewed as letters sent to us from our Lover on high. With Scripture, Jesus defeated the temptations of the devil in the desert. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ," ignoratio scripturarum, ignoratio Christi est, St. Jerome famously said in one of his epistles. St. Catherine would not have agreed with him more.
After a particularly intense conversion to God, Pascal wrote a "memorial" of that event and sewed it to his coat so as always to remember the fire that he experience in his soul. It would do us good to take the seven spiritual arms of St. Catherine Genoa as our "memorial," and review our lives as Catholics within the light that the seven spiritual arms offer. We should take up these arms, as St. Catherine says, "to the praise of Christ. Amen."
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: St. Catherine of Bologna, The Seven Spiritual Arms, life in Christ, Church militant, fasting, prayer, mission, almsgiving, saintsAndrew Greenwell
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