October 02, 2018

Spiritual Battlefield

Interesting to see a couple of recent references to the image of this world being a "spiritual battlefield".  I wasn't aware of it being a controversial image.

Surely part of the explanation for the recent mentions is how ... bloody ... the field hospital that is the Church has become.  A couple months ago our pastor felt it incumbent, for good reason, to begin praying the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after Mass weekly.

In a David Martin interview with Bishop Campbell (bishop of Columbus), he mentions in an aside how he feels he's always on a battlefield.

Bishop Campbell responded hesitantly:
"It's spiritual warfare, as St. Paul calls it.  But it's...  we don't want to conceive of it in terms of victory or defeat, what we are doing is choosing Christ, it is a constant selection, a constant choice in all we do." 
And the inestimable Amy Welborn offers on her site:
"I have always thought of it this way. God created us in His image and our destiny is eternal life with Him. Darkness is fighting against that, is fighting to win us. It is Temptation 101, yes? But when we leave the battlefield image out of this dynamic because we are uncomfortable with it or think we have progressed beyond it, and we much prefer to talk of “journeys” and “seeking,”  we profoundly misunderstand the nature of the journey to Peace. Darkness doesn’t want you to live in the light of God’s accepting, constant, trustworthy love, and throw everything in its power to keep you out. 
Yes, it is a battle."

There is Biblical data attesting to both the reality of both God’s justice and his mercy, and a problem with having a pessimistic disposition is the tendency to read the negative data as more “realistic” and “true to life”, and to see more hopeful Scripture as unduly optimistic.  So there’s certainly a battle within the pessimist in the trusting of life after death but also in the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice in light of our often woeful merits. 

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