“Fight or die.” – Dom Lorenzo Scupoli
Perhaps one of the greatest temptations in the Catholic life is that of complacency. We go through the motions, attending Mass on Sunday and maybe going to a parish program or two, but the Faith never really penetrates deep into our souls. It remains a superficial reality; just another thing to do in our comfortable, civilized lives.
We love to complain about the problems in the Church—rending our garments over this bad bishop or this corrupt priest. We ask: Where are the saints of the modern Church? Where are the holy men and women who can be shining lights in this dark world? We lament the state of things, never realizing that it is us that God has called to be saints. It is we who must strive for sanctity as if our lives depended on it—because they do.
FIGHT FOR THE CROWN OF ETERNAL LIFE
Jesus Christ is calling you and me to rise above lukewarmness and mediocrity and to pursue greatness. He does not want us to muddle through the Christian life. He wants to fight nobly for the crown of eternal life. “Fight your way in at the narrow door,” he tells us, “There are many who will try and will not be able to enter.”
Now, realize that this spiritual combat does not necessarily mean grandiose outward actions. Most of us are not meant to found a religious order or to convert a far flung nation. The saints constantly tell us that holiness is found in sanctifying our everyday actions, however small they may be.
But the point is, no one coasts into heaven effortlessly. It doesn’t work that way. We have a powerful enemy who works day and night to destroy us. Every day we encounter temptations internal and external that, if consented to, will destroy our souls.
Men, a survey has revealed that 50%—that is 1 in 2—Christian men are addicted to pornography. If you think I am exaggerating the spiritual dangers, you are wrong. There is a war for your soul, and if you are not watchful, if you are not vigilant, if you are not intensely focused on the pursuit of holiness, you will fall away.
CHOOSE TODAY WHO YOU WILL SERVE
Holiness begins with a choice: God or the world. Whom will you serve? You can’t have it both ways. As with any war, there is no middle ground. You either fight or die.
“You cannot please both God and the world at the same time,” says St. John Vianney, “They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.”
In other words, you can’t pursue the world’s values and ideals while calling yourself a Christian and a Catholic. You can’t hold on to pet sins, abusing God’s mercy by asking his forgiveness, all the while having no real intention to change.
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
Christ is calling you to take up your Cross and follow him. Doing so will bring you more happiness and more joy than you can possibly imagine. But it will also cost you the comfort and ease the world promises.
“You are like crusaders united to fight against the world,” said St. Louis de Montfort, “not like Religious who retreat from the world lest they be overcome, but like brave and valiant warriors on the battlefield, who refuse to retreat or even yield an inch. Be brave and fight courageously.”
Men, if you’ve been mediocre, if you’ve been comfortably complacent, I challenge you today to follow Christ passionately, with all that you are and have. Clothe yourselves in the armor of God and take up the weapons of prayer and penance, calling on the powerful intercession of Our Lady, Help of Christians. Purpose in your heart to do battle for eternal life, and then “Be brave and fight courageously.” Your soul depends on it.