What is our strategic plan in the Holy War to save our personal faith?
The overall plan is simple: it is to win the war for our soul.
Our tactics are paramount. For they must be in sync with the truth that God has given us Free Will (the ability to make decisions) and Reason (the ability to think through and logically make those decisions in the light of Scripture and Tradition).
What are the tactics that support our efforts? The first is to realize that we are not powerless. Our God-given freedom allows us to make personal decisions for good or bad. For example, the decision to agree with our Catechism which explains our ultimate goal of personal and eternal union with Christ.
Our tactics are varied: the Western and Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church believe in the need for prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reception of Holy Eucharist, and the frequent (preferably monthly) reception of the Sacrament of Confession. This Sacrament, once avidly used by the faithful, is now sadly ignored. It is critical in our personal war, and through prayer, the goal of purifying our Church. A Church suffering from the effects of clerical sins and the heresy of Modernism.
The Sacrament of Confession is proclaimed in the Epistle of St. James (5: 16), St. Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Corinthians (5: 18), St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles (19:18), Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John (20: 21-23), and the proclamations of the Early Church Fathers. It is not a Sacrament that the post-Reformation Church thought up during the Council of Trent. Through history was this Sacrament clarified and given appropriate form to meet the needs of growing Christian civilization? Yes, of course, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist in the early Church or was given witness to in the Christian Scriptures.
If we ignore Grace we have removed many of the foundation stones of our personal faith. Ignorance or belittling the truth of Holy Scripture, or the Sacramental weapons of Grace, effectively renders us defenseless in this Holy War for our souls.
As you will see, Greek Orthodox monk, Elder Paisios’, words ring like a bell of prophecy. They are especially poignant since he wrote them before his death in 1994.
Holy War is upon us. We have witnessed it since Eve handed the apple to Adam. Our enemies are clear: Satan, his demons, false teachers, and our own tranquil indifference.
The words of a Greek Orthodox monk, Elder Paisios:
“What unsettles me is the reigning mood of tranquility. Something is in the works. We still haven’t understood properly either what’s going on, or the fact that we will die. I don’t know what will come of this. The situation is very complicated. The fate of the world depends on just a few people, but God is still putting on the brakes. We have to pray a lot, and with pain in our hearts, so that God will intervene: our times are very hard to understand. A lot of ash, rubbish, and indifference has accumulated, and a strong wind will be needed to blow it all away. It’s frightening! The Tower of Babel is upon us! Divine intervention is needed: Great upheavals are happening. What a bedlam! The minds of whole nations are in confusion. But in spite of the ferment I feel a certain consolation inside, a certain confidence. God still dwells in a part of the Christians. God’s people, people of prayer, still remain, and God in his all-goodness still tolerates us and will put everything in order. Don’t be afraid! We’ve gone through many storms, and still haven’t perished. So should we be afraid of the storm which is now gathering? We’ll not perish this time either! God loves us. In Man there’s a hidden power which comes out when necessary. The difficult years will be few. Just a lot of thunder. Don’t get upset in the least, for God is above everything. He rules everyone and will bring all to the defendant’s bench to answer for what they’ve done, according to which each will receive his just desserts from God. Those who’ve in some way helped the cause of good will be rewarded, and those who do evil will be punished. God will put everyone in their place in the end, but each of us will answer for what they did in these difficult years, both in prayer and in deeds. Today they’re trying to destroy faith, and for the edifice of faith to fall they quietly pull out one stone, then another. But we’re all responsible for the destruction; not just those who destroy but we who see how faith is being undermined and make no effort to strengthen it.
As a result the seducers are emboldened to create even greater difficulties for us, and their rage against the Church and the monastic life increases. Today’s situation can be resisted only spiritually, not by worldly means. The storm will continue to rage a bit, will throw all the flotsam, everything unnecessary, onto the shore, and then the situation will become clearer. Some will receive their reward, while others will have to pay their debts. Today there are many who strive to corrupt everything: the family, the youth, the Church. In our day it’s a true witness to speak up for one’s people, for the state is waging war against divine law. Its laws are directed against the Law of God. But we are responsible for not letting the enemies of the Church corrupt everything. Though I’ve heard even priests say: “Don’t get involved in that. It’s none of your business!” If they had reached such a non-striving condition through prayer I would kiss their feet. But no! They’re indifferent because they want to please everyone and live in comfort. Indifference is unacceptable even for laymen, and all the more so for the clergy. An honest, spiritual man doesn’t do anything with indifference. “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully”, says the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 48:10).
There’s a war on today, a holy war. I must be on the front lines. There are so many Marxists, so many Masons, so many Satanists and assorted others! So many possessed, anarchists and seduced ones! I see what awaits us, and it’s painful for me. The bitter taste of human pain is in my mouth”
Copyright © 2011- 2020, Deacon Paul O. Iacono – All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint must be obtained from the author in writing. Students, and those interested, may quote small sections of the article as long as the proper credit and notation is given. Thank you.