“Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Tim 6:12)
Spiritual Warriors: Chivalric Members of the Ecclesia Militans
A man who truly loves is always ready to fight for what he loves.
Ignatians therefore resolve to form hardy hearts for spiritual warfare as the most real, the most necessary and the most terrible of wars because it alone has an eternal sequel. Only thus will we be true officers of the Ecclesia Militans. We must sense the ever present danger of the “Axis of Evil” – Satan, the dimensions of the world dominated by darkness and the gravitational pull towards evil within us – if we are to be combat-ready. With the resilient heart of a warrior the priest journeys through a landscape of lies aware that it regards the very name of Catholic as an act of defiance hurled at its relativism. Let us fear contamination by the insidious presence of “spiritual A.I.D.S.” alluring us to be “spiritual pacifists” since this means the very death of the soul. With the gravity of an officer in wartime, let us maintain our arms, our equipment and ourselves by keeping our gaze on the Heroic Warrior in order to give strength and courage to the Catholic laity – and to so many men and women of good will who look to the Church for leadership.
The militant spirit is not only essential to Christianity but is also rooted in the male heart. From boyhood the male stands naturally for the militarism of fighting for the good and the underdog against the evil and the bully. Spontaneously he knows that “In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man/As modest stillness and humility:/ But when the blast of war blows in our ears,/ Then imitate the action of the tiger;/ Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood” (Shakespeare, Henry V).
Hence, the Ignatian must not be a “tame lion” (C. S. Lewis)