Special Forces Challenge Coins

Special Forces Challenge Coins

I had my class today with Jr. High and High School students. The photo here shows the sign they hit on the way in and out of the undercroft of the church, where we hold this training (class).

The course name is “Special Forces Training in Holiness.” I am helping these young people to understand that they have been well-positioned to embrace the call to be an elite fighting force in spiritual warfare. Now that they have met the entry requirements, the training begins.

This fourth class day fell on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. Among many other things, I drew attention to the Third Secret of Fatima, and St. Michael’s call for, “Penance! Penance! Penance!” This was a call to “go above and beyond” what is minimally required; to be “extravagant” in our love and service for God. God is looking for a fighting force just like this.

In other words, do you “really” CARE about God and your love and faith and hope in God? Real love and devotion will have a zealous desire to please the one he loves. Yes, do you CARE?

If you really CARE, you need to “Get in the Zone.” In other words, you need to CARE enough to make yourself “well-positioned” to receive what God, so desperately, wants to give you.

C – Confession: Is being in God’s power everything for you? Being in a “State of Grace”? This is humble submission to God’s supernatural power, believing we are lost and vulnerable without it.

While we will never be perfect, once you have confessed with a full contrite spirit, and the priest prays the words of absolution over you, you are made “perfectly pure.” You are as pure as you were when the waters of Baptism were poured over your head.

NOW, you are a “worthy vessel” to receive the Divine Life; the supernatural power of God! The torrent of God’s grace comes flooding into your soul.

A – Adoration: Do you “need” to be near to Him whenever you can? Are these quiet special moments before the Blessed Sacrament a Divine Intimacy that you long for?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori said, “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.”

To the unbeliever, kneeling before a piece of bread is lunacy. In part, this is why Adoration is so powerful. It is a profound act of faith to acknowledge “this is God.” And, if we believe that, in the deepest recesses of our heart, would we not look for any and every opportunity to be in His Presence? Do not think that God will not favor those who do.

R – Regina (Our Queen): Do you love the person who was chosen to be the Mother of God? Do you love who God loves so much? Have you humbly accepted her role as Mediatrix of all graces? Are you doing what she asked of us?

There are three ways, in particular, that Mary has given us to express our devotion and obedience to her call …

  1. Pray the Rosary (This is your weapon)
  2. Be enrolled and wear the Brown Scapular (This is your body armor)
  3. Marian Consecration (This is your oath of loyalty and induction in Mary’s Army)

A prophecy attributed to Saint Dominic further underlines this importance: “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”

“While St. Maximilian Kolbe’s push for consecration was the largest,” according to Father Michael Gaitley, “the one going on right now is the second-largest ever, and the largest since St. Maximilian Kolbe’s.” Father Gaitley went on to say “now is the perfect time” to consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary. He said the “culture of death is strangling our country right now.” He added that Our Lady is trying to “bring Christ back there,” saying she comes when things look hopeless. There’s a “historical reason” for the new push to consecration. Fr. Gaitley said. “there’s something happening, something moving, something ahead,” while no one knows specifically what is coming. “Our Lady wants to be embracing all of us,” he added.

E – Eucharist: Do you take the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass “seriously?” If you take God seriously, He will take you seriously. Is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the source and summit of your life? Do you offer due reverence by how you dress and how you receive our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist?

Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Man should tremble, the world should quake, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.”

Care about your state of grace, care about Divine Intimacy in Adoration, care about the Mother of God, care about the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … and WATCH what happens!! You will be “well-positioned” to be a “God Strong Warrior for Christ!”

At the end of class, I taught them about “Challenge Coins.” According to Wikipedia,

A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (usually military), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members. In practice, challenge coins are normally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. They are also exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization.

 

In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilot’s aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man’s land. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot’s American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine.

 

Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner: a challenger would ask to see the medallion, if the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.

I felt it was time for this “unit commander” (Me) to present my squadron (these students) their own “Challenge Coin.” In my collection of devotional items, I had enough of these St. Michael medallions for every student (I placed the quarter in the photo to show the size of these medallions). Also, I had these very cool military style pouches for their Challenge Coin. I told the students that I placed a very special blessing on these coins, asking God to protect them, readily grant answers to their prayers, and to let them witness many supernatural miracles.

I continue to remind these students that Jesus asked those who sought a miracle, “Do you believe I can do this?” And afterward, Jesus would say, “It is because of your faith that you were saved.” Even if we had the faith of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. Also, I reminded them of the Gospel accounts that say “Jesus could perform only a few miracles in certain towns because of their lack of faith.” In most cases, “belief” is a necessary condition for answered prayers and miracles.

I pray these young people understand just how mightily God can use them, if they “truly” BELIEVE in the supernatural power of God.

They will see many miracles!!!

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