by Fr Richard Heilman | December 12, 2015 1:55 PM
Evil people are being aggressively evil, while far too many are not “aggressively saintly.” As a result, evil is moving unabated in our times. We are down to less than 25% of Catholics practicing their faith in America. In France and many parts of Europe, it is less than 10%. What “force” will keep evil at bay? What force will convert evil to good?
In all of human history we have never witnessed evil promoted so effectively, while virtue, character, and morals are roundly mocked and rejected. Meanwhile, it could be said that we have never been so unprepared for and unengaged in the challenging mission of spiritual warfare. It is obvious that Satan’s forces are well-trained, well-organized and highly motivated, while ours clearly are not. At the very beginnings of our great nation, Sir Edmund Burke warned, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade in 1095 with the primary goal of the Christian re-conquest of the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. So great was the pope’s speech in Clermont, France, on that day that the crowd was inspired to cry out: “Deus Vult! Deus Vult!” (“It is the will of God! It is the will of God!”). This became the battle cry of brave and noble knights who sought to recover that holy ground.
In our vastly secularized modern world, the need has never been greater to reclaim the surrendered ground of the sacred. While it was nearly a millennium ago that Pope Urban II challenged would-be warriors to “reclaim the sacred,” in our day it was St. Pope John Paul II, in his January 6, 2000, Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, who made his clarion call for us to put aside all fear and pursue daring apostolic goals, which are rooted deeply in prayer.
The spiritual devastation of the last half of the twentieth century compelled Pope John Paul II to draw up his master plan for the new millennium. Thus, he called for pastoral initiatives that would focus on “Training in Holiness” and “Schools of Prayer.” St. Francis of Assisi affirms this training in holiness as the fundamental starting point: “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”
The rallying cry as we enter into this training in holiness — “Chase Perfection, Catch Excellence!” — comes from legendary coach Vince Lombardi’s quote: “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Of course Lombardi, a daily Mass goer, was himself inspired by the very words of Christ: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
As saints in training, we not only tap into the heart of living, but we are given the capacity to inspire other souls to engage this raison d’être … the very reason for existence! There is no other real answer to the horror of emboldened evil in our times … we simply must grow an army of saints!!
During this year of extraordinary graces – Year of Mercy – we will engage this training during Lent, 2016. The training will go for 54 days. Amazingly, it is exactly 54 days from Ash Wednesday to Divine Mercy Sunday, in the Year of Mercy!
Each day, trainees will be provided with a 1-2 minute reflection on the qualities of excellence. The first 27 days, trainees will read from passages in scripture, quotes from saints and the catechism on one of the following: Theological Virtues, Cardinal Virtues, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The second 27 days will be excerpts from the book I wrote entitled, Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ. We will also ask each trainee to pray a rosary a day, as we offer our prayers together in the very powerful 54 Day Rosary Novena.
I have just completed writing a book entitled, 54 Day Basic Training in Holiness, which will be made available to all of our brother knights. I worked with the publishing company to offer these in a bulk rate of just $3.00 each, when ordered in bundles of 20 books.
Order your training book HERE.
Order in bundles of 20 HERE.
Also, you can join the Special Forces Training Facebook group, to receive the reflections each day. Sign up HERE.
Other optional training tools can be found HERE.
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