“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” G.K. Chesterton
On Saturday, August the 18th, the New Jersey backyard grotto building project we have been following (link) was completed. The family who built the grotto, with the help of diocesan seminarians and friends, hosted a home-Mass with two priests. The grotto was blessed at this time, as well. To honor the moment, shirts were created and distributed which read, “Behold Your Mother.”
I do not know why, but this entire action, an action of moving forward, of creating, of not sitting back while the Church is in a terrible state of suffering, brings tears to the eyes. I think it is because bad news, of which we have been inundated (the news cannot be sugar-coated), often brings along with it a paralysis, of sorts, of the spirits. This paralysis is a fallout from hearing of the grave sins among members of the Church; in a similar fashion, in an opposing manner, to hear the actions of saints moves us to wish to imitate them in their virtues. Such news enlightens the heart, and imparts a renewed desire to serve God; hence, why, in these hours, while the Church is suffering, this grotto is a light.
It is a light to remind us, that, yes, the dragon exists, but the dragon can be defeated.
The dragon (Satan and all his works) was defeated on the Cross, and will be put to one final defeat on that Last Day when the Woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, shall permanently crush its proud head. Our job, at the present moment, is to keep moving forward by attending to the duties of our state in life, the duties which God has lovingly given to us, in whatever form they might take (and, attend to our prayer lives, and sacramental duties, as well). That is enough for us to do (consider the lilies).
I remember a story of the Catholic Knight, St. Maximilian Kolbe. I do not have a source for this story, it is from my memory. I read it somewhere back in the early 90s, and I recall it when I am tempted to go off course when bad news strikes. It is this: it was 1941, and the Nazis had taken over Poland. Fr. Maximilian had already been arrested once, but had been released. Meanwhile, all over Poland, Catholic priests were being arrested, and incarcerated. Fr. Maximilian knew it was only a matter of time before he would, again, be arrested, and imprisoned (he was possibly the most famous priest in Poland at the time). Many of the Franciscan brothers of his Order were in a state of fear, many left due to this fear. Fr. Maximilian understood their fears, and gave them permission to leave, if they so wished. However, here’s the point of the story, what did Fr. Maximilian do in this moment? The saint simply kept to the rule of his Franciscan Order as if the days were normal. He was sitting at his desk, working, when the Nazis arrested him for the the last, and final, time. He calmly went with them, as attested to by witnesses. He continued to behave in the same manner throughout his imprisonment, all the way to his execution: he accepted each moment as it was handed to him from the hands of God through the hands of his beloved Immaculata, Mary, Most Holy.
In like manner, the grotto project was completed last weekend. Yesterday, SW/SW visited with a newly ordained priest, and the newly ordained was found to be flourishing in his priestly life. Yesterday, I spent time with CW who is expecting her second child, and we shopped for baby clothes while her two year old was strolled about in a perpetual state of laughter which delighted our fellow shoppers. This day finds me momentarily at the computer (writing this), but for the majority of the day, I will be found in the laundry room, and about the house, cleaning, expecting weekend company. I know my shadow will be forced to darken the grocery store, and I bought an entirely new kitty litter set up device- thingy for Kitty, which needs to be installed; all seemingly mundane tasks, but, at the same time, important tasks, for they are the duties of a particular state in life, that being, mine. I am pressing forward, along with all of you, along with the Church Militant, who do not stop and spend time languishing when we see evil about, even if it be from members of the Church.
Our work, our prayer, is important in the fight against evil. We cannot be lulled into thinking the tasks about the home, or at the office, or with our children, are meaningless. The same can be said about our prayers, our Rosaries, our little assents to God’s will, and/or our renunciations and penances. They do matter.
In conclusion: keep up the fight. We will (if we are faithful) assist in holding the Church together when wicked men attempt to destroy her. Bishop Athanasius Schneider grew up under atheistic Communism, and he attests to these facts. He saw, first hand, how the domestic Church, the family, the little, in being faithful to God’s will in their lives, saved the Church while it was harassed, and suppressed, under Communism (see videos linked, below). No, we are not (at least in the United States) being (overtly) harassed by Communists or Nazis, but evil takes many forms (as in, the World, the flesh, and the devil), and, it must be fought; and the fight is always taken up by the Church Militant, of which we belong through Baptism and Confirmation. Our Catholic ancestors in the Faith lived this way. So must we. In fact, may we be the heel of the Maiden Queen who crushes the proud Satan, and may we always remember that we have had, and have, a St. George to kill the dragon, and His name is, Jesus Christ.
“We are called Soldiers of Christ…never…be ashamed of the Catholic Faith, because it is the old Faith established by Christ, and taught by the Apostles…it has brought true civilization into the world…” Bishop Athansius Schneider quotes from the Baltimore Catechism from his Church Militant video, below
“We must fight for the truth even at the risk of our lives.” Bishop A. Schneider, from his Church Militant video, below
Long live Christ the King!
•Another example of Christian serenity in dire circumstances is in the case of Luis Segura Vilchis (link)
•Further reading: Chesterton on Fairy Tales and Evil by James Grant, First Things, link
•Images: New Jersey grotto (top image), grotto with the grotto family (second image)