For the past three months, the liturgical calendar has been reminding us of our spiritual allies.
Towards the end of September, we commemorated the feast of the Archangels.
On October 2, we celebrated the feast of the Guardian Angels. On October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we reminded ourselves of the many victories and blessings that may be obtained through the Blessed Virgin’s intercession when we pray the Rosary.
We began November with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and we are encouraged to spend the entire month remembering the souls in Purgatory whom we can pray for and who can pray for us.
It’s not that God alone is not willing and able to help us; we know He is omnipotent and all-good. But God knows that we sometimes find it difficult to approach Him directly. He also knows that, as human beings, we like the help and companionship of those who have gone before us, whom we probably have even known personally when they were on earth, and who have gone through what we are going through now.
Hence, it is by God’s own will that we have the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels, and the saints (including the souls in Purgatory or the Church Suffering) to inspire us, give us good example, and intercede for us.
It is beyond the scope of this post to distinguish between the Blessed Virgin, the angels, and the saints and the specific ways each of them help us. It is sufficient, for now, to remember that all of them are our allies, and powerful allies at that.
A lot is being written in the Catholic blogosphere about spiritual warfare, about exorcism, about how powerful and active the devil has become in recent years. At least in my circles of fellow-Catholics, it has become normal to speak of oneself or one’s acquaintances suffering from diabolical oppression.
It is good that we are reminded of the reality of evil, that we are roused out of our complacency in face of the besieging enemies of our salvation.
Unfortunately, there is the danger that this increased awareness of evil would lead to nothing more than a morbid interest in sensational exorcism stories, or worse, that we become paralyzed by our awareness of evil that we despair of the possibility of defeating it. This, in itself, would be a victory for the devil.
To paraphrase a famous movie line, we should definitely not underestimate the power of the dark side. But neither should we forget that we have powerful spiritual allies ready to defend us and help us do the good we want to do.
Just as we, members of the Church Militant, give strength and hope to our fellow-warriors here on earth, our spiritual allies look out for us, help us, and intercede for us before God. Just as we dare not forget our loyal friends on earth, we should not forget that our spiritual allies assist us, often in ways we do not realize. We do not realize everything that they do for us, and how much more they are willing to do for us, if only we’d ask.
In the end, our spiritual allies will rejoice together with us at the final victory.