Garrison in the Wilderness

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Look at this photo: how bleak and stark it seems here!

On vacation over the weekend, my husband and I visited this place, and he took the pictures. The buildings are reconstructions on the site of a fort that was built in colonial America, when this area was the untamed wilderness. The British soldiers that lived here were totally disconnected from civilization, being more than a month’s journey over land to the nearest commercial center. It was miserable and difficult! Conditions were pitiful, and the men found their isolation demoralizing. Each day the officers drilled them, and they did their military exercises: so that they would not forget who they were (soldiers), what were their duties (to be always ready to defend the fort and nearby Indian settlement) and to whom was their allegiance (their sovereign, the King of England).

Standing on the hill, looking down at the wall where the soldiers walked, I realized: each faithful Catholic family today is such a garrison in the wilderness. We are all parts of the Church Militant, after all! Your Domestic Church is the place where members of your family will “drill” with fasting, feasts, prayers, and learning–so that you and your children will not forget who you are: servant-soldiers in the army of the Church Militant. Our duties are to defend our souls and combat the World, the Flesh, and the Devil each day by these means and through the grace of God. And we must never waver in our allegiance to our Sovereign, Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who leads us onwards towards Heaven if we will follow His Commandments.

The unvarnished truth is that the Western World right now is a vast wasteland of sin, suffering, and evil. Christ has put His Church here to continue His work fighting for the salvation of souls. You and I are in the wilderness, and we must not ever defect or surrender! We were given so many graces to combat evil at our Confirmations, and each day we must go back to the combat as our vocations and stages in life require. So here’s what I have sternly told myself this weekend, and I urge you to join me:

  • Redouble your efforts. Whatever great things you have been able to implement or introduce into your Domestic Church, do them with even more love and care. Souls are at stake! When we pray, God allows us to affect the world with our prayers, and thus it is one of our highest duties to pray for our fellow men! Pray, like St. Therese, with great love, and pray that your love will increase.
  • Add something new to your routine. Find something else you can add to your daily prayer routine or to your observance of Fridays. (I am adding a daily Divine Mercy Chaplet to my daily Rosary.) Even a “Hail Mary” before bedtime for your parish priest is a marvelous thing to do: add something, no matter how small it seems to you, because God magnifies anything that we do if we do it to serve Him.
  • Get someone to join you. We Catholics are in the business of evangelizing, right? Find someone to commit to extra prayer with you, or celebrate a saint’s day or come to a Sunday afternoon dinner with your family. People are just waiting to be asked! It’s not a numbers game, it’s a soul-by-soul transformation of the culture.

Let’s go. Let’s fight harder for our souls, and for the soul of Western Culture. May we all meet one day in Heaven, and after fighting this Good Fight, rejoice forever with Christ and His Saints as part of the Church Triumphant.

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One thought on “Garrison in the Wilderness

  1. Wow. Just wow. So much I take for granted, so much I do on autopilot figuring it doesn’t really matter. Thanks for reminding me of who I am.

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