The Red Dragon or the Lady in Blue?

The Virgin battles with the Red Dragon in today’s reading from Revelation, and it is a constant reminder of Mary’s contradiction of the way of the world. The way of the Red Dragon is the way of the world–in which we assume that life is all about success, money, prosperity, power and domination. The Red Dragon is the sign of worldly pride–the sign of Satan–the one who bellows “Non Serviam–I will not serve!”.

Mary, with her son quietly says, “I will serve.” Today we see her Magnificat fulfilled for as she is assumed into heaven the Lord has exalted the humble and meek. As she tramples the serpent underfoot we see that humility triumphs. That which is low will be lifted up. That which was high and mighty will be put down.

How are we training our souls in this wisdom? How are we educating our children in this wisdom? How are we leading our lives and our schools and our parishes in this wisdom? Do we follow the Way of the Red Dragon or do we battle against this way of the world–which in American life–is often equated with patriotism?

In America the predominant assumption (scuse the pun) is that “We are the greatest nation in the world and part of the American Way is to be Supermen. We conquer all. We have the might. We have the power. We have the money. We have the military. We train our children to be ‘winners’ and too often this does not just mean personal excellence, but it means beating the other guy.

It’s the Way of the Red Dragon, and as far as I’m concerned you can keep it.

Give me the Lady in Blue instead.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06400691261382506978 Jenny

    "In America the predominant assumption (scuse the pun) is that 'We are the greatest nation in the world' and part of the American Way is to be Supermen. We conquer all. We have the might. We have the power. We have the money. We have the military. We train our children to be 'winners' and too often this does not just mean personal excellence, but it means beating the other guy."Father, I don't think "we" are all this way, (nor, I suspect, do you!). We are a very mixed bag, we Americans, as are the American Catholics I know. We are not all materialistic, humanistic, power-obsessed narcissists. I do admit there are plenty of those around, but I also see plenty of generous, gentle, concerned-about-my-neighbor folks who just want to raise healthy families and reach heaven one day…Thanks and blessings!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Jenny, of course you're right. I am speaking in general terms.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05269978181247175900 Ioannes

    I am a former naval submariner in the late 70s and early 80s. I served my country not because I wanted to conquer, but because I love her and it was the Cold War where sometimes lethal cat and mouse games were being played with weapons whose fury you thankfully never saw, but on top of which I had to bunk in the torpedo room because there was no room in berthing. (PS, I got more rad exposure on airline flights to and from home for leave than I did from the plutonium and tritium in the warheads, or from the uranium in the reactor that I operated – I was a reactor operator at the time, but I digress).What is noblest and best about America is the submariners with whom I sailed. We stayed awake for 20 to 23 hours per day keeping your behind safe from a fate no one would have wanted. We left wives, moms and dads, children, girlfriends, and others for months at a time, breathed in recycled stale air, and drilled, and drilled and drilled until emergency procedures became instinctual.We cleaned bilges and toilets, sampled reactor coolant and the steam generates, simulated all manner of reactor and weapons casualties to always be ready just in case, and it didn't matter that we hadn't gotten any sleep for days. We disassembled and assembled innumerable disobedient machinery and made spare parts when the nearest one to be had was hundreds of feet up and thousands of miles away. We watched re-run after re-run of old movies, having no television, no radio, no internet, no nothing. And what gave us the greatest joy was when liberal democrat Jimmy Carter got defeated and Ronald Reagan won in 1980 because now we were going to get those spare parts and tools we desparately needed to continue to defend your freedom.Now while we are at it, let's not forget what our predecessors did in freeing Europe from Hilter, in rebuilding Japan after WWII, in keeping the world free from Soviet communism during the Cold War. I don't subscribe to the view that we are or should be imperialists. Have we failed? Yes – the initiation of force in Iraq is a case in point. But when our soldiers kill an innocent civilian, it is a complete miss. When the Islamists do it, it is direct hit.We can be patriotic without being imperalistic. In fact, one of our Founding Fathers said something to the effect that we should be freedom's supporters abroad, but its defenders at home. In other words, don't get involved in foreign wars of intractability. Furthermore, unlike most other nations in the world, when we won the war, we gave the country back to the inhabitants, case in point being modern Germany and Japan. What other nation has ever done that?Now that is entirely different than what the Obamanation of Desolation recently did over Libya. If that had been Bush Jr., great would have been the outcry from the liberal left news media.Oh, one last thing: since I was a reactor operator and not a torpedoman's mate, I rarely had anything to do with the weapons (we were a fast attack and I stood watch back aft). But if the Russians had launched their nukes and I was the only guy in the torpedo room and I was ordered to launch our nukes, then I would have unhestitatingly done so. We all had to be trained this way – it's called submarine qualification. Better yet: it's called duty. But because we had this capability and the fortitude to go through with it, it never came to blows and people now have freedom to criticize the patriotism that has kept them free.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Ioannes, I agree with you and my comments about American aggressive attitude is not true American patriotism.Also, comments here should be short and sweet. Yours is sweet enough but pretty long :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07613747721697703908 Cpl Ferro

    Unfortunately, the people who "just want to raise healthy families and reach heaven one day" are qualitatively no different, or perhaps worse off, when it comes to being vulnerable to fascism, than the people who accepted fascism in the 1930s.In between the long-term of Heaven and the short-term of family concerns, there is the medium-term of technological progress, as an expression of humans being made in the image of God. And, there is the "Green" fascist opposition to this progress, the drive to depopulate the planet in the name of efficieny and limited resources.If only Catholicism would speak out forcefully and clearly against the medium-term threat fascism poses, instead of lulling people into the idea that family and Heaven are all that matter, and let the Dragon have the idea of progress.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07613747721697703908 Cpl Ferro

    Dear Father Longenecker,Unfortunately, the people who "just want to raise healthy families and reach heaven one day" are qualitatively no different, or perhaps worse off, when it comes to being vulnerable to fascism, than the people who accepted fascism in the 1930s.In between the long-term of Heaven and the short-term of family concerns, there is the medium-term of technological progress, as an expression of humans being made in the image of God. And, there is the "Green" fascist opposition to this progress, the drive to depopulate the planet in the name of efficiency and limited resources.If only Catholicism would speak out forcefully and clearly against the medium-term threat fascism poses, instead of lulling people into the idea that family and Heaven are all that matter, and let the Dragon have the idea of progress.Cpl Ferro

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14392304754791021475 CatholicMum

    Father, A great reminder how heaven and earth are really opposite in their pursuits, focus and loyalities. A good gage for all of us, to ask ourselves, are we ruled or motivated by the Red Dragon on Earth or "The Blue Lady" in Heaven? What the Red Dragon has to offer on Earth is only finite….Thank you for your wonderful reminders to help us stay on that right track.


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