Because Christ is a Warrior (Then, So Am I)

Hi, remember me? I’m the guy who said Christ is a Royal (Then, So Am I). Now I have to write another post with a similar title because I observed that many of the same folks who weren’t interested in the Royal Wedding last week also seem to be conflicted about the actions of S.E.A.L. Team Six a mere forty-eight hours later.

Perhaps I’ll be starting a whole new series of blog posts around this theme of who Jesus Christ is, and how it relates to YIMCatholic. Sure, Eric Sammons already wrote a book about this, but that only covers Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Matthew.

But you see, the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ, and if you are a part of His Church, then as members of His Mystical Body, you too are just what St. Teresa of Avila, aka “Big Terry,” says you are:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

St.Thérèse of Lisieux
as St. Joan of Arc

If you think Frank has gone a little batty with the assertion that the Church is Christ, then look at our blog patron’s statement that is right there in paragraph 795 of the Catechism as well,

About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter. —St. Joan of Arc

This assertion, then, has ramifications for each and every one of us regarding our earthly vocations. I’ve seen many who have written posts after the death of Osama Bin Laden with plenty of Bible quotations that play up the docile, meek, and seemingly pacifistic side of Christianity. I can just as easily break out scripture references that proclaim Our Lord as a warrior, or that liken Him to one.

If the Bible is like an encyclopedia, than G.K. Chesterton’s point is well made:

For it is the test of a good encyclopedia that it does two rather different things at once. The man consulting it finds the thing he wants; he also finds how many thousand things there are that he does not want.

Hmmm, there G.K.C. goes again, knocking the cover off the ball. Perhaps he is also talking about the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Or the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Because as important as the imagery is along the spectrum between the end points of pacifism and just war, it’s also important that we remember that the Church is composed of living, breathing, members of the Mystical Body of Christ. And these members cross the broad spectrum of all mankind.

Like last week, some of them are actual Royals in addition to being in the royal priesthood that Christians all belong to. And like the week before, some of them are homeless. And this week, we must remember that some of the members of Christ’s body are soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

Christ, then, in the form of the Church, continues to achieve His earthly mission to bring all people to salvation through the agency of many human beings, whom He created. And some of His children are called to the professional vocation of warrior. As the Holy Spirit spoke through King David in Psalm 144,

Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands to fight, and my fingers to war.

David seemed pretty thankful in the opening line of that Psalm, didn’t he? Here is what the Catechism has to say on the duties and responsibilities of the faithful who fill this role,

2310 —Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense. Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.

And that is exactly what the members of S.E.A.L. Team Six did this past weekend. It’s what they, and all the other members of the armed forces, have been doing, and will continue to do, as long as our country is in existence. Were they Christians? I don’t know. Were any of them Catholics? I have no idea. But do we need people like them doing what they do? Think about it.

I’ll wrap this post up with another paragraph from the CCC (emphasis mine) and another quote from St. Joan,

2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. However, according to the Lord’s words “Thus you will know them by their fruits”- reflection on God’s blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.

A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges:

“Asked if she knew that she was in God’s grace, she replied: ‘If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.’”

That is my prayer as well, so help me God.

Update: Father Steve Grunow of Word on Fire on the Death of a Terrorist. Also, a primer on Just War Doctrine.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339567399256589250 Carrie Sue

    Can I just say how much I love this blog? How fortifying it is to be helped in seeing things through Catholic lenses? How upbuilding it is to ponder and discuss such a variety of matters from a Catholic worldview? Just had to say thank you today. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Thanks Carrie Sue! Very nice to hear from you. :-D

  • http://catholicmoxie.wordpress.com/ catholicmoxie

    Well said, Frank. God bless SEAL Team Six. God bless and protect all our servant soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08746811949428887333 Kinana

    FrankThank you for this piece.I was more than slightly annoyed by many Catholic/Christian bloggers re the killing of Osama Bin Laden, as if it was wrong or a sin. They all reported the statement from the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi (my emphasis): Faced with the death of a man, A CHRISTIAN NEVER REJOICES, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.However, I thought differently and maybe you do too. I have written:With the death of OBLI rejoice that the world is a safer place;I rejoice that that there is one less person who wants to either enslave or kill me or do likewise to my family and country;I rejoice that there is one less inciter of international terror;I rejoice that that is one less inciter of hatred towards non-Muslims.I wish that he had been captured alive and brought to trial but recognise that not everything is possible in this world.And if given only one choice of him being free to go about his mission or dead, I choose death for him and those who, in their millions, follow his example. For those millions I pray for their repentance in the time they have left.You write: ‘some of His children are called to the professional vocation of warrior’I agree. While the killing of another human being is very serious I no longer believe that it is automatically and necessarily an un-Christian, un-Biblical, or un-Catholic to thing to do. Until the Kingdom comes, such challenges and choices will always be present. Thank you for your discussion and clarifications.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    @Kinana, yes it is serious business. For St. Thomas Aquinas thoughts, see my follow-up post here.


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