Consider this post a wee after action report by your favorite strategic corporal, Joe Six-Pack, USMC.
You may be thinking, “Where do you get off declaring what happened at Harvard as being a miracle, Frank?” I’ll tell you where. Because nobody saw the result that was coming.
The conventional wisdom? It was as wrong as it usually is. All of the wise and learned among us knew without a doubt that the planned black mass would take place unmolested, and unimpeded, because Harvard (or Hellward, as I saw someone call it)!
But as is so often the case, God did what folks said couldn’t be done. And he did it where everyone knew that trying to thwart this outrage would be a lost cause. It would be a total waste of time to even pray about the situation. Otherwise intelligent, and charitable, Catholics basically looked at the scene unfolding and wrote off the Harvard University students, faculty, and alumni, not as casualties of war, but as the enemy in the conflict.
Here are a few examples of the comments I was seeing.
“So Harvard is doing this? Why the surprise? They’ve obviously been in the Devil’s back pocket for ages, Frank. Nothing to see here. Move along.”
“Bah! There aren’t 60,000 students, faculty, and alumni from Harvard even on the planet!” <==Math challenged.
No, friend and colleague, there is something to see here. And there is something to learn about how the New Evangelization works, and how we must meet people where they are.
Pro tip: You can’t be labeling folks as “unsalvageable” and then act surprised when they fall away from the Faith.
“But Frank, we’ve got to be smart, and pick our battles, and…”
And engage in a whole host of seemingly smart, but truly asinine, ideas that amount to nothing more than “analysis-paralysis,” hmmmm? Get your act together, folks. You don’t always have the luxury of choosing your battles, or the ground that they take place on. I figure the holy martyrs can explain that to you better than I can.
What I am really curious about is why folks seem to believe that the human beings that Christ died for, who also happen to attend, teach at, or have matriculated from Harvard University, are not worth saving. That they are not worth taking a minute, much less an hour, of our time to pray for. I could quote something relevant from the Sermon on the Mount, but that would be too easy.
“Whoa, Frank, I didn’t mean that Harvard folks, the rest of the Ivy League, or anyone else, isn’t worth saving!”
Oh? Then prove it. Prove it by stopping with the knee-jerk reactions, and the covert labeling of folks as not worthy of the Precious Blood that Christ spilled for their salvation. I mean, turn off your brain if necessary, and just think with the heart of Christ. Consider this provocative, paradoxical, turn of a verse from the gospels,
But Negative Ned said to him, “Can anything good come from Harvard?” Frank said to him, “Come and see.”
And here is what I saw from my little perch in the Appalachians overlooking the Internet.
I saw a bunch of folks in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts peacefully, and hopefully, assemble in the worship of our Eucharistic LORD, and to pray that an event as awful as a black mass could be avoided, and that the number of souls that would be harmed by such a folly would be minimized. Folks like Diana Sanez, for example.
Here was the view from my neck of the woods, 940 miles (and a prayer) away.
I would wager that neither I, nor the 2000+ folks in the photographs above, or even the 60,000 folks who signed the petition started by Harvard students, had any idea that Satan would turn tail and run away when all the signs were there that he had a green light for mischief making. I know he tried to throw up roadblocks here at Patheos, what with 501 Errors popping up, pictures disappearing, and links going awry, and other silliness.But folks showed up at the parishes in Cambridge, and in other cities, while others took to praying the rosary in their homes, while still others shot a few prayers like arrows aimed with precision as they were on their way home from work, or doing their chores, or cooking their suppers.
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.“
And as we prayed with a childlike faith, powers and principalities were indeed moved.
All of which resulted in the collapse of the plan that appeared to have had so much promise for denigrating Satan’s mortal enemy on Earth. But once again his head was crushed by the heel that has harried him since he fell from heaven like a flash of lightning so very long ago. And even if the black mass was actually held (in a Chinese restaurant?) Satan and his agents lost. Sorry. All of our prayers, see, nullified the harm done to the handful that attended.
I’m going to send you to a few other places here in a moment, but I wanted to share a little quote I came upon which originated in the prayer journal of Flannery O’Connor. In a flash of brilliance she wrote,
“No one can be an atheist who does not know all things. Only God is an atheist. The devil is the greatest believer & he has his reasons.”
I’ll get out of your way and let you ponder those reasons all on your own.
To prime the pump, I promised to send you to a few other places to help those thoughts along, and I happily serve up a few links to some posts written by folks that have deigned to put their faith to work regarding this late action. Read what Bishop Christopher Coyne shares about the origins of the Satanic Temple’s stage play; explore Simcha Fisher’s piece on civil discourse in a healthy republic; learn what it was like on the ground in the Archdiocese of Boston when the faithful peacefully took to the streets; and finally, enjoy Tom McDonald’s wrap up post about this small skirmish in a long-running war. A war in which we ultimately prevail, though we each must endure the risks of the struggle.
And one other thing, dear reader. If I may be so bold as to ask you for your prayers, please pray for me and for my friends here at the Patheos Catholic Channel. We brought a lot of heat to the Evil One’s plans, and he likes to fight fire with fire. We’d be much obliged if you would help protect us with your shields of powerful prayer.
P.S. Go back and read that link about the strategic corporal, and Operation Absolute Agility. There really are some take aways there for the New Evangelization. Hint: It’s not all up to the folks with Holy Orders. Also, grab yourself a copy of the classic, The Spiritual Combat. You’ll be glad you did.