Thursday, October 12, 2017

St. Michael the Archangel and The Art of War

The following article was taken from These Stone Walls by Father Gordon MacRae.  I thought it was a very interesting article.  His dreams were similar to mine. In my lifetime, I have also had very vivid dreams that turned out to be real. 

“Only one thoroughly acquainted with the
art of war can successfully wage one.”
(Sun Tzu, The Art of War, 500 BC)
Image result for st. michael the archangel

Five hundred years before the Birth of the Messiah, the Chinese general, Sun Tzu wrote a treatise called The Art of War. The wagers of war have been trying to decipher its hidden meanings ever since. There is no point in reading it. Sun Tzu offers little to the Western mind beyond confusion, but his quote above rings as true today as it did in 500 BC.
A basic tenet of The Art of War is that victory depends not only on weapons, but on allies. Spiritual warfare is no exception. For those who disdain war, there are no conscientious objectors in spiritual warfare. It does not pursue those who have already handed themselves over to evil. They have reported to boot camp. Spiritual warfare seeks to subdue contributors to the good. It pursues those at peace. More on this later, but first my allies.

In two recent posts on These Stone Walls, I wrote about two figures who have asserted themselves into my life in this field of battle where I would rather not be. Their presence here is evident if you spend a little time with These Stone Walls, but two titles in recent weeks identify them clearly: “Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the Gift of Noble Defiance,” and “Padre Pio: Patron Saint for the Heavy Lifting in Heaven.
In that latter post, I wrote that I would reveal a third this week, and he, too, is evident in my title Saint Michael the Archangel has a powerful presence here.
Before I tell you about it, I want to add a disclaimer. I have no delusions of grandeur. If I have any delusions at all they are the opposite of grandeur. I do not feel that I am special in any way. I was just an ordinary priest, with no special gifts, traveling through life on an ordinary path.
Then I was falsely accused, dragged through the justice system, and placed on trial – first in the news media and then in the circus of Caligula. I was sent unjustly to prison for sixty-seven years after three times refusing a “deal” that would have had me free in one but would have required handing a part of myself over to the Prince of Lies.
Remaining spiritually intact while facing such a plight requires special resilience and other gifts, but I have none. Nothing has ever come easy for me, and especially not the art of war. Like most of you would do in my place, I struggled to retain hope, sanity, and my soul as I walked in the Dark Valley of Psalm 23.
The image above has great spiritual meaning for me. Though I cannot even begin to fully comprehend it, the image was revealed to me in a dream during a time when I felt stranded upon the latest of my life’s many fields of battle in spiritual warfare. I first described the dream and the above image in a 2016 Christmas post, “Joseph’s Dream and the Birth of the Messiah.”
It was a time when the prison that holds us was in a great upheaval and our peace of mind along with it. At this time one year ago I was unable to write so Father George David Byers stepped in for me with a guest post on a subject I asked him to write about “Saint Michael Who Is Like God: Patron Saint of Justice.”
Four days later, early in the morning of October 2 – the day the Church honors the Guardian Angels – I had a strange and vivid dream. You may have read of this before, but a year later it seems worth repeating and reflecting on. It has lingered in my psyche and my soul, and when my days grew dark, it stayed with me and gave me hope. It’s a dream and an image that haunts me.
In the dream, I stood gazing out the window of my cell with a trusted companion standing next to me. Who he was remains mysterious, but I can surmise by the date of the dream that it was someone who knows me well – better even than I know myself. The companion took the form of an older man, someone wiser, someone known for all my life but on another plane of existence.
He pointed out the window as I stood next to him. I looked in the dark through the bars of the window up into the western sky to where he was pointing and he asked me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see only the prison lights.” “Look beyond the prison lights,” he said. Then my eyes were strangely opened, and I could see far beyond the limits of where I stood.
I saw three stars in a perfect triangle. I knew they were very distant stars, but somehow my eyes became like telescopes. Then I saw within the triangle streams of light that seemed to flow from the three stars and interact with them. It was glowing, but it was also alive and vibrant. “It looks like neon,” I remember saying. Then my companion said, “Michael dwells within the light.” I felt as though I could have gazed forever.
The dream seemed to go on for a long time in silence and my struggles seemed to be absorbed by what I was seeing. This is all I could remember of the dream. Then I awoke in my bunk. It was just a few minutes after 3:00 AM. The dream seemed so vivid that I wondered whether it was a dream or actually happened.
So I arose and walked the few steps to the cell window with the strangest sense of a sort of echo of the “Someone” who had been standing there. I stared intensely but saw only prison lights. Then my friend, Pornchai Moontri awoke in his upper bunk as I stood in the night staring at the stretch of sky beyond prison.
“What’s wrong?” asked Pornchai. I told him that I had a dream about seeing some stars. “Oh, here we go again,” he muttered as he rolled over to resume his sleep. (Months earlier, Pornchai was awakened in the night when I jumped from my bunk in alarm after another strange dream that I wrote about in “How Father Benedict Groeschel Entered My Darkest Night.”)
Later that day after my dream about the stars, it kept replaying in my mind. I felt compelled to do as I was instructed, to “look beyond the prison lights.” I was especially struck by my mystery companion’s statement about the light from within the triangle of stars. “Michael dwells within the light.”
So at work in the library that day, I sat down with an atlas of the stars. It took an hour of searching and studying, but I found a tiny constellation called “Triangulum”.” Its stars are far too distant to see with the naked eye, but with a telescope, Triangulum can be seen above the horizon at various times of the year in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.
Later that day, I called a friend and asked her to search Google for the Constellation Triangulum. She sent me a few photographs. One was the photo above taken  in a “Deep Field” survey. It was the image of my dream.
The search also yielded something else interesting. In the late 1990s, something was discovered inside Triangulum. It was a galaxy 12.2 billion light years away called Galaxy RD-1, the most distant object ever seen by human eyes or instruments. Galaxy RD-1 (above) is seen as a bright light within Triangulum, formed near the dawn of creation after The Big Bang.
To look at that image is to look upon the birth pangs of the Cosmos. In the Fourth Century A.D., Saint Augustine devoted a part of his famous City of God to an examination of the majority population of that city: the angels. Augustine noted that in the Creation account of Genesis, light was created before its visible sources in the material world: the sun and the stars.
In early 20th Century astronomy, physicist-mathematician, Father Georges Lemaître discovered the origin of the created Universe. Eighteen centuries earlier, Saint Augustine proposed a sort of Big Bang for the spiritual Universe. When God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), it was for Augustine the moment the angels came into being. “God saw that the light was good. Then God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4)
For Saint Augustine, this separation of light from darkness recounts the fall of Satan and the rebellious angels. One of the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Milhama from Qumran Cave 1) identifies Michael as the “Prince of Light” who leads the angelic army against the spirits of darkness.
In Genesis, this angelic rebellion preceded the material world and the sin of Adam and Eve who later in the narrative were lured into sin by demonic temptation (Genesis 3:1-6). I once heard a priest and seminary professor suggest that this is all just a metaphor for the darker side of human nature. He said that angels and demons are mythological concepts constructed to personify conflict within the human psyche.
What nonsense! Padre Pio was assaulted by demons in the night because they could not bear the works of his sanctity. Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s life and freedom were taken because he never retreated from spiritual warfare in Auschwitz, the darkest manifestation of evil the modern world has seen.
I am grateful for a reflection on this by Dr. Scott Hahn in his book, Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones (Image Books 2014):
“Since the time of the primordial fall, humanity has been beset by evil spiritual forces and defended by good spiritual forces. We call this struggle “spiritual warfare… Our troubles and our struggles in this world are not simply anxieties over material discomforts. They are also – and primarily – spiritual struggles, Spiritual combat. Spiritual warfare.” (pp. 76, 85)
Those who know the misfortune of evil at a very personal level know that spiritual warfare is real. Sun Tzu was right:
“Only one thoroughly acquainted with the
Art Of war can successfully wage one.”
Everyone else, whether they know it or not, is utterly defenseless and in desperate need of allies.



    1. Did you check this story out? Pope Francis signed the paper work personally to open a new RMS in France.

  2. Our Lady of Akita in Japan: "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord." (Message of Oct. 13, 1973).

    The enemies of Christ are within the very ranks of the clergy. We are familiar with this when we see some priests from Guam who are enemies of archbishop Apuron.

  3. Micah 7:6
    For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man's enemies are the men of his own
    Matthew 10:35
    For I have come to turn 'A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. household.

    People in the Way understand this. That is why whole families attend the Eucharist...morning prayers. Maybe not all the time but we are not perfect. We do not pretend to be perfect. We know the struggle is real. And when my whole family attended the celebration; I knew that it was only through God's grace that I was blessed.

    My whole family was blessed. If only for that moment, I knew we were blessed.

    Nice post but the Spiritual war is lost to the comfortable Catholic's and priest on Guam.

  4. J. Bautista, all good but have you fulfilled the Second Secrutiny!! That is the challenge.

    1. What good is the second scrutiny if you don't live the first?

      but since you asked; my community then gave my wife and I dishes and cups after the second time of fulfilling the second scrutiny....still remember the matching coffee cups.

      no need to say what was given up....lets just say that my wife and I had each other...God is Good.

  5. Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

    Sell everything...J.B...that is the real Spiritual Battle because it will sustain you all until the Electio.

    1. it took the Way for you to sell everything Anonymous Oct 14th....I sold everything before the Way.....please don't be a hypocrite

  6. brothers, we pray for Father Maurizio Pallu ', chief leader of the neocatechumenal Way mission in Nigeria, abducted by a group of criminals or terrorists in Benin City



    1. Dear Anonymous 9:13 and 9:15 am,

      Thank you. I will post about it.