Last week, I began to talk about the long tradition in our Catholic Faith to view our life as a disciple of Christ in terms of spiritual combat. In order to be Strong in Faith – Fortes in Fide – we must go “all in” for Christ. A former Navy SEAL described being a warrior in this way, “One of the things that makes a warrior into a warrior is that they are dedicated to developing their strength in service to others.” As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are also called to develop and use the gifts and talents which God has given us to “build up the Kingdom of God” by serving those around us.
This dedication to Christ and to others is revealed in the Warrior Ethos:
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
Reflection on this Warrior Ethos for a few minutes. Think of it in terms of our being a Christian. What is our mission? Well our specific role we need to discern through prayer, but the general mission of all Christians is to go and make disciples of all the nations. In other words, we are all called to be witnesses of the Gospel to everyone we encounter in life. This means putting Christ first in our lives, so that in everything we do and in everything we say it is for Christ and for building up His Kingdom. Yes, I did say everything – even the littlest thing we do should be done in, with, and for Jesus Christ.
“I will never accept defeat.” The world thought it had defeated Jesus by nailing Him on the Cross. However, three days later Jesus rose victoriously. He conquered sin and death. Christ Victor! As a Christian, we believe that Jesus is victorious, so no matter what we encounter in life, we should never accept it as a defeat. A set-back, maybe. A challenge to change our ways, a possibility. A defeat – NEVER. As long as we follow Christ Jesus, as long as we stay united with Him, we can never be defeated; we will share in His Victory.
“I will never quit.” This is closely related to never accepting defeat. During His public life, Jesus must have shaken His head a lot. No matter what He said and did, the disciples so often just did not get it. But Jesus did not throw up His hands and say, “It’s no use, I’m going back to being a carpenter.” No, Jesus kept proclaiming the Good News that His Father sent Him to proclaim. He kept doing the work that His Father gave Him to do. Even when He was carrying His cross, He fell three times. Yet He never quit. Each time, He got back up and continued on. As soldiers in Christ’s army we can never quit. We will experience failures, times when it seems like the good work we are doing just is not making a difference, times when we will sin. But we cannot quit. St. Paul experienced this himself. He once wrote, “Why do I fail to do the good things I want to do, but do the evil things I do not want to do?” Yet he never gave up, he never quit. We must dedicate ourselves to never quitting. When we fall, we must get back up.
“I will never leave a fallen comrade.” In Christ, through our baptism, we are all members of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are all comrades. Our spirituality can never be just “me and Jesus.” It must always be “we and Jesus.” We need to support each other as we follow Jesus. We need to pray for each other, we need to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, visit the sick – all those corporal and spiritual acts of Mercy. True charity is helping our comrade achieve their ultimate destiny, and that ultimate destiny for each of us is Heaven.
We are called to be Warriors for Christ Jesus. We must dedicate ourselves to His mission, we must never accept defeat because Jesus has been victorious, we must never quit for Jesus is our constant companion, and we just never leave a fallen comrade behind. We are our brother’s, and sister’s, keeper. Onward Christian Soldiers – Heaven awaits us.