Does the world need yet another article about wayward Catholic politicians and the Eucharistic scandal they and complicit bishops are providing? That depends. Persistence is optional if salvation is optional. One does not stop banging the pan with a spoon while the bear is still in the kitchen.
We walk among saints and monsters. Such are the days with which we are blessed. It is the ultimate naïveté or denial to live in our era and to be oblivious of the fact that we are walking through a battlefield. Such oblivion pleases the powers of darkness a great deal. When the unarmed wander onto the battlefield, they need not be resisted; they will fall in due time.
On a battlefield, everything is a weapon: information, water, shelter, clothing, medicine, and last but certainly not least, food. Starving soldiers do not win wars. The supply line, or the lack thereof, will determine the outcome of a battle just as surely as the quality of the munitions or the training of the troops.
The Eucharist, when given to the dying, has been called by the Latin term viaticum, that is, food for the journey. In a sense, we are all dying from the moment of conception—on that journey to eternity we expend every breath in battle. To miss that fact is to miss life and to die without having lived—to perish for not having taken up life.
St. Padre Pio died the year I graduated from high school. His life was spent on the battlefield. Those who served him through his various illnesses tell us that he would say to them, “Bring me my weapon!” by which he meant his rosary, that ammunition belt of cartridges of love. In his zeal for the Eucharist, he declared: “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.” He knew a thing or two about spiritual warfare. He knew that starving, poorly-trained spiritual soldiers do not win wars.
Have you any doubt that love can be a weapon? In a spiritual war, it is the only weapon. “Love your enemies; do good to those who persecute you,” Jesus instructed. God is love and love is power and might—the ultimate weapon. Some may intuit that truth and justice are weapons, but certainly not love. Their understanding is incomplete, for truth and justice are but salient attributes of love.
How then can one “weaponize the Eucharist”? How does one weaponize that which is, in spiritual warfare, already both the ultimate supply line and the ultimate munition—the truth that vanquishes?
By now you are thinking, and correctly so, that—concerning the hullabaloo about politicians and communion—what I am saying completely misses the mark; that, when speaking of their fear of weaponizing the Eucharist, the bishops and pundits are referring specifically to the withholding of the Eucharist.
Ah. Yes. Of course. It is the withholding that is feared and derided—but certainly not for the lack of the viaticum withheld!
Those who receive unworthily do not even acknowledge the existence of the battlefield of life—the confrontation that permeates all of existence. Viaticum is of no value for the pusillanimous struggle they are waging on the battlefield of vanity, a silly little sociopolitical game of prestige and saving face, the stuff of middle-school popularity contests. Theirs is the immaturity that permeates our era. By supporting them in their sad little diversion from reality, our bishops are preventing their charges from marching onto the battlefield of life and are galvanizing their oblivion to the real battle. They thereby sacrifice these errant souls on the altar of their own petty clerical games of prestige and saving face.
Of course, none of us can judge the soul of any person, but that is not the point. We have a duty to warn others from evil. No one really expects that withholding Communion from them will work against them politically, and suggesting politics as a motive for the withholding is just a strawman argument designed to paralyze the Church. If anything, withholding Communion from errant Catholics may enhance their sociopolitical standing among those who share their sociopathy.
But to treat their rejection of the precepts of the Faith as acceptable is to advance the evil they promote; those who promote this laxity are complicit in the evil thus promoted, and they are potentially complicit in the loss of the rejector’s soul and the souls of the scandalized. To commune with heresy for the sake of unity is to mock unity; it is to cast aside the “sign of contradiction”; that is, it is to cast aside the source of real unity: the very One received in that Communion.
So…what to do? What is unfolding before our eyes is nothing less than an all-out war on the Eucharist. The “source and summit of our faith”—the bazillion megaton love bomb—must be disarmed in order to defeat the Faith. No one is more certain of this than Satan. Christianity has no secret weapon because it has no secret anything. There is a deep need on the part of those complicit in the massive atrocities of our age to find solace in a communion that is only a symbol: a shallow, shared affection; a brazen insignia of mutual back-scratching and goings-along to get along; an emblem of solidarity in sin—the salvation of safety in numbers.
For them, real Communion must be annihilated. Actually believing that one is receiving the real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Godman, while in a deep state of moral compromise, is a terrifying proposition. Any exorcist worth his salt will attest to the terror that the presence of the Eucharist instills in demons. Satanists don’t go to churches of symbolic communions to steal bread to desecrate. One can only desecrate that which “hosts” something greater. Symbolic bread hosts nothing. Only real hosts will do.
It seems that some of our bishops may genuinely believe that a remedy for the spiritually defiant is the spiritual shock potential of receiving the Eucharist. But they grossly underestimate the human ability to deny reality. Demons, of course, are not in a position to deny the reality of the Eucharist. God has allowed them the kindness that is Hell; allowed them to escape the torment of His love, the judgment of His mercy—that unrelenting forgiveness that tortures their pride. But truth—the Eucharistic Christ, the Word made flesh, the witness to eternal love—they cannot escape; they can hide, but they cannot forget. It is truth that torments them.
Humans, on the other hand, are escape artists—spiritual Houdinis. We build what demons cannot build: empires of distraction. It’s one of the dangerous niceties of temporal life not available in eternity.
Not only do we walk among saints and monsters, but we walk among more of each of them than at any time before. While the case is made every day for a world-view of fifty shades of gray, it daily becomes clearer to all but distraction’s zombies that our choices are increasingly black or white: monster or saint. Jesus despises the middle ground—the centrists—the lukewarm; and He despises, more than anything, the vomitous kingdom of symbolic communion.
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