Friday, October 23, 2009

Pilgrimage This Saturday & The American Revolution

There has been one blessing that has come out of the struggles, stress, addictions, and debates of this school year. It was the last thing I expected as well: The Newman Club. I joined the Newman Club at Brock because I assumed as I had attended Brock Christian (*read Evangelical) Fellowship once before I left, I should do the same with this. But I've really enjoyed meeting with real people who aren't theologians or polemicists. For me practicing my faith has generally meant facing Reformed Polemics and finding Catholic Polemics to attack it, as well as challeging every Modernist assumption taught in the classroom. But aside from just fighting people and being drained I like listening to the common faith of the people (except when it's painfully heretical).

This Saturday for the club we're going on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs where St. Jean de Brebeuf was martyred by the Indians by being baptized to death with burning hot water (those Damn Anabaptists were everywhere - joke), or something horrific like that.

I've already been there before, when I was 17 and I refused to believe Catholicism was Christian except maybe in some superficial appearances (see Rev. Jay's take on Catholicism and I believed that). I was dragged there by my girlfriends ex-Catholic dad who thought it would be an educational experience for me who he named "the Anti-Catholic" (I'd never actually had a Catholic friend or been in a Catholic Church).

Now in so many ways things have changed, and I hope it goes better than last time when I was almost shouting idolatry and the Jesuits were glaring at this strangely troubled young pilgrim.

I am supposed to pray a stations of the cross for my ex-girlfriend's Dad and her brother (one of whom is pseudo-Reformed hah he'd probably ask me not to). But I had to come up with an intention to go on this pilgrimage (as all medievals know).

I was thinking: I really want to overcome my 2 or 3 "big" sins / addictions , but I can never seem to make any headway there. I was then reminded with a story we learned in American History, the Battle at the Cowpens.

The Americans had continually suffered huge amounts of casualties in the war of Independence (*read* Rebellion), and this was largely due to the untrained and retreat-happy militia. If you've seen Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" this is basically the final battle scene which I realized after we studied it. SO the American General set up the militia in the front knowing that their lines would break, and secretly (?) hid the regulars on the opposite side of the hill so that when the dragoons / Tarleton's men came over the hill they'd get shot by Continental regulars.

It worked perfectly and was a brilliant victory for the forces of Rebellion and Enlightenment philosophy.

Now upon recollecting C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" and about 5000 sermons on Ephesians 6 from childhood I remember that the virtuous life is "spiritual warfare" (Catholics call it "spiritual combat" - I guess Christian have to cause needless divisions everywhere). I've been attacking my sin with militia that constantly fail, so possibly I should take a new route.

I've decided therefore to make my intention for the Pilgrimage on a very different front than what I normally have, and perhaps in so doing, God's will internally infuse grace into me in a new way based on my work (I phrased this in the most non-Reformed way as possible just to see if tempers flared). Or in the Calvinistic formula: perhaps God's felicitous favor has predestined my spiritual victory to come through his foreordained path where I will then see the horrors of Papist idolatry and renounce all for the True Religion and become instantly a robot of God's irresistible grace (I wish, talk about an ear-tickling doctrine).

The reality will probably be another long path of frustration, spiritual faillure, and small glimpses of grace through the shadows of life.

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