Monday, June 28, 2010

Bird Songs, a Chain Saw, and the Church Militant

This afternoon was one of those beautiful summer days: about 69° Fahrenheit, just enough wind to discourage mosquitoes without bothering people, blue sky with only a few shreds of cloud. These aren't all that common here in central Minnesota, so I went for a walk.

Our Lady of the Angels church's Marian garden: a good place to sit, think, and pray.

The Marian garden between Our Lady of the Angels church and the rectory makes a nice destination. Today, I sat on one of the benches for several minutes, enjoying the flowers, statues, sunlight bird songs: and the sound of a chain saw being used across the street.

The garden's serene, for the most part.

The beautiful surroundings, complete with the singing of birds and the brapping of a chain saw, put me in mind of the Church Militant.

The Church Militant?

Outside some of America's more tensely earnest thinkers' circles, the words "militant" and "church" may not seem to have much to do with each other. I think that's partly because of an emphasis on the 'nice' parts of Christianity, back in the 19th century. (February 15, 2010)

The fact is, though, that we're involved in a struggle. A big one:
"For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens."
(Ephesians 6:12)
I haven't tracked town where the term came from, but my guess is that "the Church Militant" comes from a recognition of the conflict that's been raging since long before my Lord came, and changed everything.

The best - or shortest, at any rate - definition of the Church Militant that I've found is in an old Catechism:
"Q. Where are the members of the Church to be found?
A. The members of the Church are found partly in heaven, forming the Church Triumphant; partly in purgatory, forming the Church Suffering; partly on earth, forming the Church Militant.
("Catechism of Saint Pius X")
Recapping: The Church Triumphant are the souls in Heaven; the Church Suffering are the folks in Purgatory; the Church Militant is what I'm in right now, the followers of my Lord who are now living.

The copy of the Pius X Catechism available the website starts with some background - and a disclaimer. That particular Catechism wasn't officially approved for the entire Church - although it was given the green light in parts of Italy. Also: "...Parts relating to canon law may not be up to date."

The basic, foundational rules and teachings of the Church don't change: but as the centuries piled up into millennia, the Catholic Church has had to tweak what I'll call the nuts-and-bolts procedures from time to time.

Which is another topic.

Not-completely-unrelated posts:

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.