It is ultimately on holiness that the Church’s victory in the great battle in which She is engaged depends.
Newsdesk (14/05/2023 9:38, Gaudium Press) Theology has ascribed innumerable attributes to God, such as Supreme Goodness, Supreme Truth and Supreme Beauty. According to the classical doctrine of participation, all created beings take part in these attributes to a greater or lesser degree, that is, they are more or less good, true and beautiful.
In analogous fashion we can affirm, in a certain sense, that God is Victory. And the work that comes from His hands also shares in this attribute.
At the very dawn of the creation of angelic beings, a moment when darkness seemed to prevail with Lucifer’s revolt, St. Michael proclaimed: “Who is like unto God?” With his cry, the Archangel defeated the hosts of Satan with an explosion of light, becoming the paladin of the Supreme Good and the foremost avenger of God’s offended honour. He thereby took part in the victory of the Most High.
After original sin, everything on earth seemed to indicate that good had perished. Expelled from Paradise, Adam and Eve would have to suffer and fight battles in this vale of tears. Nevertheless, the promise remained that the Woman – Our Lady – would crush the head of the Serpent (cf. Gn 3:15).
In fact, the “yes” uttered by Mary Most Holy in reply to the angelic annunciation was an overwhelming setback for the infernal legions, for Life itself would be born from Her (cf. Jn 14:6). In the Incarnate Word everything was victory, even His Death, for He thereby won the greatest triumph for mankind, the Redemption. Moreover, once risen, Jesus dies no more, “death no longer has dominion over Him” (Rom 6:9).
Nevertheless, the devil did not let his guard down, even in defeat. On the contrary, the Apostle makes it clear that our combat is not “against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). As long as the Virgin’s heel does not yet deal the ultimate blow, the race of the Serpent will continue to wreak its insidious attacks on the human race.
St. Peter exhorts us to be vigilant with this treacherous enemy (cf. 1 Pt 5:8), above all by arming ourselves with spiritual weapons such as the Eucharist and the Rosary. In fact, what is most important in this battle is maintaining our interior life, even amid the harrowing ordeals to which our outward man is exposed.
In the daily struggle, the true children of the Church are therefore confident that the gates of hell will never prevail against her (cf. Mt 16:18). And the ruin of evil depends on each one of them, as Dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira pointed out in his book In Defence of Catholic Action: “In the final analysis, the victory of the Church in the great struggle in which she is engaged depends on sanctity.” Participating in the divine victory, the Saint always wins, even by death, because there is no greater triumph than Heaven.
Therefore, we must have absolute confidence in the designs of the Almighty, especially at the chaotic crossroads where we stand. The devil is an eternal loser. Thus, if the Lord is Victory, those who serve Him share in His conquest, for they have been promised: “He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on His throne” (Rv 3:21).
Text extracted from the magazine Heralds of the Gospel n. 244. April 2022.
Compiled by Roberta MacEwan