Army of Heaven
What is the Army of Heaven? Heaven is Purity, God Himself. How then can mortal men recovering from impurity be part of a royal army with so vastly noble a name?
We live in an unfolding story, in various states of perfecting, affected by the burdens of flesh, susceptibility to sin. But before souls are granted the reward of Heaven, the original impurity of The Fault is removed forever. To go to Heaven is to become one with Purity, eternally free of sin!
We are still here, obviously… yet, arriving in Heaven begins long before the incomprehensible moment of unrelieved ecstasy is at last granted. Typically it starts at a place when someone has located the lie that purity was unobtainable, or suddenly recognizes what purity is not and was never.
The army of Heaven has countless ranks of holy angels. The Church recognizes this corps as the defenders of godliness and entreats these legions with prayers for protection, healing, help. Purity and chastity are cultivated virtues, sought in prayers, fruited in years of working for salvation, but perhaps most of all, effects of divine grace, which come down by ladders and angels.
St. Michael the Archangel wars against evil, wickedness, against the armies of lust, armies of sin. St. Michael is the Marshal of this great militia that catholic’s beseech daily, because tempting evils, recognized as unseen but real, are vanquished by his intercession. The army of Heaven includes an army of conquering angels, requiring of course, knowledge of them, and faith!
The army of Heaven includes retinues of saints, the holy delivered ones who peer from Heaven upon the events and pageants of earth with great interest and prayers. The Church “triumphant” has run the gauntlet, gone before us in life, temptation and death. The army of Heaven is an army of holy souls seeking to assist the triumph of good on earth, the victory of sanctity in souls.
There is an earthside army, the children of baptism and ordination. The servants of the Church who are at the front lines, minister to souls in the field hospitals of the wounded. They are helping those who want to conquer evils within and without. They are an army brandishing the sacraments, the sacred word, the sword of prayer, the shield of faith in The Blood; fearless, undaunted, intercessory. Not for nothing did St. John Vianney assert confidently: “the priest is everything!”
Yet there is another division among the great hosts of Heaven: this one. It has many names: an army called sinful, beggar, orphan: the impure who desire to be pure, the sinners who trust in God and place themselves in His arms of forgiveness, healing and grace, the army of the recovering, the army of the penitent, the army of the confessing, the army of God’s beloved who are frail and yes at times undiscerning, but who run back to Him again and again, because the eyes of their heart know there is only One Prize. It is the poor army that tries, falls, confesses, rises and goes on again, no matter how faintly or weakly.
There is also the lay army of reparation, souls paying with prayers and fasts and penances, for others errors and hapless stupidities, consoling the Father for the knowing and unknowing, the neglectful, the ungrateful, the self-sufficient, and the faithless.
The one army of Heaven is God’s, an army of love that exacts no violence upon any opposition, renders no force but silence upon its enemies, who lives in the unity of Christ, as a spiritual coalition of kindness, gentleness. The most confounding army there could ever be: an army of peace.
In the final view, there are really only two armies of the one and many worlds: the army of the pure and the opposing army of the impure. The army of Heaven and the army of Hell will never have anything of each other. I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and yours will always be enemies. Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring’s heel. -Genesis 3:15
Holy Mary! Last month we pondered Jesus’ instruction to the Magdalene: seek the advice and consolation of My Mother. For sufferers like us we must allow: From now on I am your constant help and protection, call on Me: Hail Mary Full of Grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Do we pick which army we would be in? The Choice is continuously proffered…
Sanctity aims ever at the same target. Purity. Purity which is here today, in chastity.
Are you in? We beg God for the desire to be in this army and to always stay in this army.
God of all, Master, Humble King, give us clarity to know what we truly desire, and what is our best desire. Make us men of action and virtue. Show us the work of our salvation that we may receive the mercy of Heaven’s perfect Purity when our climb completes. Through Jesus Who lives with You in the Spirit one God forever and ever Amen.