Sister Lucia, the oldest of the Fatima visionaries prophesied that the final fight between Our Lord and Satan will be over marriage and the family. Being the one good thing that remains from Paradise, it is easy to see why the devil would attack it so harshly. With sex scandals upon scandals, the acceptance of same-sex “marriages”, the normalization of incest, the epidemic of contraceptive use, and a million other violations of the natural order, it’s not terribly crazy to speculate that we are nearing that final battle.
Faithful Catholics easily recognize the dangers of the big lies society is pushing, and we seem to frame our understanding of this final battle as being against these big issues, but that is only the surface of the fight.
The big lies are fairly simple tools for the devil uses to entrap hurting souls. There seems to be a bizarre trend that the more absurd a lie is, the more willing our culture is to accept it (more on that another day). But once the devil gets his hooks in these damaged souls, it is fairly easy for him to keep control.
The faithful and spiritually aware, on the other hand, tend to not be as easily tempted into these big sins. But just because we don’t struggle personally with certain “big” temptations, does not mean we don’t have a dog in this fight.
Those of us in faithful, sacramental marriages, I really think we are going to be attacked more than anyone else. You only have to do a quick read through of the Book of Job to see how much the devil delights in bringing destruction to God’s faithful ones.
If you have been married more than 2 hours, you know it isn’t easy. Its amazing, wonderful, fulfilling, life-giving, thrilling, comforting, and a million other wonderful things, but it is not easy. Personal preferences, individual weaknesses, and human selfishness create countless obstacles to the unity that marriage promises. If we are indeed nearing this final fight, these obstacles are only going to grow.
Of course, the good news here is that this war has already been won for us. There is no question on the final outcome. As for our individual battles, we cannot and must not take them lightly. St. JPII tells us “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the world we live in”. This isn’t about just us and our spouses individually, this is about the souls of our entire world.
We need to preserve the sanctity of marriage, for sure, that is no question. But we also need to be intentional about preserving the sanctity of our marriages. We cannot assume that everything is just fine, or that things are just good enough the way they are. It is so so important that we keep fighting for our spouses. After all, we have an obligation to do our very best to bring them to heaven, and obligation that is just as strong (I might argue even stronger) than the obligation to lead our children to God.
It’s all heavy stuff, I know. But another thing St. JPII left us was his Theology of the Body and Love and Responsibility, and between those two, we are left with a very clear understanding of our mission, and a great set of tools to live out that mission. There are tons of really wonderful marriage apostolates you can get involved in (my current favorite is the evangelical To Love Honor and Vacuum) as well. Just use discernment, not all are created equal, and not all are correct.
Be sure to pray for, and to pray with your spouse. Recieve the sacraments often; don’t put off going to confession. And renew your marriage covenant (I’m talking about having sex, people) frequently. These are just the basic things we should be doing as Catholic husbands and wives anyways, and things we should be taking joy in!
And do something conscious every day to strengthen and fortify your relationship with your spouse, and something conscious every day to bring them closer to God. Like I mentioned last week, if you aren’t moving forward you will be pulled backward.
Maybe this isn’t the final battle, I really don’t have a hard opinion on that particular subject. Maybe Sr. Lucia was just sharing her personal opinion. That is also possible. But the fact remains that marriage is under a severe attack, and it isn’t just in the big ways we commonly think. Personally, I’m going to have lots of long talks with the original member of my “Saint Posse” (thank you, Allison Gringas, I am going to use this phrase all the time now), St. Michael. He kicked the devil’s butt once already. Maybe he can teach me some of his methods. They seemed to work pretty well the first time.
What are you going to do today to fortify your marriage?