Did you know there’s a 400 year-old, worldwide, supernatural fellowship (spanning heaven and earth!) for the cause of safeguarding, healing and spreading the virtue of purity? What’s more, did you know that it still exists? Did you know you can join it?
The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is one of the three ancient Confraternities of the venerable Dominican Order. Lay men and women can join a holy army of prayer warriors who have committed to daily prayers and practices to grow in purity and to combat sexual sin. Under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas, who may be best known for his Summa Theologiae, the Confraternity invokes his awesome intercession on a daily basis, not because of his writing or unmatched intellect, but because he was also a champion of purity. You don’t have to be an intellectual to love and attach yourself to this amazing saint.
There are more than a few misconceptions concerning sexuality that run rampant in our contemporary culture. Let’s consider just a few that confuse the world, even good and intentional Catholics:
NO! Chastity is for everyone, lay or religious, married or single, child, young adult, professional, grandparent… Chastity is something that we live out in a particular way according to our state in life, but it’s something we are all called to.
In other words, you should join the AWC because… You are called to chastity, regardless of your state in life (and to be chaste according to God’s design for you in that particular state is to cooperate with Him FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS! (That part about happiness? It works!)
MAYBE NOT! Consider for a moment just how steeped in sexually suggestive messaging we are and – for most of this audience, at least – how steeped in it we have been since before we had the slightest thought of sex. Television, the internet, Hollywood, popular music, advertising have long since moved beyond censorship of the good old days, and even go out of their way to titillate us for the sake of selling us all manner of consumerist junk.
In other words, you should join the AWC because… Even if you think you’re okay when it comes to sex, you are constantly under assault from the devil, from advertising, and from pop culture. You never know when or how these influences may sneak up on you.
We humans are complex creatures. Our souls are immortal. Our bodies are delicate ecosystems (and, how much more so our hearts, minds and souls?!). Our memories are amazing storehouses of images, sensations, suggestions from the outside (and from the devil). The sad fact is that, ANYONE alive today who doesn’t live under a rock in Siberia has been wounded by our sexually toxic culture.
Even if you are not regularly beset by sexual temptations or impure thoughts, chances are you have some latent memories to heal from, even if it’s as seemingly innocuous as Hollywood movie scenes, or high school talk from 10 years ago, or something someone else said, did, or showed to you that wasn’t your fault! Why not carve that out… cut that sad, festering wound OUT of your memory? With God’s help, we can!
In other words, you should join the AWC because… Even if you have matured and changed your life from past issues concerning sex, there is always healing to be done. The more we let God and His armies of saints and angels into those old wounds, the better we can exorcise and heal them, rather than simply burying them and trying to get by on the strength of your own will.
Ok, fine, not all of us struggle with sex. But even if you’re blessedly untroubled by a disordered libido, memory, or anything of the sort, I am 100% certain that no one reading this doesn’t have a friend, relative, co-worker, neighbor or anyone else in his or her life who hasn’t been wounded by the culture of lost or stolen innocence.
The fact is, we are inseparably linked to the people around us, spiritually speaking. When they are not well, when the world around us is beset by sexual confusion, we are inevitably injured by our neighbor’s injuries… by the world’s wounds.
What if your prayers and participation in this mystical healing initiative could help that person, or this obvious, murderous wound in the world around you, more generally, even more than it could help you, personally?
In other words, you should join the AWC because… Even if you are already chaste (in fact, especially if you are), surely you can see just how wounded and/or vulnerable to these attacks everyone else you love is. Your loved ones, your friends, your unknown future spouse, your children… aw, heck, also strangers, your enemies, that person on the other side of the planet you’ll never know, but whose sin or virtue still affects you in the cosmic network of grace. Join the fight! Join this holy army! Yes, we are at war. Let’s admit it and take up spiritual arms for each other.
I refer you back to my opening paragraph. It’s just what it sounds like. Teaming up with angels (real, actual angels), saints and like-minded souls around the world (and some Dominicans, who are awesome, to pray for each other, for the world, and for ourselves, for healing and protection and relationships and love. Various saints and blesseds are counted among this “special-ops” confraternity, as I like to call it; St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Blessed Columba Rieti and Blessed Stephana Quinzan, to name a few.
How do you join? First, read and research. It’s not something to do lightly, as it’s a lifelong commitment of prayer. That said, in the grand scheme of your daily obligations, these prayers are simple, don’t take too much time, and they will edify and form you in a gentle, beautiful way. You need to order the packet, and arrange with a Dominican priest to enroll you in a special ceremony, then mail in your official enrollment to the Dominicans. Go here and do what they say. (If there’s no Dominican presence near you, you can request their permission to have a non-Dominican priest do your enrollment on their behalf – information on how to do that is also on their website).
What do you do as a member? Commit to the recitation of 2 daily prayers plus 15 daily Hail Marys, and wear the AWC medal and/or cord around your waist.
What do you get out of it? What you put into it. What that is, I say, is the multiplication and magnification of your prayers for your own healing, resistance of temptation, clarity of mind, purity of heart and body, strength for your loved ones, preparation for or fortification of your vocation, supernatural push-back against the world of sexual sin around you, membership (in a certain sense, though not professed or exclusive) in the amazing family of the Dominican Order, a holy army of friends surrounding you with protection and prayer (past, present and future), the cooperation with God to transform yourself into Salt and Light for the sake of the world, and for your own journey to our ultimate destination of heaven.
Just do it. Join me. Join us. This is indeed a cause for our times. God love you.
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