“Don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting.”

With a tip of the biretta to Ann …   o{]:¬) … here is a quote worth memorizing so that you can scratch it into the wall of your cell block when they come for us.

“There is no man, let him be aware of it or not, who is not a combatant in this hot contest; no one who does not take an active part in the responsibility of the defeat or victory. The prisoner in his chains and the king on his throne, the poor and the rich, the healthy and the infirm, the wise and the ignorant, the captive and the free, the old man and the child, the civilized and the savage, share equally in the combat. Every word that is pronounced, is either inspired by God or by the world, and necessarily proclaims, implicitly or explicitly, but always clearly, the glory of the one or the triumph of the other. In this singular warfare we all fight through forced enlistment; here the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. In it is unknown the exception of sex or age; here no attention is paid to him who says, I am the son of a poor widow; nor to the mother of the paralytic, nor to the wife of the cripple. In this warfare all men born of woman are soldiers.

And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified.”?  — Juan Donoso Cortes

Juan Donoso Cortes (+1853) HERE  The passage is from Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism.

I am reminded of a moment in Inferno.

Dante moves through the gate that says “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”, passing into the “fore-Hell”, he sees a great, bare plain upon which a vast multitude of souls run in a circle chasing a meaningless whirling banner. A great moaning wail rises up. As Dante gazes at them, he says, “I had not thought death had unmade so many.” As they run, wasps and flies sting them. These are the souls who were tepid, whom God spewed out. They are “hateful to God and His enemies”. As commentator Anthony Esolen describes them in his good translation, they are the “unnamed spirits whose cowardice relegates them to the vestibule”.

Please share!
Share

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to “Don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting.”

  1. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z., Thanks for publishing these. I have been writing for weeks on the battle we are already in and some of us, on the more obvious front lines, are being shot at, spiritually and physically.

    I wrote again, yesterday, that there is no middle ground, no neutral territory. I was told this by holy people in the 1970s and took it to heart.

    When I walked about Dublin (until I leave next week, going to Mass and praying), the exact words of Dante, echoed by T. S. Eliot, came to my mind. Most people are on their way to hell. Most people have dead souls. I grieve at this fact, but one cannot deny this. One cannot find but very small groups of real Catholics.

    You, Father Z and others, like me in my small way, have tried to wake people up to the coming trials. You have tried to encourage confession and I have tried to encourage the road to purity of heart. We do not have much time. If I do not find a safe place soon, I shall be one in a cell, in silence, but not in a holy place.

    What can we do to wake up American Catholics who have so much power and yet are living as if nothing is changing around them? 1938 is now.

    Again, you were very brave to quote Ann. Thanks again. I pray for you. Please pray for me.

  2. Most people are on their way to hell. Most people have dead souls. I grieve at this fact, but one cannot deny this.

    I can deny it. Principally because I have no idea how many people are going to hell, or have dead souls. Nor do you, really, but I know what you’re saying.

    The thing is to make sure you aren’t one of them. And also to pray for all the others, because while there is breath in their bodies, there is hope. I know of plenty of 10-minute Catholics, who JUST made it over the finish line on their deathbeds.

    And who knows, supertradmum – if you and I offer up our sufferings and quit complaining so much about everything, there might be a few more!

  3. Allan S. says:

    I get an impression that our host is firing a shot across the bow of a certain audience, attempting to mobilize resources that heretofore have been laying low. Let us hope it works.

    The challenge is the collapse of the faith within the clergy; specifically, the lack of a belief in consequences in the next life for spiritual cowardice in this one. They fear men, not God.

    Timor Dominum initium sapientiae

  4. benedetta says:

    Yes

  5. RAve says:

    I’m taking a Theology course focused on Caravaggio and other renaissance painters. Yesterday we dwelled on his portrayal of Peter’s denial and then martyrdom. Today I read the quote and the two seem to fit perfectly together. Caravaggio’s upside down Peter looks toward the nail driven into his hand – looks past it, almost as if he were contemplating these words (below), realizing their fruition in his own life, his own denial of and then his firm embrace of Christ – and mid-martyrdom Peter invites us to do the same. I imagine the paintings as Caravaggio’s examination of conscience and testimony.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denial_of_Saint_Peter_%28Caravaggio%29

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_of_St._Peter_(Caravaggio)

    “And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified.” — Juan Donoso Cortes +1853

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Philippa Martyr, I pray hours daily. And to deny that most people are living in some type of serious sin is just plain unrealistic. One mortal sin is enough to take one to hell, and I pray daily for my self and others who are in sanctifying grace to persevere until the end.

    The trouble is that people deny sin, and deny that they have dead souls. The number of Catholics I meet daily who deny that fornication is a sin reveals the depth of the problem, or contraception, or even euthanasia. And what about the millions of pagans?

    Most people I meet are pagans, and are happy being pagans. Some are from other “religions” and refuse to acknowledge Christ as God. Maybe you are surrounded by saints, not those who do not want to be saints.

    To pretend that there is an in-between state is false. One is either in sanctifying grace or not.

    One is either for Christ or against Him. These are not my ideas, but those of our Church and Christ Himself. Christ said this, not me:

    John 3:17-21 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
    17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

    and again, do you believe this?

    John 6:53New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

    53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

    I pray daily for those who are separated from Christ and for my own reparation for sin. To have a doubtful approach to Christ’s words is not the way of our Church. We either accept these words as truth or not. Times are getting short to speak the truth. We Catholics may be silenced more quickly than anyone can imagine. I choose to live as if everyday is my last.

    What Ann has quoted, is much more poignant and to the point than I am, and must be taken seriously.

    All of us who have been confirmed have been given the gift of knowledge, and we must not squander this or ignore what that gift brings.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    May I add this from St. Therese, Doctor of the Church: ‘Celine, during the SHORT MOMENTS that remain to us, let us not lose our time . . . let us save souls . . . souls are being lost like flakes of snow, and Jesus weeps, and we. . . we are thinking of our sorrow without consoling our Fiance . . . Oh Celeine, let us live for souls.” Correspondence July 1889 from the book, General Correspondence: 1877-1890
    By Saint Thérèse (de Lisieux)

  8. ChrisRawlings says:

    Marvelous. But it should be said that our enemy is not the poor tepid soul in the vestibule, but rather the slithering tempter who lulls that soul into the soft complacency of comfort and self-satisfaction.

    Oddly enough, I know of a certain Jesuit who says the same thing quite a lot.

  9. Sure, Supertradmum, I believe the lot of it – the Scripture, that is. (You’ve left out a lot of other quotes that balance these out, but I won’t weary you.)

    I won’t give up on these people, nor condemn them, because it’s not my job. That’s why I continue to believe that God’s mercy works in ways that we can’t possibly understand, and that many of these apparently dead souls actually have beautiful little sparks of light in them that are striving towards God. If I pray and suffer enough, those little sparks will be fanned into a proper flame. I may never see it, and I don’t need to.

    God does not break the crushed reed, nor smother the bruised wick. Many of these apparently dead souls are not dead at all; they are just damaged and saddened and scandalised and bruised.

    Rather than beating my breast over the sheer numbers of them – which neither you nor I are qualified to speak on, unless we’ve had an impressive private revelation – I’d rather focus on thanking God for the gift of life, for the gift of faith, for the joy of redemption, and that this joy spread throughout these dry bones, to make them live.

    Plus also I need to be keeping a close eye on myself, and not dividing the world into ‘good Catholics’ and ‘bad Catholics’ when I don’t know the first thing about the state of anyone’s soul except my own. I have enough baggage to keep me occupied in compunction for the rest of my life.

  10. PS. Supertradmum, on the way to work this morning I realised that you too were one of the crushed reeds just now; you do sound very discouraged. Don’t be! Discouragement is the devil’s walking stick, and he uses it to hit us quite often, especially in these troubled times. Plus I bet the weather in Dublin is utterly miserable, which won’t be helping.

    I prayed my Legion of Mary Catena for you. ‘Who is she, who comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?’

  11. Gail F says:

    This perfectly sums up something that has been very much on my mind tonight.

    I have a different take on it than Supertradmum — whose posts, not that I disagree with them — often make me think she is a little too trusting in apparent orthodoxy. God knows our souls, and I think when the Judgement Day comes, we will all be surprised at who are the goats and who are the sheep. But then again, it may just be a difference in temperament, age, experience, or even just a different way of expressing ourselves that makes me think so. As it is, I don’t trust any person, clergy or layman, to be perfectly right. I trust God to see and judge all hearts. I think there is a big, invisible battle most people don’t know is raging, but I also think it’s always been raging and I think it takes different forms and different battlefields from age to age. Some of us may be soldiers in skirmishes others never notice, others will be warriors in huge battles. But if you don’t know there’s a war, you can’t fight at all…

  12. lsclerkin says:

    Thank you, Father, for posting Ann here. I read this a few days ago.
    Was going to post it, but something made me pause.
    Now I just did. On my FB.
    Might cost me some folks.
    It’ too late to worry about that.
    :)

  13. MouseTemplar says:

    Interesting you should mention The Inferno. And Anthony Esolen.

    Just now I am reading Professor Esolen’s translation of the poem while listening to his lecture series on The Divine Comedy which he recorded for Catholic Courses. Along about the third circle of hell, I felt the need to go to confession…

  14. stephen c says:

    I am close to morally certain that my parents, one or both of whom thought that six children were too many ( I was number six, out of seven) would, if they were both alive, have been delighted at the insulting language Pope Francis recently used, knowingly or not, for certain parents who have lots of children. That is the cross that I had to bear as a child, before I realized that the love that Jesus feels for all of us – even for the unwanted number six child in a family that already had too many – is, sixth and unreasonable child or not, a thousand and an infinite times more important to Jesus that the human dislike which is obviously experienced by those, in the lay or clerical state, parents or not, who think we sixth and seventh children should not have been born, based on their modernist concern about those of us who were born to women who were not sufficiently “concerned about imprudently tempting the Lord with too many pregnancies.” I have no desire to say anything negative about anybody, but Pope Francis is, after all, an elderly South American, and out of the dozens of elderly South Americans I have known, not a single one has seemed to think that is an excessively bad thing to talk too much in a negative way about other people. To be fair, maybe I have just been unlucky in my South American acquaintanceships, in the same way that Italian historians are unlucky in the excessive amount of worldy Popes that they need to read about. Anyway, if I had a friend who was a friend of the current Pope, which I don’t, I would ask him to ask his friend the Pope to reflect on this – think about how many people you included in your insults. I am sure that he would forgive – me – for thinking, after much prayer, but obviously never enough prayer, that – his – addiction to saying whatever he wants to say may be much too coldhearted for our present times – as any erring father would forgive any child who asked that he not be insulted again – ( but what father insults his children, what is the point?)_ – and nothing would make me happier than to think that, without a single hesitation, he would happily forgive me for asking him to show more compassion or, at a minimum, consideration for the unloved and unwanted sixth and seventh children in this world, who are after all our Sisters and Brothers.

  15. MouseTemplar says:

    More to the point, am I a “Real Catholic”? Does how I live my life qualify as “being in the battle”? Am I Catholic enough to be ifdentifed as one, to be convicted and executed for it?

    We have an enormous variety of saints, and that implies to me we all work out our salvation in an individual way while holding to all of the tenets of our faith.

  16. ManyMacarons says:

    The Temperaments & Languages come to my mind when people have different views on their “performance” and that of others.

    I for one have a completely different outlook on the matter than my Husband. It can be an occasion for dilemmas, but for the most part we get along marching to our own drums. We have grown to adopt one another’s position on certain matters. Which is hopeful in our quest to become more “one”…
    In the end I am reminded of the different branches of our Catholic identity. We serve in different ways, but are One Body.
    Who has taken the “better” road God only knows that! Lol…

    Thank you for this reminder Father

  17. Supertradmum says:

    I am not discouraged, but I am tired, like the prophets of old who cried out to God that few were listening and then were killed. I still think most Americans have their heads in the proverbial sand about the battle, which is spiritual and about to become very, very physical. We are months away from out and out persecution of priests in the states and in the EU. Lay people who are opening faithful will be targeted at well, as some of us have been already.

    Speaking with Catholics in the EU over the past few months, I have discovered the level of persecution for those who really stand up for their faith. Such persecution involves people not being allowed to travel, people being suspected at borders because they work for private Catholic schools, people being marginalized by the “career Catholics” who are not orthodox and then, the orthodox losing jobs. Catholics can no longer be midwives in England, and a judge who stood up for family values was sent to “mind training” which is in the papers today.

    One can judge actions. One can judge a culture. One can see millions who do not care about anything except the “now”. To think that those who are living in sin will suddenly turn to God without us working extremely hard to bring that word to them is simplistic. And, to think that those who have said no to God for years and years will suddenly turn to God is unrealistic. Prayer and action are essential now. The sense of urgency is lost in the States and in some EU countries.

    A man in Malta, who is not particularly religious said to me that the gorgeous churches will be closed down in his lifetime. The vocations are extremely low there, and more and more Muslims have moved in . Malta boasts 450,000 Catholics and I was told by a priest at the Co-Cathedral there are 22 seminarians. In my son’s diocese in England, there are five for 100,000 Catholics.

    How can people turn back to the Church without the sacraments, especially confession and the Eucharist? How can people repent and be absolved without a priest? They cannot. God gives sufficient grace for salvation but the grace to be holy comes through and in the Catholic Church. This is our Faith. The sacraments mean something. Do you realize how many people are not longer baptized and therefore not children of God or heirs of heaven? I use the language of the Church, not my own.

    A priest in France told me that the Italian Church may start selling off churches in Rome, old venerable ones. Without the Mass and the sacraments, more souls will be lost.

    I am sorry to offend people, but many will go to hell without us, the Church Militant not merely praying, but doing harsh penances and mortification. In some places, there are not enough people preaching and teaching. Do not kid yourself on these old, venerable teachings of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. We are all saved by the merits on the Church, and how do those merits come about? Through the lives of saints….

    Are people saved outside the Church? Yes, but to think that millions will come in after choosing sin consistently is nonsense. Our wills are sacred to God. He will not overcome our wills.

    St. Francis Xavier said that all of China was ready for conversion but there were not enough missionaries to send in….now look at China.

    There is a war and some people choose evil. They choose evil over and over. The remnant is getting smaller and smaller.

  18. dochm13 says:

    Fr Z, thank you for posting Ann. She is a beacon. People need to wake up.