Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger recently wrote: ”In these times, the pope’s agenda is the civilized world’s agenda. The pope’s agenda is individual freedom.”
Citing John Paul II’s efforts to abolish communism and Benedict’s efforts for world peace and reconciliation, particularly as it relates to religious freedom, Henninger noted that the pope’s addresses are ones all should take note of.
As Catholics we’ve always known this and hopefully have done our best to hear what the pope says, but he says so much so frequently, it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we’ve decided to launch Pope Tracker, a weekly column dedicated to the pope’s addresses and their application to Catholic singles.
And what a better place to start than the pope’s weekly audience address from Dec. 29, 2010. The Holy Father’s reflections on St. Catherine of Bologna’s spiritual weapons against evil are great reminders for all, but especially singles, as we start a new year.
St. Catherine’s notes from the “Treatise of the Seven Spiritual Weapons” serve as reminders that evil lurks in our world and we must be vigilant and combat it. If we want freedom on a wide-scale level, the revolution has to begin within ourselves.
The pope reminds us of St. Catherine’s seven spiritual weapons by highlighting “that to combat evil it is necessary to:”
“(1)Be careful always to do good,’ [and] “(2)believe that we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves.”
How easy is it as singles to feel that all we do is by ourselves, though we know we are never alone? Yet what the pope is reminding us of, through St. Catherine, is that we must be cognizant that we can’t do anything good by ourselves, that fellowship and collaboration and prayer are vital. We are never alone.
A comforting thought as we move into the next instruction.
“(3)Trust in God and for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves.”
Satan exists in the confusion and doubt in our lives. Whether it’s doubts about your job, your family, or God’s plan for your vocation and life, we’re always called to surrender those doubts into deeper trust in God. It’s the only way to bring about freedom within.
In order to keep that focus on God, St. Catherine suggests:
“(4) to meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus’ life, especially His passion and death; (5) to remember that we must die; (6) to keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds, (7) to be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions”.
These are great resolutions. Of course, we should practice all of them, but to even work on following one well would be a great resolution as we begin 2011.
As singles, we’re in a unique stage when we can dedicate time to these instructions the Holy Father has reminded us of. Let us conquer evil with good, remember we cannot do it alone, and so, take our Lord with us.