Paul, likely writing under house arrest in Rome, wrote these words of encouragement to his followers, urging them to be bold in their evangelization. If I had the time, I'd create a video to post on YouTube with a James Earl Jones-like voice reading these words and the Chariots of Fire theme song playing in the background. I don't, so just imagine inspiring music and James Earl Jones telling you to suit up:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having fastened the belt of truth around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.It's time to suit up. Put on the armor of God:
- the breastplate of righteousness
- the shoes of the gospel of peace
- the shield of faith
- the helmet of salvation
- the sword of the Spirit
- constant prayer
Got your armor? Ok, good! Join in the Fortnight for Freedom.
The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.If you're looking for a practical way to be a prayer warrior, start your day with a Morning Offering.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your sacred heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all the apostles of prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.The Holy Father's general intention for July 2012 is "Work Security. That everyone may have work in safe and secure conditions." (Isn't it ironic that the Holy Father's intention that we all be able to work in "safe and secure conditions" comes at a time that Catholic institutions in this country might be forcibly closed for not complying with the HHS mandate?)
After you've started your day with the Morning Offering, continue to offer your actions, thoughts, and words to God in prayer throughout the day, whether it be in a moment of sorrow, joy, work, or rest. Continue in this "little way" like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, prayer warrior of her day. The Armor of God was enough for her, for St. Thomas More, and all of the other martyrs of the Church. Trust that the Armor of God will be sufficient for you as well.