Guido Reni’s St. Michael
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
We pray this prayer in the Our Father. Thy will be done on earth. Do we mean it when we pray it? How does God’s will get done on earth as it is in heaven? Have you ever asked yourself that question?
I have been pondering that a lot lately. So let’s take a look at the line that comes before that. Thy Kingdom come…thy will be done, it seems that God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven has to do with God’s Kingdom.
I have been privileged and honored to meet recently a man named Jansen Bagwell who is an ex-charismatic evangelical pastor that converted to Catholicism. Jansen is helping our Intercessory prayer team learn about the Kingdom of God. Learning from both Jansen and my Spiritual Director has drawn me deeper into relationship with Our Lord. If we can understand the concept of God’s Kingdom, then practically speaking, we can live God’s will on earth. Living God’s will on earth is how the earth gets transformed from a place of division and hatred to a place of Love. If you truly are a believer, then we must believe what the Word of God has taught us; which is, that the supernatural world is real.
“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6: 12 RSV
Basically the whole world is God’s Kingdom because He is the creator of it. Jesus is the King of our Kingdom and He wants all of us to be a part of this Kingdom. Satan likes to think he also has a Kingdom, but in reality, he has to operate within the laws of God’s kingdom. He is opposed to God’s kingdom, but we must remember that God and Satan are not equals. Satan was originally an angel of light created by God, therefore he is subject to the laws of God. God allows this because God does not revoke free will, and he let Satan make his choice. But for practical purposes sake, I will refer to two Kingdoms, God’s Kingdom and Satan’s. I do this in order for you to understand, you choose who you serve.
One of the issues today is that people have stopped believing in this, they have stopped believing in the supernatural. But I am here to tell you, the supernatural world is real, as real as the world we live in, and there is a battle that is raging around us.
I can clearly see how St. Paul is outlining how to live in God’s Kingdom by telling us to, “Put on the whole Armor of God”. If we can understand this, we can help to usher in God’s Kingdom. Let’s break down what St. Paul is saying.
Remember that when St. Paul was writing this, he was in prison. He was looking at Roman soldiers every day, so he could equate how to live God’s Kingdom with what he was seeing in front of him. I recently did the Jeff Cavins bible study on Ephesians, he helped me understand the armor Roman soldiers used. Let’s break it down;
“Therefore take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand evil in the day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13
Paul is telling us to literally “put on Christ”. Christ is our King. By virtue of our Baptism we are in covenant with our King. We have exchanged our soiled sinful garments for the white garment of purity and love. Our Confirmation gives us the boost of the Holy Spirit to proclaim this covenant and its ability to free us totally and completely. This covenant we are in is the law in God’s kingdom. But it is more than law, it is the exchange of persons. We give Christ all of us, and He gives us all of Him. We definitely get the better end of the deal in this exchange because we give both weakness and strength, but He gives us only strength. The question you have to ask yourself is, have you done this? Have you given Christ all of yourself? The good and the bad? Have you asked Him to form your will to His? Or are you trying to conform His will to yours?
Next St. Paul says; “Stand therefore, having fastened the belt of truth around your waist…” Ephesians 6:14
What is the belt of truth? The Roman soldiers used the belt to gird their loins so they could easily move. A belt might also be where they stored their weapon, a sword. In God’s kingdom, where Jesus is King, the belt of Truth comes from the Word of God. This is akin to the Constitution of God’s Kingdom. The Magisterium of the Church helps to interpret this truth. They are akin to the Supreme Court in God’s Kingdom. Do you read the Bible so you can know Gods truth? Do you listen to the Magisterium of the church so you aren’t making up your own interpretation of everything? This is how you know truth. If you gird your loins in this belt, you will be able to discern good and evil in the world around you. You must speak and live truth in LOVE. Prayer is our communication with our King. One form of prayer is the Rosary which the Dominican order wears around the waist (like a belt with a sword), as a weapon of God. The Rosary is a prayer that walks you through Christ’s life, along with his mother, and helps you to know these scriptural truths.
St. Paul goes onto say in verse 14; “and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”
The Roman soldiers used the breastplate to protect their heart and lungs in battle. For Christians, we too must protect our hearts. Sin enters first into our hearts until we act on it with our hands, so we must take care to protect our hearts. Satan would love nothing more than to enter your heart and pull you away from God’s kingdom. How do we protect our hearts? With righteousness. As a citizen of God’s Kingdom we have access to rights and privileges of the Kingdom, there is a code of ethics we live. What did God leave us as a privilege to help us live out these ethics? The Sacrament of Confession, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. When we take care to examine our conscience and go to Confession to a Priest, we are helping to secure the breastplate of righteousness. It helps keep that Covenant exchange pure, where we continually give to God our weakness in order to receive His strength. Once we are pure we can receive the Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist and it is how we as citizens continue to “put on God.” We literally have access to the Living God at each and every Mass. We are privileged to have access to these Sacraments and must make use of them as part of our Armor.
Verse 15 continues; “and having shod your feet with equipment of the Gospel of Peace.”
The Roman soldiers had a piece of equipment that would cover their feet. When we are clothed in Christ, Jesus becomes our peace. We do not have to be afraid of Satan because Christ has won the victory. We often see Our Lady, and St. Michael with their foot on top of Satan’s head. This is because they are clothed in Christ. They have the armor to step on the Head of Satan. We are called as citizens of the Kingdom to do this as well. Reject Satan and use our armor to crush his head. If you want to bring peace into the world, when making decisions, pray, and ask yourself, whose kingdom am I serving?
St. Paul continues; “besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming Darts of the Evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
The shield of faith is very powerful. If you think of a worldly Kingdom, one of the things that can make it powerful is money. The currency of God’s Kingdom is faith. When we believe, when we have faith, mountains can be moved. The Roman soldiers had shields that had wet leather stretched over them. That wet leather helped to put out the flaming arrows the enemy shot that could burn an entire city if it hit the right place. For us, the enemy shoots flaming arrows of temptation at us. Satan is actually trying to train you how to think. He wants to remove you from God’s kingdom and to break the covenant between you and God. Those thoughts that we have that are not of God that are shot at us constantly. If we have faith, we can protect ourselves. If we internalize the temptation and take it into our hearts, that is when we are in danger. That is when we turn from God toward sin. By armoring ourselves with prayer and the sacraments, we are less likely to internalize that voice of temptation. The enemy tries often to tell us we are not loved, we are not good enough, or that we are better than someone else. He will attack anyway he can. We must put up our shield of faith, recognize where the thought is coming from, and decide am I going to listen to this? If we internalize the enemy’s voice and start believing it, we set ourselves on the path to perdition. Remember the waters of your baptism, reject Satan, and the flaming arrow gets put out.
Additionally we have more tools at our disposal in this war. The shield was also used by the Roman army to bond together. They would line up shoulder to shoulder as a wall. This helped to keep the enemy back and could be used as an offensive move. When we in the Kingdom recognize we are not alone, there are many citizens in God’s kingdom, and when we bond together, we are living the Communion of Saints. The Church Triumphant has angels defending us and Saints praying for us. The Church suffering also prays for us. We the Church Militant can bond with this army of the Communion of Saints to claim Christ’s already won Victory over Satan. We are all the body of Christ.
Verse 17 states; “And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
When we wear the helmet of Salvation, we know Christ already won the victory. We also don’t accept false ideologies in our minds. We do not accept the confused ideology of Satan. We know the word of God, and we live it with the Holy Spirit in us. We will not despair. We will not be anxious. We will be living the Peace that God brings.
Lastly, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all Saints.” Ephesians 6:18
Prayer is the way we can hear our King. Every decision we make should be brought to our King through prayer. Remember, whose Kingdom are you serving? If you are not asking God, even in the little things, you can be subject to the flaming darts from the evil one.
If you truly take all of this into your heart, believe in your Baptism and Confirmation and act on them, and go to Confession and receive the Eucharist with confident faith, you will be clothing yourself in the love of God’s Kingdom. Clothing in love ushers in God’s will on Earth, as it is in heaven. It transforms individuals, families, communities and nations. Be not afraid, and “Put on the Armor of God.”