In the Catholic tradition, there’s something unique called the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. It might sound like the title of a fantasy novel, but it’s a real and important spiritual organization. Its purpose? To help people practice the virtue of chastity, which means proper behavior in matters of sex. But it’s not just about saying “no” to sexual temptations. The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is about saying “yes” to God’s plan for our lives, which includes purity in thought, word, and deed.
What Is Chastity, Anyway?
Before diving into what the Angelic Warfare Confraternity is, it’s essential to understand the virtue of chastity it promotes. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” (CCC 2337) So, chastity isn’t just about avoiding certain actions; it’s about aligning our whole selves—body and soul—with God’s will.
The Historical Roots of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity
The roots of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity date back to the 13th century. It’s closely associated with the Dominican Order, founded by St. Dominic. But the key person for the Confraternity is St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican friar and a significant theologian. The story goes that young Thomas was tempted by his family to abandon his religious calling. They even sent a seductive woman to divert him. Thomas, however, resisted the temptation, affirming his commitment to a life of chastity.
It is believed that two angels then appeared to him, girding him with a cord as a symbol of his purity and heavenly protection. This miraculous event inspired the foundation of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, which takes its mission to promote chastity seriously, following in the footsteps of St. Thomas Aquinas.
How Does It Work?
The Confraternity is a sort of spiritual “team” that people join. When you become a member, you commit to certain daily prayers and practices. The main one is wearing a cord or a medal that has been specially blessed. This is inspired by the angelic event in St. Thomas Aquinas’ life. Members also commit to praying for each other, which makes it a communal effort to grow in the virtue of chastity.
Theological Basis: Why Angels?
Why is it called the Angelic Warfare Confraternity? Well, in Catholic teaching, angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve Him and help us humans. The Bible says, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)
In this struggle for virtue, the angels, especially St. Michael the Archangel, are considered powerful allies. St. Michael is often depicted in art and Scripture as a warrior defeating Satan (Revelation 12:7-9). The name reflects the belief that we are in a spiritual warfare, fighting against the “principalities and powers” that St. Paul talks about (Ephesians 6:12). The angels are our allies in this warfare, aiding us in our quest for chastity and holiness.
What Does the Church Say?
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The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is fully approved by the Church. It operates under the Dominican Order and is recognized as a legitimate way to grow in the virtue of chastity. So, if you’re wondering whether this is some fringe group or an oddity, rest assured that it’s well within the bounds of orthodox Catholic practice.
Why Is This Relevant Today?
We live in a world filled with sexual images and messages, which can make living a chaste life difficult. The Angelic Warfare Confraternity provides practical and spiritual support to navigate these challenges. In a way, it’s an answer to the modern crisis of sexual morality, helping individuals to live out their commitment to chastity authentically.
While the Angelic Warfare Confraternity aligns with the Church’s teachings on chastity, some practices or interpretations may vary. Some members, for instance, focus more on the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas, while others emphasize the role of the angels. These differences are matters of personal devotion and theological opinion rather than essential features of the Confraternity.
The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is not just for monks, priests, or theologians. It’s for everyday people who want to live a chaste life in an increasingly challenging world. Through its rich history, theological basis, and Church approval, it offers Catholics a communal and structured approach to practicing the virtue of chastity.
In our journey toward God, we all could use a little help. For those struggling to live a life of chastity, this ancient yet ever-relevant confraternity provides the support, the prayers, and yes, even the angels, to guide us on our way.
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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.