November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Last week, we looked at how Lucifer, by refusing to serve the God of fruitfulness and sacrificial love, merited his own everlasting isolation and barrenness, and how he ever seeks to draw human souls into his realm of selfishness. In particular, the refusal to subordinate the natural to the supernatural is his defining trait, and explains why he hates celibacy and virginity more than anything else in the world.
Satan hates marriage for much the same reason: it, too, is a life of self-sacrifice made possible only by divine blessing, a state ordered to the multiplication of children of God who will have the potential to receive supernatural elevation by grace and to enjoy heavenly glory, of which the devil deprived himself. The power of generation in man — how mysterious it is! To be invited into partnership with the Author of life! To stand, in procreation, at the origin of being ex nihilo: this is a power no angelic spirit has. It is a direct participation in God’s creative act. As the great Thomist theologian Scheeben explains, if Adam and Eve had not fallen, they would have transmitted not only natural life to their offspring, but also the condition of supernatural life: their children would have been conceived and born in a state of grace. This is why the devil so hated Adam and Eve, resplendent in grace as they were: he knew that from their loins would spring an entire race of beings destined for immortal glory with the angels. Even though we are now fallen and no longer conceive “sons of God,” the privilege of procreation and the freedom to cooperate with Christ in the sanctification of our children remain ours. As Pope Pius XI eloquently testifies in the greatest papal document ever written on marriage and family:
How great a boon of God this (good of offspring) is, and how great a blessing of matrimony is clear from a consideration of man’s dignity and of his sublime end. For man surpasses all other visible creatures by the superiority of his rational nature alone. Besides, God wishes men to be born not only that they should live and fill the earth, but much more that they may be worshippers of God, that they may know Him and love Him and finally enjoy Him forever in heaven; and this end, since man is raised by God in a marvelous way to the supernatural order, surpasses all that eye hath seen, and ear heard, and all that hath entered into the heart of man. From which it is easily seen how great a gift of divine goodness and how remarkable a fruit of marriage are children born by the omnipotent power of God through the cooperation of those bound in wedlock.
For although Christian spouses even if sanctified themselves cannot transmit sanctification to their progeny, nay, although the very natural process of generating life has become the way of death by which original sin is passed on to posterity, nevertheless, they share to some extent in the blessings of that primeval marriage of Paradise, since it is theirs to offer their offspring to the Church in order that by this most fruitful Mother of the children of God they may be regenerated through the laver of baptism unto supernatural justice and finally be made living members of Christ, partakers of immortal life, and heirs of that eternal glory to which we all aspire from our inmost heart. (Encyclical Casti Connubii, no. 12)
Satan did what he could to thwart this plan — and so he does with each of us, if we let him. The devil opposes natural as well as supernatural generation: he seeks to prevent men and women from using the gift of their sexuality to bring more life into the world; he seeks to prevail upon them to kill the fruit they bear; he seeks to lead them away from the source of immortality in the sacraments of the Church. Hating procreation, he has bent all his efforts toward either preventing it through contraception or destroying its fruits through abortion. Contraception is an abomination of desolation in the midst of the temple, which is the human body sanctified by the Holy Spirit: through contraception, the Lord and Giver of Life is cast out as if He were an evil spirit, and in his place is welcomed the spirit of lust and avarice, to make its home in the barren womb, like a church with no tabernacle and no Real Presence.
Contrary to the demonic spirit of selfishness, spouses give up their right of self-determination over their own bodies when they vow their faithful love to each other until death, come what may. Christ, too, is faithful to His Church, come what may, and never gives up on her sinful members until all who are destined for glory have reached the fatherland. In light of God’s faithfulness to sinful Israel and Christ’s faithfulness to His still-imperfect Church, divorce is an unredeemable fiction, adultery an abomination, and Eucharistic communion for those who are “remarried” an act of sacrilege by which the Savior is spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified in His Sacrament.
Let us make no mistake about it: Lucifer, with the pseudo-patience of an immortal spirit, has slowly built up an anti-religion, a counterfeit Catholicism, that has for its purpose the eternal damnation of men, just as the Catholic religion has for its purpose their eternal salvation. Divorce, and with it, adultery, is the anti-sacrament of Marriage; contraception, and from it, abortion, is the anti-sacrament of Baptism; the self-indulgence of masturbation and homosexual activity is the anti-sacrament of Confirmation, which produces self-control and fortitude; euthanasia is the anti-sacrament of Extreme Unction. In place of holy orders, there is negligent fatherhood and man-hating feminism; in place of penance, there is the hedonistic satisfaction of every bodily appetite; in place of the Eucharist, there is idolatry of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
It is far from coincidental that the sacred liturgy had to fall into ruins first before the devil could carry out his attack on virginity and celibacy. These latter have no meaning, no purpose, apart from the wedding feast of the Lamb to which the liturgy gives us access. When the liturgy is drained of adoration, beauty, and contemplation, it can no longer awaken, nourish, and direct an all-consuming hunger and thirst for God’s kingdom. It will no longer stir up priestly and religious vocations or sustain them to the end. The Mass and the Divine Office had to be brought low before celibacy and virginity could be felled. The so-called “irreversible liturgical reform” had to predate the supposedly irreversible decline in “traditional models of ministry and service.”
In reality, the Church’s authentic liturgy, in all its depth and splendor, always summons forth abundant vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. This, again, is why the devil hates the usus antiquior with such implacable fury. Wherever the traditional liturgy returns, celibacy and virginity blossom anew — as do marriages in which husband and wife sacrificially welcome many children. Satan hates it all and is at work, sleeplessly, to fight against it, using every means at his disposal.
We are now in a better position to see the connection between Sr. Lucia’s statement that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family” and Pope Siricius’ castigation of Jovinian for denying the superiority of the celibate or virginal life dedicated to God. False teachings on marriage and the “relaxation” of the required discipline of clerical celibacy are two flanks of a single army laying siege to the City of God on earth. Any word, any action against the sanctity of marriage, the good of the family, or the exalted vocations of clerical and religious life finds its origin in the General of this army, the Enemy of mankind. As we endure the worst doctrinal confusion, moral laxity, and liturgical uprootedness the Church has ever suffered, may the Lord, mighty in battle (Ps 23:8), save His people and bless His inheritance (Ps 27:9).