Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Jesus the Lord of Armies
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Among the visions which the beloved disciple St. John was given to see, and which he has recorded in his Apocalypse, one was that of our Lord as the commander and leader of the hosts of the Saints in their warfare with the world. 'I saw,' he says, 'and behold a white horse, and He that sat on him had a bow, and there was a crown given Him; and He went forth conquering that He might conquer' (Apoc. vi. 2). And again, 'I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and with justice doth He judge and fight' (Apoc. xix. 11) … 'And he was clothed with a garment, sprinkled with blood, and His Name is called, The Word of God. And the armies that are in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean'(verse 13). Such is the Captain of the Lord's Host, and such are His soldiers. He and they ride on white horses, which means, that their cause is innocent, and upright and pure. Warriors of this world wage unjust wars, but our Almighty Leader fights for a heavenly cause and with heavenly weapons—and in like manner His soldiers fight the good fight of faith; they fight against their and their Master's three great enemies, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. He is covered with blood, but it is His own blood, which He shed for our redemption. And His followers are red with blood, but still again it is His blood, for it is written 'they have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb' (Apoc. vii. 14). And again He and they are certain of victory because it is said 'He went forth conquering that He might conquer' (Apoc. vi. 2). So let us say with the Psalmist 'Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Thou most mighty … Because of truth and meekness and justice Thy right hand shall conduct Thee wonderfully' (Psalm xliv. 4-5).

Let us pray for the whole Church Militant here upon earth.

O Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, who fightest the good fight, and hast called on all men to join Thee, give Thy courage and strength to all Thy soldiers over the whole earth, who are fighting under the standard of Thy Cross. Give grace to every one in his own place to fight Thy battle well. Be with Thy missionaries in pagan lands, put right words into their mouths, prosper their labours, and sustain them under their sufferings with Thy consolations, and carry them on, even through torment and blood (if it be necessary), to their reward in heaven. Give the grace of wisdom to those in high station, that they may neither yield to fear, nor be seduced by flattery. Make them prudent as serpents, and simple as doves. Give Thy blessing to all preachers and teachers, that they may speak Thy words and persuade their hearers to love Thee. Be with all faithful servants of Thine, whether in low station or in high, who mix in the world; instruct them how to speak and how to act every hour of the day, so as to preserve their own souls from evil and to do good to their companions and associates. Teach us, one and all, to live in thy presence and to see Thee, our Great Leader, and Thy Cross—and thus to fight valiantly and to overcome, that at the last we may sit down with Thee in Thy Throne, as Thou also hast overcome and art set down with Thy Father in His Throne. "

Meditations and Devotions


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