Friday, August 10, 2012

A Habit of Armor

Several times in recent months, we have talked about habits.  What is the habit of a cloistered heart, we've asked ourselves.  What are its pieces, how are we clothed in it, how does it affect us, is it visible to others?

We've said that habits (in our case) are actions acquired, over time, with repetition.  Our habits are made up of virtues: "pieces" that we don't just throw on over our old vices - we must cooperate with God to get rid of bad habits so the growing virtues will fit.  

Recently I realized that, in addition to virtues large and small, there are additional parts of our habit which we have not yet described. We need these pieces desperately; in fact, we cannot truly be "cloistered" without them. 

There is a reason for this need.  

"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above.  You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground."  (Ephesians 6:2-13)

"Stand fast, with the 
truth as the belt around your waist, 
justice as your breastplate, and 
zeal to propagate the gospel of peace as your footgear.  
In all circumstances, hold 
faith up before you as your shield,
it will help you extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one.  Take the
helmet of salvation and the
sword of the spirit, the word of God."  (Ephesians 6:14-17)

Thus clad, we can go forward to encounter the world.

(painting: August Wilhelm Musk im Kloster, now in US public domain)