Last week while I was on my way to a court hearing, I stepped onto an elevator to go up to the floor where the courtroom was located. When I got on the elevator, there were five other individuals inside, one of whom was talking on her cell phone. As the elevator doors closed, the woman said, “I’m in an elevator so if I lose you, I’ll call you back.”
Needless to say, I had to listen to her mindless chatter while I waited for the elevator to deliver me to the 11th floor. After I got off the elevator, I couldn’t help but think about the elevator scene in the movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
While Captain America is inside a large elevator, the elevator stops at three different floors. At each stop, three or four men get on the elevator.
After the three stops, there are about a dozen men inside the elevator who are surrounding Captain America. By then, Captain America realizes that the men are going to attempt to kill him. In a calm, firm voice, he says, “Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?” At that point, one of the men hits the stop button on the elevator while the other men attack Captain America.
After an extended battle, there is only one man left standing — Captain America. He hits the button on the elevator to get it going again and quickly finds out that everyone in the building is after him.
Of all the battle scenes in the movie, the fight in the elevator was my favorite. If you want to see it, you can go to YouTube.com and type in the search terms: “Captain America winter soldier elevator.”
Throughout the entire movie, Captain America is pursued by his enemies. They all have the same goal — to destroy him. He is clearly a threat to their diabolical plans and they know that before they can succeed, he must be eliminated.
If you’re familiar with old Marvel Comics or the Marvel movies that have recently been released by Disney, you know that Captain America uses a specially designed shield to (1) protect himself from bullets, (2) break through barriers, and (3) subdue his enemies. Other than his shield, he does not carry or use any weapons. Without his shield, he would not be able to protect himself from harm.
Whether we realize it or not, like Captain America, you and I are constantly being pursued by the forces of evil. As devout Catholics, every one of us is a target. Because we live in the United States, the attacks that take place against us are usually spiritual rather than physical. If we lived in the Middle East or in a communist country, we would have to worry about being beaten, imprisoned, or getting our heads sawed off.
The freedoms that Christians in America have always enjoyed are slowly being taken away. While Christians in our country mind their own business and make no attempt to force their beliefs on others, the forces of evil use the media, the public education system, the political establishment, and the courts to force their beliefs on us. When we refuse to comply, we are fined, shamed, and treated like social outcasts and criminals.
What if you and I were given a spiritual shield to protect us from the evil forces that surround and attack us?
I thought about Captain America’s shield last week after the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This particular feast day was established by Pope Pius V to commemorate the victory of a coalition of Catholic forces from Spain and other regions over the Ottoman Empire. The battle which is known as the “Battle of Lepanto” took place on October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Corinth, near Greece.
Prior to the Battle of Lepanto, Pius V made a plea to all Europeans to pray the rosary for victory. He knew that the Catholic forces were inferior to the Ottoman navy and felt that victory could only be achieved with the help of the mother of God.
By all historical accounts, the Battle of Lepanto was won because the citizens of Europe picked up their rosaries and turned to our Lady for assistance. The rosary acted as a spiritual shield that protected Europe and its citizens from harm.
The daily recitation of the rosary, while meditating on the most significant events of the lives of Jesus and Mary (the Mysteries of the Rosary), acts as a spiritual shield that protects us from the evil forces that seek to destroy us.
The mere act of reaching out to the mother of God every day through her rosary guarantees that she will protect us from spiritual, emotional, and physical harm. Of greater importance, devotion to the rosary paves the way for us to be mentored by the Queen of Heaven, whose only goal is to bring us closer to her Son, the King of Heaven.
Less than five percent of all Catholics ever develop the habit of praying a daily rosary. To me, this is a stunning statistic. Why don’t more Catholics tap into the power of the rosary? I wish I knew the answer to that question.
Are you a member of the elite group of Catholics who recognize and take advantage of this phenomenal spiritual shield? If not, why?