From the Final Battle Scene at Arcātheos, 2017
OVER twenty years ago, myself and my brother in Christ and dear friend, Dr. Brian Doran, dreamed about the possibility of a camp experience for boys that not only formed their hearts, but answered their natural desire for adventure. God called me, for a time, on a different path. But Brian would soon birth what is today called Arcātheos, which means “Stronghold of God”. It is a father/son camp, perhaps unlike any in the world, where the Gospel meets imagination, and Catholicism embraces adventure. After all, Our Lord Himself taught us in parables…
But this week, a scene unfolded that some men are saying was the “most powerful” they’ve witnessed since the camp’s inception. In truth, I found it overwhelming…
Throughout the week of this year’s camp (July 31-August 5th), a story unfolded whereby evil took the upper hand over the realm of Arcātheos in such a way that we, in the King’s army, became utterly powerless. There were no more “human” solutions. And so, my character, Archlord Legarius (who is known as “Brother Tarsus” when he returns to his hermitage in the mountains), reminded the boys that we cannot lose faith in the King. That when we pray “Thy Kingdom come” we must never forget to add, “Thy will be done.” Since He taught us these words, we should expect that the Kingdom will indeed come… but in the way that He sees best fit, and when He sees best fit. And sometimes, it will be most unexpected.
In the final battle scene, a fallen ArchLord (Reth Maloch) and his apprentice breach the castle walls and surround the entire camp of Arcātheos. Standing on the steps of the portal that opens to many realms, my character said, “And so, it comes to this, the consummation of all things.” At that moment, singing can be heard on the other side of the portal. Suddenly, four angelic women appear (the ladies of Captivenia), and they are followed by the Queen of Lumenorus, Our Lady of Light.
OUR LADY OF LIGHT COMES
As she descends the steps, all the evil creatures (Droch) who have entered the castle begin to flee. Reth Maloch finally exclaims, “We have no power here!” But all the time, Our Lady’s eyes are fixed on Lord Valerian (Brian Doran) who is bound helplessly in supernatural chains. But when she approaches, the chains fall, and silently, she brings him to his feet. With that, she turns and begins her ascent back through the portal. As she passes by me, I say to her, “My Lady, I tried to reach Mara… I tried.” (Mara is a Captivenian who fell away and who Brother Tarsus tried to bring back to the King in another powerful scene a couple days earlier.) At that moment, Our Lady turns to me and says,
With the King, there is always hope.
She lays her hands on my head for a moment, and then disappears through the portal….
OUR LADY OF LIGHT LINGERS
That was the act. But what was no act at all were the tears in many of our eyes. Brian said it was for him the most powerful camp scene in fifteen years. The priests present were also deeply moved. And for me, the actress who played Our Lady, Emily Price, seemed to vanish, as it were, and I felt Our Lady’s true presence. So much so, that when she was gone, I began to grieve. I suddenly understood how Mirjana of Medjugorje says she feels when Our Lady appears to her each month, and then leaves her again in the “mortal realm.” The tears on Mirjana’s face became my own.
What I experienced that day was the power of Our Lady’s purity. The light of Jesus shines through her uninhibited because she is truly Immaculate. Her beauty is unparalleled in the universe, for she is God’s Masterpiece—a creature nonetheless—but one who moves perfectly in the Divine Will, wholly united to the Godhead. Preserved from sin by the merits of the Cross so that Jesus could take His flesh from a pure vessel, she is the image of the Church to come.
In the refulgence of her Light—who is Jesus—I felt my littleness. I asked Brian afterword how he felt during the scene. He said it was like “she knew I was a terrible sinner, like I had failed her countless times, but in that moment she didn’t care, she just looked into my soul with the tender mercy of a mother.”
The next day I spoke with Emily, who also experienced something supernatural in her Marian role. She said, “I have never felt so feminine as I did then, but also, I felt such strength.” Those are words that deserve another writing, as that is a “message” to the women and men of our generation….
OUR LADY OF VICTORY
But something else happened that day. It was as though I were infused with a deeper understanding of Our Lady’s role in the “final confrontation” of this era; that she is going to triumph in a way that will stun the world. For her Triumph is the dawn that precedes the rising of the Sun of Justice. Many who misunderstand, despise or reject her…. they are going to absolutely love her, the way that Jesus loves her, because they will see Him in her light, and she in His.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev 12:1)
On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her… —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 221
When Our Lady of Light descended the steps at Arcātheos, all the evil figures who had entered the castle fled in terror. It was a potent image that many of the fathers and sons commented on afterward. Indeed, exorcists say that the invocation of the Blessed Mother’s presence during exorcisms is very powerful.
One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.” —The late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of Rome, Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace, March-April edition, 2003
The reason is that Mary’s humility and obedience utterly undid the work of Satan’s pride and disobedience, and thus, she is the object of his hatred.
In my experience—so far I have performed 2,300 rites of exorcism—I can say that the invocation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary often provokes significant reactions in the person being exorcized… —Exorcist, Fr. Sante Babolin, Catholic News Agency, April 28th, 2017
Citing the Rite of Exorcism, Fr. Babolin reveals how the Church’s 2000 years of experience in spiritual warfare has incorporated Our Lady into deliverance ministry:
“Most cunning serpent, you shall no more dare to deceive the human race, persecute the Church, torment God’s elect and sift them as wheat… The sacred Sign of the Cross commands you, as does also the power of the mysteries of the Christian Faith… The glorious Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, commands you; she who by her humility and from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception, crushed your proud head.” —Ibid.
OUR LADY OF THE WORD
Of course, this is entirely biblical. There’s that passage from Revelation in which the “dragon” enters a confrontation with the “woman” whom Pope Benedict affirms is representative of Our Lady and the Church.
This Woman represents Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, but she represents at the same time the whole Church, the People of God of all times, the Church that at all times, with great pain, again gives birth to Christ. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Castel Gandolfo, Italy, AUG. 23, 2006; Zenit
And then there is the Protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15 that, in the Ancient Latin, reads:
I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. (Douay-Reims)
St. John Paul II notes:
…this version does not agree with the Hebrew text, in which it is not the woman but her offspring, her descendant, who will bruise the serpent’s head. This text then does not attribute the victory over Satan to Mary but to her Son. Nevertheless, since the biblical concept establishes a profound solidarity between the parent and the offspring, the depiction of the Immaculata crushing the serpent, not by her own power but through the grace of her Son, is consistent with the original meaning of the passage. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, “Mary’s Emnity toward Satan was Absolute”; General Audience, May 29th, 1996; ewtn.com
And therein lies the key to her role in salvation history. She is “full of grace”, a grace not of her own, but accorded her by the Father in order that the Son, taking flesh from her flesh, would become a spotless Lamb. Indeed, says John Paul II, the “Son of Mary won the definitive victory over Satan and enabled his Mother to receive its benefits in advance by preserving her from sin. As a result, the Son granted her the power to resist the devil….” POPE JOHN PAUL II, “Mary’s Emnity toward Satan was Absolute”; General Audience, May 29th, 1996; ewtn.com
If at a given moment the Blessed Virgin Mary had been left without divine grace, because she was defiled at her conception by the hereditary stain of sin, between her and the serpent there would no longer have been—at least during this period of time, however brief—that eternal enmity spoken of in the earliest tradition up to the definition of the Immaculate Conception, but rather a certain enslavement. —POPE PIUS XII, Encyclical Fulgens corona, AAS 45 , 579
Instead, just as Eve was a co-operator with Adam in the fall of mankind, Mary, the New Eve, is now a co-redemptrix with Jesus, the New Adam, in the salvation of the world.cf. 1 Cor 15:45 Thus, once again, Satan sets himself against the Woman in these last times…
OUR LADY OF HOPE
The interior light of Mary is Jesus who said, “I am the light of the world.”
Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace… —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2676
This is why we speak of Mary as the “dawn” who brings forth the Sun. This is why Our Lady herself said:
My soul magnifies the Lord… (Luke 1:46)
Through her maternal intercession, she is always bringing forth Jesus into the world.
For “with maternal love she cooperates in the birth and development” of the sons and daughters of Mother Church. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 44
And so, dear brothers and sisters, look to the East.cf. Look to the East! Look for Our Lady whose triumph will also herald the coming of Jesus in a new and spiritual way in order to renew the face of the earth. The darker these times become, the closer we are to the dawn.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Fathers of the Church, also calls our Lady the Eastern Gate, through which the High Priest, Jesus Christ, enters and goes out into the world. Through this gate he entered the world the first time and through this same gate he will come the second time.—St. Louis de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, n. 262
When Our Lady of Light descended the steps of the castle portal at Arcātheos, there was a palpable sense of supernatural “light” shining through her, at least for several of us. It reminds me of the promises Our Lord and Our Lady made through the approved messages to Elizabeth Kindelmann.
The soft light of my Flame of Love will light up spreading fire over the entire surface of the earth, humiliating Satan rendering him powerless, completely disabled. Do not contribute to prolong the pains of childbirth. —Our Lady to Elizabeth Kindelmann; The Flame of Love, Imprimatur from Archbishop Charles Chaput
What is this “Flame of Love”?
…my Flame of Love… is Jesus Christ himself. —The Flame of Love, p. 38, from Elizabeth Kindelmann’s diary; 1962; Imprimatur Archbishop Charles Chaput
And this is precisely the role of her “triumph” in our times: to prepare the world for the coming of the Kingdom of God in our midst in an entirely new and different mode:
I said the “triumph” will draw closer. This is equivalent in meaning to our praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom… the triumph of God, the triumph of Mary, are quiet, they are real nonetheless. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, p. 166, A Conversation With Peter Seewald
While we tend to wait for a big “moment”, both Benedict and Our Lady are suggesting otherwise. This moment, now, we are called to “open wide our hearts” so that the Kingdom of God may already begin to reign in us, and that Flame of Love begin to spread.
Prepare to set out. Only the first step is difficult. After that, My Flame of Love will encounter no resistance and will illuminate souls with a gentle light. They will be intoxicated with abundant graces and announce the Flame to everyone. A torrent of graces which have not been given since the Word became Flesh will pour out. —The Flame of Love, p. 38, Kindle Edition, diary; 1962; Imprimatur Archbishop Charles Chaput
Our Lady of Light, pray for us.
Is Jesus Really Coming? A look at the remarkable “big picture” emerging…
Introductory writings on the Flame of Love:
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