Girded by Angels

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"If Saint Thomas had not been victorious when his chastity was in peril, it is very probable that the Church would never have had her Angelic Doctor."
Pope Pius XI

The Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare

How many readers of Vultus Christi know about the Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare? I first read of it when I was a lad in a booklet my Dad brought home from a parish mission preached by Dominicans. I was happy to discover that the Confraternity is not defunct. In fact it has become a thriving youth movement in Nigeria. Do visit their attractive Angelic Warfare Confraternity website. They present chastity in a wonderfully appealing way. Their motto is, “Purity in the heart produces power in life.” Bravo!

A Program for Chaste Living

What are the advantages of the Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare? First, one realizes that one needn't engage in spiritual combat alone. There are others — in heaven and on earth — who are ready and willing to fight the good fight with us and on our behalf. In some places the Confraternity holds regular meetings: a Catholic support group for chaste living. Second, members of the Confraternity make use of blessed sacramentals, the cincture and the medal, in conjunction with a life of prayer (notably the Rosary), mortification, and the Sacraments. Third, the Confraternity has a tradition of linking holy continence with intellectual development and with the study of the mysteries of the faith. "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8).

The obligations of the members of the Confraternity are: 1) to guard holy purity; 2) seek the truth; 3) honor Our Lady of the Rosary under the patronage of St. Thomas; 4) have one’s name enrolled on the official register; 5) wear the cord or medal of the confraternity.

Information

New Hope Publications offers several pamphlets on the Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare. For more information about it, contact Theo Stearns at Saint. Martin de Porres Lay Dominicans, New Hope, KY 40052, or call 270-325-3061. Say that Vultus Christi sent you!

Here is some background on the movement.

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Thomas Becomes a Friar Preacher

At nineteen years of age, Thomas Aquinas defied his parents’ wishes and joined the Order of Preachers in their convent of Naples. Why would a young nobleman with every hope of a brilliant and comfortable future choose the life of Saint Dominic’s humble friars? Thomas’ mother Theodora was determined to change her son’s mind. She set out for Naples to confront him. Thomas’ superiors, having heard of the formidable lady’s plan, spirited him out of the convent of Naples, and sent him to Rome.

Mamma's Fury

Theodora was not amused. She sent her two sons, both soldiers in Emperor Frederick II’s army, to abduct Thomas en route to Rome, and shut him up in the fortress of Rocca Secca near San Giovanni.

The Plan

The young friar’s family tried by every means to make Thomas change the direction of his life, but he would not be swayed from his Dominican vocation. Being lusty southern Italians, his brothers reasoned that if they sent a voluptuous seductress to Thomas’ room, he would yield to her advances and see things their way.

The Seductress Spurned

The poor woman had barely made her entrance, when Thomas’ guards heard a great commotion and screams coming from the room. Brandishing a burning stick from the hearth, Thomas drove his would-be seductress from the room. Then, using the firebrand, he traced on cross on the door, knelt before it and prayed with tears to be preserved in perfect chastity all the days of his life.

The Cincture of Chastity

According to the Acts of his canonization, Thomas had a mystical dream in which two angels came to him and girded his loins with a white linen cincture, saying, “On behalf of God, we gird you with the cincture of chastity, a cincture which no attack will ever destroy.” Thomas preserved the purity of a little child until his death.

The Promotion of Chastity

It became customary within the Dominican Order to wear a cincture in honour of Saint Thomas and to ask his intercession in the struggle to preserve’s one’s purity. By the 15th century confraternities promoting chastity under the protection of Saint Thomas began to appear. In 1649, the Reverend Father Brother Francis Duerwaerdes, O.P. founded the Milita Angelica Divi Thomae Aquinatis, now more popularly known as the Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare. Pope Benedict XIII approved it in 1727 as an apostolic confraternity under the Master of the Order of Preachers.

2 Comments

I suspected the seen riches of the Church go deep and I thought I was pretty knowledgable in things. But I've never heard of most of these wonderful things that you are posting.

Thanks for this info! The connection to the Dominicans interests me as well as the connection to the Angels.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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