Fortitudo et laetitia, c. 1943
Great inspiration for the Church Militant. 
Quote:No army could be more fortunate than the one that enlists in its ranks the Catholic soldier.  The Catholic soldier not only fights for the right cause, he knows how to fight for it in the right way.  The Catholic makes a good soldier. Every general will tell you that; every captain and corporal. So will every draft board when the eligibles for service are being conscripted. So will every war citation when the heroes in battle are being counted.

The call to be a soldier comes to the Catholic boy with less surprise, less shock, less need for psychological adjustment than it does to most. For even in the days of peace, he has always been a soldier, always at war. The Bishop made him a soldier when he was a little boy. The Bishop anointed him with oil, signed him with the Sign of the Cross, even gave him a slight blow on the cheek, to remind him firmly in Sacrament that he must be — and had the Grace to be — a strong and perfect Christian and a soldier of Jesus Christ.

If anyone thinks this warfare of the spirit, waged to preserve the Christian certitudes and moralities in the face of a hostile opposition, is not a soldier’s task, let him have tried it from childhood and see.  Nobody bothers very much with your Christianity if you confine it to a few pleasant, aesthetic opinions about Christ. But once you dare to phrase it in the adamantine truths of the Apostles’ Creed, you find yourself under siege, a soldier, and at war.  Even the simple certitudes of a prayer as innocently and essentially Christian as the Hail Mary will expose your theology to attack, turn you into Our Lady’s defender, and surround you with foes. I do not refer to our small foes, either: the sceptics, the sophisticates, and the snobs. I refer to our large enemy: Lucifer and the Powers of Darkness.

You may say: are not all men — and not merely Catholics — at war with the Powers of Darkness? And the answer is: all men are. But what will you say of making a strong fight against an enemy you do not believe exists? Suppose the generals of the United Nations, deceived by the effectiveness with which Hitler sticks to his hideouts, should persuade themselves that no Hitler exists. How would they go on from there?  “Holy Archangel Michael, defend us in the battle!” is the prayer every Catholic boy says, on his knees, with his priest, at the end of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He always knows he is at war, and with whom.  And even when the Catholic soldier falters — even when his sins are grievous — he takes both the shame for them and the blame for them. He believes that Heaven — God’s beautiful home “where the forgiven meet” — is a city to be taken by storm. He does not believe it is a refuge for irresponsibles who are allowed no share in their own victory.  When he turns his energies from a spiritual to a material war, the Catholic soldier completely disavows in his heart those two well-exploited, but thoroughly unmilitary sentiments: hatred and fear. Hatred and fear are weaknesses. Hatred and fear are oratorical emotions. But wars are not won on the radio.

Let us put the matter in its simplest terms. Suppose you do make the enemy “bleed and burn.” Suppose you even boil him in oil! Do you thereby unbleed, unburn and unboil the millions of innocent lives he has already destroyed?  Vengeances of such a kind were best left to God, Who alone is equal to the task of vengeance with dignity.  Hatred and fear are for the unconfident. The soldier’s task is not a butcher’s job. It requires a mind, and nerves, and a technique as clear, cool and collected as those of a surgeon. The soldier’s assignment is not to avenge his enemy, but to outsmart him by completely destroying his opportunities.  And when victory comes — as it is sure to come, eventually, to those who are without hatred and without fear — the soldier retires from his triumph as gloriously and gracefully as he entered it. He goes back to a civilian’s life still civilized. His mother, his sweetheart, his wife, his little daughter, find him undegenerated by the sentiments of a savage: hatred and fear.

Bad nerves, hysterics, high blood-pressure — these may be the symptoms of epilepsy, but they are not the signs of patriotism. How many victories do they achieve, even when provoked by propaganda? A mouthful of expletives to hurl at your foe! Are these as fine — or effective — as a good gun in your hands and a good song in your heart?

Fortitudo et laetitia. Courage and gaiety. These are the soldierly emotions. Who tells us so? David, the royal psalmist does, constantly, in his one hundred and fifty Psalms, those divinely inspired songs written to motivate a soldier for any kind of war life has to offer.

Fortitudo et laetitia. I started to count, the other day, the number of times these two words, or their equivalents, go together in the Book of Psalms. And the number was so great, I stopped counting.

Courage and gaiety. The soul must have its resources in time of war, just as the body must have its food and drink. Courage and gaiety are the soul’s best resources. They are — among the realities of the spirit — like brother and sister, full of striking resemblances. They are more. Courage and gaiety are like bridegroom and bride.

Fortitudo et laetitia. When they wed and become one, in the holy citadel of a soldier’s soul, they bear fruits, not the least of which is to give war — all war — a meaning and a memory. A meaning of what it is for. And a memory of — for Whom.

  :) What inspires you to this militant spirit?
Having read a lot of military history from Alexander to the Great War, I think he is on to something. I especially agree with his point that a certain lightness of heart accompanies the most successful soldiers, although I didn't see the trend in my readings until now.
(Disclaimer:  The website that that page comes from is dubious, in that it has racist links on it.  But it also has its own disclaimer that warns anyone from concluding that Fr. Feeney would have approved of any of the links.)

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