The Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants
Not without surprise, I sometimes read the one or other Rad Trad blog (not excluding mine, I must very immodestly say; then my critics seem to read me more than I read them, and I notice their criticism only by way of a limited number of blog referrals, which in turn do not indicate a huge readership) called “insignificant”. As if, in the great battle between Right and Wrong, this had any importance.
Let us say you bravely defend Catholic Truth among friends and relatives, and no one heeds you. Is your effort insignificant? Certainly not! It is very significant, in fact, to the Angels looking on you from heaven. It is very significant for your own salvation. And, last but not least, it is significant because it is right.
But let us say, now, that you have a blog, and this blog reaches thirty people, who read you three times a week and draw some benefit from it. Thirty people who actually think that you make a difference in their spiritual life, or in their view of Catholicism, or in helping them not to drown in a sea of confusion; and, therefore, come back to your blog again and again. Is this insignificant? Certainly not! You are, in fact, already exercising a bigger influence than most teachers, bar the very best, have on their pupils! And all this, in most cases, gratis et amore Dei. No, it is certainly not insignificant. It is, in fact, a notable achievement.
However, it must be clear to all of us that, in the great scheme of things, we are all insignificant, in that none of us will ever, alone, change the course of history or be a leader of nations. This is true both for our insignificant blogs, and for those still insignificant Catholic publications who call us insignificant, and I doubt if they ever properly strengthen the faith of anyone, rather than leading them towards indifference or perdition.
But then again I wonder: how insignificant is insignificant, if it is mentioned among countless blog to one's own readership as an example of lack of significance? Does not this deny, in itself, the premise? Still, they are right in the essence: in the great scheme of things, insignificant we all are, together with our detractors.
How should, therefore, each faithful Catholic (mother and father, friend and colleague) see ourselves? We should see ourselves, I think, as warrior ants.
Each one of us, taken individually, is certainly insignificant in the great scheme of things (albeit what he does is most significant for his own salvation, which in itself is infinitely important). However, warrior ants are a frightful force when they march together. Does the individual warrior ant care about how much “significant” she is? I have never asked one, but most probably not. The warrior ant cares, in her own way, about what she can do exactly as insignificant, expendable warrior ant, and that is the beginning and the end of it.
When we die we will not be asked whether we have “changed the world”. We will not be asked how “significant” we were. We will not be asked how many readers our blog used to have. We will be asked whether we have kept defending Truth when no one listened to us; when we were mocked and insulted; when we were, in fact, being – exactly – insignificant to the world. And by the way: be afraid of when the world calls you “relevant”: you might just have become like it.
I have started this blog hoping to reach sixty or seventy people every day: two to three school classes. My thinking was that this kind of readership would allow me to help my fellow Catholics in a comparable way as, say, a deeply Catholic high school history or philosophy teacher who has the ability to, as they say, “touch the life” of a comparable number of people every day with his own solid faith. Every blogger who is inclined to write and perseveres in his aim can, I think, reach this goal (and compensate for a non-existent Catholic philosophy or history teacher) obviously for no pay. Call it insignificant as much as you want, but I think it already counts a lot, both in this world and in the next.
This little effort – insignificant, of course, in the great scheme of things – reaches around 1500 unique users every day, and it is sailing towards five millions page views. You can call it, if you wish, a very fat and very angry warrior ant, but a warrior ant it still is. Few good history or philosophy teachers reach as many lives as this warrior ant does. You can also call it fifty philosophy classes, or three healthy parishes (apart from the fact, of course, that your fat warrior ant is not a priest). But you see, I do not start writing a blog post thinking of the fifteen hundred people my blog post might reach. I start writing for this blog because I want to be one of the Blessed Virgin's Warrior Ants. Small. Expendable. Utterly insignificant. But still there, marching together with many other warrior ants, and not caring about this world's or his battle's outcome. A single warrior ant can be easily squashed, but an army of them is a devastating force.
One of the reasons I write this blog is to encourage every one of my readers to be, in his little sphere of influence, Blessed Virgin's Warrior Ants. I encourage you to be warrior ants – with the due prudence; we aren't like those Proddie in Oxford Street crying around: “repent!” – when no one seems open to you, when everyone considers you that very strange guy. One day, with God's grace, the one or other may well remember your words, start to connect the dots and, in time, start to finally understand.
In order to do this, the warrior ant must bite. Fluff is easily forgotten after two days, strong words will be remembered in fifty years. By God's grace, the words your atheist relative resents today might be the words God uses to save his soul on his deathbed in, say, 2055; with Pope Francis V very unhappily reigning , and Catholic ruins everywhere.
Yes, we are – taken individually – utterly insignificant. Expendable warrior ants. Not even a small nuisance to the world.
May we die that way, all of us, and what a blessing!