Lust, Love and Angelic Warfare

There once lived a boy who was born to a wealthy and prominent family. He had the world at his fingertips, but there was a question that burned in his young heart and mind: who is God? His life began to circle around answering this all-important question. His family made plans for him: if he wanted to search for God, he could do that as abbot of a wealthy and powerful Benedictine monastery. But then one day, he encountered a new kind of religious: poor, mendicant friars, living an apostolic life, traveling from town to town and preaching the Gospel with joy. Here was his future: the Apostolic Life of prayer, study, community and preaching.

His mother was appalled. His brothers scoffed and locked him in a tower of the family castle until he changed his mind. His sisters begged and cajoled. He converted them to his way of thinking. Then his brothers decided to try a different approach. He was a young, vigorous man, after all. So they sent into his room a beautiful woman of ill repute to seduce him.

What was his response to the temptation against his chastity? Was he completely indifferent to the temptation, a “cold fish”? Did he think himself above danger? Did he flounder or cave under the flirtations of the woman before him? No, on all counts. His reaction was swift and passionate in its own right – he grabbed a burning log from the fire and chased the woman from the room. Then, using his fiery brand, he marked the sign of the cross on the wall and collapsed in prayer, begging God’s grace to preserve him from falling into these temptations and for His deliverance from them. In answer to this prayer, God sent two angels to bind him with a cord about his waist and assured him he would never again be tempted against chastity.

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This story eventually gave rise to the Angelic Warfare Confraternity and devotion to St. Thomas Aquinas as a patron saint of purity and chastity. Those who become members of the Confraternity enjoy the intercession of St. Thomas and certain aids for the purpose of formation and perseverance in the virtue of chastity according to their state of life. Confraternity members are devoted “to St. Thomas Aquinas and the truths he taught about the integrity of body, emotions and will with the truth about human sexuality.” They also commit to pray daily for one another, that all confraternity members may preserve and grow in the virtue of chastity and purity.

Many people today, especially the youth, can understand and draw encouragement from the example of Brother Thomas, his trial and triumph, and strength from the prayers of Confraternity members united together under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Thomas Aquinas. We encourage you to learn more about this Confraternity.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!