14. Embodying the Holy Spirit Conflicts with the Mascot of the Fighting Irish
Note: this segment’s crucial point—that there is no competition amongst those who are truly Spirit-filled—comes from a Sunday sermon that I gave at an Old-Amish-Order church in Indiana, after I was, in historic fashion, there invited to speak by the congregation’s bishop. The incident was “historic” both because it is unheard of for someone non-Amish to give a Sunday sermon at an Old-Amish church and because the Holy Spirit, by Old-Amish standards, supported the verity of my sermon at the time that it was preached.
Egotism is based on competition, that is, on wanting to be superior. In contrast, when having given up one’s life to God to be an empty vessel for the Holy Spirit, there is no more competition because one cannot, thereafter, take credit for one’s actions since the actions are no longer the person’s but God’s.
And the word that you hear is not mine [that is, not Jesus’] but the Father’s who sent me.
In fact, competitive-based egotism is a true sign of being not Spirit-filled. In contrast, when losing competitiveness, one can love, which is a state of supporting and not defeating others.
The athletic teams at Notre Dame University, the Catholic Church’s flagship school of higher education in America, are called the “Fighting Irish.” While a true Christian is certainly meant, when necessary, to fight a spiritual battle, considering the previous paragraphs, it is very perplexing that the image of the mascot of the Fighting-Irish sports teams is a clearly angry Leprechaun, who, with his fists up, is either ready for or already in a physical brawl!
The Catholic Church can take up no weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among people of goodwill.
Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen, France
We do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but . . . against spiritual wickedness in high places. . . . Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . . that I may open my mouth boldly, to . . . speak boldly.