Rorate Caeli

De Mattei: Our place in the battlefield

 Roberto de Mattei


November 9, 2020

St Michael, defend us in the day of battle

A famous line from William Shakespeare’s  play As You Like It, goes like this: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” (Act II, scene VII).


There is wisdom in this sentence, but we could say more precisely: “All the world is a battlefield and all the men and women are immersed in this war.”


This is always true, but it is particularly true today. There is no denying it.


The elections are just over in the U.S.A.  But are they really over? The President in office until January 20 is officially Donald Trump, who has not conceded the victory to his adversary, already enthroned as the new president by the mainstream media.  What will happen from now until January 20?  In addition to the pending legal battles, America is split in half into two political parts which have become two visions of the world, wherein it will be difficult to find ground for compromise. The electoral result probably gave the victory to  Biden, but Trump appeared more solid and Biden weaker than everyone expected. The political system in the U.S.A., considered a model since the time Alexis de Tocqueville described it in Democracy in America (1831), today, manifests all its fragility, and a scenario of  civil war  (raised a number of times by the British historian Neil Ferguson) appears less far-fetched than may first seem.

But the prospect of a civil war won’t spare Europe. From Nice to Vienna, the streets and squares of Europe are the theatre of a religious conflict that overnight could involve the peripheries of the great cities, according to the dramatic picture painted by the journalist Laurent Obertone in his novel Guerilla : le temps des barbares (Ring, Paris 2019). Alongside the asymmetrical war, which could be induced by a sudden revolt of the urban peripheries, the analysts also foresee a return of “symmetrical conflicts”, with the possibility of wars of States against States. 


The Paris government, for example, has increasingly conflictual relations with Erdogan’s Turkey, but also with China, especially after what happened in New Caledonia, when in the secessionist referendum of October 4, the people voted to remain French, rejecting entry into the Chinese orbit. But Communist China will not renounce its expansionism in the Pacific, and it could well take advantage of the  chaotic situation in the United States by attempting to invade - if not the entire territory of the Island of Taiwan - at least some islands that are dependent on it. How would Joe Biden or Donald Trump respond ?


But the world is also at war against an invisible enemy which made its appearance at the start of 2020: a biological war joined the ongoing political, cultural and psychological war. The pandemic is destabilizing the West and could induce its social collapse.

Furthermore, instead of seeking to understand the Divine designs in history, Pope Francis seems to be accelerating the catastrophe, with appeals to a utopian world devoid of religious identity and national origins, which would mark the obliteration of Western and Christian civilization. 


Is total war at the gates? And what is our place in this battlefield? The answer is simple. Our place of combat is where Divine Providence has allocated each one of us at the present moment. Our lives are made up of countless instances following one another, but we fight in the place and moment, which, day by day, Providence assigns us.  “Sufficit diei malitia sua” (Mt 6, 34): “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof”,  as everyday demands a painful struggle, against ourselves, the devil, and the world, with God’s grace always assisting us.


Combating at the present moment then, means fulfilling our duty and accepting the difficulties of each day with virility, in the concrete historical situation God wants us in. The temptation is to desire a different place of battle than the one we are in and to rebel against the events, instead of seeing in them the wise hand of God, Who orders everything towards a good end, even the evil attacking us and our entire society.


Let us not be engulfed then by the precipitant river of events, but anchor ourselves to the Rock of Divine Wisdom, Who judges the things of this world in the light of eternity, by allowing the waves breaking furiously after each other to disappear, while God, Who is the Eternal Rock, never changes and is always there.


Dom Francesco Pollien says: “Knowing how to accept what God does, the events that he disposes, what happens to you every day, convinced that everything comes from His hand, is a sweet science for the generous heart, and a closed science for the selfish heart” (Cristianesimo vissuto, Edizioni Fiducia, Roma 2017, p. 115).


Let’s maintain our place then in the battlefield and combat generously, with no anger or rancor, immersing ourselves in the infinite sweetness of the Divine Promise given at Fatima: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”






Translation: Contributor, Francesca Romana