Humiliating training just like the angels

target political

This is not a political statement, just a junked post-election political sign that is apparently being used as a target at an undisclosed location in Western North Carolina.

Anyway, ignoring that, I continued on my way to a parishioner’s house. He had set up a typical law enforcement qualification renewal course, which is wonderfully humiliating, showing me how much I don’t know. That’s the only way to learn. I love it. So, with three tiny targets vertically placed on a wooden stake, with preferably timed stations drawing on a suddenly provided scenario with the necessity of barking commands depending on the situation, providing one’s own perception to onlookers, e.g.: “Drop the gun!” “Drop the knife!” “Show me your hands!” but never “Drop to the ground!” as the first command (obviously) and never using untoward language which will come back to bite you. Such exercises may seem silly to some, surreal even, but here’s the deal, in a real scenario, you have only muscle memory the mechanics and your mouth is only going to say what you’ve previously practiced. Period.

  • At 10 feet — 2 hits 2 hits 2 hits with a gun scenario
  • At 20 feet — 1 hit 1 hit 1 hit with a knife scenario
  • At 25 feet — 1 hit 1 hit 1 hit with a hands/knife scenario
  • At 35 feet — 2 hits 2 hits 2 hits 2 hits with a gun scenario with available cover going low and high and low and high on either side with mag change and purposed jams placed arbitrarily in the replacement mag.

We did this cycle three times, he once, me twice, with me getting 100% better the second time through (lots of room for improvement). Now I know what to work on, which is great. The hit/miss ratio is very high on the hit side, so that, in preparing for this, one had better get 100% a hundred percent of the time if one hopes to re-qualify when under pressure. The reason for this level of perfection is that, in an actual scenario, the hit/miss ratio can again be very high, but this time in favor of the miss side.

Homework is holster work and mirror work (no bullets in the gun!). I’ve heard this many times before including at the North Carolina CCW course (CCH in North Carolina). Again, people can think this is silly and surreal. But, here’s the deal, you either do it right or you don’t do it at all. As I say, I would like to prepare for the FBI training course for those who assist LEOs such as chaplains, the only way to assist as a chaplain in some parts of the Diocese.

Analogy with the spiritual life: our guardian angels surely inspire us to turn positively to the Lord, yes, but it seems to me that they also want to be trained up in difficult situations of distraction in whatever way that that comes about. We can either get nervous and frustrated and upset and then sigh and sigh and sigh again, or we can be enthusiastic and thank our guardian angels for the super cool training that they put us through all the time with the scenario and that.

Saint Teresa of Avila says that she would be scared to death not to have such scenarios as she can’t imagine how we could possibly grow without being trained in this way. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that someone without this opportunity of being trained up is either an angel or a beast. Yikes!

The important this is not to think we’re so important that we waste time getting depressed over our failures while we are being trained, but instead always turn to the Lord who is the only One who is important. Our angels see God in the face, and they want more than anything that we walk with God.

The difference in the training is that one is planned and the other, with the angels, cannot be planned, as they want to take us where we cannot begin to imagine where we will be when we arrive, as the love of God is infinitely beyond our poor imaginations. Our training consists in learning to assent to this love with the lead of the angels.


Filed under Angels, Guns, Spiritual life

5 responses to “Humiliating training just like the angels

  1. sanfelipe007

    “The difference in the training is that one is planned and the other, with the angels, cannot be planned, as they want to take us where we cannot begin to imagine where we will be when we arrive,…”
    This is so true. In my own spiritual life, decades of training under my GA becomes apparent, only when the fruit falls, so to speak. When, in an adverse situation, I am able to act in docility to The Spirit thanks to spiritual muscle-memory. Afterwards I realize, “so that’s what all that suffering (or obedience) was all about. Truly, any experience can be for our spiritual good if we let the Spirit conform it, in us, to Christ.

  2. elizdelphi

    Felipe’s comment is also good as is so often true of Felipe.
    I think I can see where the training has made a difference and where I routinely fall flat on my face or shrink away. I am tempted to feel really demoralized right now. But my guardian angel will not give up on me.
    I seem to be really contrary and a difficult subject. Is it bad to denounce the Charismatic movement to one of its adherents because charismatic practices are totally against what St John of the Cross advises and gibberish “tongues” seem to not be real? Is it bad to give a historic Catholic priest’s scathing memoir of personally meeting the founder of Mormonism and debunking of the origins of the Book of Mormon and denouncing absurd Mormon beliefs to cheery Mormon missionaries to ask for advice on footnotes that may be called for in the published book text of which I am the editor (it was they who had repeatedly asked me about the Book of Mormon after all)? Is it bad to interrupt the social justice Stations of the Cross after the Station about how others hurt “LGBTQ” people to pray for chastity for all? Is it bad to doggedly inquire into whether a particular priest has faculties or not when he no longer seemed to have a connection anyone knew of with a diocese or institute (fortunately he seemingly still does). or are the controversies I get myself into some part of the training? It seems like these things could be done in a virtuous way or a very imperfect way and to get it right requires a high degree of prudence and wisdom that I am still being formed in.

    • Father George David Byers

      I’m sure your guardian angel is happy you take exactly this kind of training seriously. Good for you.

  3. elizdelphi

    But I am a little proud of myself getting into all these things, when the things I am the weakest at I do not dare describe, or the comment would be stuck in moderation

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