"Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everything is telling you that something wrong is right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye and say 'No. You move.'"
When I first read this quote it was way back in 2007, I was reading a Captain America comic book, in which he was speaking to Spiderman on morals. I was 17 years old, about to become a senior in high school. I wasn’t one of the cool kids. I was a Catholic Geek (and still am), and I loved it. I was one of the outcasts, always doing my own thing, and would relish in the fact that I am a geek (reading comic books in class, doing class projects about vintage transforming action figures etc.). I would not give into peer pressure. If I made a choice, I made it of my own accord and owned up to the consequences of my actions. So this quote really struck me and solidified my stance of being my own man, and not budging despite what those around me thought. I wanted to be like Captain America, standing up for freedom, protecting the innocent and the weak, unafraid to lay my own life down for others.
That following year, comic books started coming to life in the form of movies. It started with Ironman, and grew from there. As this movie franchise grew, so did I. I really began to plant my roots into my Catholic heritage, realizing the true honor and privilege that it is to be Catholic. My first year of college was at a local community college, where the professors were spewing polytheism, atheism, mormonism, pretty much anything but the Truth. I refused to move, always fighting back on the odd teachings that I was expected to blindly swallow.
In the words of St. Therese, “Everything is Grace.” This friction in my life over my beliefs sparked a fire within my soul. The more I studied, the more I fell in love with Faith, and my soul longed for more. This led me to attending Franciscan University of Steubenville the following year to study Theology. I had found my passion, and continue to fight for Christ and His Church today.
Over time, I had forgotten the quote, but the message stayed with me throughout the years. Until this past spring, when I went to see Captain America: Civil War a movie that is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD. The Avengers are faced with the consequences for their previous battles. World governments start to turn against the heroes, claiming that if they were under more government control, there would be less civilian casualties. They look less upon them as heros, and more as vigilantes and thus want to keep them under control. The solution is to have the heroes answer to a panel of world leaders.
The heroes are split into two sides. The side believing that being under the government's jurisdiction is the best thing for the group is lead by Iron Man, while the side that doesn't trust the government and will not work for their agendas in order to maintain their freedom is lead by Captain America. Iron Man realizes that they are a potential dangerous group, and the government will likely win in the end one way or the other. Iron Man begs his friend to reason with him. Cap refuses to budge, arguing that by giving in they will be giving up their freedom, becoming the servants of a panel of politicians with agendas.
One of the biggest moments during the movie is when they bring in Captain America’s speech from the comic book into the movie. Though it was not Captain America himself who said it, the message still sets the tone for the remainder of the movie. This is definitely a must see and Captain America is sure to inspire. I came up with a few ways that we can live out our Faith, Captain America style.
1. Super Soldier- Captain America was what was called a Super Soldier, he was genetically modified to have super strength, speed, and heightened senses. We, are Super Soldiers for Christ. Though not genetically modified, we are spiritually modified, made anew in Him through our Baptism, that He might live through us and people might see Him within our actions.
2. Outside of Time-Captain America originated during World War II where he fought the Nazis. During this battle, he was frozen in a block of ice, only to be awakened in modern times to have all of his family and friends gone, and the world an entirely different place. He did not know any of the modern customs, technologies, or even sliding values; all of this had changed over the decades he was asleep. Very similarly, we live in a world that is not our own, and it is not always going to accept us. We have to keep in mind that we were created for so much more than this life has to offer, and even though the “stuff” in the world seems fulfilling, it will never fill the proverbial God shaped hole in our hearts.
3. "I Can Do This All Day"-This is Captain America’s taunt whenever he is in a fight he seems to be losing. He gets knocked down, gets right back up, and says “I can do this all day.” He refuses to give up, and this fighting spirit gives him the strength to keep going. We have an even greater spirit pushing us through our battles, the Holy Spirit. He gives us the strength to face even our greatest fears, our darkest nights, and our loneliest days. He never abandons us, and will never give us a battle that we cannot win with His help.
4. You Move- Captain America’s fiercest and most admirable quality is that he will look an enemy right in the eyes, no matter how much more powerful this enemy may be, and stand his ground. It is our duty to do the same. Just as Christ testified to the Truth, so should we, and in the Truth there is no room for compromise. This is really speaking out to us as Catholics living in the world today. In a world where everyone says we must get with the times, and allow so many evils including but not limited to cohabitation before marriage, same sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and artificial contraceptives. We must put on the Armor of Christ, plant ourselves upon the Rock, look the world in the eye and say "No. You move."
Christ is calling us to be a light in these dark times. He is always reminding me of this. we are at war, and our very souls and the souls of those around us are at stake. There is no room for us to compromise. I was once offered a pretty good job, great pay, great benefits, a job that I could see becoming a decent career for myself. In training, I became aware that part of the job would be providing samples of birth control to doctor offices. I approached the managers, and asked if there was any way around this part of the job. They said no, so I brought this up with my spiritual director and we concluded that the best choice would be for me to resign the job.
This was about 4 years ago now, and I will honestly tell you that I have been struggling since, trying to find a substantial stable job, that is worthy of the term, career. But I never once regretted that decision. The money I could have made, the things I could have bought, the life I could have been living are no where near worth the price of compromising my morals or my soul. Though let me tell you that every crappy job I have, every time I worry about making ends meet, every time I question where my life is going, they are all worth it. All of those are beautiful roses given to Our Lady, roses to offer to her Son at the Foot of the Cross, to attone to His Most Sacred Heart for my sins and the sins of those in our culture, especially those in the birth control industry.
It is our honor and duty from our Baptism and Confirmation to stand up for the Truth; to testify to the world that there is one Truth, and He is not a concept to conquer, or a philosophy for fight. He is a Mystery to Behold, a Person to Love, and a Life to be Lived. We must pray to Our Lady for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts, to give us the courage to face the lions in the gladiator pits, just as our brothers and sisters did nearly 2000 years ago.
This culture of the early Christians is not too different from our own. One thing they had going for them was the examples of those who had gone before them, the martyrs and saints. They had that ideal to strive to, the security in knowing that the battle was not for nothing. Today, we have these same examples of faith to look upon and draw strength, but God seems to be giving us special graces from our culture as well. We have fictional heroes, like Captain America, to inspire us and to give us the strength to stand strong in adversity, to never give up the good fight, and most importantly to have the hope that after all is said and done it is all worth fighting for, no matter the cost.
Joseph Bush is currently living in Milwaukee(Algonquin for "The Good Land") Wi, where the Immaculata not only nourishes him with the Bread of Life, but also heaps of humble pie. One would think this might give him the sense to know that life is too short to be taken seriously, but he persists on trying to survive the journey to sainthood.