The Warrior Soul
May 20, 2002

Frank Pavone
Reproduced with Permission

General George S. Patton, Jr., in his 1926 essay, "The Secret of Victory," wrote, "The secret of victory lies not wholly in knowledge. It lurks invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning -- the warrior soul. The fixed determination to acquire the warrior soul, and having acquired it to either conquer or perish with honor, is the secret of victory."

I cannot count how many "warrior souls" I've met across the country in the pro-life movement. I think of the elderly woman who could not walk, yet confined to a wheelchair and battling with cancer, insisted on going regularly to the abortion mill to join the people praying on the sidewalk to save children about to be killed.

I think of the young people who relocate to unfamiliar parts of the country and, for little or no salary, undertake full-time pro-life work that brings them ridicule even from those they thought were their friends. Yet nothing matters more to them than stopping the killing.

I think of the pastor who told his people that if they didn't like his preaching on abortion, they could go elsewhere, but that he would be working to help all his brother priests to preach this message, so that there would be no parish where it wasn't heard.

I think of men and women I know in the media who challenge their colleagues to present the truth about abortion, and don't care that their colleagues ridicule them or that in some cases they may lose opportunities to advance in the company ladder. What matters most to them is the victory of the truth.

The litany can go on and on.

If we glimpse the depth of the horrific problem of abortion, and how entrenched it is in our society, there are two ways we might respond.

First, we can pretend that there is nothing that can be done, and end up either not engaged in the battle, or engaged in it as "a hobby," as something to be squeezed in when "more important" things aren't demanding our attention. And we never take on tasks that will either require too much sacrifice or prove wrong the idea that we cannot succeed.

The other response is to become the "warrior soul." While this is not "fanaticism," it is total dedication, to the point of being willing to give one's life in the cause. "Fanaticism" means that, except for the one focus we have, our personality shuts down and we disconnect from reality. The "warrior soul," on the other hand, devotes all of his fully functioning personality to his cause, and it is precisely because he is connected to reality that he sees that cause as all-important.

Social change doesn't come through committees and boards. It comes through warrior souls. It's something like what Scripture tells us: "The way we came to understand love was that he laid down his life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 Jn3:16).