One of the fastest growing sports in the world today is mixed martial arts. While many only see the barbaric nature of two men entering a cage and knocking the snot out of each other, others see a different aspect of the sport. The sportsmanship and the overall design of a strategy to out wit and out think your opponent. Boxing still is a very well respected and watched combat sport today but the comparison of these two combative arts is chess against checkers. Boxing offers the thrill of combat but the hands are the only weapon used. Whereas in mixed martial arts, the hands, elbows, knees, feet, shins, legs and forearms are all used, and this doesn't even begin to explain the ground game. Mixed Martial Arts or MMA for short combines American wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, and any other lethal art. Both sports can teach a man about struggle, sacrifice and never giving up but there is a world of difference between focusing on one art (boxing) and focusing on many arts to become a well-rounded overall fighter. Though these sports can teach us much about physical combat, a comparison might be needed to teach us about spiritual combat.
In the spiritual combat arena the Catholic Church would necessarily be compared to mixed martial arts. The Church offers a vast array of strategies, weapons, sportsmanship, goals and has the ability to teach all of us how to properly use them. While I respect and love my protestant brothers and sisters, their faith only offers what one could compare to boxing. Focusing solely on the Bible and good preaching, many non-Catholic Christian denominations only offer one, maybe two, but highly respectable combat strategies. The Catholic Church on the other hand offers Mass, Confession, the rosary, Tradition, Confirmation, Biblical wisdom, sacramentals, great preaching, and most importantly a direct line to the ultimate mixed martial spiritual Artist, Christ Himself. "Spiritual combat' is another element of life which needs to be taught anew and proposed once more to all Christians today. It is a secret and interior art, an invisible struggle in which (we) engage every day against the temptations, the evil suggestions that the demon tries to plant in (our) hearts." - Pope John Paul II Catholicism offers mere human beings the ability to become the best fighter of temptation possible, all we must do is listen and obey.
Men love to think of themselves as dangerous to their adversaries. Not that we want to strike fear into the hearts of those we come in contact with, we simply want others to know that if you mess with my family and any of those that that I love, you will answer to me. So becoming a well-rounded fighter of our most dangerous adversary, Satan, we become a weapon for Our Lord and The Church offers the mixed martial arts necessary to fight and fight manfully. Throughout the 2,000 year history of Christ's Catholic Church the world has tried over and over again to destroy Her, yet She prevails through each generation with the holiness of devout fighters daily making it to Mass, going to regular confession, praying the daily rosary, and studying Holy Scripture. Our Lord wants us to be able to fight for the Cause of Salvation, thus He gave us the Church to train us in the deadly art of spiritual combat. Knowing that it isn't easy He bestows unending grace upon his soldiers to continue the fight and die with honor.
Would any combatant in MMA study only one martial art and win? I think not. Many boxers have tried to enter the MMA cage and have been beaten for it. Many jiu-jitsu artists have tried to win with only their ground game yet lose because their striking is minimal. Well we can spiritually box with the knowledge of Scripture, we have ground game when we prostrate ourselves in front of the Holy Eucharist, we have strategy with the wisdom of the saints, we have submission moves through confession and prayers to the Blessed Mother. Most importantly we gain heart, a must for any fighter, through the devout recption Holy Communion. Christ and His Church requires us to fight and gives us the many mixed martial arts to do so. In the world of strategy would you rather be the King of the chess board or the pawn of checkers?