The Catholic Defender: Outside the wire you need a good Battle Rhythm


Outside the wire is a phrase well known among the Army deployed at the tip of the spear.

Anytime that we open ourselves to specific risks where the enemy can ambush you and kill you it is always a threat.

For many of us this was a daily engagement.

You try to minimize the hazard by ensuring the safety precautions are in place.

I always ensure that my Soldiers went “outside the wire” in their proper protective gear.

All missions had to be planned so that everyone knew the route, everyone knew the mission, and everyone was properly briefed.

We had to be able to respond to any threat and know the action needed to counter any kind of threat.

Many times at night, you could hear the small arms fire in the distance, occasionally, there would be a loud explosion.

If they were close, I would quickly respond to see if there were any casualties. Prayer was ever so important, but we had to be prepared to take action at a moments notice.

Especially when you are outside the wire, you had to be disciplined. Being part of a team, you played a major role. As a Combat Medic, that meant the difference of saving lives.

I was always ready to go outside the wire first by praying the rosary, I also loved Psalms 23.

I was very happy to hear the Scouts praying Psalms 23 before they went out on missions.

I know many of them went out on missions with rosaries placed at the front of the cab. Many times when we were hit by IED’s and other enemy explosives, though the vehicle was totally destroyed, nobody got hurt. This happened a lot.

We must be spiritually ready to go into the battle. The battle belongs to the Lord.

The Rosary is a very important weapon that the Lord gives us. It is heavens peace plan as Our Lady presented at Fatima in 1917.

The Scripture should be placed in each ones heart. If I was conducting personal checks on my spiritual soldiers getting ready to go out side the wire, I would want to make sure they were prepared to go.

The problem I have seen is that many people are not properly equipped to go to battle. They may have a good heart, but their strength is not grounded.

This must be built, just as an athlete prepares for competition, so should a Christian prepare for temptation, prepare to go into battle.

I think another important gift is to recognize the gift God has given a person.

To be able to use and appreciate the gift of others who are with you. That makes the team much stronger.

1 Timothy 4:7-9 states, “Avoid profane and silly myths. Train yourselves for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance”.

It is important to walk by faith and not by sight, but we must be able to discern those steps to know what the Lord is calling us to.

Anything that leads a person away from the Catholic Faith is a false way.

Even so, God can still use the journey of those who have left so that when they return, they can produce good fruit.

The restoration of the vineyard is what the Lord is calling for. To bring home the prodigals, those who have left the table of plenty.

As we begin our journey each day, let us be charged up ready to do battle, to live out our baptismal vows to reject Satan, the glamour of evil, and to live a holy life.

To help us in this fight, another military strategy to prepare Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors is what we call "Battle Rhythm." Very important in the routine day to day operation.

In the Army we call it "Battle Rhythm" which we ensure that our troops are prepared daily to handle the constant missions being laid out.

The first thing we would do would be “Stand Too” which before dawn every Soldier would be at their fighting position prepared for an attack.

Once daylight had broken through, only specific guards would maintain vigilance as everyone else would continue on for the day.

The cooks would go to the dining hall, the medics would go to the Aid Station, maintenance would go to the motor pool. Everyone has different areas of responsibilities. All would have to have personal hygiene done before all of this.

I remember what it was like putting cold water on your face to shave in zero degree weather. I was always hardcore like that as I never really took to electric shavers in the field. Platoon Sergeants would go to the First Sergeant’s meeting to get the information and the plans for the next coming days.

We would develop a “Soldiers Book” to keep up with all the Soldiers under your responsibility. They had to be supervised to ensure that not only all missions were met on time as planed, but that they were in the correct uniform and that their equipment is serviceable.

All this is important to get through the day. Once you have everything supported and covered, once everything has been met, you might be able to get some downtime. The Army has really changed in 26 years as today, you will see that just about everyone has a lab top computer that can play movies, use Internet, amazing technology to keep up with the family and world back home.

The Battle Rhythm is an important tool to help each Soldier stay on top of their responsibilities.

Our Faith can be like that as well. Without an established Battle Rhythm, it is easy to pass days without praying or dedicating time with the Lord that we need.

It’s good if we can make daily Mass, weekly bible study, rosary and other devotions you can join in on. It’s those individual commitments that can be a challenge.

A Battle Rhythm can help you manage each day to dedicate your commitment to the Lord. It’s important to be prepared for the missions coming up that we support such as the pro-life rally’s, or other issues we are involved in.

Prayer is very important. Daily prayer is personal, how many times do we fail because there just is not enough time in a day?

That has always been a struggle at times especially when I am home because of all the events and obligations I end up participating in.

Sometimes just a change to chill out and watch a good movie or something can take up a lot of time.

This is when a Battle Rhythm can be a tool the Lord can use to help you fulfill your own commitments. Let us not grow lazy in our prayer life, but faithful to our obligations to prayer.

Prayer can be work at times, sometimes we may not feel like it. Do it anyway! You never know what good you offer by doing so!

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." Psalms 23

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