Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On this day, the Mohammedans got Lepantowned

Today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, or what used to be known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory. The Collect for OLV in the Roman Missal is the prayer that we say after completing the rosary:
O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that, meditating upon these mysteries in the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord.
The Gospel reading is that of Ember Wednesday during Advent, i.e. the Biblical account of the Annunciation, Luke 1:26-38.  Interestingly, the Novus Ordo Gospel reading is Luke 10:38-42:
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
Pope St. Pius V asked Christendom to pray the rosary and ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to grant victory to Don Juan's fleet. His hagiography states that he was in the middle of a meeting with the curia on the day of battle when he stopped in mid-sentence and went to look out the window. He smiled and told the cardinals that their meeting was adjourned because they had to go thank God for the great victory he had given them. A few days later, Rome received official word of the Christian victory against the Turks.

A lot of times when Christians say, "I'll pray for you," what they really mean is, "I can't do anything actually useful like giving you money or food, or finding you a job, so I'll just say this to make myself feel better." Us American Catholics are as prone to this as our separated brethren. Pope Leo XIII called us out on it in one of his encyclicals. Prayer just doesn't feel like it's good enough. Don't just kneel there, do something!

And yet our Blessed Lord himself said that contemplation was the better way. The rosary did as much to win Lepanto for Don Juan as any orders he gave during the heat of battle. Faith means fidelity and trust in the promises of God, in the goodness of God. We must labor but it's God who grants the increase. Whatever good you do, God granted you the grace to do it.

Scripture is pretty clear that one of the ways God punishes us is to send us wicked, dissolute rulers. Pray for their conversion of course, but pray that we ourselves keep the faith in the midst of assaults by Mohammedans on our bodies and assaults by the hierarchy on our faith, and assaults by the devil on our souls.

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