Friday, October 7, 2011

Lucia Miles Christi Sum

Today on the 7th of October 2011 is the 5th anniversary of my return to the Catholic Faith of my childhood after twenty years or so of wandering in the wilderness, metaphorically speaking.

It is also the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, originally named the Feast of Our Lady of Victory because of the great and astounding victory in a sea battle over the Ottoman Empire by Catholic defenders of the West in 1571, lead by 24 year old Don Juan of Austria.

It was astounding, because no one expected them to win. The Turks had been preparing a massive fleet for the invasion of Italy, which would have given them control over the massive shipping lanes of Europe.

Historians tell us that all over Europe a pall fell. Few had hopes that the Christian fleet could avoid the doom that seemed to hang over Italy. The pope had urged all Christians to say the rosary daily on behalf of the brave crews on the Christian galleys. The rosary is a simple prayer that can be said in almost any setting, and had already achieved a certain popularity among humble folk. With each decade of the Hail Marys they had been taught to reflect upon a different event in the life of Jesus. The beads went through one’s fingers as regularly as the blood through one’s body, as regular as heartbeats and the breathing of the lungs.

Many rosaries were prayed and the miraculous occurred. The Christians just about totally wiped out the Turkish fleet.

The Christian victory was far more complete than anyone had dreamed. The victory seemed to many quite miraculous, and victory was immediately attributed to Our Lady Queen of the Rosary — soon to be called by a new title, Our Lady Queen of Victory. All over Europe, from city to town, church bells rang out continuously when news of the impressive victory arrived. Ever since, October 7 has been celebrated as a feast day by the Catholic Church.

I consider it quite providential that this was the date that I chose to come back to the Catholic Faith. Today is now called the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and October is the month of the Rosary. The Rosary is a very powerful prayer, a weapon even in the battle with the forces of darkness that is going on all around us. Anyone who wants to engage in this battle must, at the very least, pray the Rosary every day. What happened at Lepanto shows what can happen when many turn their hearts and prayers to Our Lady and through her to God.  We are rewarded with miracles!

Remembering Lepanto ~ NRO, Michael Novak

Lepanto, 1571: The Battle that Saved Europe ~ Catholic Culture, H. W. Crocker III

How to pray the Rosary every day

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