Thursday, October 7, 2010
....Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

From Lepanto by G. K. Chesterton

"A truce to business! Our great task at present is to thank God for the victory which He has just given the Catholic army."_Pope Pius V

The Pope who was in his chapel before day or battle broke also knew of the triumph of the Holy League's navy before word of herald arrived. Thusly he spoke to his cardinals and broke off every order of the day to offer thanksgiving for the deliverance of Christendom from the infidel's chains of fleshly bondage and the spiritual rape of Kismet.

At the dawn of that day, 7 October 1571, Don Juan of Austria--the noble, young leader of the Holy League's fleet--sailed forth in the formation of a cross, with the rowers in the galleys sweating to push the ships forward. Ali Pasha's forces glided towards the defenders with ease, a favourable wind in that navy's sails. Don Juan's plans were for fighting at close quarters, but it seemed that the enemy's vessels were to have the advantage of impacting his. At the same time however, as Don Juan was grimly testing the air, the Pope was on his knees praying the rosary, and later in the day the wind changed. As if blown by God Himself, the impetus blew forth the galleys of the cross. The Muslim flag returned so obligingly to Istanbul in 1965 and once held in the basilica of Mary Major was the trophy offered to our Lady for the stunning victory she procured over the barbarous hostiles.

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth:

He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths: When He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: When He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with Him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times;

Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men. Now therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord:

But he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death. (Proverbs 8: 22-36)

Cited above we have the Lesson from the Mass dedicated to our Lady on this day in gratitude for her intercession in 1571 A.D. Forever is her name woven with that of Wisdom's. Forever is she the most beloved creature of God, and hence her rosary is a most powerful weapon. One wonders how many amongst the Holy League's forces thought of their holy beads when they saw the Christian slaves break through the oarships' decks, swinging their chains against their cruel masters.

The rosary came about thanks to the most common and tenderly devoted believers. In the Middle Ages, the poor man who could obviously not attend the Liturgy of the Hours was offered this alternative while he plowed his fields or tended to his daily business. He might say 150 Ave's, in honour of the 150 Psalms, while meditating on the mysteries of her Son's life and of hers. Thus, the rosary was born, Mary's Psalter.

When St. Dominic asked for her assistance against the Albigensian heresy, she offered him the rosary as one of the many ladders the children of men might climb to Heaven, but one that had the advantage of being held by her.

It is the finest bouquet that could ever be presented to a loved one; this chain of devotion has healed infirmities, spared the lives of atomic weapon victims, and saved souls. On this day, it saved Europe from the Turkish slaughter. No spirit can withstand the chains of love, no subject dare stand before the Queen beloved by her King, and no conqueror may despise the Mother of God without abandoning wisdom. She was in His Mind's Eye before all things--the being who loves Him perfectly though not incarnate with Him. The one unblemished creature, full of grace, that renders for us the devotion and passion due to God.

His love for her moved Him to crush the world's mightiest empire, battle after battle. What may we not ask in our moment of desperation? For the noose is tightening, and we can expect a much worse fate in our spoilt, slavish age than those who at least knew what it was to work, to fight, and to love.


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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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