To my Christian Brothers,
We are now in the thick of the battle. The world has gone mad. The war for our souls and the souls of those we hold dear is in full force. It is so easy to be distracted by the noise of the world around us – the chattering and wailing is growing so loud. I caution you to seek silence as much as you can. The Good God is speaking, yet as always in a still quiet voice. Today is the feast of Our Lady of Victory, now known as Our Lady of the Rosary. You know, Brothers, the story of the Holy League’s miraculous defeat of the Sultan’s massive fleet, but it is another battle I would remind you of. The year is 878 and the Blessed Virgin is speaking to King Alfred, who is anxious about the outcome of the upcoming battle – From G.K.Chesterton’s epic poem of the battle of Ethandune, The Ballad of the White Horse:
The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told. The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark. . .
The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die. . .
But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.
I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?
As in the days of King Alfred, the times are dark, and the enemy is upon us. But as those who before us have gone “gaily in the dark,” wielding our Faith and its Hope, we too will find they are great shields. And we have Our Lady’s weapon the Rosary, a certain bane against our enemy. Brothers, we do not know the outcome of our situation, but our duty is clear. Prayer, penance, and sacrifice done for Love of Our King are our part, for as Solomon said, The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the Victory belongs to the Lord. PV 21,31. We are called first to be Faithful – success lies in the hands of God.
And remember … to this day the ships of the Sultan still lie on the bottom of the Ionian Sea.
Our Lady of the Rosary – Pray for us!