Sunday, February 20, 2011
|Don Juan of Austria, the supreme commander of the Holy League against the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.|
|Maps showing the positions of the Christians (red) and of the Turks (black) in the naval battle off the coast of Greece at 10:30 a.m. and noon.|
|The Battle of Lepanto|
|Alvaro de Bazan, first Marquis de Santa Cruz, commander of the reserve squadron of the Holy League. Painting by Andrea F. Phillips|
At the time the battle was won, Saint Pius V was studying financial sheets with the papal treasurer. He rose, went to the window and looked toward the east. When he turned around his face was radiant with supernatural joy, and he exclaimed, “The Christian fleet is victorious!”5 After human agencies verified the news two weeks later, Saint Pius V added the Feast of the Holy Rosary to the Church calendar and the invocation Auxilium Christianorum to the litany of Our Lady, since the victory was due to her intercession.
1. C. M. Antony, Saint Pius V: Pope of the Rosary (New York: 1911), 77.
2. Ferdinand Braudel, The Mediterranean (New York: 1973), 1061.
3. For a complete and accurate account of the difficulties, see Ludwig von Pastor, History of the Popes (St. Louis, Mo.: 1929), vol. XVIII.
4. Father Luis Coloma, Story of Don John of Austria (London: 1913), 215.
5. Robin Anderson, Saint Pius V (Rockford, Ill.: 1978), 78. Several biographers use a longer quotation. See Antony, op. cit., 91.
(from St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche)
1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest Graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against Hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant Mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men [and women] from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal Things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself [herself] to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the Grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
A man from New York who had fallen away from the Catholic Church and not gone to confession in years was met at a TFP Fatima presentation given by America Needs Fatima Custodian, Jose Ferraz.
After the visit, the New Yorker took home a Rosary and Rosary Guide and started praying it and going to the sacraments again. Months later, on September 11, 2001, he was in the World Trade Center at the very moment when the terrorist attack took place.
Seeing the fireball and smoke from the crash, the man fled his office and tried running down the stairs to safety. However, he met a big obstacle. The fire doors had locked and he was trapped in the stairwell, listening to the screams of burning people who were still inside the building, unable to escape death. It was awful—horrific. Any attempt to pry open the fire doors with bare hands would be futile.
With Our Lady’s help, instead of panicking, he felt calm. He grabbed his Rosary and started praying to the Blessed Mother for help. And within minutes, firemen reached his floor, broke down the fire doors and set him free. He ran downstairs to safety, his prayers answered thanks to the power of the Most Holy Rosary.
Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children, Jacinta, Lucia, and Francisco, at the Cova de Iria, near Fatima, Portugal. During six visits, Our Lady communicated to them a secret which had three parts. The first part was a vision of Hell. During this vision, Sister Lucia said numerous souls fell into Hell like “snowflakes.”
In the second part, Our Lady states that WWI would end, but “if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.”
As Our Lady predicted, World War II erupted and the errors of atheist Communism spread. Our Lady added that many will be martyred and nations will be annihilated, if people do not convert. Have people converted? The answer is no. Can Divine punishment be avoided? It depends on the world’s fidelity to Our Lady’s requests.
Lucia asked Our Lady during the apparitions, “Who are you and what do you want?” Our Lady responded, “I am the Lady of the Rosary, and I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. People must not continue to offend the Lord, Who is already so deeply offended. They must say the Rosary.”
Therefore, Our Lady gave us a solution: the recitation of the daily Rosary for the conversion of sinners. The Fatima message is a remedy for our culture immersed in sin. If it were not for Our Lady’s promise that “Finally, My Immaculate Heart will Triumph,” we would be much dismayed and disheartened. So let us heed her requests. Let us practice the First Saturday devotions. Let us pray the daily Rosary. By fulfilling these requests, we will be consoling the sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and hasten the triumph of good over evil.
After World War II, Austria was divided between four countries: America, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia. At the time, Russia was still communist. The section of Austria controlled by the communists was the richest, and included the city of Vienna. The Viennese were subject to the all the atrocities and tyrannies of communism. However, in 1946, Fr. Petrus Pavlicek, after making a pilgrimage to Mariazell, the principle Marian shrine in Austria, was told by an interior voice: “Do as I say and there will be peace.”
To obey this inspiration of Our Lady, Fr. Pevlicek founded the Holy Rosary Crusade of Reparation in 1947. This Crusade consisted of the Viennese faithful coming out of their homes in order to participate in a public Rosary procession in the streets of the city. The intentions of the Rosary were for the end of communism in their country and in the world. At first, the processions were miniscule, but in time they grew to staggering proportions. In 1955, after eight years spreading the word about the Crusade throughout Austria, the Rosary processions would reach sizes of half a million people, about 1/10 of the Austrian population. Finally, through the help of Our Lady, the Soviet forces pulled out of Austria in October of 1955, leaving the country for good.
The Battle of Lepanto was a crucial conflict between the Christians and the Ottoman Turks, one of the greatest naval battles of all time. The Christian lands around Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean were constantly getting sacked by Muslim pirates, and Imperial warships were ravaging the land. At this point in time, Pope Saint Pius V saw it appropriate to raise a Crusade against these heathen Muslims. After raising a Crusade, he asked every non-combatant across the whole Christian world to pray the Rosary.
Even after this call to arms, the Christian fleet at Lepanto was greatly outnumbered by the Ottoman Turks. The Crusaders got on their knees and began to pray the Rosary. Soon after, the Christians and the Muslims were immersed in a bloody battle. Thus it was that on October 7, 1571, the Christian fleet was blessed with a miraculous victory. Pope Saint Pius V immediately dedicated the victory to Our Lady, establishing October 7 as “The Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.
The Rosary—as spiritual weapon against evil—has a very long and precious history. In twelfth and thirteenth century France, a group of heretics known as the Albigensians was destroying the minds of the Catholic laity with its erroneous ideas. The Albigensians’ teachings encouraged suicide, many times by self-induced starvation, because they believed that the body was an intrinsic evil and that the soul must be liberated from matter at all costs. However, as history often shows, Providence raises up great Saints in times of dire crises. This time it was no different. Saint Dominic, born of noble lineage, received the Rosary from Our Lady in the year 1214. Our Lady gave Saint Dominic the Rosary as a weapon to combat the awful Albigensian heresy.
The Rosary as we know it today took some time to develop. After Saint Dominic died in the year 1221, the Rosary was almost immediately forgotten. However, in 1464 Our Lord, Our Lady, and Saint Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan de la Roche, a Dominican friar, after which he preached the Rosary until his death in 1475. This tremendous apostolate by Blessed Alan de la Roche, through the direct intercession of Our Lady, made the Rosary a widespread devotion. The fifteen mysteries as we know them came about through the many confraternities founded after Blessed Alan de la Roche’s preaching, and were formalized with Pope Saint Pius V’s encyclical, Consueverunt.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
There was no Dominican Father in Zamboanga, as yet, when a moro pearl-diver had confidently gone to sea one early May morning. At least, he had not heard of any.
A sturdy, bronze-sinewed fellow, he had, for sometime now, substituted his father in the family chore of fishing pearls & selling them at ridiculously low prices to support three younger brothers and two sisters.
Everybody knew him well, a veritable "chip off the old block', for this diver's father had been the best pearl fisher for miles around. Now he was perpetuating the "old man's" glories.
The day before, a bearded missionary had told him and twenty others - catechumens all - about the Santo Rosario, whose miraculous image was revered in far away Manila. He could not now recall how or why did the religious come to talk to them of that Virgin. Possibly the fact that they were now in May - the Virgin's month - or that the miracles of La Naval de Manila has just been officially proclaimed so, has moved the 'fisher of men' to talk to them, 'pearl fishers', about the Santo Rosario. At any rate, the pearl-diver wasn't so sure that morning.
It came to happen then, that our man, whilst probing the depths of the azure southern waters, caught sight of a dazzling pearl, of gigantic proportions, nestled in the softness of an open mother-o'-pearl. Now, there was some gem! he thought and quickly made for it!
As he engages himself in cutting out the ligaments that held the jewel to the recesses of the mother-o'-pearl, this suddenly closed itself, and thus caught the moro's hand!
In no time, he exerted himself vigorously to extricate his imprisoned hand. He was at quite some depth and all his violent motions brought not a ripple nor a stir to the surface of the water. He, therefore, could not expect help from his colleagues. Whatever little air was left in him was quickly being expended with the great efforts of our man to set himself free from the murderous grip of the shell. His heart beats began to falter. His strength was leaving him. The telling hue of deep scarlet was noticeable in his recoiling body.
Then, came the light! He remembered the Santo Rosario and her wonder; he recalled, La Naval, an eminently sea-victory. The Mother of God would aid those at sea, then. So, he lifted up his heart and mind to the Virgin of the Most Holy Rosary, and, in exchange of his safe release from sure death, he would go all the way to Manila and offer that pearl to Her, Queen of the Sea.
Even before he had time to fully finish his supplication, the mother-o'-pearl broke in two and he was free. Quickly he rose to the surface, where, detected by his friends, who had noticed his beleaguered face, rescued him and brought him safely ashore.
Soon the moro pearl-driver left Zamboanga. With but the missionary's letter of introduction [for he had not told anyone of the incident, but had only confided it to the padre] and the pearl, safely tucked in his waist pocket, he came to Manila and went directly to the Convent of Santo Domingo.
In sincere, if incorrect, language he appraised the Dominican Fathers of his intention and gave the Father Prior the dazzling gem. He then, led by the friars, went to the altar of the Santo Rosario, where, kneeling piously, uttered a prayer of thanks & veneration.
The Virgin must have smiled at him, for he left - back to Zamboanga - in complete bliss!
Not long after, a lowly creature hid himself in the dark recesses of the Church of Santo Domingo and waited for midnight. When the sacred place had been closed for the day, the thief - for he had come to rob Our Lady of that pearl, which everybody had already occasion to admire - stealthily made his way to the throne of the Santo Rosario. Most impiously climbing the altar, he reached the niche of the Virgin, lifted up the silken blue curtain, and extended his hand... covetingly towards the south sea pearl.
"¿Por qué me roba usted cuándo no le daño?" - Why dost thou rob me when I harm you not...?
The voice was a woman's. The thief had made sure, a few moments ago, that he was alone inside the church. And the voice came directly from the image! Our man was lost! He trembled and frightfully tumbled down, causing some commotion. But, the friars had gone to bed a long time ago and the cloisters were quite a distance away.
The early hours of the morning, saw the lay brother aghast at the sight of an unconscious man, half naked and rubbed with oil, at the foot of the Virgin's throne. The Dominican friars, having been quickly summoned, shook the man to consciousness and from him heard the wondrous tale of the Virgin's recrimination.
Since then, and following the thief's conversion, our people have had a high regard for the Virgin's jewels.
Our Lady has, thus, given ample proof that She would not betray the unsullied gratitude of that moro pearl-diver, who had come to her all the way from far Zamboanga, where, in her southern waters, "he had caught sight of a dazzling pearl, of gigantic proportions, nestled in the softness of an open mother-o'-pearl!" and had wanted it for Her, Queen of the Sea: Mary of the Most Holy Rosary!