Triumph of the Cross

Sunday, April 9, AD 2017

In Hoc Signo Vinces

(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year.  Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages?  Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time.  The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of  fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.

Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus:  Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday.  Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note.  However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion.  Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:

“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”

Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history.  In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception.  Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.  The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.  In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.  We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened.  We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton:

Continue reading...

One Response to Triumph of the Cross

Gloria In Profundis

Saturday, March 25, AD 2017

THERE HAS fallen on earth for a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is spilt on the sand.

Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all—
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?

For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.

Glory to God in the Lowest
The spout of the stars in spate-
Where thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.

~G.K. Chesterton

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Gloria In Profundis

  • More soul candy from Donald’s storeroom.

    Mmmm. Thanks Mr. McClarey.

    Finding the pearl of great price is life altering. I’m getting ready to serve them right now. They are gems. God’s choicest and most beautiful. Worth the sufferings, humiliation and death on a scaffold, so we too can behold such beauty hidden in the lowly and old.

  • The Annunciation is the singular greatest event since the creation of the Universe, per Fr. Larry Richard, and I cannot put it any better.

    “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you…. Ave Maria, gratia plena. Dominus tecum.” No one else in either Testament is addressed in this way and the words are those of God’s choosing related perfectly by the Archangel Gabriel.

    “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.” With Mary’s fiat, the promises of the Old Testament become fulfilled, especially that of Isaiah to Ahaz, that a virgin shall bear a son. Filled with God’s grace means a total absence of sin…Mary’s Immaculate Conception can be inferred from God’s words.
    Thus, all of what Holy Mother Church teaches and believes about the Mother of God is validated from this small but so very important part of St. Luke’s Gospel..1:26:38.
    Yesterday was a busy day with a learn to play hockey class followed with two baseball practices. I don’t mind that kind of busy, as I got to go on the ice and the ball field to help. Before any of that, I took my five year old, who was baptized on Annunciation Day, even though the Church moves the observance to March 26 when that happens, to Mass. Charlie kept his hands in the prayer position for the entire Mass.

  • The Blessed Virgin Mary’s soul was created at the request of the Son of God, before Adam disobeyed God, then The Blessed Virgin Mary’s soul was preserved from original sin and remained in original innocence, IMMACULATE, when her CONCEPTION came in the fullness of time.
    Only The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, the perfect woman, could love Jesus Christ in Justice, as the Son of God.

October 7, 1571: Battle of Lepanto

Friday, October 7, AD 2016

 

“The Turks, swollen by their victories, will wish to take on our fleet, and God—I have the pious presentiment—will give us victory. Charles V gave you life. I will give you honor and greatness. Go and seek them out!”

Pope Pius V to Don Juan of Austria

 

 

 

On October 7, 1571, four hundred and forty-five years ago, the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto:

White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to October 7, 1571: Battle of Lepanto

  • Queen of the Holy Rosary, grant us victory over the heathens who threaten to destroy Religious Freedom in our land. Grant us courageous men and women who will stand up and defend your Son’s Holy Church without watering down any of its contents. Finally, Our Lady of Victory, grant us the patience to realize that the Victory is yours. That these moments in time are opportunities to join you in battle aginist the forces of darkness.
    In the end…Your Immaculate Heart will Triumph! Your weapon of choice;

    The sorrowful, luminous, joyful and glorious mysteries.

  • One Hail Mary for Bill Diss.. please.
    A man worthy to be called crusader in today’s battlefield.
    http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=2c207ef41587f673a1c9b38e9&id=aeea47a9ff&e=961dba4a79

  • Pingback: CatholicSaints.Info » Blog Archive » Our Lady of the Rosary
  • Thank you Donald McClarey. I looked forward to this post. Thank you Philip for your prayer, May the IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY be the refuge for us. One Hail Mary for Bill Diss.

  • About Bill Diss: All citizens are being denied their rational, immortal souls with sovereign personhood by the death peddlers, Planned Parenthood. For the Supreme Court to redefine the human person as having no soul violates the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. The Court must dispense equal Justice. Redefining the human person as having no sovereign personhood, no immortal human soul, imposes atheism on the people. Baby Roe was never proved to have no soul and was denied her civil right to life. When baby Roe was denied her soul, all men and mankind were denied their human souls and their inherent, innate, human right to life that becomes their civil unalienable right to life.

  • Thank YOU Mary De Voe for describing the Ottomans of our day, not Isis btw.
    These Ottomans of our day are as cut throat if not worse than the one’s living next door.
    They are ushering in the religion of atheism as described in your essays, Mary.
    Rosary is a must!
    Daily call to arms is crucial in our battle.
    We must not come up with excuses as to why we won’t pray the rosary. We must all pray this important prayer as we are outnumbered and being attacked,(c)atholics who support abortion on demand.)

    Today at 4pm I’ll be on the front lines at Worse than Murder Inc. Part of the Forty days for Life campaign. We truly need all hands on deck!

  • Philip: Today I received my Holy Land Rosary with Father Mitch Pacwa from EWTN on DVD, and I was able to follow along all mysteries of the Rosary led by Father Pacwa. Now, I am listening to Bishop Fulton Sheen on Life is Worth Living: The Glory of Being American. Bishop Sheen stress the Ninth Amendment and defines democracy against communism. I recommend both to all commentators.

  • Oh….Thank you so much for this excellent homage to Our Lady of the Rosary and the Battle of Lepanto. I rounded up a few items myself earlier today to email off to a group of friends. I wish people knew history better especially in this case. It would make current events with terrorist attacks, ISIS, and Muslim ‘migration’ more understandable, and the need to pray the rosary more urgent. The liturgical calendar reveals many feasts that bear witness to the ongoing aggression and attacks of Muslims. We just had 2 – Sept 24 Our Lady of Ransom & Sept 12 Feast of the Holy Name of the blessed Virgin Mary. This was perfect- the history and the recitation of Chesterton’s poem.
    You are the best!

  • Mary De Voe.

    The Life is Worth Living series is timeless, and priceless. I enjoy his wit and wisdom. 🙂
    As for the diocesan fight over his remains, it’s almost poetic. How might his discourse go?
    One could only imagine.

    I too have prayed the Holy Land Rosary with Fr. Mitch. One of the best, since he places you on the scene, and gives a thought provoking meditation before each mystery.

    Two great pieces of advice.

    Yesterday’s front line prayer for the unborn truly brings out the evil in opponents who support the death of children. The hatred they have for us in the Pro-Life movement is interesting. “Crucify Him.” They didn’t yell those words exactly, but as we knelt in prayer, praying our rosaries, the feeling of being hated and scorned was tangible. To share just a small part, a very small part of Christ’s reception of people’s indignation towards him, is found within us as we take a stand for the unborn.

    I highly recommend joining in prayer today.
    Forty days for Life is a testimony of Love.
    If it’s possible…. whoever can read my poor post… consider an hour with Christ on the sidewalk in front of W.T.M.Inc.

  • Pingback: Regina Magazine Our Lady of the Holy Rosary - Regina Magazine

Lepanto

Sunday, October 2, AD 2016

I will be doing my usual post on Lepanto on October 7, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity today to post the above video.  Tom Kratman, who does a grand job reading Chesterton’s poem, is a science fiction author and a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.    In Lepanto Chesterton captured the spirit of Catholicism at its best in this world, a spirit that can never be beaten no matter the forces arrayed against it.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Lepanto

Our Mother of Victory

Sunday, May 8, AD 2016

The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

One instant in a still light
He saw Our Lady then,
Her dress was soft as western sky,
And she was a queen most womanly—
But she was a queen of men.

Over the iron forest
He saw Our Lady stand,
Her eyes were sad withouten art,
And seven swords were in her heart—
But one was in her hand.

Then the last charge went blindly,
And all too lost for fear:
The Danes closed round, a roaring ring,
And twenty clubs rose o’er the King,
Four Danes hewed at him, halloing,
And Ogier of the Stone and Sling
Drove at him with a spear.

But the Danes were wild with laughter,
And the great spear swung wide,
The point stuck to a straggling tree,
And either host cried suddenly,
As Alfred leapt aside.

Short time had shaggy Ogier
To pull his lance in line—
He knew King Alfred’s axe on high,
He heard it rushing through the sky,

He cowered beneath it with a cry—
It split him to the spine:
And Alfred sprang over him dead,
And blew the battle sign.

Then bursting all and blasting
Came Christendom like death,
Kicked of such catapults of will,
The staves shiver, the barrels spill,
The waggons waver and crash and kill
The waggoners beneath.

Barriers go backwards, banners rend,
Great shields groan like a gong—
Horses like horns of nightmare
Neigh horribly and long.

Horses ramp high and rock and boil
And break their golden reins,
And slide on carnage clamorously,
Down where the bitter blood doth lie,
Where Ogier went on foot to die,
In the old way of the Danes.

“The high tide!” King Alfred cried.
“The high tide and the turn!
As a tide turns on the tall grey seas,
See how they waver in the trees,
How stray their spears, how knock their knees,
How wild their watchfires burn!

“The Mother of God goes over them,
Walking on wind and flame,
And the storm-cloud drifts from city and dale,
And the White Horse stamps in the White Horse Vale,
And we all shall yet drink Christian ale
In the village of our name.

“The Mother of God goes over them,
On dreadful cherubs borne;
And the psalm is roaring above the rune,
And the Cross goes over the sun and moon,
Endeth the battle of Ethandune
With the blowing of a horn.”

GK Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

Continue reading...

One Response to Our Mother of Victory

  • I comment here in the understanding that this post is put up regarding VE day – the victory in Europe on the 8th. May 1945 when Germany agreed to unconditional surrender.
    A great victory, won with pain, bloodshed, sweat and uncountable and indescribable tears.
    Pray that it never happens again, and work actively toward a just world, from a position of strength – not pacifism and capitulation. (Take note, Obama)

Triumph of the Cross

Sunday, March 20, AD 2016

In Hoc Signo Vinces

(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year.  Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages?  Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time.  The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of  fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.

Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus:  Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday.  Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note.  However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion.  Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:

“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”

Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history.  In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception.  Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.  The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.  In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.  We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened.  We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton:

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Triumph of the Cross

  • Thanks Donald for this and all you do. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Thank God for your Holy Way.
    I’m so impatient and faltering in many ways, yet you will not abandon me.
    You know my weaknesses, yet you love me.
    You teach forgiveness and I harbor hatred.
    You suffered unimaginable brutality and I complain about the most insignificant annoyances.
    Help me to the foot of the Cross God.
    To keep thee company
    with thy faithful friends
    and Holy
    mother.
    May
    my
    Palm
    offering
    today
    never be used to mock you, torment you, or disgrace you by causing injury to my neighbor.

  • “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the World.” A prayer between the Stations of the Cross.
    .
    The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, The Crucifixion: the following is from a meditation. Desire the grace of final perseverance. Think of the love which filled Our Lord’s Sacred Heart during the three hours’ agony on the Holy Cross; and ask Him to be with you at the hour of death.
    .
    God’s only begotten Son through His life, death, and Resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, which far, far exceed all fleeting, earthly joys (from a prayer after the Rosary). Indeed, the Triumph of the Cross.
    .
    St. Dismus, pray for us.

One Response to Quotes Suitable for Framing: GK Chesterton

October 7, 1571: Lepanto

Wednesday, October 7, AD 2015

 

On October 7, 1571, four hundred and forty-four years ago, the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto:

White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to October 7, 1571: Lepanto

  • I have read that England was looking to make common cause with the Ottomans at that time.

    Separated brethren, bah.

  • Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

  • PF: The Saxons have been Satan’s partisans since the Norman Conquest, at least.
    .
    Indeed, Our Lady of Victory, pray for us! It’s a prayer for Her intercession that I often pray.

    .
    My home parish and the holy church that serves Wall Street (Pine and William, I think) is Our Lady of Victory.
    .
    The special intention of my Rosary (the Glorious Mysteries) this night will be for victory over the enemies of God and liberty.

  • Immaculatavictory has been my email for fifteen years. The Holy League has been summoned, agian. http://www.holyleague.com

    Praying the holy rosary every day has been the greatest compliment to my life and those that I serve. Each and every one of us is writing a book. At the very end of our chapter, life on earth, I hope my last words are “thank you God for giving me your mom.”

    When, by the grace of God, we meet in Heaven, I hope you enjoy my book. Until then the pages must be written, and the good fight must be fought. See you Saturday in the public square facing the enemy encampment.

  • I wonder how many Catholic youth manage to make it through their parochial school
    and Catholic university years without ever hearing of Lepanto or the siege of Vienna?
    I suspect the answer would sadden me.

  • Clinton, I hazard a guess to say NO American in a Catholic school or university was taught about Lepanto, Vienna or for that matter the Reconquest.

    I learned about these on my own as an adult. They don’t fit in the Church of Nice.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: GK Chesterton

Wednesday, August 26, AD 2015

War is an ugly thing

 

 

I cannot see how we can literally end War unless we can end Will. I cannot think that war will ever be utterly impossible; and I say so not because I am what these people call a militarist, but rather because I am a revolutionist. Absolutely to forbid fighting is to forbid what our fathers called “the sacred right of insurrection.” Against some decisions no self-respecting men can be prevented from appealing to fortune and to death.

GK Chesterton

Eagle on gravestone

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: GK Chesterton

  • “I say so not because I am what these people call a militarist, but rather because I am a revolutionist.”

    As the Declaration of the Rights of Man & the Citizen puts it, “The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.”

    Without the right of resistence, the rest are written in sand.

  • I never thought that I could agree with anything that John Stuart Mills wrote after his lifeboat theory of survival. Let Mills be the first to be cast overboard. The good will of man allowed seven men to survive a number of days lost at sea in a lifeboat built to four, here in the state of Delaware, proving Mills’ lifeboat theory WRONG.

  • Above comment: “Without the right of resistance, the rest are written in sand.” Ergo, the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. As in “a rifle behind very blade of grass”. It’s the motivation of the left’s deceitful, perennial thrust to confiscate your property, your liberty, and your life.
    .
    Post-modern politics are essentially deceit and coercion; translated bu!!s#!+, money and TV. Now, government is simply the crimes/sins we commit together. The group or oligarchs have usurped individual liberties. E.G., an Enlightenment leader’s campaign slogan would be, ‘Yes you can!” not Dear Leader’s “Yes we can.”

  • “I cannot see how we can literally end War unless we can end Will. ”
    Concerning our right to resist oppression- the current mode seems to be not Ending Will, but co- opting it or neutralizing it with all the freebies the state can provide, encouraging drug use as in Colorado and some other places already, discouraging Religion, dumbing down the education of the masses, etcetera etcetera

August 22: Queenship of Mary

Saturday, August 22, AD 2015

The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

One instant in a still light
He saw Our Lady then,
Her dress was soft as western sky,
And she was a queen most womanly—
But she was a queen of men.

Over the iron forest
He saw Our Lady stand,
Her eyes were sad withouten art,
And seven swords were in her heart—
But one was in her hand.

Then the last charge went blindly,
And all too lost for fear:
The Danes closed round, a roaring ring,
And twenty clubs rose o’er the King,
Four Danes hewed at him, halloing,
And Ogier of the Stone and Sling
Drove at him with a spear.

But the Danes were wild with laughter,
And the great spear swung wide,
The point stuck to a straggling tree,
And either host cried suddenly,
As Alfred leapt aside.

Short time had shaggy Ogier
To pull his lance in line—
He knew King Alfred’s axe on high,
He heard it rushing through the sky,

He cowered beneath it with a cry—
It split him to the spine:
And Alfred sprang over him dead,
And blew the battle sign.

Then bursting all and blasting
Came Christendom like death,
Kicked of such catapults of will,
The staves shiver, the barrels spill,
The waggons waver and crash and kill
The waggoners beneath.

Barriers go backwards, banners rend,
Great shields groan like a gong—
Horses like horns of nightmare
Neigh horribly and long.

Horses ramp high and rock and boil
And break their golden reins,
And slide on carnage clamorously,
Down where the bitter blood doth lie,
Where Ogier went on foot to die,
In the old way of the Danes.

“The high tide!” King Alfred cried.
“The high tide and the turn!
As a tide turns on the tall grey seas,
See how they waver in the trees,
How stray their spears, how knock their knees,
How wild their watchfires burn!

“The Mother of God goes over them,
Walking on wind and flame,
And the storm-cloud drifts from city and dale,
And the White Horse stamps in the White Horse Vale,
And we all shall yet drink Christian ale
In the village of our name.

“The Mother of God goes over them,
On dreadful cherubs borne;
And the psalm is roaring above the rune,
And the Cross goes over the sun and moon,
Endeth the battle of Ethandune
With the blowing of a horn.”

GK Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse

Continue reading...

One Response to August 22: Queenship of Mary

  • Thank you Mother of God, our Lady and our Queen. You walk us by the hand each day, to serve your Son, if we allow it. Help us then dear Mother, to be molded into the image and likeness of your Son, so we welcome the opportunity to serve Him more and more in unity with your spouse the Holy Spirit.

    August 23rd. The day after the siege on the abortion provider Planned Parenthood.

Triumph of the Cross

Sunday, March 29, AD 2015

In Hoc Signo Vinces

 

(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year.  Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

 

Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages?  Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time.  The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of  fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.

Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus:  Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday.  Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note.  However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion.  Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:

“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”

Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history.  In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception.  Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.  The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.  In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.  We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened.  We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton:

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Triumph of the Cross

  • ” We forget how very improbable such a victory was…”

    Perhaps because the truth is far too uncomfortable to those who seek to be their own gods?

  • In the dark still- ignorant still- and brave
    I hope…. Signed by His Cross and beneficiaries of His Victory

  • Q: Is there any land any tribe or peoples that have not been privileged to the living Word?

    If not, then may He find His servants, His friends, toiling in His vineyard in loving unity with the Holy Spirit. May His Kingdom come and perfectly His will be done. His Triumph finally realized and complete in All of the hearts He has chosen.

  • “We forget how very improbable such a victory was…” because we fit it into a schema. The post-Enlightenment era has been trained to think of secularization as one of those great historical waves. Everyone believed in multiple gods, then everyone believed in one god, and now everyone believes in no god. Progress, right? Sure, we’re not at the point of complete non-belief yet, but we’re headed that way, because history moves inexorably in one direction.

    In truth, the great sweeps of history are steered by the individual as much as the individual is steered by the great sweeps of history. History isn’t a materialist machine; it’s animated by individual souls. All empires are toppled by one man. Of course, the rise of Christianity was due to that Power which the human soul is only an image of.

Lepanto

Tuesday, October 7, AD 2014

Our-Lady-of-Victory

 

 

On October 7, 1571 the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto:

White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Continue reading...

4 Responses to Lepanto

  • Queen of the Holy Rosary pray for us.
    Queen of the Holy Rosary strengthen us
    to face the odds in our day, the enemies of the True Faith.
    Queen of the Holy Rosary, may the gathering of devotee’s on Oct. 11th, over 12,243 cities worldwide, represent your Christian fleet of Lepanto of old. That by Gods Grace and their holy rosaries, the conversions of countless souls becomes reality.

    America Needs Fatima’s Rosary rally is Saturday at noon. Tens of thousands will be praying from over 12,000 cities.

    Will you be one of them?

  • Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!
    .

    Ave Mundi Spes Maria
    .

    Hail, Mary, hope of the world,
    Gentle, holy,
    Full of grace.
    Hail unique Virgin, symbolized
    By the bush that did not burn.
    .

    Hail Beautiful rose
    Hail, shoot of Jesse,
    Whose fruit loosened
    The chains of our grief.
    .

    Hail, Mary, whose womb,
    Contrary to death’s covenant,
    Produced a Son.
    Hail, there is no one like you;
    You have brought joy
    To the long grieving world.
    .

    Hail, candle of virgins,
    Through whom heavenly light shone
    On those held in darkness.
    Hail, Virgin; the King of Heaven
    Desired to be born of you
    And feed on your milk.
    .

    Hail, bud of the lights of Heaven,
    Hail, shrine of the Holy Spirit.

  • The six galleyasses were the often overlooked decisive factor in the victory.Ali Pasha had a 200 year tradition of victory over Christian forces.Pride or ignorance or a bit of both prompted him to confront the Holy League fleet.He could have avoided the battle.The floating cannon platforms were not maneuverable.

Queen of Heaven and Queen of Men

Friday, August 15, AD 2014

The King looked up, and what he saw
          Was a great light like death,
          For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
          As lonely and as innocent
          As when between white walls she went
          And the lilies of Nazareth.

          One instant in a still light
          He saw Our Lady then,
          Her dress was soft as western sky,
          And she was a queen most womanly—
          But she was a queen of men.

          Over the iron forest
          He saw Our Lady stand,
          Her eyes were sad withouten art,
          And seven swords were in her heart—
          But one was in her hand.

GK Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse

****************************************************

 

And he saw in a little picture,
          Tiny and far away,
          His mother sitting in Egbert’s hall,
          And a book she showed him, very small,
          Where a sapphire Mary sat in stall
          With a golden Christ at play.

          It was wrought in the monk’s slow manner,
          From silver and sanguine shell,
          Where the scenes are little and terrible,
          Keyholes of heaven and hell.

          In the river island of Athelney,
          With the river running past,
          In colours of such simple creed
          All things sprang at him, sun and weed,
          Till the grass grew to be grass indeed
          And the tree was a tree at last.

          Fearfully plain the flowers grew,
          Like the child’s book to read,
          Or like a friend’s face seen in a glass;
          He looked; and there Our Lady was,
          She stood and stroked the tall live grass
          As a man strokes his steed.

          Her face was like an open word
          When brave men speak and choose,
          The very colours of her coat
          Were better than good news.

          She spoke not, nor turned not,
          Nor any sign she cast,
          Only she stood up straight and free,
          Between the flowers in Athelney,
          And the river running past.

          One dim ancestral jewel hung
          On his ruined armour grey,
          He rent and cast it at her feet:
          Where, after centuries, with slow feet,
          Men came from hall and school and street
          And found it where it lay.

          “Mother of God,” the wanderer said,
          “I am but a common king,
          Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
          To see a secret thing.

          “The gates of heaven are fearful gates
          Worse than the gates of hell;
          Not I would break the splendours barred
          Or seek to know the thing they guard,
          Which is too good to tell.

          “But for this earth most pitiful,
          This little land I know,
          If that which is for ever is,
          Or if our hearts shall break with bliss,
          Seeing the stranger go?

          “When our last bow is broken, Queen,
          And our last javelin cast,
          Under some sad, green evening sky,
          Holding a ruined cross on high,
          Under warm westland grass to lie,
          Shall we come home at last?”

          And a voice came human but high up,
          Like a cottage climbed among
          The clouds; or a serf of hut and croft
          That sits by his hovel fire as oft,
          But hears on his old bare roof aloft
          A belfry burst in song.

          “The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
          We do not guard our gain,
          The heaviest hind may easily
          Come silently and suddenly
          Upon me in a lane.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Queen of Heaven and Queen of Men

  • The words put together in poetry are potent. His phrase, ‘through the door of the darkness fallen ajar’, gently thunder the existence of reason for hope.
    .
    ‘And seven swords were in her heart—
    But one was in her hand.
    .
    “Mother of God,” the wanderer said,
    “I am but a common king,
    Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
    To see a secret thing.
    .
    And a voice came human but high up,
    .
    “And any little maid that walks
    In good thoughts apart,
    May break the guard of the Three Kings
    And see the dear and dreadful things
    I hid within my heart.

    “The meanest man in grey fields gone
    Behind the set of sun,
    Heareth between star and other star,
    Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
    The council, eldest of things that are,
    The talk of the Three in One.”

  • The Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption: desire a holy death.

    Think of Mary’s glorious assumption into Heaven when she was united with her Divine Son.

GK Chesterton on Pentecost

Sunday, June 8, AD 2014

 

Those who maintain that Christianity was not a Church but a moral movement of idealists have been forced to push the period of its perversion or disappearance further and further back. A bishop of Rome writes claiming authority in the very lifetime of St. John the Evangelist; and it is described as the first papal aggression.  A friend of the Apostles writes of them as men he knew and says they taught him the doctrine of the Sacrament, and Mr. Wells can only murmur that the reaction towards barbaric blood-rites may have happened rather earlier than might be expected. The date of the Fourth Gospel, which at one time was steadily growing later and later, is now steadily growing earlier and earlier; until critics are staggered at the dawning and dreadful possibility that it might be something like what it professes to be. The last limit of an early date for the extinction of true Christianity has probably been found by the latest German professor whose authority is invoked by Dean Inge.  This learned scholar says that Pentecost was the occasion for the first founding of an ecclesiastical, dogmatic, and despotic Church utterly alien to the simple ideals of Jesus of Nazareth.  This may be called, in a popular as well as a learned sense, the limit. What do professors of this kind imagine that men are made of? Suppose it were a matter of any merely human movement, let us say that of the conscientious objectors.  Some say the early Christians were Pacifists; I do not believe it for a moment; but I am quite ready to accept the parallel for the sake of the argument. Tolstoy or some great preacher of peace among peasants has been shot as a mutineer for defying conscription; and a little while afterwards his few followers meet together in an upper room in remembrance of him.  They never had any reason for coming together except that common memory; they are men of many kinds with nothing to bind them, except that the greatest event in all their lives was this tragedy of the teacher of universal peace. They are always repeating his words, revolving his problems, trying to imitate his character.  The Pacifists meet at their Pentecost and are possessed of a sudden ecstasy of enthusiasm and wild rush of the whirlwind of inspiration, in the course of which they proceed to establish universal Conscription, to increase the Navy Estimates, to insist on everybody going about armed to the teeth and on all the frontiers bristling with artillery; the proceedings concluded with the singing of ‘Boys of the Bulldog Breed’ and ‘Don’t let them scrap the British Navy.’  That is something like a fair parallel to the theory of these critics; that the transition from their idea of Jesus to their idea of Catholicism could have been made in the little upper room at Pentecost.  Surely anybody’s commonsense would tell him that enthusiasts who only met through their common enthusiasm for a leader whom they loved, would not instantly rush away to establish everything that he hated.  No, if the ‘ecclesiastical and dogmatic system’ is as old as Pentecost it is as old as Christmas.  If we trace it back to such very early Christians we must trace it back to Christ.

GK Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (1925)

Continue reading...

2 Responses to GK Chesterton on Pentecost

  • Bl John Henry Newman was very much of the same mind: “this utter incongruity between Protestantism and historical Christianity is a plain fact, whether the latter be regarded in its earlier or in its later centuries. Protestants can as little bear its Ante-Nicene as its Post-Tridentine period. I have elsewhere observed on this circumstance: “So much must the Protestant grant that, if such a system of doctrine as he would now introduce ever existed in early times, it has been clean swept away as if by a deluge, suddenly, silently, and without memorial; by a deluge coming in a night, and utterly soaking, rotting, heaving up, and hurrying off every vestige of what it found in the Church, before cock-crowing: so that ‘when they rose in the morning’ her true seed ‘were all dead corpses’—Nay dead and buried—and without grave-stone. ‘The waters went over them; there was not one of them left; they sunk like lead in the mighty waters.’ Strange antitype, indeed, to the early fortunes of Israel!—then the enemy was drowned, and ‘Israel saw them dead upon the sea-shore.’ But now, it would seem, water proceeded as a flood ‘out of the serpent’s mouth, and covered all the witnesses, so that not even their dead bodies lay in the streets of the great city.’ Let him take which of his doctrines he will, his peculiar view of self-righteousness, of formality, of superstition; his notion of faith, or of spirituality in religious worship; his denial of the virtue of the sacraments, or of the ministerial commission, or of the visible Church; or his doctrine of the divine efficacy of the Scriptures as the one appointed instrument of religious teaching; and let him consider how far Antiquity, as it has come down to us, will countenance him in it. No; he must allow that the alleged deluge has done its work; yes, and has in turn disappeared itself; it has been swallowed up by the earth, mercilessly as itself was merciless.”

  • Pingback: Mary’s Extraordinary Encounter with the Holy Spirit - Big Pulpit

Suicide and the Death of Hope

Friday, May 2, AD 2014

 

The gallows in my garden, people say,

 Is new and neat and adequately tall;

 I tie the noose on in a knowing way

 As one that knots his necktie for a ball;

 But just as all the neighbours–on the wall–

Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!”

The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all

 I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay–

My uncle’s sword is hanging in the hall–

I see a little cloud all pink and grey–

Perhaps the rector’s mother will not call– I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall

 That mushrooms could be cooked another way–

I never read the works of Juvenal–

I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;

 The decadents decay; the pedants pall;

 And H.G. Wells has found that children play,

 And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,

 Rationalists are growing rational–

And through thick woods one finds a stream astray

 So secret that the very sky seems small–

I think I will not hang myself to-day.

ENVOI

Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,

 The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;

 Even to-day your royal head may fall,

 I think I will not hang myself to-day.

G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of Suicide

My view on suicide is the traditional one, that absent insanity it is usually the coward’s way out.  Contemporary views on suicide of course would view that attitude as harsh and Neanderthal and usually blame everyone but the suicide for their act of self murder.  I therefore found refreshing this article on suicide by Emily Esfahani Smith, the managing editor of The New Criterion:

The rise in suicide has been accompanied by a loss of the moral questions that once surrounded it. G. K. Chesterton was one of our last full-throated critics of suicide. His insistence that suicide is immoral sounds strange to our individualistic ears: “Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin,” Chesterton wrote: “It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.” Chesterton goes on to say that the act of suicide is selfish: “A suicide is a man who cares so little for anything outside him, that he wants to see the last of everything.” It would be difficult to imagine anyone writing such a polemic today. We do not consider suicide the moral catastrophe that people like Chesterton once thought it was.

Rather, our contemporary culture treats suicide as a medical problem—a “public health concern,” as Joshua Rottman, a psychological researcher, recently told The Atlantic. According to his new research, religious and non-religious people have a moral bias against suicide, and the bias stems from “disgust reactions” they have when confronted with stories of suicide. Committing suicide, people think, taints the soul. To Rottman, this is a problem. These reactions are irrational and, therefore, harmful: “The million-dollar question,” Rottman says, is “how to de-stigmatize suicide as impure.”

Continue reading...

32 Responses to Suicide and the Death of Hope

  • A few years ago I began to research the Human Extinction Movement, which purportedly wants to see us contracept, abort, and euthanize ourselves out of existence. All for the good of the planet, you know. Well, I’ve been struck by how often its adherents admit that a major motive for the elimination of humans is actually the elimination of human suffering. Something for us to meditate on, I suppose.

  • Also, I recall a news story from over a decade ago. My apologies, I archived the story But I can’t find it on short notice, so I’ll have to quote it from memory.

    The reported went to Pakistan to interview its leaders on their nuclear weapons program. He noted that every little village has some monument to their bomb effort, and that it is a source of great pride for the average Pakistani. So he ended up in the office of a retired general who had strong ties with the ISI (the Pakistani intelligence agency). On the wall was a painting of Benazir Bhutto, and in the background of the painting was a glowing mushroom cloud.
    The general and the reporter spoke on at length. The general at one point looked at the painting and said “You drive out into the villages. There is no running water, no sanitation, no medical care. Food is always scarce. There is no hope. Perhaps it would be best if one night we went to sleep and never woke up”.

  • That doesn’t sound to me like it’s suicide itself that’s the public health problem.

    I’m sure the aptly named Mr. Rottman can glean some ideas from Soylent Green.

  • The reporter went to Pakistan to interview its leaders on their nuclear weapons program… – my apologies, I have GOT to start using a bigger font when I type.

  • Our social re-engineers have been trying to de-stigmatize abortion for a half century now, and they have largely failed. The majority of people who have an abortion tell very few people about it. Most people know in their hearts that it is wrong, even if they cannot see the depth of the wrongness. Abortion still has a back-alley furtiveness to it, even if the reception rooms are now clean and well lit.

    So it will be with suicide. The whole West may end up like Belgium and the Netherlands, with the practice used by a substantial number of people. But I am sure that most survivors will be just like most survivors of abortion, and will be largely alone with their pain.

  • My daughter (freshman in high school) and I were just discussing the subject of suicide. They are doing a unit on China and Asia. She remarked about the culture and that many in Asia see suicide as the “honorable” thing to do so they don’t bring shame on their family. She even cited the recent events with the ferry accident in Korea and the vice principal who committed suicide because he thought it was his fault . . . We also talked about the Jewish culture and how a family would be demeaned if a member of their family committed suicide. I asked her what she thought the difference was between the two cultures and she said, “God. God revealed how precious and good life is to one culture and western civilization made that part of the culture.”

    She also thought that western culture seems to have lost the idea of honor (there was something else in the news about kids cheating on exams and not thinking it was cheating) and that both cultures need to balance out the concept of honor.

  • “that many in Asia see suicide as the “honorable” thing to do so they don’t bring shame on their family.”

    Reincarnation plays a role in this, in that an “honorable suicide” will lead to a better next life. The classic example of honorable suicide is contained in the story of the 47 ronin who avenged the death of Asano their dead master, and then committed seppuku since revenge had been prohibited. 46 committed seppuku, the youngest being pardoned by the Shogun and living to 87.

  • Karen – Congratulations, parent.

    Donald – Thanks for the reminder. I somehow lost New Criterion when I was moving around my links.

    I have a bad feeling about when the selfish baby boomers become enfeebled. The entire economy, government, etc. of the past 70 years has been devised to keep the boomers from feeling discomfort.

  • In the late 1950’s in Sacred Heart School (Boys’ Annex), Bronx, NY I was taught that suicide is a sure ticket to Hell. It is a mortal sin against the Holy Spirit becasue your body/being is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, you do not have the “right” to alter God’s will and kill yourself.

    Agree that suicide is a corward’s way out.

    Re: mental illness. What is it when the motive to kill oneself trumps the instinct for self-preservation?

    The rising number of desperate people is correlated to woes growing out of the stupidity and venality of the Obama gang and the progressive agenda.

  • Well, here is my second try; my first comment seems to have been lost in cyber space. Donald correctly wrote, “My view on suicide is the traditional one, that absent insanity it is usually the coward’s way out.”
    —–
    I am a coward and thus chose not to commit suicide when I went through some difficult periods of my life (heroin withdrawals some three decades ago, my civil-marriage former spouse leaving and taking the kids with her two decades later, etc.). I did not want to end up in hell, burning forever. I viewed that as worse than the pain what I already went through. Basically, I am selfish. That is why I will be lucky if I make it as far as Purgatory, but there is hope and three decades ago when I was laying down shaking, shivering and sweating, there appeared to be no hope.

  • Karen, well said. I was so thankful to have an old-fashioned text on Catholic Morality to structure my conversation with my son, after a girl at his school took her own life recently.

    Paul, I too am hoping for at least an extended stay in Purgatory. Glad you are here now.

  • Good work, Paul, on your second try!

  • Don, thank you for your post on the 47 Ronin. I knew the basic story, and your post made me look up more detailed online sources. From a Christian viewpoint the story is so sad and nearly pointless. The same is true of the Norsemen and, to a lesser degree, the Confederates. Such a waste of bravery and talent.

  • I agree to a point Tom, but only to a point. From a traditional Japanese point of view the 47 Ronin were heroes. They delayed revenge and allowed themselves to be thought cowards in order to succeed in avenging their master. They willingly suffered loss of face out of faithfulness to their dead Lord. The magnitude of that sacrifice in the eyes of the Japanese cannot be overstated. We do not choose where we are placed in this life, or the time in which we live. Most of us are prisoners of our time and our culture. I cannot help but salute someone who plays his alloted role with courage and honor, even if for me it is a cultural stretch to understand them.

    As for the Confederates, here are my thoughts on them:

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/in-defense-of-those-who-wore-the-gray/

  • The subject of suicide and mental illness is a complicated one. The descriptions of schizophrenia in A Beautiful Mind, the biography of mathematician John Nash, is very interesting.

    Early in the book author Sylvia Nasar reports on a number of statistical and clinical facts regarding schizophrenia. It appears that the delusional state of schizophrenia is often not constant: it often ebbs and flows, and it is during the periods of lucidity that suicides occur. The schizophrenic does not usually kill himself when he is insane, he usually kills himself when he returns to some degree of sanity and realizes that he will lose it and return to insanity.

    Near the end of the book Nash is quoted as saying that he ‘chose’ his delusions over reality after he realized he would never solve the Riemann Hypothesis. He makes it sound as if there was the involvement of what theologians call a ‘moral choice’. Of course we cannot take this too far, given the undoubtedly multiple biological causes of schizophrenia, but the idea that some choice is involved is fascinating. If true perhaps preteens could be given mental exercises that could sometimes forestall, delay, or mitigate the severity schizophrenic episodes.

    Interestingly Nash also now states that his sexual promiscuity played a role in the onset of the disease. He doesn’t go into details, but you get the feeling that he now thinks that the mental states associated with promiscuity were at least not helpful to him.

    So, what would constitute the ‘right thinking’ that may aid mental heath? They turn out to be pretty close to some basic Judeo-Christian ideals: tell the truth, owe up to your mistakes, truly care about others, be not afraid. Freud was so wrong, but his definition of mental health is so on the money: “The ability to work and to love”. Perhaps these ideas and continuing research into the biological causes will really pay off in the years ahead. Pray that it does!

    For a peek at one likely biological cause please see http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jun/03-the-insanity-virus

  • “Most of us are prisoners of our time and our culture. I cannot help but salute someone who plays his allotted role with courage and honor, even if for me it is a cultural stretch to understand them.”

    Yes, Don, I agree. But we don’t have to salute the entirety of the culture as a result, and arguably our faith calls us to escape the things of our time and culture that would hinder our salvation. Perhaps this is why those who are tied to their time and place hate Christianity so much.

    One thing more on the Ronin. Thank to you I read up on Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s critique of their actions, and was really struck by something. On the Wikipedia article it states that Yamamoto ‘asked the well known question: “What if, nine months after Asano’s death, Kira had died of an illness?” His answer was that the Forty-seven Ronin would have lost their only chance at avenging their master. Even if they had claimed, then, that their dissipated behavior was just an act, that in just a little more time they would have been ready for revenge, who would have believed them? They would have been forever remembered as cowards and drunkards—bringing eternal shame to the name of the Asano clan. ‘

    The striking thing about this line of thought is the inherent Godlessness. Suppose that there is a God of our understanding and that God approves of bushido (which of course is largely not in our understanding). We tend to give some credence to morally good motives despite the failure of actions that we follow out of such motives. God knows our hearts and can judge us as having some merit even if we fail. Here, though, what is in the hearts of the Ronin does not matter. There is no heaven where the Japanese learn what they were really doing and so can be reconciled. Again, even if we hypothetically accept the moral code of Bushido, this just seems sad. Christian hope is such an immense gift.

  • Suicide as an escape from pain has not been proved. Suicide may permanentize temporal pain into eternal pain.

  • Pingback: Loved, Lost, Found: A Gift for Mother’s Day - BigPulpit.com
  • My brother took his life last Holy Monday. We did not expect it. He seemed normal and happy before that. He flunked out of college and had family, friendship problems to boot! Thank you for telling me that brother is now in HELL!!! Its so easy to speak this way when you aren’t suffering from the death of a loved you did not know was in desperate need of help! He was holding a crucifix when he died. His letters still professed faith in God’s love, heaven, purgatory and hell. You really think he ended up there! He wasn’t perfect but he was a good person most of his life. Think of others before you write your articles please. There are people who are really suffering and would appreciate a more compassionate yet still truthful approach to this subject. Even the Catechism teaches that they do not have full culpability if there were mental or emotional disorders and the like.

  • I apologize for my previous comment. It was uncharitable for me. Even if we are grieving, it does not give me the excuse to lash out at strangers online. But is it really so wrong to believe that God would have mercy on a person suffering from depression and many other problems? Doesn’t the Catechism teach that also?

  • “Thank you for telling me that brother is now in HELL!!!”

    Your brother’s eternal destination is solely in God’s hands Maria. I join your prayers that he may be with the blessed who see God face to face.

  • “Even if we are grieving”

    My beloved son died Maria almost a year ago. As the anniversary approaches my grief grows more intense. All any of us truly have to combat such grief is our hope for our loved ones beyond the grave. When it comes to the mercy of God, I never make predictions as to how it may be applied in individual cases, but only pray for His mercy for my loved ones and for me, since I am certain in my own case that I shall have much need for it.

  • Thank you for your kinds replies. I am so sorry for your loss. I can see my parents struggling and so I understand how painful that must be. I promise that I will pray for you and your son as well. I am really sorry for my angry comment. Thank you again. May God Bless you always!

  • “But is it really so wrong to believe that God would have mercy on a person suffering from depression and many other problems?”

    In the case of one individual person, no, it may not be wrong.

    But for all of us the situation may be very different. What prompts the publishing of an article like this is the pressure in society to make suicide acceptable and rational. From a Christian viewpoint this pressure is unacceptable, because the more rational suicide becomes the more likely it will lead to that end state we call damnation. Thus we have a strange paradox: if we emphasize the risk that suicide brings to our souls we minimize that risk – we help ensure that those who do kill themselves do so for less than rational reasons and thus are more likely to attain Heaven – but if we de-emphasize the risk that suicide brings to our souls we increase that risk. Once again true love often has to be tough love.

    The other factor here is our view of suffering. I can imagine that decades of mental and physical suffering can make the three hours of Christ on the Cross appear pale by comparison. I really can. But we need to teach ourselves to emulate Him despite all pain. All of us need to encourage each other to do what is right, despite the hard natures of our sufferings and despite what the world thinks of us.

    Maria, I hope to meet your brother in Paradise.

  • Perhaps you do not know the depths of depression. I do. I have struggled with it for years, and it is a real and valid illness, just like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Yes, I have the responsibility to maintain my health, but depression is a sneaky little bast*&d and it can convince a person – even one of strong faith – that there is little hope. The pain of depression is so intense. Often, those who contemplate suicide do not want to die; they simply want the pain to stop. I find your post here lacking in compassion for the mentally ill.

  • What is most illustrated by the story of the 47 Ronin is, I think, the escalation that is part of the fallen human condition. The response to an insult is a threat; the response to the threat is one death and the ruin of dozens of families; the response to the one death and ruin of dozens of families is many deaths and the greater ruin of dozens of families.

    Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to criticize “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” as primitive and barbaric, as is so often done in today’s society. Like all barbarians, we easily forgive crimes and offenses against people who mean nothing to us, and we congratulate ourselves on how “saintly” or “evolved” we are. But let someone cut us off in traffic! And if they dare to support a political cause of which we don’t approve, or violate the modern-day equivalent of blasphemy laws, we’ll take a head for an eye and a house for a tooth.

  • “I find your post here lacking in compassion for the mentally ill.”

    I find it rash Elise to assume, as is commonly done today, that all or even most suicides are by people who are mentally ill. The human impulse to self destruction lies in despair and that is often not a result of mental illness but merely a reaction to how troubled life in this Vale of Tears can get.

  • Elsie, I assume you are replying to my last post.

    “The pain of depression is so intense.”
    I am very, very sure you are right. Very sure.

    “Often, those who contemplate suicide do not want to die; they simply want the pain to stop.”
    I understand perfectly.

    “I find your post here lacking in compassion for the mentally ill.”
    I respectfully disagree. It is lacking in validation. I have simply reached the point in life where I will not extend my sympathy for the pain of any illness into acceptance of wrongful thinking.
    The desire to see one’s live end so that suffering will end is, I think, perfectly normal. Every saint looks forward to heaven.
    However, I have also concluded that the thoughts that lead to depression and suicide are usually delusions. The pain caused by them is real, and they themselves seem so real, but it is perfectly possible to say to oneself “These thoughts are not real, I can choose to not listen to them” and then push them away. Separate the feelings from the thoughts, and so weaken the feelings. Does it work? No, not always, but it can. Regardless of whether is does or not on any given day, our only moral responsibility is to try to survive, for the sake of others.

    I apologize for using rather stilted language. It does not help me express what I want to express, but I have my reasons.

  • A childhood friend of mine (who was Christian but not Catholic) committed suicide a few years ago. He was suffering from medical problems that had completely incapacitated him for several months about a year before, and the most recent diagnosis had been that his illness was incurable and that recoveries would be increasingly incomplete and increasingly partial. That alone brings to mind a sentence from the Catechism: “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.” There is also a chance that the medications he was on may have had psychological side-effects. In spite of this I am disappointed and even angry at him, in no small part because he left a terrible example for his children.

    I suspect almost all suicides in Western nations are due to “grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship or suffering”. As for those in the East, they presumably do not understand the gravity of the sin, or even that it is a sin.

    Then there are some suicides like those of Kirillov and Stavrogin in Dostoevsky’s novel Demons.

  • Not long ago priests kicked out of the church those girls who got impregnated by men, out of wedding. The men were allowed to go to church, after confession.
    But not the girls…. the priests were ok with those girls killing themselves.

  • That is complete and utter rubbish je. How do I know that is rubbish? Because my maternal grandmother got pregnant out of wedlock with my mom in 1935. That did not stop either of them from attending Mass and loving the Church.

  • Suicide is never an option for christians. When a christian reaches the end of his tether and is staring down a tunnel with no light at the end, he has to do what Elijah, Tobias and Sarah did in such circumstance. This is the ‘christian suicide’ if you want to use the phrase
    Tobias 3 v 1-15; 1 Kings 19 v 1-9

Lepanto

Monday, October 7, AD 2013

 

This year on Sunday October 13, 2013, Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Go here to read all about it.  My parish is gathering together at noon CST on October 13 to pray the rosary at the exact same time that the Pope consecrates the world to the Mother of God.  What better preparation can we have for that wonderful day than to remember today another victory of the Rosary.

On October 7, 1571 the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Lepanto

  • So happy to hear your parish will be praying the Holy Rosary at noon on the 96th Anniversary of the Fatima miracle.

    Our village in Cedar Michigan will have Legion of Mary and KofC members praying the Holy Rosary in a public square for America’s conversion. To date there is 11,200 other cities around the globe praying the exact same prayers for the exact same intentions. All of this on Oct. 12th Saturday at noon.
    Check out ANF.org Public Square Rosary campaign.
    Join in won’t you. Saturday or Sunday you will help to defend our freedoms and help crush the serpents head.

  • Pingback: Lepanto, Our Lady of the Rosary & Pope Saint Mark - BigPulpit.com
  • In his famous vision of the future victory of the Church over her enemies, St. John Bosco saw the Pope tie the church to two columns. One had our Lady on top with the word “Lepanto” written underneath. The other had the Eucharist oh top. When the Pope accomplished this, the enemy boats in the vision were sunk both due to a storm and the ongoing battle. There are those who believe that Pope John Paul II was the pope of this vision. Although he was “killed,” afterwards, by the intercession of Our Lady of FATIMA (n.b. reference to the name of Mohammad’s daughter), the Pope is “resurrected” to take up his job anew. If Pope John Paul was in fact the pope of the dream, the tying of the Church would have been the year dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and the other year dedicated to the Eucharist. Without a doubt, since then the Muslim “fleet” has descended into chaos and confusion (e.g. the Arab spring and the Shiite-Sunni conflict).

  • We too are gathering on Oct 12 at noon to pray the rosary in public at an area park.

  • Jeanne R.

    Great!
    I’m recalling the end of Chpt. 12 book of Revelation……verse 16 or 17; and the serpent waged war with Her offspring, those who abide by the commandments and give testimony of her son Jesus.

    I’m on coffee break, so my quote might not be perfect, but its very close.

    We are making up the heel to crush the head of satan. It’s happening and God knows when it will be finalized.

    Keep on praying your Holy rosaries.
    🙂

GK Chesterton on Lepanto

Monday, October 7, AD 2013
White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Continue reading...