No victory is possible without a price and the price of victory is only possible through prayer - especially the Rosary!
"Victory" is such a defining word. Derived from the Latin victus which is the pluperfect of vincere "to conquer." Of course the greatest conquest was by Jesus who conquered sin through the Cross and His Resurrection. In all other conquests weapons have been the key ingredient in achieving the goal whether it were clubs and stones in ancient times or high-tech military artillery in our present age. With all the controversy over gun laws and the NRA here in America and the debate about licensing "Saturday night specials," there is a weapon we don't need a licence for and which we can carry at all times. It is one guaranteed to stun and derail our enemy...to achieve victory. There's no waiting period, no shakedown, no fears when we use this special weapon. We're referring, of course, to the Holy Rosary. Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, dating back to 1571 in honor of the great Victory of Lepanto which saved Europe from Islamism through the recitation of the Rosary given to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Mother in 1208. Pope Saint Pius V declared tomorrow the feast of Our Lady of Victory and that was changed later to the universal Church as Our Lady of the Rosary. Lepanto was one of the last great naval battles waged in the Gulf of Corinth between the heavily favored and feared Ottoman Turks who espoused the Moslim belief and a gutty band of forces provided by King Philip II of Spain, termed the Holy League and commandeered by Don Juan of Austria who was, in truth, the illegitimate brother of Philip. Casualties were great on both sides for 7,500 Christians lost their lives, but the Turks lost 30,000 and that staggering amount for a sea battle ended their domination forever as a power on the Mediterranean. Right out of David and Goliath the undermanned, but determined Christian fleet managed to outmaneuver and overthrow the superior Turkish armada not because of their skills or ability, but chiefly because God heard His Mother's pleas for help and, because millions had turned to Our Lady through the Rosary at Pius' request, victory was achieved for the good guys. Pius died the following Spring and every pontiff since his successor Pope Gregory XIII has emphasized the devotion to the Rosary, but few have given the Rosary more emphasis than Pope John Paul II. Totally dedicated to the Mother of God, he reiterates over and over the need to pray the Rosary. Today, on the brink of the new millennium, there is a need for Our Lady's intercession like never before in history. The time is now to truly commit to her special devotion. Here in the USA, the "culture of death" demoralizes our society from the White House and Wall Street on down as well as in our own Holy Church where heresy, apostasy and schism infiltrate, ravaging our sanctuaries. Never has the Rosary taken on a more urgent need. Our Lady, in her countless messages, has said the Rosary "is our strongest weapon against the forces of evil" and that it will be "the links of the Rosary chain that will bind satan." There can be no greater finite victory than the ultimate defeat of the evil one which will mark the great Triumph of the Immaculate Heart which Mary first promised at Fatima and ever after that. This glorious victory will usher in the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the New Pentecost, the Age of the Holy Spirit, the Third Reign of the Third Millenium. Whatever you call it, while the ultimate conquest will be being reunited with God in Heaven, this triumph to come will be a victory above all victories on this feeble earth. As we all know, October is dedicated to Our Lady and "Respect Life." It is an ideal time to begin if one has not already committed to praying the Rosary daily. For those who have committed to this cause, don't stop! Please! The only way to end abortion, to rid the senate of pro-abortion senators is through prayer not physical confrontation. Our Lady has promised that if we pray the Rosary from our hearts, our prayers will be answered! Only through Mary's intercession will we weather the storms ahead. From Lepanto to the present, one thing is abundantly clear: any significant successes for Christian nations and cultures throughout history have occurred when Our Lady has been invoked. That is what "victory" is all about!
Speaking of victory, the weapon of the baseball bat has been used this year for what it was meant to be utilized for - hitting the horsehide out of the park rather than battering heads in domestic disputes and gangland violence. Credit men like Mark "Big Mac" McGwire and Sammy "Say it's so" Sosa who gave us all plenty of thrills and chills in a season never to be forgotten; a season that brought to the surface what's right with America in the face of the atrocities in Washington, D.C. But now Sammy and Mark have put their bats aside as four other teams play on for the ultimate crown of Major League Baseball. The perennial favorite is the American League's New York Yankees with their millions-dollar lineup and record wins total going against last year's runner up the Cleveland Indians who came oh-so close to beating the Marlins. In the National League you've got the traditional October participants in the Atlanta Braves and that Cinderella San Diego team from the left coast who gets no prime time respect from the networks. But that's okay, we're pretty giddy around here today because our Padres are in the National League Championship Series against the dreaded Braves owned by pro-abortionist Ted Turner. While we're pulling for our swingin' friars to upend Turner's boys and then put it to the Yanks or Tribe, a Heavenly world series would have been the Padres and Angels - a I-5 series since the two teams are just 75 miles apart in Southern California. The Pads have been to the promised land once back in 1984 when they lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. The Anaheim Angels have never made it to the ultimate show to the chagrin of its previous owner Gene Autry who passed away fittingly on the Feast of the Guardian Angels this past Friday at the age of 91. Like another great American cowbow Roy Rogers who we wrote about a few months ago in these pages, Autry was an icon. In fact, he was the last of the Cowboys who, oddly enough got his start back in 1920 through the help of probably America's most famous cowboy Will Rogers who will forever be remembered for "I never met a man I didn't like." Talk about Christ-like! With the passing of Autry, we're left with yet another void of good people who influenced the youth of America in the right way. It's another sign of the times that all the good role models are dying out. While it is our loss that ol' Gene is gone, now he's with that great team above where victory is assured because the Angels always win!
Very few are pulling for the Angels baseball team now because it is owned by that conglomerate known as the Disney Corporation which is a far cry from another who gave us values and hope as youngsters - Walt Disney. Today Disney is a megamogul who controls practically everything, including the ABC Network. That is why it was surprising that Sunday night on 20/20 they did such an excellent job in bringing viewers a 45 minute feature on little Audrey Santo, the paralyzed victim soul in Massachusetts. Our thanks to Sister Mary Lucy Astuto for notifying us of it being on television. She has visited little Audrey numerous times and was the first to inform us about her experiences years ago. We'd always known about Audrey and the mystical oils that flow throughout Audrey's room but the piece Sunday night revealed something not everyone truly knew - that Audrey's mother Linda Santo is the real saint through all this. Talk about a female Job! She never gave up her faith despite her husband leaving her for a time, her daughter in a permanent coma, contracting breast cancer, having to sell her home and raising not only Audrey but five other kids as well. Through it all she remains stronger than ever in her faith, always there for Audrey, always there for her family, always there for her husband who, like the prodigal son, returned repentant, and always there for those who come in fervent prayer and hope. Nevermind the rock, movie and sports idols, Linda Santo is the true role model! Despite the cynicism of skeptical 20-20 host Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer seemed genuinely convinced and the piece by correspondent Lynn Schurr was A++. The best aspect of this heart-rendering piece was that all subjects interviewed were sincerely convinced that these phenomenas surrounding Audrey are from God. An even better result was that they didn't ask the opinion of perennial American Catholic expert Richard McBrien, the liberal, radical priest from Notre Dame who seems to be the media's darling for bashing the Church from within. We do know that several years ago McBrien on the same network during a Nightline segment said, and we quote, "The sooner we get rid of the rosary beads, the better off the church will be." What's so sad is so many Catholics believe him. Evidently he never heard of Lepanto. Evidently he doesn't realize what victory really means. Evidently he has no concept of the word "intercession." And, because of that, even though he is a theologian, he must have skipped Mariology 101. No victory is possible without a price and the price of victory is only possible through prayer - especially the Rosary!