Mary Victrix, Our Fortress and Defense

A blessed Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

On the Solemnity of St. Francis the seminarians and I went to the prayer vigil of the Holy Father in preparation for the synod, which has now begun.  Afterward, we moved into the new building that the Holy Father has provided us.  I can walk to the Angelicum in a half hour.

Here are a couple of photos of our new surroundings.  More to come.  Click on photos for larger view.  There is a bit of distortion due to my use of the pan setting.

The gate you are looking at is Porta Tiburtina, after which our street is named, otherwise know as Porta San Lorenzo.  The gate was constructed to commemorate a Roman victory.  But our victory is found in the Gate of Heaven.

I post my yearly tribute to Mary Victrix:

I cast myself before Thee, Thy bondsman and fool;
Thy patronage is freedom, Thy slavery my school.
I offer Thee my sword hilt and wait for Thy command
To serve among Thy servants who pledge to take a stand.
That I might die in battle, a victim of Thy love:
My wish, my prayer, my promise, thus written in my blood.

I saw the bark of Peter ride dark into the sun,
But darker still the marking of crescent, hoard and gun.
Her sails lay flat and mellow, Her men had pledged their troth,
Left hand on beaded psalter, the right to keep their oath.
The haughty fiend had counted on fear to win the day,
But Thine own breath has countered to turn the wind their way.

My Queen, to Thee be honor and praise through all Thy knights
Who toiled and bled and parted Thy martyrs robed in white.
All courtesy and prowess, all strength and gentleness,
Thy heart a pyx of virtue, Thy face all loveliness.
Then at the hour of judgment my colors Thou may see,
Thy Son upon His white steed, Thou pray to come for me.

 

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Saints, Martyrs and More

I have been back from my London trip for about five days now. The workshop for the “A Day With Mary” was pretty intense. The day the workshop finished, Friars Roderic, Didacus and I had the opportunity of being driven to Oxford by Claudio Lo Sterzo, the very kind founder of “A Day with Mary.” I had a list of addresses associated with Blessed Henry Newman, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. We did not have much time and I did not know how much we would be able to see, but it turned out very well.

We arrived a the college in Littlemore where Blessed Newman resided for a time shortly before he left the Church of England and where Blessed Dominic Barbari received him into the Catholic Church. The college was closed but Brother Sean, a member of The Work, opened it for us and was kind enough to show us the room in which Blessed Newman lived and the chapel in which he confessed to Blessed Dominic and became a Catholic.

We then sped off to Wolvercote Cemetery and managed to drive through the gate just as it was closing, the caretaker was kind enough to show us the grave of J.R.R Tolkien. It is quite noteworthy how simple the marker is. There is a rose bush with several sets of rosary beads dangling from its branches. Tolkien’s wife Edith is buried there also. She died only shortly before him, and he marked the tomb below her Christian name with the fictional name Luthien. He also arranged to have “Beren” appended to the inscription of his name after he was buried. For those who are not aware of the significance of the names Luthien and Beren, see here.

We ended the day at the Oxford Oratory, where we arrived just before Vespers and were very kindly invited by the Oratorians to attend in choir, which we did. On our way out of Oxford, we passed The Eagle and the Child, known by the Inklings and “The Bird and the Baby,” the pub in which Lewis, Tolkien and the others met weekly to discuss literature and their own writing.

The next day, Claudio drove us to the Carmelite Monastery in Aylesford where St. Simon Stock was given the Brown Scapular. Aylesford is perhaps the oldest Carmelite foundation in Europe, the greater part of the current monastery was built after 1949, when the property was purchased back by the Carmelite Order, after having been lost to the Reformation in 1538.

On our final full day in England Fr Didacus and I went to the Tower of London and spent our time venerating the places were many of the great martyrs of England suffered and died for the Catholic faith.

Real Templars

Here is some information that is real news to me, provided by Noah and Ryan, in regard to a legimate claiment to the title Militia Templi Christi Pauperum Millitum Ordo, or Knights Templar.  And yes, this is very legit, a fact which I was not inclined to accept, until it was proven to me.  Mind you, the members of this brotherhood in arms are very clear to disclaim any connection with the historical order, since any such claim, if and when made—as it often is by pretenders—is always false.  The knights already have a well established presence in the United States.

The professed members have a fourth promise of “public testimony of faith.”  Excellent!

Here is some background from Noah and I invite him to respond if anyone has any questions.

First, we do not claim to be descended from the original order.  Many of the people making that claimare Freemasons.

We are a canonically legal Lay Order who live according to the Rule of the Militia Templi which is a close replica of the Primative Rule of the Templare written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.  Like the ancient Order, the Militia Templi consists of Catholic Lay Faithful binding ourselves to much of the aethetics of the monk, but living in the secular world as knights, in effect a restoration of the order.

We are recognized as a private association of lay faithful and our Constitution and Rule are approved by the Archdiocese of Siena.  The Magistral See of the Militia Templi is located in Poggibonsi Italy.  The Magistral See consists of a 12th Century Templar castle which is the See of the Grand Master of the Order.  The Abbot Protector of the Militia is HE Abbot Philip Lawrence OSB of Christ in the Desert Monastery.  Like the ancient Order, the Militia Templi is divided into Preceptories and the North American Preceptory now consists of eight Professed Knights, two Dames and approximately 25 Novices.  In the North  American Preceptory we have four Chaplains to include our senior Chaplain, HE Bishop Kevin Vann, Bishop of Ft. Worth Tx.  The Militia Templi is in full communion with the Holy See and with the local Ordinary.

Pope John Paul II gave plenary indulgences to the order 1989 for certain special liturgical feast days and the days of our novitiate and investiture, etc.  In 1991 the Militia received an indult from the Holy See to use

the liturgy in place by 1962.  Accordingly, the Militia has a preference for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and prays the Divine Office per the Breviary of Blessed John XXIII.

The Militia Templi consists of both celibate and married knights as well as dames.  As laity, knights take perpetual private vows of obedience to the Rule and the Superiors of our Order, chastity according to our station in life, spiritual poverty, and to defend the Holy Faith.  Under the discipline of the Rule, knights and novices are bound to pray certain parts of the Divine Office, assist Holy Mass frequently, receive the sacrament of penance at least once a month and pray the Holy Rosary daily.  As such, the Militia is a vocation which is the gift of God.  Our hope is to achieve heaven, and holiness and sanctification on earth by a life of work, prayer and self-sacrifice.   We pray and work so that we may live a life of heroic virtue and prefer nothing to the love of Christ.  For me it is my weakness that makes me need to live under such a rule and which allows Christ to be our strength and Mary to be our consolation.

As Knights living in the world we offer ourselves as the victims of the secular battlefield as the priest offers himself as the victim of the Mass. It is the charism of the Order to protect  what remains of Christendom against secularism with its attendant erred philosophies threatening our culture, and to work towards the restoration of Christendom.  The Militia defends and supports the traditional Liturgy and the social dogmas of the Church per the Magisterium.  We have a special focus on the teaching of the Holy Faith and knightly virtue to the young in an age of relativism and practical atheism.

I am a huge fan of MaryVictrix, Standing Fast, AirMaria and the FI.

Thanks, Noah.

The Knights of Christ

My last full day in Fatima, Father Peter, Father Andre, Fra Solanus and a local Fatima friend of the friars, Leo Madigan had an opportunity to visit the Convento de Cristo, a very imposing Knights Templar Castle less than an hour away from Fatima.  In 1319, few years after the papal suppression of the Templars, the knights were re-founded in Portugal as the Knights of Christ, and retained possession of the monastery fortress.

The Templar Church architecture is very notable.  The original construction of the Church was round to which a later rectangular nave was added.  This pattern is seen also in the Church of the Temple in London and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Cambrige, and all of these examples are based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the focus of the whole crusading spirit.

Nightwatch Neutralizes Attackers

Night Watch 2009

By  The Stealth Bomber

GRISWOLD — Recoiling from a first-time defeat during the Fall Encampment of last year, the “Attack Team” adults of the Nightwatch Game were completely shut out by the much less experienced and younger “Defenders,” during the Spring Encampment, this Memorial Day weekend.  “We were defeated by superior group led by a mastermind,” said Mr. Dietz, the leader of the Attackers, who humbly acknowledged the tight spot in which his group now finds itself.

Shortly before the game began at 10:30 pm on Saturday night the Attackers managed to negotiate rule changes they thought would guarantee fairer odds. Instead, what they found was a group of Defenders undaunted by the sudden necessity to adjust strategy. The new “capture the flag” type objective only steeled the Defenders’ resolve to make swift work of the Attackers, which they did.

Now shaken by a two-time loss, the Attackers will be under considerable pressure to regain their prestige next time they take the field during the Summer Encampment.

The following statement has been released by the leader of the Nightwatch Defenders:

“You, men of Lepanto and diverse other lords of households, who have no right to this Watchfires of Sirs Thomas and Marc, be it known that you are here ordered and notified through me, Black Hood, to stay far from the precincts of our Watchfires, and sleep well on your soft air-mattresses; or I will produce a clash of arms to be eternally remembered. And since this is the second time you have failed to succeed in your base and wicked designs, I urge you for your own sakes to resolve upon a life of ease, since you are unsuited to a life of combat; I shall not write anything further.”

Knights of the Patronage

All right, so I will now get back to more edifying business. I have given everyone more than a piece of my mind on the question of the election, as have also some of you who have commented here.

I apologize for my snarkiness. My desire was to defend a pro-life woman who was being trashed all over the place. I got carried away and I am duly rebuked by the lady, though I really don’t know what her point is about Ben Stein’s movie.

Templar Prayer

I still can’t find a translation of the Templars’ prayer to Our Lady, which is unfortunate. The best I can come up with this description provided by the scholar who found the Chinon Parchment:

It was “beautiful and moving” and “full of poetry”, Dr Frale said, but “incredibly has never been studied”. The prayer is addressed to “Holy Mary, mother of God”, the “consolation of those who hope”, and “humbly implores” her to obtain freedom for the order “through the intercession of the angels, archangels, prophets, evangelists, apostles, martyrs, confessors and virgins”. It adds that the Virgin Mary knows that “our enemies” have spread “calumnies and lies” about the order, and pleads with her to make them “return to truth and charity”.

In their rite of profession, the Knights Templar formulated their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in terms of solemn promises made to “God and St. Mary,” so it is no wonder that the they would have turned to Mary in their dire circumstances, invoking Her as the “consolation of those who hope,” and having confident recourse to Her for deliverance.

In fact this spontaneous confidence in the power of Mary to overcome evil has always been the intuition of Christians. I would like to share a little reflection on the ancient devotion to Mary and the development of chivalry in the context of another prayer found on a manuscript that had been hidden in obscurity for many years. Continue reading

The Church Militant or Impotent?

home-church.jpg

I just posted an entry on a tragic Holy Week real estate deal on AirMaria, and that has provoked some further reflection on my part. Holy Monday is a time to reflect humbly upon our own sinful betrayal of Jesus Christ.

The Church Militant is fighting for its identity. Leon Podles argues that our Church has been feminized and emasculated. It has become, in his words, the Church Impotent.

The closing of our Churches has many causes, and I am not here to play the blame game; however, this tragedy is reflective of the loss of our missionary spirit, and the sacrificial spirit of Holy Week. So now we can celebrate Holy Week by buying a closed Church . . . and do what with it? Partition it into an upscale apartment, like the one in the picture above? Or how about a garden show, like the one below?

sacredheartgardenshow.jpg Continue reading

Toy Knights and Kosovo

toy-knight.jpg

No, Really. Actually it tells us a lot about what is happening in Kosovo right now, and in Europe at large.

O Dearest God, what shall I do, and how?
Shall I choose the earth? Shall I choose
The skies? And if I choose the kingdom,
If I choose an earthy kingdom now,
Earthly kingdoms are such passing things—
A heavenly kingdom, raging in the dark, endures eternally

The horrors of medieval and modern war. . . and appeasement.