Name of MaryToday is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary and commemorates the victory of the Christian forces over the Ottoman Empire at Vienna on September 12, 1683.  Many believe that the 9/11 hijackers chose that date because of this historical event.  The Battle of Vienna began on September 11 and ended on September 12.

The following is a reflection on the Name of Mary that I wrote some years ago:

The Holy Name of Mary is invoked for the same reason as that of Jesus.  In a unique way Mary shares in the royal dignity and power of Jesus Christ.  The Name of Mary like the Name of Jesus is a proclamation of the presence of God and His kingdom.  Other reasons for the power and sweetness of the Name of Mary flow from this one.

St. Paul says:  That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).  These words are written in the context of St. Paul’s exhortation that we should have that mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus (v.5).  He goes onto talk about the humility and obedience of Christ, His self-emptying in the form a slave, His death upon the cross by which He merits a name which is above all names (v. 9).

Jesus humbles Himself and becomes obedient, in the first place, by emptying Himself into the womb of Mary (cf., v. 7).  If He is exalted through humility, it is first of all because he becomes the child of Mary.  Likewise His obedience unto death is accomplished in the company of Mary, the Sorrowful Mother who stands with Him co-crucified through the sword of sorrow that opens Her Immaculate Heart (v. 8).

Mary is therefore exalted with Christ in humility and sacrificial obedience.  Every knee must bend, and all hell trembles at the sound of Her Name.  Through Her Name, we invoke the power of God.

St. Maximilian says:

Try to take refuge with Mary as a little child with its best-beloved Mother.  ‘Invoke’ her Holy Name with the heart in the difficulties of life, in darkness and weakness of spirit and you will soon be convinced what Mary can do – and Who her Son Jesus Christ is.

Here the Saint shows how the name of Mary reveals Her union with Her Son, and how by invoking Her presence with Her Name we force the darkness to flee, how Her power is invincible.

So then we greet each other with “Ave Maria” in order to invoke the presence of the Immaculate in the midst of those who gather in Her Name.  We also recognize Her presence in those who in Her name greet us.  We bless each other in Her Name, beseeching Her to bestow peace upon all who hear the sweet sound of “Mary.”  St. Maximilian says:  “O what peace the holy name of Mary gives.”

At the Annunciation the angel Gabriel greeted Mary with the words Ave, gratia plena, Hail, full of grace, as though Full of Grace were Her name.  And indeed it is.  It is the name God gave to Mary.  She is the one who is already filled with God’s grace, even before the presence of Jesus in Her womb.  In a real sense Mary becomes the Mother of Jesus, precisely because She is full of grace.  In the Angelic Salutation we shorten, and you might say, sweeten the greeting to Ave Maria, Hail Mary.  Thereby, like St. Gabriel, we acknowledge Her holiness and invoke it and Her motherly presence upon all we meet.

MaryVictrix Desktops 2009

MV Desktop 2009 Head Pic

Some time ago I designed a desktop wallpaper for MaryVictrix.  Here is a new one for 2009.  The Theme is “vigilance” and is based on our Encampment Night Watch.

The whole idea of the Night Watch is to teach the boys the importance of having a keen mind and heart.  We need to be aware of the situation at hand all the time, the dangers to one’s soul and those of others and to be vigilant in the service of God and neighbor.

The fire represents the light of faith and ardor of charity, gifts which we must treasure and protect for the love of God and out of a sense of our own welfare.  More than that, we need to realize that each of us is responsible for the salvation of others and be at the ready to protect and defend the common good.

There are many shadowy aspects of life and into each of them we need to bring the light.  Catholic manliness is a light on the hill top.  We should be a source of hope and healing for all in need.

The rendering has the light of hope embedded in the shadows.  See if you can find those places.

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Spring Encampment

Click on image for information page on the Spring Encampment (Friday, May 22 – Sunday, May 24).

The link in the sidebar will remain there.  Note that the dates for the Summer and Fall Encampments are given there as well.  Mark your calendars.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Victrix at Lepanto

Today is the principle feast of the Knights of Lepanto and, so happy Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Victories to one and all.

I have been doing a lot of reading of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe’s writings lately.  These writings are the basis of our order’s spirituality and of the work we do.  I have been reflecting a great deal on the original inspiration for my own vocation and on the essential characteristics of our work.

When the Knights of Lepanto was founded, I remember being concerned about the absence of men from the life of the Church in general and from the MIM specifically, and I wanted to do something about it.  A masculine approach to spirituality, that is, prayer translated into action, seemed to be the order of the day.  And indeed it was. Continue reading

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

Lepanto and the Litany of Loreto

The Marian Library at the University of Dayton has an interesting page on the Litany of Loreto, including an illustration for each invocation:

The Marian Library has in its possession rare books of the eighteenth century with engravings by the renowned Augsburg artist, Josef Sebastian Klauber (ca. 1700-1768). The highly symbolic and illustrative reproductions are typical of the Baroque period. Their message is of great spiritual riches. Mary’s profile is that of the exalted Mother, Virgin, and Queen, as suits the period. We limited ourselves to the illustrations of the Marian titles . . .

The illustration above is for the invocation “Help of Christians,” which invocation is connected, interestingly enough, to the Battle of Lepanto: Continue reading

Lepanto in Santa Maria Maggiore

Off to the right of the main altar in Santa Maria Maggiore, the principle basilica of Our Lady in the Western Church, is the so-called Sistine Chapel–not to be confused with the Chapel by the same name in the Vatican decorated by Michaelangelo. This chapel was built by Pope Sixtus V, a Franciscan, to honor his Dominican predecessor Pope St. Pius V, depicted in the sculpture above. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Here I am near the body of the Saint:

Continue reading

Altar of Heaven, Lady of Victory

Well, I’m back.

In my last post I said I would post some more pictures of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. The Church does not look like much from the street 124 steps below its porch. Inside, however, is a different story. There is plenty of interest, especially for a Franciscan, the Church being the medieval generalate house for the Order. Our focus here, though, is the Battle of Lepanto.

This is the interior wall of the front of the Church:

The central stone panel in the lower half of the photograph contains an inscription commemorating The Battle of Lepanto. Click on the photo above for a better look. The inscription tranlsates: Continue reading


I am off to the airport in about an hour. This morning we took this picture of the community in Via Boccea. Father Settimio is the suprerior of the house (the very tall one in the middle). If you would like to see the state of Fra Giles’ balding head, click on the pic for a better look.

Yesterday the said Fra Giles and I went into Rome and visited a few churches. We also ate lunch at Santa Maria Maggiore with the friars there. Fra Giles was asking about everyone in America. He says hello to the locals.

One of the churches we visited yesterday was Santa Maria in Ara Coeli (Saint Mary of the Altar of Heaven), which an ancient church built on one of the tallest hills in Rome over the ruins of the Roman temple of Juno Moneta. I will more into the history of the Church in the next post. My main interest in this Church, which I had never visited before, is two: 1) It is the ancient Roman headquarters for the Franciscans; 2) It contains a huge memorial of the Battle of Lepanto.

In 1571, Santa Maria in Aracoeli hosted the celebrations honoring Marcantonio Colonna after the victorious Battle of Lepanto over the Turkish fleet. Marking this occasion, the compartmented ceiling was gilded and painted (finished 1575), to thank the Blessed Virgin for the victory.

Here is a little taste of some of the pictures I will be posting over the next few days.

This is the best shot I could get of the whole ceiling (click on the image for a larger version):

Continue reading