Templar Secrets, Part 3: The Holy Grail
Posted on AirMaria and found on this blog in the sidebar.
For the introduction, in case you missed it, you will also find it in the side bar, or follow this link.
I have been reflecting lately on the notion of Dom Chautard concerning that aspect of the interior life that is Englished in his book “custody of the heart.” Perhaps a more militant way of translating this notion in modern English would be “guarding the heart.”
It is the duty of a knight to guard and protect, and we often associate this role with his perennial preoccupation with the Damsel in Distress. Elsewhere I have noted that the Blessed Virgin is the personification of the Damsel in Distress–not so much because She is helpless, which She is not, nor is that an essential quality of any such damsel, but because She personifies everything true, good and beautiful. She does this precisely at the foot of the cross as the personification of the Bride of Christ and as Mother and exemplar of the Church. Ultimately the Christian Knight must be at Her service.
But the curious fact is that the knight, while an image of Christ, the Bridegroom and Savior, is first of all a sinner and one who must identify with the needy Bride as much as any woman should. This is not to say that the knight must become a woman spiritually, but that his masculinity need not be threatened by whole-hearted honesty about his dependence on God.
In fact, nothing could be more important. In order to stand fast in the breach that has been blasted in the wall of the City of God, Our Lady’s knight must first repair the breach in his own heart. How can a knight defend the City of God, how can he fight for the honor of the Immaculate Heart and guard it from the dishonor of the heathens, if he has not first mastered the art of guarding his own heart? In fact, there is nothing more urgent than the attention we pay to our own vulnerabilities.
To this end, I would like to associate the notion of Dom Chautard with that of St. Paul concerning the Armor of God.
The Feast of the Holy Rosary is a feast of prayer and recourse to the Blessed Mother. It is also a feast of the action of brave men who were men of prayer. That is why it is also the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. On this day we pray for the Spirit of Lepanto.
In the current postcommunion oration for the Mass we find the closest thing in the current formulary to reference to Our Lady of Victory:
May we be helped we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the prayers of Thy most holy Mother, whose Rosary we celebrate; that we may draw strength from the Mysteries which we commemorate, and likewise obtain the fruit of the Sacraments which we have received: Who livest and reignest with the God Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.
We are to draw strength from the paschal mystery, the mystery of the sacrificial love of Christ for all men. The mysteries of which the oration speaks are the death and resurrection of the Lord. But the feast integrates into these mysteries the mystery of Our Lady’s victorious mediation, and the “strength” which we draw from our participation in the Mysteries of Christ through Her mediation.
On this occasion I have returned to vlogging my series Standing Fast which you will be able find each week in the side bar on the right. (It should be up momentarily.) Well I guess the widget won’t fly yet, so here is the video:
Here is the link to The Soul of the Apostolate that I mention in the video. And a Google Books version here.
You will also be able to find it on AirMaria as a regular post in a larger format. I have delayed my post today due to the learning curve with some new video software. My apologies for not posting sooner on Our Lady’s feast day.
The above painting was created by Tony Stafki and is available in various kinds of prints. Tony sent my some information about the painting:
- The battle formation of the ships just before the main clash.
- The Catholic ships form a cross and the Muslim ships form a cresent.
- The standard of the Holy Cross which was blessed by Pope Pius V can be seen on Don Juan of Austria’s ship which is leading the charge
- Papal ships (St. Peter’s keys)
- The miracle of the wind: just before the armies met the wind completely switched in favor of the Catholic ships.
- Devils can be seen amongst the Muslim ships (they were summoned from hell by the Muslim leader). The devils have peacock feathers as swords, a manifestation of their pride.
- Our Lady of Victory with a sword in one hand ready to crush the devils and the other hand outstretched to the Muslim souls.
- St. Michael leading the Angels
- There are small white lights by the oars on the Muslim ships representing the souls of the Catholic prisoners.
The image of Our Lady with the sword reminds me of this:
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.
I have always been a little put off that the image of Our Lady of Victory does not have a sword:
Nor images of our Lady at Lepanto, such as this:
Hats off to Tony.
Video courtesy of Bob Fox, his son Gregory, producer and his daughter Theresa, editor.
Great work. This links up with my post on the squires oath and the four things I wanted the boys at the ecampment to remember.
The video was originally posted as a Standing Fast entry on AirMaria.
I have been remiss in keeping to the schedule for Standing Fast, but I banged out 5 episodes today. The first one is up, and the rest will come weekly on AirMaria. Here is the blurb for it:
Fr. Angelo is back and vlogging with a vengeance. This episode is on religious chivalry vs secular chivalry. Referring to groups like the Society of Creative Anachronisms which are trying to reintroduce Chivalry with an ethical code not based on religious principles but on secular or even neo-pagan ones, Fr Angelo mentions that this is nothing new. Listen as he points out how western chivalry was uniquely Christian and thus superior to any of the many other forms of Chivalry, especially in regard to the treatment of women which was based on devotion to Mary.
Click on the image to watch.
I am back with a new Standing Fast video after breaking for a long while for various reasons. Expect new Standing Fast videos to be up on AirMaria on a weekly basis. I have a few in the can. I will not be posting here again until probably Friday.
I am off to my yearly retreat. Unfortunately, I am not going to La Verna, pictured above, where St. Francis of Assisi received the stigmata, but the place where I am going is nice enough. BTW, if you ever get a chance to go to La Verna you won’t be disappointed. It is the most ideal place for a retreat you could imagine: Quiet, holy and spectacularly beautiful. One day I would like to give a retreat there myself.
I will be leaving for Australia on the November 11 and will back in December. I will be visiting our friars there and giving a retreat to some men in Perth who are interested in the Knights of Lepanto. While I am away for that, I will post as often as I can.
Pray for me and I will pray for all of you.
Stand fast and never surrender.
A regular feature on our sister site AirMaria is weekly video commentary by myself on Catholic life in the public square called Standing Fast. Over the weeks to come, the theme of Marian Chivalry will be developed as well as other themes touching upon masculinity in Catholic life.