The stanzas below I wrote to be sung to the tune Thaxtedby Gustav Holst, adapted from a section of Jupiter from his suite The Planets as a setting for the patriotic poem by Cecil Spring-Rice,I vow to Thee my Country. This exquisitely beautiful and sad melody has a special significance for me, since it was by providence used by Fra Didacus for the memorial video about our deceased knights, Thom and Marc Girard. At that time it was pointed out to me what the original lyrics where and how appropriate a choice the tune was.
Eternal rest grant to Thom and Marc, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
For your consideration:
I cast myself before Thee, Thy bondsman and Thy 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.
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:
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 . . .
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):