The Spirit of Mary Victrix

The Spirit of Lepanto is greater than the history in which it is rooted. The recounting of the historic of battle that took place on October 7, 1571 lends itself to the genre epic literature.  The events of that day call for a bard like Chesterton to cast words into the cadence of drum and cannon:

Don John’s hunting, and his hounds have bayed—
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

And I still get chills, when for the thousandth time I read the words:

. . . O Lady of Last Assurance,
Light in the laurels, sunrise of the dead,
Wind of the ships and lightning of Lepanto
In honour of Thee, to whom all honor is fled.

I pray that what gives me chills is the true Spirit of Lepanto, and that it does much more than give me chills.

I have always secretly lamented the fact that the Feast of Our Lady of Victory was changed to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and that the language of even the traditional collect for the present feast is void of the bellicose.  We are all familiar with the prayer.  We use it every time we pray the Holy Rosary.

I have much preferred the collect for the Mass Contra paganos (against the heathens), euphemistically englished in the hand missal “Mass for the Defense of the Church”:

Almighty, everlasting God, in whose hand are the strength and man and the nation’s scepter, see what help we Christians need: that the heathen peoples who trust in their savagery may be crushed by the power of Thy right hand.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ. . .

I really don’t question the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in this regard, but I do think that in this feast we have an opportunity to consider with a contemplative mind the Spirit of Lepanto or what Professor Roberto de Mattei calls a “category of the spirit”:

As heirs of Lepanto, we should recall the message of Christian fortitude which that name, that battle, that victory have handed down to us:  Christian fortitude, which is the disposition to sacrifice the good things of this earth for the sake of higher goods—justice, truth, the glory of the Church, and the future of our civilization.  Lepanto is, in this sense a perennial category of the spirit.

It seems to me that this category of the spirit is transhistorical.  It is the recapitulation of the protoevangelium:

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

It is all right there.  That is why Genesis 3:15 is called the first gospel (protoevangelium).  Everything that comes after is all fulfillment, partially at first by way of types (Judith, Esther and the Ark, for example), and then in the fullness of time the Woman and Her Seed bring all things to fulfillment, waging war against the Dragon on the top of the world in the greatest eucatastrophe of all time.

St. John’s vision on Patmos of the Woman gloriously arrayed with the lights of heaven, but militantly in travail, projects into the past, present and future the tribulations of the People of God.  The birth pangs are not of Bethlehem, but of Calvary.  It was only at the foot of the Cross that the Virgin suffered in the throws of delivery.  But surely there is an intimation of Bethlehem in this reference to birth, just as there must be an allusion to the flight into Egypt in the words And the woman fled into the wilderness (v. 6), though the primary reference is the cosmic battle with Satan and the rest of the fallen host.

But St. John was also speaking to the churches of his own time that were suffering persecution and were plagued by heresy.  In the breathless voice of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle proclaims: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

But it is more than that.  The Woman is the promised Victrix, Mary the New Eve, dolorous and glorious, in Her earthly adventure and in Her heavenly reward.  She also represents the churches, the direct recipients of St. John’s revelation, addressed directly in his cover letters to the seven churches.  But She is also the Church Militant of every age that suffers persecution and is plagued by heresy.  Further still, the macrocosm of the Church Militant is reflected in the microcosm of each and every soul, where the Woman and the Dragon contest each other’s dominion.

Lepanto is a parable, a recapitulation of the protoevangelium, just as are the history of Judith and Mary and the churches which St. John addressed.  But so are the chronicle of the Battle of Viena, and the Epics of Tepeyac and Rue du Bac, and more poignantly for our own day, the prophetic history and parable of the Acts of Our Lady of Fatima.  These are the macro-eucatastrophes of the ages, which spell out in the sky, in the medium of light and miracle, the even more fundamental reality of the micro-eucatastrophes (hopefully) going on within our moral and spiritual lives.

The hateful spirits of, pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth claw at the doors of our hearts, or worse, live within them.   We are kingdoms under siege or kingdoms fallen.  We make so much of the macro and so little of the micro and for that we are recipients of the terrible apocalyptic reprimand:

But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity. Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance and do the first works. Or else I come to thee and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance (v. 4-5).

Perhaps I am all washed up for my secret regret.  Perhaps the Church knows better than I.  Of course she does!  The collect for today’s feast and for every Rosary asks for the grace to transform the vision of truth seen through the eyes of the Victrix into Her very life within us:  that meditating we might imitate.  That is the fundamental art of war upon which all strategies and tactics depend.  Perhaps the bellicose language has been pealed away from the orations because we tend win a few of the battles we do see, while loosing the war we do not see.  The Third Part of the Secret of Fatima is bellicose and macro enough, but it all hinges on individuals, and therefore on praying and living the Rosary more than anything else.

Both St. Pius V and Don Juan prayed the Rosary.  Together they were victorious, inside and out.  Men of Prayer and Action, yes, but in all in its proper order.  The Third Part of the Secret at Fatima refers to realities both micro and macro and in that order.

The Spirit of Lepanto is the Spirit of Mary Victrix.  It (She) is a living ideal that communicates itself (Herself) from Heart to heart.  It is vital and preeminently dangerous, boundless and indomitable.  It is also the Spirit of the White Horse, upon which rides the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, whose head is crowned, whose eyes are fire and out of whose mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword.  The Woman of chapter 12 is the Lady, who girds of the Knight in chapter 19 of St. John’s revelation.  And together they constitute a power, beyond which cannot be conceived.

The great prophetic grace of our age is the message of the modern Marian apparitions, which, as already said, are recapitulations of the protoevangelium, but with this twist:  we live in the most apocalyptic age and the urgency of the prophetic plea for devotion to Her Immaculate Heart is the voice of the Spirit speaking to the churches right now!  St. Louis de Montfort says of the Marian Apostles of the Latter Days that

[t]hey will be ministers of the Lord who, like a flaming fire, will enkindle everywhere the fires of divine love. They will become, in Mary’s powerful hands, like sharp arrows, with which she will transfix her enemies (56).

The enemies of Mary are, in a sense, transfixed with the same sword that has pierced Her heart.  Her apostles know the point of that sword all too well, with memories both bitter and sweet.  It is swordplay that is well-landed upon both friend and foe.

Fatima is a modern-day apocalypse.  No wonder there in October the Woman revealed herself to be Our Lady of the Rosary and was clothed with the whirling sun.  It’s spirit is the Lepanto of our age, that transhistorical category of the spirit that is both the first promise to mankind and the patrimony of this last age.  However we name this Spirit, it is bigger than the histories in which it enshrined and deeper than the hearts in which it works itself out.

We can continue to bang out solutions of our own contriving that satisfy our egos, like clever soundbites and slogans, and rely on rhetoric and imprudent zeal, or we can look into the skies, indeed, into the Temple of God and make all things according to the pattern shown us on the mount (cf. Hebrews 8:5).  If we do not see this vision and strive to embody it in our own lives, we have not understood, or have refused to understand the parable of Lepanto and the spirit of this feastday.

If you have not made the consecration to the Blessed Virgin, I pray you do, and soon.  Don’t only pray the Rosary, live the Rosary.

Oremus pro invicem, and sing

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.

Happy Feast of Mary Victrix.

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The Easter Mysteries and the Quest for True Knighthood

Some time ago, I wrote that the Holy Grail of True Knighthood is constituted by the inversion of worldly values and the assimilation of the foolishness of God, which is wiser than the wisdom of men.  There is a real sense in which true knighthood is itself the Holy Grail.  The ideals of Marian Chivalry are so high because it is the knighthood of Jesus Christ Himself, and so paradoxical because in practice a fighting spirit is hard to synthesize with courtesy.

Within and Without

The Holy Grail is both within and without.  In The Mystery of Faith, which is first of all the Eucharist itself and then our own participation in it, we must profess our faith in the most sublime reality of God (the Eucharist) and then conform ourselves to it interiorly (worthy and fruitful communion).  The Mystery of Faith is both the stupendous reality of transubstantiation and our own transformation in Christ.  So for true Knight the Holy Grail is first of all the attainment of the Vessel of the Eucharist and the Eucharist itself and then it is that enclosed space within one’s soul where the virtues of chivalry live and thrive unthreatened by the warfare of this world.

For good reason, then, even if within the tradition there are so many pagan elements, the legends surrounding the Holy Grail go right to the heart of the Easter Mystery.  In the most Christian version of the story, The Quest del Saint Graal, there are three manifestations of the Holy Grail.

Three Manifestations

The first is to Lancelot, the sinner, when from the Grail a priest elevates the Sacred Host and he is granted a vision of three men, two of whom place the youngest into the hands of the priest.  When Lancelot tries to approach the Sacred Vessel in order to assist the priest, who seems so weighed down by the figure of Christ that He is bearing, Lancelot is stopped in his tracks and left paralyzed and senseless.

The second manifestation is to Perceval, Bors and Galahad, the three companions, who during the reenactment of the Last Supper at the Castle of Corbenic, witness Our Lord and Savior appear out from the Holy Grail, bleeding from His hands and feet.  Jesus tells them that since they have sought Him so diligently that He could no longer hide Himself from them, and that for this reason He deigned to let them see some of His secrets and mysteries.  He also tells them that while many had been filled with the “grace of the Holy Vessel,” only they were allowed to experience the Holy Grail in such a face-to-face manner.  Then Our Lord Himself communicates the three companions from the Holy Grail itself.  Later Galahad tells his two companions that when he “was looking on the hidden mysteries that are not disclosed to common view, but only to them that wait on Jesus Christ,” that he had achieved such joy that had he died at that moment he would have been the happiest man that ever lived.

The third manifestation of the Holy Grail is given to Galahad alone, because as King Mordrain tells him:

You are the lily of purity, you are the true rose, the flower of strength and healing with the tint of fire: for the fire of the Holy Ghost burns in you so brightly that my flesh which was withered and dead is now made young and strong again.

This last manifestation takes place a year after Galahad had been crowned King of Serras.  During that year, the Holy Grail dwells within the city walls on its silver table over which Galahad has built an ark of gold and precious stones.  On the anniversary of his crowning a bishop, kneeling before the table, recites the Confiteor and intones “the mass of the glorious Mother of God.  Then during the “solemn part of the mass,” the bishop calls Galahad over:  “Come forward, servant of Jesus Christ, and look on that which you have so ardently desired to see.”  He steps forward and gazes down into the Sacred Vessel, which contains The Mystery of Faith and is seized with a violent trembling at the contemplation of it.  “Then lifting up his hands to heaven, he said:

Lord, I worship Thee and give Thee thanks that Thou hast granted my desire, for now I see revealed what tongue could not relate nor heart conceive.  Here is the source of valour undismayed, the spring-head of endeavor; here I see the wonder that passes every other!  And since, sweet Lord, Thou has fulfilled my wish to let me see what I have ever craved, I pray Thee now that in this state Thou suffer me to pass from earthly life to life eternal.

Galahad is then once again communicated from the Holy Grail and shortly after prostrates himself before the Holy Grail on the silver table and then breathes his last.

Three meanings

Each of the manifestations is an experience of The Mystery of Faith and a relaxing of the Discipline of the Secret, a progressive mystagogia.  The manifestations are progressive, proceeding from a kind of outer court to an inner sanctum.

In the first manifestation to Lancelot, the repentant sinner, he is allowed to see the mystery of the Holy Grail from a distance, but, like Uzzah who was struck dead because he touched the Ark, is punished when he attempts to approach the Holy Grail.  From the outside Lancelot, beholds a special revelation of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity and of Transubstantiation, as a kind of encouragement for him to do greater penance, but he is not permitted to enter in, nor is his presumption left unpunished.

In the second manifestation to the three companions, Our Lord rewards their perseverance in the quest for the inner life of the grail.  He tells them that He cannot withhold his secrets and mysteries from those who ardently seek them.  In it the holy knight, Galahad finds joy with which nothing in this world can compare.

But only to Galahad, the pure, is the third and highest manifestation granted.  It is a reward for his purity of heart and body.  In it he finds the source of fearless courage and the motive for all endeavor.  The paradox hear is that the end of the Quest can only be reached by means of fearlessness and the highest motives, yet the it is only in the Grail that such treasures may be found.  Again the Holy Grail is both within and without, but when it is fully achieved within our entrance into heaven is assured.  The goal of life is achieved and all that is left to do is to die.

Triple Ways

Thee Three manifestations correspond roughly to the three ways of the spiritual life: purgation, illumination and union.  Lancelot is given a revelation in order to bring him closer to the source, by inspiring in him hope, and this leads to greater repentance.  The three companions are illumined with what is hidden and secret because they persevere through the darkness.  Galahad is brought into the union of the Holy of Holies, into the very sanctuary of heaven, because his purification and illumination is perfected.

In sacred scripture the chalice has a threefold meaning as well.  There is first of all the cup of wrath:

For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup of strong wine full of mixture. And he hath poured it out from this to that: but the dregs thereof are not emptied: all the sinners of the earth shall drink (Ps 75:9).

But while our godlessness draws down upon us the wrath of God, Our Lord Himself has imbibed the cup of our iniquities.  From this chalice he prayed to be delivered because the corruption of our sins with which was filled was poison to His immaculate flesh and His Sacred Heart.  Nevertheless His last word on the matter was:

The chalice which my father hath given me, shall I not drink it? (Jn 18:11).

We may indeed, drink “judgment” to ourselves, by partaking of the Eucharist unworthily, or we may honor the Body and Blood of Christ, by doing penance and seeking perseveringly the Holy Gail.

The second is the cup of salvation, which is, we might say, the very same cup of wrath transformed by mercy.  Wrath becomes mercy in the Heart of Christ, when he drinks the cup of the wrath set up against us, and allows us to drink from the cup of His salvation: This chalice is the new testament in my blood.

This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me (1 Cor 11:25).

This memory of Christ makes the past present and transforms it, conforms it to the victorious Christ.  It is the dawn of a new light toward which the whole of history is led in procession.

The third is the cup of fellowship that, like Galahad, we are invited to share because we have persevered.  Holy Communion is the summit of the Mass because the Penitential Rite and the Liturgy of the Word (prayers at the foot of the altar and Mass of the Catechumen) are preparations of the heart and mind for union.  If penance is made perfect by the enlightenment of the Cross then the way is open for the third manifestation of the Grail, which is not only the reception of the Eucharist, but a vision into the Holy Vessel, by which we may contemplate The Mystery of Faith contained therein.  Our call is not only to receive the Eucharist bodily but to experience what that bodily union represents.  Surely, the grace of the Blessed Sacrament does not depend on how we experience it, but nevertheless we are called to taste, and see that the Lord is sweet (Ps 34:8).

Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebreateth me, how goodly is it! (Ps 23:5).

The Only Way

Unfortunately, the myth of the Holy Grail is suffused, in most its renditions, with the old Gnostic heresy of secret knowledge given apart from the public revelation of Jesus Christ.  Dan Brown has given us a useful, if not revolting, synthesis the Gnostic nonsense in his wretched novel.  But he is not altogether wrong either.  The Grail is an enclosed space and a feminine symbol, but it does not for that reason point to the erotic, to goddess worship and the Gnostic Mary Magdelan.

As a Christian myth, the Holy Grail is a symbol of the Blessed Virgin, within whose solemn Mass its mysteries are revealed to Galahad (third manifestation, union).  She is the Enclosed Garden, within whom the secret of God’s divine presence is contained and through whom, He who was hidden from all eternity is made manifest.  And it is through the attainment of Her as the goal of our Quest that we will find within ourselves the same hidden mysteries realized.

In the Quest del Saint Graal, Galahad receives the fullness of his knighthood from the Perceval’s sister, a virgin of consummate beauty and virtue.  Galahad, as the only one who may safely unsheathe it, wields the Sword of the Strange Belt, found on the Miraculous Ship.  It is both prophesied that only the best of knights will be able to wield the sword without harm, and that eventually a pure maiden will come who will replace the cheap hemp belt from which it hangs for a more worthy one.  Perceval’s Sister replaces the belt with one made from her hair, which was her most precious possession.  Taking the sword in its sheath and attaching it to the belt made with her hair she girds Galahad with it and says:

Truly, Sir, it matters no more to me when death shall take me; for now I hold myself blessed above all maidens, having made a knight of the nobles man in the world.  For I assure you, you were not by rights a knight until you were girded with the sword which was brought to this land for you alone.

Then Galahad answers:

Damsel, you part in this makes me you knight forever.

Shortly thereafter Perceval’s sister does die, offering a cup of her own blood to a sickly queen in need of healing.

By Her precious virginity, the Blessed Virgin girds the Son of God with His sacred humanity and bestows upon Him the Knighthood by which He will save the world.  He becomes Her Knight, and through Her we will become the children of God.  Christ offers His blood, taken from the Virgin, as a sacrifice for all, and She offers Her life’s blood, Her very own Son in an act of consummate feminine chivalry.  All true knights that come afterwards will have to penetrate The Mystery of Faith by taking this path, this way and must persevere in this quest.

This is the secret of Marian Chivalry and its mystagogia is the science of the great Marian saints like St. Louis de Montfort and St. Maximilian Kolbe.  These are Easter mysteries that we contemplate:  mysteries of light and of victory.

Having concentrated in this post on the Holy Grail, I will look more closely in the next Easter catechesis at the Holy Sepulcher.

Friends of the Cross

St. Louis de Montfort on a theme closely related to both Lent and chivalry:

Friends of the Cross, you are like crusaders united to fight against the world; not like Religious who retreat from the world lest they be overcome, but like brave and valiant warriors on the battle- field, who refuse to retreat or even yield an inch. Be brave and fight courageously.

You must be joined together in a close union of mind and heart, which is stronger and far more formidable to the world and to hell than are the armed forces of a great nation to its enemies. Evil spirits are united to destroy you; you must be united to crush them. The avaricious are united to make money and amass gold and silver; you must combine your efforts to acquire the eternal treasures hidden in the Cross. Pleasure-seekers unite to enjoy themselves; you must be united to suffer.

Quite a different standard than that of the chivalry of the world.

Off to help preach a retreat to post-abortive women with the Sisters of Life. Please pray for the 23 women and for those conducting the retreat this weekend. Theme for the retreat:   In the Cross is Salvation.

Mystics, Martyrs and Rhetoricians

Soap BoxOr the Theology of the Soapbox

What follows in another one of my long expositions on the Theology of the Body.  I have to give a loud content warning at the outset.  There is some frank talk here about sexuality, or rather, my complaints that there is too much frank talk about such matters.  I would have asked Dawn Eden to publish this one, but she has very courageously retired from blogging.  I have to commend her on her decision; however, it is not without regret on my part.

I again want to let those I disagree with know that my intentions are honorable and I do not question their integrity or commitment to the faith.  I can take my lumps if I deserve them.

In a recent apologia for Christopher West, Father Thomas Loya makes grand assertions:

Christopher West is a bit of a mystic—in the best sense of the word. His work, which seems strange to some, is actually that of a pioneer. And like all pioneers, West is taking a lot of arrows for his courage. In the face of much resistance, West is courageous enough to invite all of us to do just what John Paul II invited us to do: to think and talk in spousal categories. Continue reading

To Chris West: Enough Already. How about a Response?

I am just following up on the latest developments of the West controversy in which I have been lately involved (pretty severe content warning).

Christopher West, in the last couple of days has been in the Catholic press–not responding to his critics, mind you.  All he says is public relations as far as I can tell.

In Our Sunday Visitor he is quoted as saying:

“Many good people seem unaware of what the great saints have taught about the mystical dimensions of our sexuality. This is where John Paul II’s theology of the body leads us — into the mystical depths of our creation as male and female, and the call of the two to become ‘one flesh.’

In my latest piece, linked to above, I show how West misconstrues St. Louis de Montfort as supporting some kind of holy fascination with the body of the Blessed Mother.  I do this not by quoting West out of context, but by actually showing from the text of the saint that he says nothing like what West suggests.

Then the National Catholic Register, reports the following:

West’s struggle to stem the confusion reflected a desire to both defend his reputation and to prevent a backlash against the late Pope’s teachings, which have begun to enter the mainstream of Catholic catechetics with the encouragement of Pope Benedict XVI.

It is not clear how accurately this statement reflects the actual views of Christopher West; however, there is no question that West and his supporters claim that he is the authority on TOB and that his assertions are compatible with the views of John Paul II.  The above statement goes so far as to suggest that disagreement with West is tantamount to disagreement with John Paul II.   But from the point of the critics the objections have nothing to do with the Holy Father’s teachings, but with the extrapolations of West.

And this is precisely the point of this post.  West and his supporter are avoiding to deal with the substantive issues raised in the critiques.  They say “The critics should have done it privately.”  “They should quote sources.”  When we quote sources they say  we  “are taking everything out of context.”   They tell us “West has good instincts; trust him.”

Unfortunately, they are making this worse for themselves.  I will do everything in my power to see to it that this remains a gentleman’s disagreement.  But I will not be told I am a prude for disagreeing with Christopher West or that I disagree with him because I have a personal animus.  I find this methodology and “strategic management” tiresome, to put it mildly.

Dawn Eden records some of the wearying methodology employed by West to deal with objections to his presentation in her latest post.  I refer to the incident transcribed by her in my latest contribution on her blog.


Consolation Corner for Concerned Catholics

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I have no meds to hand out, and I am not a grief counselor.  All I have is a good home remedy: prayer and penance.

Here is my homily from the election vigil.  It is comprised of three parts:  1) our civil responsibility in voting; 2) the problem we confront; 3) the solution.  The first part says nothing that will help us in our present plight, unless we consider that many Catholics still have not learned the lesson of what their obligations are.  The second two parts are very much at the heart of what we must do in order to effectively confront cultural and moral pestilence which we face.

Unfortunately, the homily has not been uploaded to a share site so I am not able to embed the video here.  If it becomes available I will.

Our crisis is one of sanctity.  Be a saint.  That is the only way the Antichrist will be defeated.

Now, I am not saying that the Obama is the Antichrist, as he does not fulfill what seems to be characteristics of the Antichrist described in Scripture and the Fathers; however, I do think that he is antichristic by his own camp’s definition.  If the Mother Goddess of television can say things like this about Christ and then this about Obama, then, I think it is reasonable to not to mince words on the subject.

Obama’s own disicples are the ones who have chosen to adopt religious language.  They may do so with a sense of irony, but in so far as their godlessness will continue to claim the lives of millions in the name of hopeandchange, then the indictment sticks.

obama_saintOprah says that “God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience.  if your religion is a believing experience–if God for you is still about a belief, then it’s not truly God.”  Obama is a feeling experience, not a believing experience.  If that were not true then all those who could not even mention one of his practical accomplishments would never have voted for him.

One of Mother Oprah’s new age gurus is looking to establish a new cabinet level Department of Peace in the U.S. government.  Oprah had a link to the Department of Peace idea up on her website that is now no longer functional.

For your true consolation read the words of the great Marian prophet, St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort (True Devotion, 46-48):

All the rich among the people, to use an expression of the Holy Spirit as explained by St. Bernard, all the rich among the people will look pleadingly upon her countenance throughout all ages and particularly as the world draws to its end. This means that the greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.

I said that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. This has been revealed to a holy soul whose life has been written by M. de Renty.

These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon and the City of God . By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone.