Vow of Blood

velazquez-immaculate-conceptionI am off on my last leg of my journey from California to Texas. I will be preaching in a parish in the Houston-Galveston Dallas Archdiocese for a few days in preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

St. Maximilian always exhorted those consecrated to the Immaculate to use the novena in preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception as a time to do an examination of conscience relative to the standard of holiness required of one who is thus consecrated.

In a particular way, those who consider themselves to be Her “knights” ought to consider the patrocinium or vow that they have made to Her.  In days of old, during the golden age of chivalry, some priests and religious, most notably those among the Franciscans were inspired to take a vow of blood to defend Our Lady in Her prerogative of the Immaculate Conception whenever the opportunity arose, even at the risk of shedding their blood.  I conceive the Marian Vow as it should be lived by the Knights of Lepanto as something along these lines.

While the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is now defined a dogma and know longer needs to be defended in the face of theological opposition among Catholics, the doctrine of Our Lady’s Mediation and Coredemption does.

Furthermore, there are plenty of opportunities to defend Our Lady’s honor in the face of minimalism and error.  Every knight of Our Lady should consider it a great honor to have the opportunity to stand up for the Blessed Mother and a disgrace to fail to do so.  Consider well what true Marian Chivalry is and what the vow truly means.

Through Brunt of Battle to Glory of Victory

In my last post, I had mentioned the vow of blood professed by some friars to defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and how such conviction and devotion led to the Franciscan Triumph. It was certainly a form of chivalry, and not entirely bookish, especially by virtue of such a vow. Prowess directed toward the preservation of all that is true, good and beautiful: is this not true manliness?

Here is Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B. on the Triumph of the Immaculate Conception and Her Knights. (Notice how the good Benedictine is humble to tip his hat to the Friars Minor. Would that Our Lady’s Brothers of Penance in the Order of Penance be so self-forgetful.):

But, whilst thus mentioning the different nations which have been foremost in their zeal for this article of our holy faith, the Immaculate Conception, it were unjust to pass over the immense share which the seraphic Order, the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, has had in the earthly triumph of our blessed Mother, the Queen of heaven and earth. As often as this feast comes round, is it not just that we should think with reverence and gratitude on him, who was the first theologian that showed how closely connected with the divine mystery of the Incarnation is this dogma of the Immaculate Conception? First, then, all honour to the name of the pious and learned John Duns Scotus! And when at length the great day of the definition of the Immaculate Conception came, how justly merited was that grand audience, which the Vicar of Christ granted to the Franciscan Order, and with which closed the pageant of the glorious solemnity! Pius IX. received from the hands of the children of St. Francis a tribute of homage and thankfulness, which the Scotist school, after having fought four hundred years in defence of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, now presented to the Pontiff.

In the presence of the fifty-four Cardinals, forty-two archbishops, and ninety-two bishops; before an immense concourse of people that filled St. Peter’s, and had united in prayer, begging the assistance of the Spirit of truth; the Vicar of Christ had just pronounced the decision which so many ages had hoped to hear. The Pontiff had offered the holy Sacrifice on the Confession of St. Peter. He had crowned the statue of the Immaculate Queen with a splendid diadem. Carried on his lofty throne, and wearing his triple crown, he had reached the portico of the basilica; there he is met by the two representatives of St. Francis: they prostrate before the throne: the triumphal procession halts: and first, the General of the Friars Minor Observantines advances, and presents to the holy Father a branch of silver lilies: he is followed by the General of the Conventual Friars, holding in his hand a branch of silver roses. The Pope graciously accepted both. The lilies and the roses were symbolical of Mary’s purity and love; the whiteness of the silver was the emblem of the lovely brightness of that orb, on which is reflected the light of the Sun; for, as the Canticle says of Mary, ‘she is beautiful as the moon. The Pontiff was overcome with emotion at these gifts of the family of the seraphic patriarch, to which we might justly apply what was said of the banner of the Maid of Orleans: ‘It had stood the brunt of the battle; it deserved to share in the glory of the victory.’ And thus ended the glories of that grand morning of the eighth of December, eighteen hundred and fifty-four.