No Sword Like It
by Reverend Lawrence Underdonk, C.SSR.
David slipped into the dark temple and looked around. "I need food," he whispered to the high priest. "You can have the Holy loaves, that is all there is here." "And do you have at hand a spear or sword?" David added. "Here is the sword of Goliath, the Philistine that you killed with your sling. If you will take it, take it for we have no other." And David smiled and said: "Give it to me."
This Old Testament narrative is sometimes applied to the Rosary. Like young David, fleeing for his life from Saul, men are fleeing, not from a king and his army, but a more deadly enemy, satan and his enticements. Truly David's words apply to us. We run to the Church and cry: "Have you at hand a spear or sword?"
She answers: "Here is the Rosary, the sword of the Woman who crushes the head of satan with Her heel." And well can we smile and say with David: "There is no sword like it. Give it to me." ...
This most powerful prayer to Our Lady has indeed earned the title of "Sword". For it is not only a powerful weapon in the hands of Her spiritual children against the attacks of hell. It has made the difference on many a battlefield on which Christian armies were engaged in mortal conflict with infidels.
Among these battles in which the Rosary played the chief part were Muret - 1213; Lepanto - 1571; Vienna - 1683...
Lepanto — The Greatest Battle of All
There is one enemy of the Church the Rosary was called upon to engage again and again. Time after time the silvery blade of Mary shattered the curved scimitar of Mohammed. For over ten centuries the Mohammedans threatened the world with destruction. They formed a crescent which reached around Africa to Spain, from the Holy Land to Greece. Their purpose: to conquer the world.
In 732 Charles Martel blocked their advance in the West at the battle of Tours. But the eastern tip of the crescent advanced day after day by sea and land. At last, in 1571, it was challenged by Christendom at Lepanto.
The forces of Christ were led by Don Juan of Austria; the forces of Mohammed by Ochiai Pasha whose dream was to:
"Break up the mountains where folk may hide,
And sift the red and silver sand lest bone of saint abide." (Chesterton)
It was a naval battle whose prize was the sway of the Mediterranean Sea. The forces were 330 ships for the Turks against 101 ships of the Christians.
But again the arms of men were not to be trusted. There was one soldier who dwelt far from the watery battlefield, his arms raised in prayer. It was Pope St. Pius V.
Long before the first cannon shook the shores of Lepanto, he unsheathed his sword for the battle. Two years before he had ordered all Christians to say the Rosary daily. Forty Hour processions would throng city streets. And wooden beads slipped through the fingers of maid and man, children and aged.
Don Juan ruled the helms of the ships. But Mary reigned over the waves of the sea. We are told that on the warm October morn of the battle, the entire Christian army knelt and received Holy Communion. Then for two hours the men scattered about their ships, Rosaries in hands.
On October 7, 1571, the two fleets crashed.
Across the fields of Italy, in the city of Rome, sat a conclave of Cardinals. They glanced about peevishly. "Surely His Holiness is a very saintly man, but business is business. It is very disturbing to see someone stand up right in the middle of your sentence and gaze out the window. Perhaps he thinks he can see the battle from here."
Pope Pius turned around, his face glowing with a strange light. "The battle is won," he announced simply.
He was right. And the Venetian Senate proclaimed: "It was not generals, nor battalions, nor arms that brought us victory, but it was Our Lady of the Rosary."
The Muslims did not retire to their tents easily. An army of 200,000 began its sweep across Austria, destroying everything before it like a plague of locusts. Soon only a thread of hope remained. It was the city of Vienna. The Mohammedans began the seige. Hunger, pain, sickness, death walked the streets.
But the Christian once again held up his Rosary. And once again, Mary heard the call to arms. On September 12, a lone trumpet sounded on a nearby hill. An army from Poland and Lorraine had arrived! Once, twice, they charged. A third time and the enemy turned and fled. Vienna, Austria, Christendom were saved!
Again and again, Mary's sword has triumphed. And with this sword in our hands, we too shall conquer.
For there is no sword like it!
Austria was Saved from Communism
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Historians are still wondering how it happened that on May 13, 1955, Soviet Russia agreed to the independence of Austria, and shortly after removed its troops from Austrian soil.
What Hungary could not accomplish through a frightfully costly revolt in the fifties and Czechoslovakia could not gain in the sixties through a "liberalizing" movement within its own socialistic government, Austria accomplished without, seemingly, any apparent effort.
Moreover, it would seem that Austria would be the least likely country that the Communist bosses in the Kremlin would be willing to give up, due to its strategic location, oil wells, and for no better reason than that it was allied with Germany, against Russia, in the Second World War.
But it is a historic fact that this is one agreement that the communists made and have even kept (thus far). They pulled their forces out of this small Republic in 1955 and have never returned. What is the explanation? There is every reason to believe that Austria owes her freedom to Divine intervention.
In a letter written by Father Petrus Pavlicek, O.F.M. and published in the October 13, 1955,Voz da Fatima the full credit is given to Our Lady of Fatima and the recitation of the Rosary by many thousands of Austrians. Over 700,000 of the 7,000,000 people of Austria, or 10% of the population, pledged themselves to pray the daily Rosary in compliance with Our Lady's requests at Fatima.
Father Petrus wrote:
"Is it not wonderful how Our Dear Lady has helped Austria to regain freedom? It was so obvious in connection with the appearances of Our Lady in Fatima. On the 13th of May all the papers of Austria carried the news that Soviet Russia had agreed to the independence of Austria and on Sunday, the 15th, the agreement was signed in Vienna just on the day of our 81st sermon on penitence. It was likewise the ninth sermon of the nine months novenas which thousands attended our Franciscan church here where Our Lady of Fatima has Her shrine. It was really a wonderful reward of Our Lady to the Catholic people of Vienna, who faithfully, for seven years came to Her daily and prayed from three till eight o'clock in the evening, one Rosary after the other."
The zealous Franciscan, who was so instrumental in enrolling such a large "army"' of praying men and women, was still not satisfied. He added: "What we have obtained for Austria, we must also gain for the whole world. Therefore we shall continue to pray with all people in the world until the Immaculate Heart of Our Dear Lady triumphs."
One of the last public statements which the famous stigmatist, Therese Neumann, made before her death on September 18, 1962, was an affirmation of the belief of Father Petrus, that Austria was saved through the Rosary. Mr. Alfred Williams visited Therese Neumann exactly three months before her death and spoke to her in German. He asked her if it was the prayers of the Austrians that had purchased their freedom seven years before. She answered quite emphatically, "Definitely, definitely, it was the prayers and many Rosaries of the Austrian people which purchased them the freedom from Russian domination."
The Bavarian mystic then went on to encourage Mr. Williams to continue to promote the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, for what was realized in Austria can be realized in the whole world.
|One of our readers sent this beautiful photo of a portrait she painted of the Holy Father, depicting the Message of Fatima. Notice he holds in his hands his strongest weapon, a picture of Mary and the Rosary.|