On October 7, 1571, a great naval victory took place in Lepanto when a vastly outnumbered Christian force was able to defeat a mighty Turkish fleet through the intercession of Our Lady.Knowing that the Christian forces were at a grave disadvantage, Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory. The hand of God intervened and the small Christian fleet won a decisive, if not miraculous victory.
At the exact hour of this stunning triumph, the Pope, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting and gone to a window where he exclaimed with a supernatural radiance on his face “the Christian fleet is victorious!” He then wept in thanksgiving to God.
The victory over the Muslim forces was won by the faithful praying of the Rosary and Our Lady was thereafter honored on October 7 under the title of “Our Lady of Victory.” In 1716, Pope Clement XI renamed the feast “Our Lady of the Rosary” and extended it throughout the Universal Church.
Pope Leo XIII was particularly devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary and produced 11 encyclicals on the subject of this feast and its importance to him. In the first of these documents, Supremi Apostolatus Officio, published in 1883 he wrote: “It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary. This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven, has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy … or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies.”
Read the last sentence of today’s GraceLine. What heresies, “intolerable moral corruptions,” and enemy attacks is the Church Militant currently facing? How are they affecting you or those you love? What is the remedy? Make a strategy to use this powerful weapon daily.