The situation for Christendom in 1571, by any measure was impossible. The resurgent Ottoman Empire was poised to invade Italy, march up the boot and finally crush the Christian world out of existence. The earliest Arab Muslim empires had been more civilized and tolerant, perhaps, but the converted Turks retained many of their brutal ways; and now the time had come to finally destroy Europe. Ali Pasha had gathered a large fleet and army, had overwhelmed many of the Mediterranean islands with vastly superior numbers and vicious cruelty and what they would do to Europe was a horror just to contemplate in its certain fierceness and in its inevitable scope. [By the way, no ‘anti-Muslim’ prejudice is intended in telling this particular story.]
Pope Pius V (the future Saint Pius V) was virtually alone in seeing the threat. Europe was much too engrossed in the fratricidal religious struggles of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation and the venal impulses of nationalism. He finally did prod Phillip II of Spain to provide some ships and men and the famous Admiral Andrea Doria of Genoa joined under the leadership of Don Juan de Asturias, half-brother of Phillip. This 24-year old ‘Don Juan’ was the very same original profligate high-liver we associate with that name. This neophyte’s chances at keeping the fractious, disorganized, vastly outnumbered alliance together at all were dim at best, and odds of his defeating the far more experienced and dominant Ottoman force were infinitesimal. Everyone frankly considered the last-ditch effort doomed from the start, and any honest appraisal could actually come to no other conclusion.
What does a believer do at a time when the situation is absolutely overwhelming and impossible? Jesus had said something may indeed be impossible for us, but for God nothing is impossible. He promised us the power of prayer could pierce circumstances of time and space. Pope Pius called on all the people of Rome to pray a novena of Rosaries. [The idea of a ‘Novena’ has its origins in the nine days that Mary & the Apostles prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Rosary has always been amazingly powerful, I think, because it is so accessible and simple, sums up what Christians believe and can engage all levels of prayer.] All went to their churches praying for nine days.
The forces of the ‘Holy League’ went to confront the Turkish fleet off the coast of Greece at a place called Lepanto. Turkish spies reported that crushing victory was inevitable. Andrea Doria hoisted the blessed image of Our Lady of Guadelupe which had been touched to the original miraculous image in Mexico. Don Juan called for the attack and at that moment the winds immediately turned to maximum effect. A series of more unforeseen and astounding events brought about the miraculous victory.
The Pope at that moment in Rome turned to his Cardinals and asked them to sing the Te Deum Laudamus for God had delivered the people. He said this though news was weeks away, for God Himself had somehow revealed it. Sure enough news came confirming the miracle. The Pope credited the act of faith by the people. From that time October 7 has been celebrated, now as ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’. Many historians regard Lepanto as the most momentous history-changing naval battle since Actium itself which created the Roman Empire. From that moment on, the Ottoman Empire began its long, steady decline into “the Sick Man of Europe” of latter days. It was impossible; but it happened.
Now we find ourselves in an impossible situation for our country. Most of the major powers-that-be are using every possible force, legal, illegal, nefarious and otherwise to foist upon us “The One” they have ordained. The media, the entertainment industry, millionaires, well-financed PR groups, ACORN, etc. etc. have declared the election of Obama inevitable.
The candidates for President and Vice President hold vastly disparate world views and visions for our country. So much that we as Americans hold dear and have fought to retain is subject to destruction if Obama is elected. Some examples, to name a few:
— Right to free speech vs. the “Fairness Doctrine”
— Free market economy Capitalism vs. Redistribution of wealth Socialism
— The Pursuit of Happiness vs. Taxes, taxes, taxes
— The inalienable Right to Life vs. the “Freedom of Choice Act”
What possible chance is there for those who still love freedom, the American ideal and independence? The answer remains the same. We must pray. I have heard of several groups beginning daily prayer chains. My wife and I are praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Mercy every day in a deep way. When I saw a picture of John McCain with the same image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that won an impossible victory in 1571, it gave me hope. Hope when inspired by God’s will is unconquerable. Our Lady recently saved Mexico from a Marxist government. Perhaps it is God’s will that her Son save us now rather than later, and, hence, the entire world. Man proposes; God disposes. Let us truly turn to God and perhaps we may be delivered. Freedom isn’t free. It takes the total devotion of our lives and all we are. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, won’t you?