I have tweeted recently about 40 days for life which is starting this Ash Wednesday and would, of course, encourage you all to join in the rosary to end abortion. I’ll be praying also, along with so many more Catholics around the globe to end this barbaric practise.
But God doesn’t limit Himself, and I’m not going to limit my prayers just for the end of abortion. I’m praying for Christendom; poor, damaged, bedraggled Christendom. I’m praying that we can survive, with God’s grace, the threat we face from Islam by turning from the existential threat of secularism.
People will now lecture me; Muslims are good, Muslims are peaceful. Yes, I’ve met many Muslims who I have admired and respected, I have no doubt there are many Muslims are on the path to God. However they are on the path because God is active in saving all of us, reaching through to us however deep within the mud we are. This is true whether the mud is pornography, drugs, money or a religious idol.
I have also met Christians who I’m doubtful have ever really heard the Gospel and I know that some atrocious things have been done in the name of Christ.
Having said all this I’ve studied Islam; I know it’s teachings and I know the threat we face. Christians who commit acts of terror do so despite the teachings of Jesus, not so Islam. The teachings of Muhammad and those in the Qur’an are not another version of the Bible, they are significantly different. Islam does not mean peace, but submission. It’s a significant difference.
This year is the 100 anniversary of Fatima. I’m not going to go into this in detail, but for this post I’m just going to concentrate on the name of the site and the third secret.
Fatima was the favourite daughter of Muhammad. It is curious why Mary chose to appear there. At this site there were three secrets, but it’s the third that has drawn controversy. Many accept that this secret came true when Pope Jon Paul 2 was shot at, however it was transcribed as this by the Bishop of Leiria:
“After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
During his apostolic visit to Portugal during 11–14 May 2010 Pope Benedict XVI stated that the third secret did not necessarily refer to the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter’s Square in 1981, rather the third secret, “has a permanent and ongoing significance….its significance could even be extended to include the suffering the Church is going through today as a result of the recent reports of sexual abuse involving the clergy.”
Thank again of where the Holy Mother appeared. If the threat isn’t yet over, we know where it comes from, and Pope Emeritus Benedict told us where the second threat is. The persecution of the Church is mounting and it comes from secularism, in the form of rights over the body (whether abortion rights or LGBT rights), and Islam.
At times we can feel like this is a fight we can’t win. We are afraid. But we are told, clearly, in the Bible not to be afraid.
Today I opened my Bible at Jeremiah 42. The people were afraid and begged Jeremiah to intercede with God for them which, of course, he did. They were a people intent from turning from God and living a life of pleasure – sound familiar? They were a people who refused to see the danger for what it was and when Jeremiah responded with the instructions from God they refused to heed them, attacking Jeremiah instead – sound familiar again?
Jeremiah and Baruch despaired, but they were called to speak God’s Truth and do God’s will. We’ve been given a task too; speak the Truth and pray the Rosary.
Maybe you are like me. I’ll be honest, I’m afaraid to speak the Truth in my culture. It means being ostracised, losing a means to fund my family. It’s why I speak from the shadows. My faith isn’t strong enough, I’m ashamed to admit. But I am speaking.
I’m also praying and on this I have no fear.
For inspiration and conviction of victory look to the Battle of Lepanto, which marked the end of the Crusades and was a turning point in the history of Christianity.
By 1571 Muslims had control of a good deal of Europe. Their ships ruled the Mediterranean Sea from the Strait of Bosporus to the Strait of Gibraltar and constantly preyed on Christian vessels.
Pope Pius V called for help in forcing them back as they threatened the entire continent. Spain, whose King Philip II was also King of Austria, responded favorably as did other members of the “Holy League” – Genoa and Lucca and the dukes of Savory, Parma, Ferrara and Urbino.
Don John of Austria, the 25-year old son of Emperor Charles V, as commander-in-chief of a planned expedition against the Muslims. After receiving the banner of the Holy League from the Pope, His fleet set sail from Genoa for Naples on June 26, 1571. However, just before the departure, Philip II presented Don John with a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe which she had caused to be miraculously imprinted on the cloak of the Indian peasant Juan Diego in Mexico 40 years before. Don John placed the picture in the chapel of the admiral-vessel, the Genoese John Andrew Doria, asking for Mary’s protection of his expedition.
At dawn on October 7, at the entrance to the Gulf of Patras, the Christian and Moslem fleets finally came face to face for the battle of Lepanto.
The wind and all military factors favored the Muslims, however it mysteriously changed to the advantage of the Christian fleet. First-hand witnesses wrote about this moment as a most dramatic turn-of-events resulting from an “unknown factor”.
But Vatican Archives later revealed that at that very moment, at dawn on October 7, Pope Pius V, accompanied by many faithful, was praying the Rosary in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. From dawn to dusk the prayers continued in Rome as the Christians and the Muslims battled at Lepanto. When it was all over the Muslims had been defeated. Of some 270 Moslem ships, at least 200 were destroyed. The Turks also lost 30,000 men while Christian casualties numbered between 4,000 and 5,000.
If we had prayed the Rosary could we have stopped World War 2? Heaven help us if we fail to pray now.
I pray that God is with you. Please pray He is with me too.