“Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?” is the impassioned plea in “Do You Hear the People Sing,” from Les Misérables. If a crusade is a war fought under the sign of the cross, then now more than ever, we need to engage in a spiritual war under the cross of Christ.
In Revelation 12:7-9, we read:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
We need only look around to see all the mischief, Satan and his minions are causing. Our Lady of Good Success warned of a great crisis in the Church and society due to the sins of blasphemy, heresy and impurity during this time in history.
What is the answer? Unsheathe your weapons and prepare for battle! Father Donald Calloway, MIC, has noted, “Interestingly, at the beginning of the rosary’s existence, many people began to wear it on the left side of their belt in order to signify that it was a spiritual sword. In medieval times, a knight would unsheathe his sword from his left side since most people are right-handed. This is why even today priests or sisters who wear the rosary as part of their religious habit almost always have it hanging on the left side of their habit.”
Do not underestimate the immense power of the rosary. While most people may be familiar with the Battle of Lepanto defeating the Muslim Ottoman Turks or St. Dominic conquering the Albigensian heresy through the clout of the rosary, there are many more miracles attributed to the rosary.
Following World War Two, Austria was divided into four occupied zones, one of which was ruled by the iron fist of the Soviet Union. In 1947, after visiting the Marian shrine in Mariazell, Fr. Petrus Pavlicek was inspired through the Blessed Mother’s inner promptings to found the Crusade of Reparation of the Holy Rosary. “Through the Crusade, Austrians joined in a round-the-clock Rosary, imploring the Blessed Virgin for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world, and freedom for Austria.”
He obtained a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and carried her on pilgrimage to cities and towns, reminding the people of her request for the conversion of sinners. Like the Good Shepherd in search of his lost sheep, his brought the sacraments of confession and the Holy Eucharist wherever he preached.
In 1948, he increased his efforts by introducing the Crusade’s Acts of Reparatory Devotion, which included sermons, confessions, blessings of the sick, rosaries, and Mass. “Father called these devotions ‘assaults of prayer,’ and a siege could last as long as five days.” He stated, “the gifts of God are obtained through prayers that storm heaven as soldiers storm a fort—with confidence and determination.”
By 1955, an astounding half million people, one tenth of the population promised to pray the rosary daily. In addition, although his initial rosary processions were rather small, an even greater number than a half million took part in the processions, which included the monthly Fatima rosary processions on the 13th and an annual procession, including all of the parishes on September 12, the feast of the Name of Mary, in honor of defeat of the Muslims at the battle of Vienna. On another day, on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, October 13, the Soviet forces suddenly and unexpectedly (without a single loss of life) left Vienna in 1955.
Still another miracle of grace occurred in Brazil in the 1960s. The President of the country was spreading communism everywhere. In response, Dona Amelia Bastos decided to do something about it, and beginning with a group of thirty women, she enlisted the help of other women across the country to pray the rosary in large groups to stop the evils of communism. At one point, they rallied 600,000 women to march on Sao Paulo with rosaries, prayer books and anti-communist banners. Many more rosary rallies were held. Not one life was lost in these astonishing anti-communist protests. Eventually the government officials fled. In thanksgiving, they held a march of over one million people.
St. Maximillian Kolbe got it right when he named his apostolate, The Militia of the Immaculata. His monthly periodical was titled Knight of the Immaculate. He was enlisted in the service of his glorious queen, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who always sought to do the will of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, our almighty Lord and Savior.
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC said:
I’ve never known anyone to complain about the queen in a chess game having too much power and mobility. That’s because everyone knows that the whole game is about the king, but to fight for the queen is to fight for the king. Everyone who plays chess also knows that if you lose the queen you lose the game. But not everyone knows that the way we play chess today is because of Catholic theology. It only takes one bishop to work with the queen in order to capture the opponent’s king in as few as four moves. God and his saints know this.
Fr. Richard Heilman said, “We are at war!” He describes three choices we can make to confront “the great expansion of evil in our times.” First, we can “hide (Draft Dodging).” Second, we can “surrender.” Third, we can “get in the fight: We can allow ourselves to be clear-eyed about the great expansion of evil in our times and, in righteous anger (directed at the devil), get in the fight and believe that, with God, all things are possible.”
St. Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6: 11-12:
Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood,but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Our rosaries pack an incredible power we fail to unleash. Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican exorcist, said, “One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism, ‘Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.’”
Don Juan of Austria, the commander of the Christian forces at the Battle of Lepanto, stated, “It was not generals nor battalions nor arms that brought us victory; but it was Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.”
We are engaged in a spiritual conflict, with eternal consequences. May is the month especially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We need to enlist the help of our victorious Queen, the Blessed Mother, “she shall crush thy head” (Genesis 3:15, Douay-Rheims).
“Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?”