Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Feast of Christ the King, 2012

Sunday the 28th of October is the Feast of Christ the King, D. N. Jesu Christi Regis. It was instituted as a double of the First Class with the encyclical Quas Primas by Pope Pius XI. If you have not read it, it is worth taking the time to do so (Read it here).

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King on the Last Sunday in October, the Sunday that immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints.  Up until 1969, this remained so until it was moved to the Last Sunday of the Year, the Sunday before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent. Although the eschatological importance of the Kingship of Christ is somewhat made clearer by this change, it was in fact obscured in some peoples minds. The Kingship of Christ does not begin at the end of the world, as signified by putting it at the end of the year. The Kingship of Christ began even before he ascended into Heaven, for the Lord said that, "All power is given to me in Heaven and in Earth. (Mt 28:18)"Our obligation to submit to our King and his Laws and Commandments does not begin when he returns, but actually began when Jesus ascended into Heaven.

Changing the date for the Feast of Christ the King breaks the relationship of the King and his subjects; in this case between Christ and his Saints. Changing the Feast to the Last Sunday leads some to believe that Christ is not King now, and that we do not need to recognize him as such, not in the interior forum, nor in the public square.  Changing the Feast to the Last Sunday has lead some to declare that Jesus will eventually be our King at the end of time. In other words, changing the date of the Feast defeats the very purpose of the Feast of Christ the King, to pray for the conversion of the world to the One True Church, and that the world conforms to the Laws and Commandments given to us by Jesus Christ the King.

We can relate this Feast of Christ the King to history and to our current situation. Right at the point in history when Pope Pius XI wrote Quas Primas, the Church in México underwent a tremendous persecution that had been brewing for a very long time. Many of the Faithful were martyred, including St. Cristóbal Magallanes and his Companions, and famously, Blessed Miguel Pro Juárez. The state (Cesar) tried to supplant Christ the King, and make it so that Catholics in México would not have the freedom to worship Our True King and his Church.

So it is in our time that society would not have us vote as if Christ the King does not rule now in our hearts. We should always act knowing that Christ is King now, not at the end of time with his second Advent.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7th: The Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto.  The story of this day is a fascinating one, one that I could not do justice to.

How similar the circumstances appear; The West was facing an onslaught by Islam, but due to various situations and mistrust, the realms that are most threatened cannot come to a common unity to defeat their enemy.

Constantinople had been captured in 1453.  From there, there was a slow march by the Turks towards the heart of Europe. There were various landings by the Turkish Navy in Spain, Italy, Greece, and France. Albania was captured, as well as much African territory from Europe. However, Malta had withstood a siege by the Turks (600 Knights of St. john vs. 30.000 Turks) six years earlier, so the Turks could be defeated.

The Turks were on the march.  The Turks had captured parts of Greece, particularly ports such as Naupactos, known in Italian as Lepanto. the Holy League was formed, made up of Spain, the Papal States, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, and the Knights of Malta. All of these states contributed various vessels, plus various mercenary forces, so that the entire armada consisted of roughly 205 galleys, and 6 converted Galleasses, merchant ships converted to carry heavy artillery.  All the states saw the Turks as a menace to trade and the security of Europe, and a threat to the Holy Faith itself. The Holy League mustered 13.000 Sailors, along with 28.000 troops. The Turks had an advantage with nearly 300 ships, 13.000 sailors and 35.000 soldiers, led by the commander Ali Pasha.

Don Juan of Austria was the illegitimate son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the half brother of Phillip II, the King of Spain. He had proved himself as an able leader, and was persuaded by Pope St. Pius V to lead the Holy League into battle. St. Pius V had tried for many months to alert Europe of the coming danger, but many realms were embroiled with the Reformation. Don Juan saw the danger, and even though very young (24!), persuaded others to join him in his doom.

Before the Holy League went into battle, in early October, Don Juan did the unlikely action of having his entire armada fast for three days and to pray for victory.

Ali Pasha was so confident of victory, he sailed at the forefront on his ship the Sultana with his harem.

Many books have been written about this battle. In short, Don Juan sailed right into the heart of the Turkish armada. The Venetians sailed right into the Turkish right wing, and crushed it. the Holy League was then able to come around that right side, and encircle the Turks. The battle took 5 hours. between 12.000 to 15.000 Christian slaves and rowers on the Turkish Galleys were delivered unto freedom. The Turks left with about 70 ships.

The Holy Father that day was praying the Rosary in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Whether the Holy Father had a vision, it is still unclear, but around the time Don Juan had gained victory around 4 in the afternoon, Pope St. Pius ordered that Masses of Thanksgiving be offered, and that the Confraternity of the Rosary proceed immediately to Roman Churches to pray.

Some historians report that just before Don Juan left to lead the Holy League, King Phillip of Spain presented him with a small painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This apparition had just happened less than 40 years before in the Spanish territory of Mexico. This painting was placed in the chapel of the admiral vessel of Giovanni Andrea Doria, the Admiral from Genoa. The painting can still be seen above the High Altar in the church of Santo Stefano d'Aveto, in the chapel of Madonna di Guadalupe near Genoa, Italy (Tried looking for a picture, but no success: Will keep looking, as this might be one of the oldest images of Guadalupe in Europe).

Pope St. Pius later that year declared that every October 7th, a commemoration of the Rosary would be a part of the Mass at the Vatican, and would be know as Our Lady of Victory. Two years later, Pope Gregory XIII established the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary and extended it to all Churches throughout the world that had Altars dedicated to the Rosary. In 1671, it was extended to all of Spain. After another vitory over the Muslims in Hungary in 1716, Pope Clement extended the Feast of the Rosary to the Universal Church.

Today, many forget why we have this Feast in our Calendar. Those who would bring terror to our country do not forget, so we should not forget the Rosary nor Our Lady on her day. It was through her intercession that victory was given to the Holy League that day. May we continue to seek her intercession.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Eddie! 2012

Or, why we should rename this blog:

The Kramer Birthday blog!

Now on to the next birthday cake in a series of eighteen.  I think.

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

Can you believe that we first met you almost five years ago?   You have gotten so big in that time! You're like nearly six feet tall, now. Who gave you permission to grow so big?

Well, sorry we cannot be with you on your birthday, so here is a cake that looks like a submarine, because we know how to like to play with submarines.  Also, it's not on fire.

We out here in California wish you a happy birthday, and hope you get plenty of cake, nice presents to unwrap, and a good time with your family.

May God grant you many years to love and serve him, and may your patrons, St Joseph and St. Placid and Companions intercede for you. You are a good father, and even though humility prevents and protects you from saying so, you are a good role model of a Catholic husband, father, and friend.

I say "Happy," you say "birthday!"