Monday, October 8, 2007

Our Lady of the Rosary and "Lepanto"

by Gilbert Keith Chesterson

Started and Finished on: 8 October 2007

October is the month Catholics celebrate as the month of the rosary--that special prayer to Our Lady, Mother of God. And October 7th is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because on that day in 1571 a famous battle was fought at Lepanto. The people of Venice credited Our Lady of the Rosary with their success. In their own words, "Neither strength, nor arms, nor leaders, but the Rosary of Our Lady made us the victors."

Pope Pius V honored their belief by instituting an annual feast in honor of Our Lady of Victory, which Pope Gregory XIII later changed to the feast day we currently celebrate on the date of the victory itself, October 7th. The name of the feast day was also changed to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Today I finally read the epic poem by G. K. Chesterton about the famous battle of Lepanto. Although I've enjoyed Chesteron's Father Brown mysteries, Orthodoxy, The Man Who Was Thursday and The Everlasting Man, I had never gotten around to reading this very accessible poem. If you've overlooked this very short and delightful work, be sure to check it out. You'll recognize some names you've heard before.

One test of a good read for me is if the book -- or poem -- gives me leads to other good reads. And Lepanto certainly did that. Here are just a few of the books and topics I now want to read or learn more about as a result of my brief visit with this poem: 1.) study/learn more about King Philip of Spain; 2.) finish Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes; 3.) read Don Juan by Lord Byron; 4.) read The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton, and 5.) read Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton by Joseph Pearce.

Below are just a sample of some of my favorite quotes by the man sometimes called The Prince of Paradox:

"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism."

"Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance."

"When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any."

"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it."

"If there were no God, there would be no atheists."

"Love means loving the unlovable - or it is no virtue at all."

By the way, "Thanks to Aunty Belle" for the tip! If not for your timely reminder, I'd have not put the two events together. God bless you!


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