Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army in battle array? (Song of Solomon 6:10)
Brothers in Christ
Who is she, that the Song of Songs is referring to? A lady, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, and terrible as an army in battle array. It is Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, as attested to by many saints and Pope’s. While we admire the immaculate beauty of our sweet Mother, who comes forth as the morning rising, let us not forget that the same text goes on to describe her as an army arrayed in battle.
This year, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (7th of October, 2023) falls on the first Saturday of the month which is the day of the Men’s Global Rosary Crusade. As we know, the first Saturday is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and part of this pious devotion is the faithful recitation and mediation on the rosary.
Last year was the first world-wide call, for the Men’s Rosary Crusade. It saw over 30 countries participating with men in multiple cities attending in formation, with rosary beads in hand, reciting the rosary. We have seen images of hundreds of men world-wide, on their knees, with their rosary weapons in their hands, lined up in battle array. Yes! As faithful sons of Our Lady, Our warrior Queen, we her children, line up behind her in battle array, to wage war with the ancient enemy, Satan, and fight alongside her and her son, Jesus.
In this vein, St Louis de Montfort wrote:
“ [Mary] must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall do battle for his interests. Mary must be terrible as an army ranged in battle, principally in these latter times. It is principally of these last and cruel persecutions of the devil, which shall go on increasing daily till the reign of the Antichrist, that we ought to understand that first and celebrated prediction and curse of God, pronounced in the terrestrial paradise against the serpent; ‘I will put enmities between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed.’” (True Devotion to Mary, 50).
Men. The battle is waging!! In our present age, we find ourselves in the middle of the battle that rages between the Woman and the serpent, as violence against Christians escalates throughout the world; as nations reject the natural law regarding marriage; as countless unborn children are “legally” murdered; as religious rights are being systematically denied and Christians are persecuted world-wide. From the times of St Dominic who was given the Rosary from Our Lady, as a weapon to destroy the Albigensian heresy, to the Battle of Lepanto where Our Lady of the Rosary gave the Holy League of Nations a victorious defeat from the invading enemy, Our Lady and her rosary will once again, obtain all the graces necessary from Jesus to obtain victory in our present day battle.
What is important is that we are on the correct side of this battle. Jesus once declared the “he who is not with me, is against me” (Mt 12:30). In the language of St. Louis de Montfort, we need to choose whether we want to be the children and the servants of the Blessed Virgin, or the children and the instruments of Satan.
As stated at the outset, the text from the Canticle of Canticles (Song of Solomon), portrays Mary in military terms. Her strength is like that of an army in battle array. We are familiar with the fact that the Bible portrays Mary’s love, humility and serene contemplation as virtues often held up for imitation by the faithful. But her profound strength, equally evident in the Gospels, often remains unnoticed by commentators. Mary of Nazareth is a strong woman who faithfully and humbly serves the Lord in the most extreme situations, particularly when she accompanies her Son to His death. While it is difficult to imagine her as anything but prostrate on the ground in grief at the sight of her Son crucified, St. John explicitly states that Mary stood at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25). This poignant detail emphasizes her unwavering strength in uniting herself to His supreme sacrifice, accepting the will of the Father. At the foot of the Cross, she consummated her declaration of being “the handmaid of the Lord.” In this sense, Pope Pius XII extolled the strength of Mary:
“Mary is beautiful in herself as the moon, radiates her brilliance as the sun; but against “the enemy” she is formidable; terrible as an army arrayed for war. As we rejoice and exalt her today, God knows how we would like to forget the difficulties of the times in which we live….There is the “enemy” even at the very doors of the Church, threatening souls. And behold, another aspect of Mary: her power in combat….Mary, sinless, has crushed the head of the corrupting serpent. When Mary approaches, the demon flees – just as darkness dissipates when the sun rises. Where Mary is present, Satan is absent; where the sun shines, there is no darkness.” (Pope Pius XII, Talk given on December 8 1953)
It is not only in her being immaculately conceived that she is at enmity with the dragon. But it is also in her entire life being oriented to humble obedience that she contradicts the initial cry of mutiny from Lucifer and his minions: “I will not serve!” In exact opposition, Mary gives her Fiat and a perfect example of how the faithful can participate in her being as frightening as an army in battle array before the rebellious hosts of hell.
Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire, devoted two of his homilies to the image of the Virgin Mary as a Warrior Queen. He says:
“Mary is a warrior opposed by the dragon and she commands this impossibly powerful army of angels. That is very good news for us. She’s more powerful than the dragon…let’s join the struggle with her. We fight with love, justice, compassion, and forgiveness. We fight with the Rosary. The ‘Hail Mary’ calls upon the Warrior Queen, the Commander of the angels.”
Furthermore, Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, writes “Mary is an object of terror to the powers of hell. She is ‘terrible as an army set in battle array’ (Song 6:10), for, like a wise Commander, she well knows how to dispose her power, her mercy, and her prayers for the confusion of the enemy and for the benefit of her servants.”
While the language of armies and battle arrays and the portrayal of Mary as Army Commander, might seem a little intense for some, these ideas remind us of the great spiritual war in which the Church is engaged, and the disciplines and the grace needed, to be effective in this war of wars. Your holiness is needed! Your holy works are needed! And your devotion to Our Lady and your obedience to her command is needed!
Let us remind ourselves of the words of Pope Pius XI and St Maximillian Kolbe who have said:
“If our age in its pride laughs at and rejects Our Lady’s Rosary, a countless legion of the most saintly men of every age and of every condition have not only held it most dear and have most piously recited it but have also used it at all times as a most powerful weapon to overcome the devil, to preserve the purity of their lives, to acquire virtue more zealously, in a word, to promote peace among men.” – Pope Pius XI
“The Immaculate alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan. She seeks souls that will consecrate themselves entirely to her, that will become in her hands forceful instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spread of God’s kingdom.” –St Maximilian Kolbe
We urge all men, of every parish in the world, to come out in force on the 7th of October. To line up under the banner of Our Lady of the Rosary. To line up with our rosaries in hand, on our knees, in battle array. To enter the public arena and join your brothers in arms. Nothing is more terrifying to Satan than the Rosary recited devoutly and nothing is stronger than thousands of men around the world coming together to do battle against the ancient serpent in this World Wide Rosary Crusade. In the words of the great Marian saint:
“Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it.” — Saint Louis De Monfort
Let our confidence in the promises of Christ and the intercession of Our Lady be our consolation as she leads us into battle and victory. As Marist founder, St Marcellin Champagnat once wrote “Without Mary we are nothing and with Mary we have everything, because Mary always has her adorable Son within her arms or in her heart.”
Please Spread the word.
May our motto be: “All to Jesus through Mary, all to Mary for Jesus”.
Bog i Hrvati