Friday, October 31, 2008

Terrible As An Army Set In Array

As we come to the close of October, the Month of the Rosary, I must pay homage to the Blessed Mother.

When most people think of Our Lady, they generally conjure up images of a soft, quiet, and passive woman who speaks in lilting, breathy tones. Consider the subject of this post, though. This line comes from the Canticle of Canticles 6:3.

Thou art beautiful, O my love, sweet and comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army set in array.

And again in verse 9.

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?

These verses are often used, as most verses in the Canticle are, to describe the Church. However, since Mary is a type of the Church and since she is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, they could be applied to her in some ways as well. The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin certainly seems to think so, as it features these lines prominently.

The point I'm trying to make goes all the way back to Genesis.

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

Mary is not someone who just sits on the sidelines and occasionally pops in for an apparition every now and then. She is not just Queen of Heaven and Earth. She is a warrior. She is the adversary of The Adversary. God Himself set it up that way.

Whether it's the scourge of the Albigensians or the threat of Islamic conquest at Lepanto, the Blessed Mother, particularly through the devotion of the Rosary, has played a major role in the preservation of the Church and the destruction of Her enemies.

Universal and well-known are the evils we deplore: war made upon the sacred dogmas which the Church holds and transmits; derision cast upon the integrity of that Christian morality which she has in keeping; enmity declared, with the impudence of audacity and with criminal malice, against the very Christ, as though the Divine work of Redemption itself were to be destroyed from its foundation-that work which, indeed, no adverse power shall ever utterly abolish or destroy.

No new events are these in the career of the Church militant. Jesus foretold them to His disciples. That she may teach men the truth and may guide them to eternal salvation, she must enter upon a daily war; and throughout the course of ages she has fought, even to martyrdom, rejoicing and glorifying herself in nothing more than in the occasion of signing her cause with her Founder's blood, the sure and certain pledge of the victory whereof she holds the promise.

Thus under the favour of the powerful Virgin, the glorious vanquisher of all heresies, the forces of the wicked were destroyed and dispersed, and faith issued forth unharmed and more shining than before.

Pope Leo XIII, Octobri Mense

What I'm trying to say is that Our Mother doesn't get the respect she deserves for her role in the spiritual combat and the invisible conflict that constantly rages with the principalities and powers of darkness. Satan certainly recognizes it. I doubt that he appreciated the utter annihilation of his power being wrought by the fiat of a woman, especially considering his initial victory in the Garden over Mary's predecessor. Satan fears her; we should fly to her.

Our Lady of the Rosary, vanquisher of heresies, pray for us.

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