The Battle Hymn of the Kingdom of Heaven

The Battle Hymn of the Kingdom of Heaven

We are at war.  We did not bring this war to others:  it has been brought to us.  We do not impose ourselves upon others; we seek to share what has been given to us, and we accept that not everyone will accept. 

Our opponents are not content to live and let live; they never have been. They have always sought to level, to homogenize, to destroy what is unique and precious to each person, each family, each community, each region, each nation.  “Live and let live” is but a stratagem to them for buying time and gaining power.  It has been so from the beginning. “I will not serve” always entails “and neither will you, if I have a say in the matter.”  Our “I will serve” is a standing rebuke, it is odious to those who will not, and they will have none of it. And so they wage war.

Prayer and fasting are central to our strategies.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn told us famously, in The Gulag Archipelago, that the line separating good and evil passes through every heart.  Thus we fast to gain control over our passions, that tell us we must have “this” “right now.”  Thus we pray for the lights to see and for the grace to convert, so that we may be saints. 

But our sanctity is not enough.  We battle for the salvation of our souls by battling for the salvation of our enemies’ souls.  This is the only way.  This is why we fast and pray:  only grace conquers the human soul’s desire for vengeance.  Only grace conquers the human desire to even the score.  Until we are praying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” we are not united with Christ on the Cross, we are not co-redeeming with Him.

The prayer we must all pray is the Holy Rosary.  For the moment I ask you to lay aside all the promises that attach to praying the Rosary.  It’s not that the promises are not important:  they are. It’s not that the sacraments, lectio divina, mental prayer, and the entire arsenal are not important:  they are, critically. 

The Rosary is the key.  The Rosary is heaven’s battle hymn.

All of us can pray the Holy Rosary.  Children can pray it; and praying it, we become the little children who open the Father’s heart. The Rosary defeats evil:  we know from our own lives how the telling of the beads enabled us to overcome deep-seated sin and vice. The evil it defeats, however, is not just inside of us:  it defeats the evil around us.  That is why Satan hates it so much; that is why he constantly seeks to deflect us from it.  When we fail to pray the Rosary, evil mounts, inside us, around us.

The Holy Rosary unites us to the work of Christ.  His entire earthly life, from his Incarnation to his Ascension, is redemptive.  His entire life teaches us how to do the Father’s will.  His entire life before the Passion prepares us for His Passion, and for ours, too, for only in union with that Passion are we saved.  The joyful mysteries prepare us for the sorrowful mysteries, which together make us willing to co-redeem with Christ, and which prepare us for the glorious mysteries and Holy Spirit who does in us what we could never do, equipping us for the battle of souls, the victory of which is heaven and a share in the glory of the Lord and of Our Lady, whose “Fiat” was the definitive blow. The luminous mysteries teach us how the Son proceeds from the Father to do the Father’s will:  pray them, too.

The Holy Rosary unites us to Our Lady’s “fiat.”  When we learn to pray from her, with her at her feet, we become the little children of the Gospel.  We become, more and more, the “blessed” of the Beatitudes, able to bear persecution and hardship for the sake of the Kingdom.   We become fearless.

Fearless: because we know that with God all things are possible; because we know that nothing shall separate us from the love of God; because we know that we are more than conquerors.  Why so?  Conquerors seek to subjugate.  We seek, with Christ, to liberate.

The sacred liturgy tells us that Our Lady is more powerful than an army in battle array.  Under her banners, the Church won at Lepanto, won at Vienna, at Tepeyac, and in countless other places forgotten to history but known to God.  She wins souls wherever she goes. She will fight for her Son; she will fight for all of her children. That is what good mothers do.  She will also teach us how to fight, and how to fight fair:  that is also what good mothers do, and she is the best of mothers.

The telling of the beads; the contemplation of the mystery of Christ with her who of all humanity knows it best of all; the growth in faith, hope, and love, and all the other virtues – all of them, not just the supernatural virtues; the growth in the courage of our convictions and the power to love those who hate us:  these are the fruits of the Holy Rosary, and they are mighty weapons in the battle for souls.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”  The recitation of the Holy Rosary unites us to that Heart, and it fills us with power tempered by love.  It conforms us to the image of that Son who is the image of the Father, by conforming us to the Mother whose earthly image He bears.

The end is here:  always so, but now more so than ever.   Tell the beads, then do whatever He tells you. Now is the acceptable hour, now is the day of salvation.

David Carradini is a Knight of Malta, of the Holy Sepulchre, and of the Constantinian Order. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Navarre, and resides with his wife in Virginia.