As far as I can tell, today is the only day in the Church’s calendar which commemorates a military battle. Specifically, we remember that on October 7th, 1571, a Muslim naval fleet was defeated at the Battle of Lepanto.
Because the pope, Saint Pius V, had called upon the church to pray the rosary for a victory, the battle’s outcome was seen as a direct response to Mary’s intercession. In gratitude, Pius V established the memorial of Our Lady of Victory, or as we refer to it now, Our Lady of the Rosary.
Just as in 1571, there are today tensions, hostilities, and misunderstandings between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. And, just as in 1571, it is imperative that we pray, and lift up this unhappy situation to the healing light of God’s love.
- We need to pray for “respectful dialogue” and peaceful coexistence between Christian and Muslims;
- We need to pray for the health and protection of the Church in predominantly Muslim countries;
- And as we recall the Battle of Lepanto, at which over 22,000 people died, we need to pray for peace.
It can be tempting for us to think that our relationship with the Muslim world will never change, and that praying for it is simply a waste of time. But Our Lady of the Rosary reminds us otherwise, because she is also Our Lady of Hope, and Our Lady, the Queen of Peace. May she pray for us to the Prince of Peace, that the blessing of peace, may come to our world today.