Life has so many layers. First, I noticed on my calendar that today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary. Then I read in this week's Catholic Carnival that October is the month of the rosary, and that October 21 is the World Wide Day of the Rosary. It's everywhere! Time to find the beads and get crackin'.
Back in my college days of dabbling in eastern religions, the chanting and meditation practices of Buddhism (nam-myoho-renge-kyo) and Hinduism (pujas and mantras) reminded me of saying the rosary. I felt the same sense of quieting the waters. Focusing the mind on a simple repetition of prayers was so calming. Of course, the rosary is not just about chanting, one is supposed to contemplate the various mysteries, but the effect is similar. It quiets the mind and refreshes the soul. Don't need to go looking far, it's in your own backyard.
Back to October 7th! Perusing The Bad Catholics Guide to Good Living, I find there's a whole lot more to October 7th:
"This feast marks the massive defeat of an invading Turkish navy by joint Christian forces (called the "Holy League," no less) off the coast of Greece in 1571. The pope of the day attributed the Christian victory to the rosaries said throughout Christendom on the day of the battle."
In this victory at Lepanto, Greece, 35,000 Turks were slain and 15,000 Christian slaves were freed. The Turkish navy lost all but 40 of some 300 galleys involved in the battle. The Turkish galleys were powered by slaves, including thousands of Christian slaves.
"One of the great battles fought by the old Christian powers against Islamic forces took place at sea, in the port of Lepanto near Corinth. The navies of the Ottoman sultan had just conquered Cyprus, and their army was busy leveling towns and arresting monks when a fleet launched by the "Christian coalition" of Spain, Venice and the Papal States appeared. Indeed, St. Pius V had had organzied the expedition , desperate to keep Turkish fleets from landing in Rome....the armada was led by the gallant royal bastard Don John of Austria. One soldier aboard the fleet was Miguel de Cervantes, later the author of Don Quijote. As the navies engaged, with the wind favoring the Turks, Pope Pius V knelt in his chapel at dawn in the Vatican with all his highest prelates, saying the rosary for victory. When the news came back of a massive Christian success, the pope named this day the feast of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary." (Painting found here.)
The Bad Catholic authors recommend celebrating this day by saying a rosary and reading the poem Lepanto by C.K. Chesterton. Excellent advice!