When considering the present chaos today, the first word that comes to mind is Lepanto. We need to remember Lepanto because this great battle is a lesson for our time.
This is the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. It was the famous sea battle off the coast of Greece on October 7, 1571. The outnumbered forces of Christendom faced the mighty Turkish fleet.
This battle is both similar and different to the fight of our days. Looking at the crisis inside society and the Church, we can easily see the parallels.
Similarities Between Our Battles and Lepanto
The future of Christianity depended upon the results of Lepanto. Today, our Catholic future depends upon our fight to defend what little remains of the Faith against the Revolution.
The hatred that drives the left’s fight against the remnants of Christian civilization today is the same hatred that sought to destroy Christendom back in the sixteenth century.
In Lepanto, the defenders of the Church had to fight indifference, inertia and even betrayal by those who put their interests and pleasures ahead of those of Christ. Today, we also face apathy, lethargy and betrayal by those who have the most to lose from not fighting.
The Great Disproportion
There are also differences between Lepanto and us.
The biggest difference is that the enemies of Christianity today are much greater than those at Lepanto. The enemies are everywhere inside all fields of society.
As Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira says in his magisterial book, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, we face a Revolution that is universal, one, total, dominant and processive.
And our forces are much, much smaller. We are a Counter-Revolution that is not proportional to the dominating enemy. We do not have the overwhelming power and clout that the other side has.
The Scourge of Human Respect
The second difference is that the heroes of Lepanto enjoyed the praise and applause of Catholics everywhere. Everyone was praying for their success. However, we face opposition both inside and outside the Church. We must confront the world, the flesh and the devil in all their Revolutionary manifestations. We face ridicule, indifference and scorn.
As a result, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira said that it takes much more courage today to go to the hostile streets than it did to fight amid the glorious acclaim of Lepanto.
The Crisis in the Church
The third difference is the heroes at Lepanto did not have to face the severe crisis inside the Church. They had at their head a saint. Pope Saint Pius V organized the forces against Islam. What a difference from our situation today.
Today, we face the persecution of the shepherds who should be protecting us as we fight against the Church’s greatest enemies, including Islam. We face the tragedy of shepherds that help the cause of the other side against us.
Never has the Church faced such a situation. This plight is why we must look to Lepanto because it has a lesson for us in the face of impossible situations. This final outcome will give us the courage to forge ahead.
The Miracle at Lepanto
Consider what happened at the battle of Lepanto.
The two fleets met and then interlocked. The sea became one enormous floating battlefield with soldiers fighting and dying on the decks of ships.
Because the Catholic fleet was outnumbered, the outcome of the battle was in doubt. It seemed that all was lost, and the Catholic cause was in danger of being overwhelmed. Their situation was desperate. But still, they fought on.
Modern progressivist Catholic sources do not mention a crucial fact that happened at the height of the battle. However, some ancient Muslim sources do tell of an extraordinary event.
Suddenly, when least expected, these Muslims reported seeing a lady dressed as a queen in the sky, gazing at them with such a terrifying look that they lost courage and fled.
The Need to Confide in Our Lady
This fact has a valuable lesson for us. When everything seems lost, we need to trust in Our Lady.
We serve the same queen that won the battle at Lepanto. We can win today if we trust in her. She can turn the most desperate situations into victory. She will turn our present chaos into the triumph of her Immaculate Heart promised at Fatima!
The Greatest Heroism of Lepanto
Commenting on the Lepanto victory, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliviera said the greatest heroism of those fighting at Lepanto was not fighting the Turks. That took a lot of courage, but all battles take courage.
In his opinion, the greatest heroism of those Catholics was the heroism of believing that the battle would be won by Our Lady when everything seemed lost.
That act of confidence was an act of fidelity in which the interior voice of grace invited each one to confide and pray that she would give the victory.
And she gave a spectacular victory beyond all expectations!
The noted Catholic thinker said that sometimes “the good cause throughout History finds itself in a situation similar to the Catholic heroes at Lepanto. Humanly speaking, everything seems lost, but Our Lady puts a hope in our souls that she will win the battle for the greater glory of God.”
Trusting in the Voice of Grace
True heroism means trusting in this voice. We must be faithful to this voice of grace that brings us all together here.
When tempted not to believe, we must reply: “The worse it becomes, the closer we are to her intervention. Our Lady does not lie. This voice that speaks within me is her voice!”
When discouraged by the intensity of the fight around you, think of Lepanto. Listen to the voice of grace and go ahead. Believe in our modern Lepanto, a battle a million times more desperate which only increases our certainty of victory.
Updated November 2, 2021.