Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'I want to be in that number' (All Saints)

Let’s not mess around. Being a saint isn’t hard. 
It is impossible—that is to say, on a merely human level.

But with God’s help, with the help of frequent confession 
and the sacraments, learning our faith, 
yielding our pride to the will of Christ, putting him first…
We can—and we will—be saints.

Having the saints in our lives, and part of our spiritual life, 
is one of the great things about being a Catholic. 
All of us ask the question, how do I live my life the best way I can? 
What does living for Christ look like, in my world?

And with the uncountable multitude of saints, 
we have endless examples. 
Whoever you are, wherever you are in life, 
there is a saint whose life is like yours. 
Sports saints, artist saints, scientist saints, 
single saints, married saints, 
saints rich and saints poor, saints in every profession. 
Saints who got converted early, 
and those who came in at last call.

How important to know who the saints are! 
To teach our children about the saints.

When I  go to the altar in a moment, I’ll use the Roman Canon--
and, yes, I will use the full list of the saints mentioned.

Time won’t allow me to go through that prayer in detail--
but I ask you to notice how the prayer expresses 
the reality of what the Church--the Body of Christ--really is.
Here in this one place, we connect with believers everywhere 
in the world, past, present and future.
We are praying with the saints in heaven--
and praying for the souls in purgatory.

The focal-point of our worship is right here, this altar.
At one point you’ll see me bow before Jesus on the altar--
and I’ll ask the Father to send his angel, 
to “take” this offering to the altar in heaven.

What that makes clear is that the worship here 
is a direct connection to worship in heaven. 
If we could see it, what would we see?
In your imagination, can you see countless multitudes of saints, 
above and around us, as we all worship the Lamb of God?

“Oh I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in!” 
Don’t you?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What does Obama have to do?

...for self-described, "pro life" and "peace and justice" Catholics to say, "that tears it--he's gone too far?"

Sunday an ad appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, listing lots of names, saying the following:

We are committed to promoting life at every level, the common good, and the consistent ethic of life — basic Christian tenets that guide our daily lives, and our role as citizens. All humans are sisters and brothers and therefore called to share life with one another.

The Gospel of Jesus and Catholic social teachings compel us to consider a broad range of moral, social, and economic issues, such as poverty, immigration, health care, unemployment, environment to name a few. We conclude that the Obama/Biden ticket better reflects our Catholic values and concerns and will best nurture the dignity and health of all Americans living today and in the future.

Just to review, President Obama has:

> Endorsed legal abortion to the greatest extent possible. He even voted against legislation to require intervention and protection of a child born alive in a failed abortion.

> Included abortion-causing drugs--along with contraception and sterilization--in his mandate regarding health insurance; meaning that, with very narrow exceptions, people will be forced to cooperate with the provision of these things as part of health coverage. Some religious institutions are exempt; but religious orders are not. The ordinary citizen, who works at a non-religious organization, is not. Your conscience be damned. The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George, has said that if this order is not overturned, he will be forced to close Catholic hospitals, rather than violate Catholic teaching. This was too much for Michael Sean Winters, the self-described pro-life, peace-and-justice Catholic columnist at the progressive National Catholic Reporter. Read his cry of the heart here.

> Endorsed the government redefining marriage, contrary to God's Law and Natural Law.

> Opposed an amendment to his health care reform law--which the U.S. bishops backed--that would have clearly and completely barred tax dollars going for abortion. He signed an executive order instead. Despite this, the HHS has mandated that private citizens, seeking health coverage, will be assessed a $1/month "surcharge" that will pay for abortions. So it's not, "tax funding for abortions"; it's forcing you to pay your private money for abortions. See Life Site News on this.

> Sought the power to order the assassination of "enemies," including American citizens, anywhere in the world, if they are deemed--by him, without judicial review--as "enemy combatants." See what this writer for the progressive Nation said about it in the Obama-endorsing Washington Post.

> Launched a war in Libya without any attack from that nation, and did so not only without any authorization from Congress, but in defiance of calls by members of Congress to seek Congressional input under the War Powers Act. Here's an article in the progressive Huffington Post about progressive, anti-war Rep. Dennis Kucinich's lawsuit over the matter.

Let me be clear. I'm not endorsing anyone. I am not for Gov. Mitt Romney--because he has problems too.

This isn't even about Mitt Romney. I'm not asking what's good or bad about him. For the sake of argument, let's stipulate he's the worst candidate ever to be nominated for any office, anywhere, past, present and future. OK? Not about Mitt Romney.

My question is, what does President Obama have to do before self-described "pro life" and "peace and justice" Catholics say, "too much"?

That--and that alone--is the question.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

'What are you prepared to do?' (Sunday homily)

Father Tim Schehr, who teaches Scripture at our seminary-- 
and if you ever see that he’s giving a talk, or having a workshop, 
I can’t encourage you strongly enough, to go; you will be blessed. 

Anyway, Father Schehr made this point recently: 
In the Gospels, when our Lord heals someone, 
 it isn’t merely for the purpose of a physical healing. 
It’s always in order to give an invitation 
 to some other change or step that leads to deeper faith. 

Notice, for example, in this Gospel, that Jesus asks, “what do you want?” 
Our Lord had seen him coming; 
it must have been obvious the man was both blind, and also in need. 
Why ask the question? 

Because it gave the man both a choice and a responsibility. 
He could have said, “will you give me a donation?” 
or “something to eat?” 
Much easier things to ask for. 
He asked to see--that demanded faith. 
That is what Jesus wanted to heal and strengthen in him. 

Maybe that’s why the Lord expects us to pray for things. 
He already knows what we need and want. 
Why not just give them? 

Until we ask--and ask--and ask again--we don’t change. 

Stop and think a moment. 
Are there things you wish God would do, 
but which you haven’t prayed for recently? 

You want to change? Get rid of a bad habit? 
Be reconciled with someone? 
See family or friends be converted? 
See our society return to God? 

What are you prepared to do?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

'How do you get to heaven?' (Sunday homily)

Here’s a question:
How do you get to heaven?
How do we avoid going to hell?

A lot of people think, you do it by being good enough.
Sort of like passing a test.

But that’s not correct.
None of us can be good enough on our own.

Instead of thinking of heaven as a place…think of it as a relationship.

Heaven is being united with Jesus Christ.
If we are truly and fully united to Jesus Christ in this life,
we’re already in heaven.

You might say, wait--I’m baptized, I go to communion every Sunday--
Am I in heaven? I don’t feel like I’m in heaven.

Remember, I said heaven is perfect union with Christ.
That is the struggle I think most of us have;
that’s where sin and pride come in.

Even though we can be in heaven right now,
we’re also still on earth; meaning, we’re still in time.
We change; we go hot and cold.
I’ll be here, in church, and think,
“Jesus, you’re awesome! I’ll do anything for you!”
Later today may be a different story.

That’s why we have the sacrament of reconciliation.
We go to confession to heal those times we are unfaithful to Christ.

Think of our union with Christ as a marriage--
except our Lord truly does forgive and forget.

Still, after all that, we have cares and burdens--
is that part of heaven too?
No, but letting go of those things
is part of finding our way there.
The path to heaven is covered with litter:
All the opinions once worth fighting over,
All the ambitions we neglected our family for,
All those possessions we once cut corners to obtain.

As we get closer and closer to heaven,
we no longer see their worth.
Throw them away!

To see what heaven on earth looks like, look at the saints.

Saint Francis of Assisi gave it all away and become free;
Saint Rose was only interested in pleasing the Lord,
no one else’s judgments mattered.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe was thrown into Auschwitz--hell on earth--
yet those who were with him saw the light of heaven on his face.

And while I’m talking about the saints, let me mention something.
Hallowe’en is ten days away, and a lot of our children
are figuring out their costumes.
Have you noticed how strong is the assumption
that Hallowe’en is about devils and monsters?

Hallowe’en is the eve of All Saints:  All Hallows Eve
(and it’s a holy day of obligation this year, by the way).

Now, I’m not telling anyone what costume to wear, but--
isn’t it curious that a holiday that has always been
about the people who show us what heaven is like,
has been turned into something that looks more like hell?

So maybe one practical thing we can do is not help that along?

Saints James and John figured it out--
so did the other Apostles who were initially upset.
In the end, one thing matters.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome Russians!

According to my "stat meter," a lot of visitors are from Russia! Добро пожаловать! (That's supposed to be "welcome!" in Russian; I hope it isn't, "my ears are dirty" or something like that...)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Who are you? Where are you coming from?

OK, I just checked my stat-meter, and the past two days I've had a big increase in visits.

Great! Glad to have you!

Usually, my meter thingy tells me where y'all are coming from. But this time, it's lots of "unknowns" and addresses that don't mean anything.


Please! Tell me who's sending you here!


My day...

What a day! Here's how it went...

I was "in the office"--meaning downstairs--at 9. Or thereabouts. Made coffee. Finished my homily while taking some calls and returning some.

Confessions at 11. When the folks finish the Rosary, that means I need to be vested, because it's almost time for Mass! I motored up to the sacristy with a few minutes to spare. Offered the Holy Mass at Noon.

After Mass, I had to hurry out to our seminary. The Archbishop gathers the employees from the central office once a year for a day of reflection. I explained I had duties in the parish, and he understood I wouldn't be there till 1 pm.

At the seminary, one of our many fine faculty, Father Earl Fernandes gave a brilliant talk about the Year of Faith. I'm sorry I missed the earlier talks. After that, Mass in Saint Gregory Chapel. First time I've been there for Mass in seven or eight years. Father Fernandes and Father Kyle Schnippel--both of whom were in the seminary about the same time as me--were there. It was neat offering the Holy Mass with them. And, frankly, there's something pretty powerful about offering the Mass with the Archbishop. What I mean is, he's the bishop--a priest's priesthood is complete in the bishop. Most of the time, we offer Mass, mindful of him, but off on our own. Being able to offer Mass with him, is very meaningful.

We finished a little after three. I needed a haircut, and thought about getting it then--but I had a wedding rehearsal at 4:45 to prepare for, and didn't want to cut things close. Headed back, just to be safe.

Not sure why, but driving down Salem Avenue--it was raining--I hit a slick patch. My car spun around! I'm going to have my tires checked. Thank Almighty God no harm, but I gave some thought to a little whiskey when I got back, to calm my nerves. I decided not to; instead I said a prayer of thanks to God for watching out for me.

Back at the parish, I had a number of things to get ready for the rehearsal, plus some calls to make. My first wedding at Saint Rose, and--to be candid--I needed to walk through things on my own, because it's a little different from Saint Mary and Saint Boniface. I didn't want to be uncertain or confusing in my guidance to folks at the rehearsal.

Oh, did I mention that, because there was a wedding at Saint Rose tonight at 6:30, our rehearsal--for a wedding tomorrow--had to hurry along? Everything went well; thankfully, the couple didn't want to have eight couples come down the aisle. Nothing against that, but the truth is, the hardest thing to rehearse, the thing that takes all the time, is that opening procession. I have an axiom: the fewer bridesmaids and groomsmen, the less stress the wedding will be (for everyone). Seems to be holding true, so far.

As we're finishing up, folks are starting to arrive for the wedding afterward. God help the priest who causes any bride unhappiness! We wrapped up; shortest rehearsal I've done so far. The photographer was a little anxious, but the bride was calm.

A little business after that, then down to Newport for the rehearsal dinner. Those can be fun, and this one was. These were two families who seemed to be at peace, and happy to be together. I had some good conversations with folks, and the couple--who are a little more mature--put on a great party. I got home about a half-hour ago.

Now I'm watching a little baseball. I hate to root for the Giants, but--I figure, the only consolation to having the Reds lose in the playoffs, is if they lost to the World Champions, not an also-ran.

Oh, and I did I mention what a day I have tomorrow?

I have confessions at 11, Mass at noon, wedding at 2, Mass at Little Flower in Mt. Airy at 4:30, then back to the parish at 6 for a party for the seminarians.

Who knows? I may see if I can get that haircut in the morning.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Will God agree with the reasons for your vote? (Sunday homily)

In the first reading, the author asks for prudence—
and it says it was given him.
As the elections approach, we need that gift.
Our candidates need that gift.

The Archbishop recently published a letter about
what it would look like if our Catholic values “won” this election.
Notice what he said: not about which candidate,
but which set of values?

I want to share a few things from his letter.

When we look at these things, common sense tells us,
that not all the issues are created equal.
Some are questions of ways and means;
while others are matters of life and death.

For example: the duty to care for the less fortunate.
That is a non-negotiable value.
As the Archbishop of Philadelphia said once,
if we forget the poor, we will go to hell.

But when it comes to the ways and the means,
This is something we can legitimately disagree over.

The Archbishop went on to say 

that some of the issues involve questions of “intrinsic evil.”

That includes all direct assaults on human life—
from the moment of conception until natural death—
There is no time when they are OK.

Again, to quote the Archbishop,
“opposing intrinsically evil actions
that directly threaten the dignity and sanctity of life
should have a special claim on our consciences.”

Religious liberty is also a non-negotiable issue.
Unfortunately, our government has chosen—
in the name of health care—
to coerce most Americans to accept contraception, sterilization
and abortion drugs as part of our health plans.

The government has no business forcing anyone into that situation.

A third non-negotiable issue for Catholics is marriage.

When the government says it can redefine marriage
in its very nature, and say that is no longer
what it has always been—a man and a woman—
this isn’t just a matter of “choice.”
This is redefining what family is; what right and wrong are.

To argue, “well, we’ve gone a long way down this road”
is not a reason to go further the wrong way! Turn around!

Let’s be very honest; most of us are biased.
We tend to give our own side a lot of leeway,
and we tend to assume the worst about the other guy.

It would take a lot of courage, wouldn’t it,
to stand up to our own side—to our own guy—
and say, “you’re wrong.”
But if we really did that…think of it!

So, how do we decide?

A lot of us simply cannot bring ourselves to vote for those who—

however many good things we can say about them—
endorse things that are intrinsically evil.
If that means voting for a third-party, so be it.
Others will say, you have to go for the one who endorses less of it.

The thing is, on Judgment Day,
we won’t answer for the overall outcome—
because we cannot control that.

But we will answer for the use of our vote.
My one vote—doesn’t sound like much—but it’s mine.
I can cast it anyway I choose, in private.

When we stand before God,
will he agree with the reasons we cast it the way we did?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A mass-murderer went to his reward today

...45 years ago.

Pray for the victims of this bloodthirsty thug, and for all the misguided fools who wear Che shirts without the slightest idea what it means.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sex, marriage & family go together (Sunday homily)

For folks who wonder where the Church’s teaching on marriage
and related issues comes from,
today’s readings answer the question.

But there’s something to clarify.
When we insist that marriage is a man and woman,
we aren’t basing that primarily on the Bible.
Instead, we refer to “Natural Law.” What’s that?
That’s what we can see written into nature itself, 
simply with the power of observation and the use of reason.

Just as we know that the eye is for seeing and the ear for hearing.
We see that sex and marriage, sex and family,
family and marriage, all go together.
Even without the Bible we can see the harm of breaking it all apart.

So let’s apply all this.

The Church has always taught that marital acts
must respect God’s design and remain open to the gift of life.
When Pope Paul VI wrote his letter in 1968,
he simply restated that teaching,
as it applied to birth control pills.

It’s true this involves sacrifice.
At the heart of Natural Family Planning is a discipline
that requires husband and wife to work together.
It expresses reverence for how God designed our bodies.
And, for those who have a need to space the birth of their children,
it involves sacrifice.

But you who are married taught me this:
no marriage can be successful without sacrifice and dying to self.
NFP is built on this truth;
Which may be why couples who practice NFP
are much less likely to divorce.

Now, the rest of our society may not follow this;
even many Catholics do not follow this.
But when the government seeks to prevent us from living this teaching,
then the government has violated our religious freedom.

That’s the issue with the mandate that would force us
to pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs,
as part of health care.
That mandate is already coercing Catholics who own businesses;
Unless it’s overturned, it takes full effect
for our Catholic hospitals, schools and charities next summer.

Let me say something about the current debate
over what the law says about marriage.
Marriage isn’t merely a religious institution, but a basic unit of society.
When government redefines marriage, it redefines family.
In fact, it seeks to redefine what is right and wrong.

The truth is, we as Catholics should have spoken up, decades ago,
As divorce laws made a hash of marriage. But we didn’t.
Now we must speak up, not to be “anti” anyone,
but to insist that a family is a mother and a father,
and that’s what marriage is.

We may feel alone speaking these truths.
But we as Catholics have seen a lot of societies come and go.
The dustbin of history is filled with every “latest thing” that proved,
through bitter experience, to be a false promise.
Christ promised to be with us until the end of time.
We believe him.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Our Lady of Victory (Homily)

Tonight I offered Mass at Our Lady of Victory Parish on the west side of Cincinnati. As tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (the newer name), it is a feast for the parish, superseding the Sunday observed by everyone else. That means different readings as well.

In short, my friend the pastor snookered me into having two homilies to write for this weekend!

Oh well, it gave me a the privilege of preaching about this noteworthy feast. Here's the homily I gave tonight. (I'll be there again at 8 am tomorrow, then back to Saint Rose for 10:30 am Mass.)

What is this feast we celebrate today?
This involves a trip into history.
If you remember the Bulwinkle cartoon,
they had a “Wayback machine.” Let’s step in!

We go back to the year 1571, 431 years ago.
Not only did our nation not exist, the first settlement—
at St. Augustine, Florida, wouldn’t happen for another 11 years.

But Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East
were embroiled in what might, in later years,
have been termed a “world” war.

At the center of the war was the superpower of the day,
the Muslim, Ottoman Empire, which was expanding
at the expense of Christian nations
of north Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

The Ottoman Empire, at this time,
Dominated the Middle East, North Africa,
and already owned a huge chunk of Europe--
and was preparing to gobble up another big bite:
most likely Italy and Germany.

With its navy holding sway over the Mediterranean Sea,
it seemed nothing could stop them.

That is why Pope Saint Pius V felt it necessary
to join with as many Christian princes of Europe
to form a “Holy League” to defeat the menace.

By the way, if you are interested
in reading more about these times,
may I suggest you check out Louis de Wohl,
who wrote two books about the battle,
and the hero, Don John of Austria.

De Wohl wrote dozens of such books,
and they are terrific fun to read,
all about heroes and battles and great moments in history.

In our day, when we send off our armed forces,
the President will give a speech to Congress.
Then, the pope made various entreaties to the people of Europe,
asking them to make holy hours, and to recite the Rosary.

The morning of October 7, the pope himself
was praying the rosary in the basilica of Saint Mary.
What he did not know—could not know—
was that the Christian fleet, hundreds of miles away,
had engaged the Turkish navy in battle,
off the coast of Greece, in the Gulf of Lepanto.

This was the Battle of Lepanto,
and it happened on this very day.
The Christian forces prevailed;
and by a miracle, Pope Pius, far away in Rome, knew it instantly.
In gratitude to our Lady,
he declared this day “Our Lady of Victory”—
which later was changed to Our Lady of the Rosary.
But if you know anyone who has played football,
they like that title, “Our Lady of Victory.”

The readings are all about victory—
the victory the Lord won, for us, over sin and hell.
The first defeat came in the Garden, so long ago.
When the time was right, God sent Gabriel to Mary,
to ask her help—just as Pius V asked her help, 1,500 years later.
Whenever we ask Mary’s help, she always says “yes.”

Today we face some battles every bit as intimidating
as what Don John and his forces faced at Lepanto.

Make of it what you will, but Christians still face persecution
at the hands of militants acting under the banner of Islam.

Meanwhile, we face increasing opposition
under the banner of secularism
and even, bizarrely, “freedom.”
The “freedom” to destroy an unborn child
and the so-called “freedom” to force Catholic institutions
to pay for contraceptives,
despite that violating our religious liberty.
In Pope Pius’s time, many said that Islam’s victory was inevitable;
his crusade was foolish; he was fighting the inexorable hand of history.
They were wrong;
they didn’t reckon on the power of Our Lady’s intercession
to turn the course of history.

The same thing happened in the 20th century, when at Fatima,
Mary asked the world to pray the Rosary to convert Russia.
People, not so long ago,
said communism was the wave of the future,
there was no stopping it.
The Rosary stopped it—without firing a missile.

Whatever battles we face today—
whether in our society or in our own lives—
we will hear the same voices, telling us to give up.
Yet we have the same weapon, Mary’s Rosary.
And she will win the Victory!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Sunday is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, aka Our Lady of Victory, commemorating the Battle of Lepanto in AD 1571. In anticipation of that, here is G.K. Chesterton's stirring poem about that battle.

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!

Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)