Saturday, August 24, 2002

"Ballad of the White Horse"
It seems to have been quite a common belief in the Middle Ages that God in fact wanted Christendom to win military victories against pagans and Moslems. We not only have Alfred being encouraged by the Blessed Mother to go and lick the Danes (although the footnotes indicate that Chesterton made this vision up), but we have Lepanto, which Chesterton also memorialized, and Joan of Arc, who was memorialized by Mark Twain--and the Church.

It seems so hard these days to have the mind set that expects God to help us with temporal victories. We have become accustomed to think God doesn't work that way. This affects many things. For instance, I think in the minds of some (including myself sometimes), God is not actively working for a temporal victory in the battle against abortion. We've grown accustomed to expecting the long defeat. We can't imagine that there would ever come a time when the general population would abhor abortion so much that it would be as illegal and socially unacceptable as slavery. It also, I'd say, affects our, or at least my, attitude towards the War on Terror.

In a lighter vein, maybe the reason Notre Dame doesn't win any more is that people have stopped praying for and expecting victories. It is not, as Notre Dame magazine suggests, because they have been emphasizing scholarship for the last couple of decades. Now you know the real reason for my interest in this subject.