Christ Will Fight Our Battles For Us
( Originally Published 1902 )
THERE is an old legend of the Rhine which relates that a gallant and pious knight was riding to a tournament where, for the first time, he was to meet in the lists champions whose strength and courage he had never tried. He became tormented with the thought that, among those who should measure weapons with him were many whose bodily energy and skill was greater than his, and who, therefore, would prevent him from carrying himself with honor, and would perhaps overthrow him and expose him to the mockery of the spectators. Occupied with these unpleasant reflections, he came suddenly upon an altar surmounted by a figure of the Virgin Mary. Descending from his horse, he flung himself at the base of the altar, urgently beseeching the Holy Mother to assist him in the approaching struggle. In the fervency of his prayer he lost his senses; a convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and long he lay there as in a dream. But the Virgin had heard his prayer, and lo ! she descended from the altar, loosened the knightly helmet, armor and sword, and having equipped herself therewith, mounted his steed and rode away. Anon she returned, and, unperceived as before, armed the knight in his own weapons and took her place upon the altar. Then the suppliant awoke, rode off to the place of jousting, where he found himself proclaimed the victor of the champions. A grander truth than the writer of this mediŠval myth intended to illustrate is concealed herein. Not the Virgin, but the Virgin's Son, out of whose mouth John saw proceeding a two-edged sword, will fight our battles for us.