It was a blustery autumn day in the year of our lord, 1095, when Pope Urban II called all of Christendom to a Crusade against Muslim encroachment in the East. His call was answered and Deus Le Volt rang loud and clear across each and every Catholic kingdom in Western Europe and beyond. The call may be heard again, and soon, but today’s useless Pope will not be the source of this battle cry. Frustrated citizens from the northern-most reaches of Sweden to the overrun Italian isles may well scream it for all the world to hear. Listen. Whether Catholic, Protestant, Heathen, or Heretic ~ Listen and heed the call.
“We have heard the message of the Christians of the East. It described to you the lamentable situation of Jerusalem and the people of God. It described how the city of the King of Kings, which transmitted the pure Faith to all the other cities, was obliged to pay service to pagan superstitions. And how the miraculous Sepulcher where death could not guard its Prisoner, the Sepulcher which is the source of future life and, above all, where the Sun of the Resurrection rose, was befouled by those who will not rise again except to serve as straw for the eternal fire.
“A victorious impiety has suffused the most fertile lands of Asia in darkness. The cities of Antioch, Ephesus and Nicaea already are taken by the Musselmen. The barbarous hordes of Turks pitch their standards at the very borders of Hellespoint [where the Aegean Sea meets the Sea of Marmara], where they threaten all the Christian nations. If the one true God does not contain their triumphant march, arming their children, what nation, what kingdom will be able to close the doors of the West to them? “The people worthy of glory, the people blessed by God Our Lord, moan and fall under the weight of these outrages and most shameful humiliations. The race of the elect suffers outrageous persecutions, and the impious race of the Saracens respects neither the virgins of the Lord nor the colleges of priests. They run over the weak and the elderly, they seize the children from their mothers so that they might forget, among the barbarians, the name of God. That perverse nation profanes the hospices … The temple of the Lord is treated like a criminal and the ornaments of the sanctuary are robbed. “What more shall I say to you? “We are disgraced, sons and brothers, who live in these days of calamities! Can we look at the world in this century reproved by Heaven to witness the desolation of the Holy City and remain in peace while it is so oppressed? Is it not preferable to die in war rather than suffer any longer so horrible a spectacle? Let us all weep for our faults that raise the divine ire, yes, let us weep… But let not our tears be like the seed thrown into the sand. Let the fire of our repentance raise up the Holy War and the love of our brethren lead us into combat. Let our lives be stronger than death to fight against the enemies of the Christian people.”
Do not cowardly stay in your homes
The Pontiff continued: “Warriors who hear my voice, you who will go to war, rejoice, because you are taking up a legitimate war … Arm yourselves with the sword of the Maccabees and go to defend the house of Israel who is the daughter of the Lord of Armies.
“It is no longer a matter of avenging just the injuries made to men, but rather those made to God. It is no longer a matter of attacking a city or a castle, but of conquering the Holy Places. If you triumph, the blessings of Heaven and the kingdoms of Asia will be your reward. If you succumb, you will achieve the glory of dying in the same Land where Jesus Christ died, and God will not forget that He saw you in the Holy Militia. “Do not cowardly stay in your homes with profane affections and sentiments. Soldiers of God, hear nothing but the laments of Sion. Break all your earthly bonds and remember what the Lord said: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me…. And every one that forsakes his houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” This speech of Urban II touched the hearts of all. It seemed as if an ardent flame had descended from Heaven. The assembly, taken by an enthusiasm that no mere human eloquence had inspired, raised up in a mass and shouted: “Deus vult! Deus vult!” [God desires it! God desires it!”] When silence was reestablished, the Holy Pontiff continued: “Behold here today is fulfilled in you the promise of the Lord who said that where His disciples are gathered together in His name, He is there in the midst of them. If the Savior of the world is now among you, it was He who inspired that which I have just heard. It was He who has drawn forth from you this war-cry, ‘God desires it!’ and let it be raised everywhere as witness to the presence of the Lord God of Armies!” The Pope raised up before the assembly the Cross, the sign of Redemption, and said: “It is Jesus Christ Himself who leaves His Sepulcher and presents to you His Cross. It will be the sign that will unite the dispersed children of Israel. Raise it to your shoulders and place it on your chests. Let it shine on your arms and banners. Let it be for you the reward of victory or the palm of martyrdom. It will be an unceasing reminder that Our Lord died for us and we should die for Him.”
“Receive this sword in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The priest of each parish blessed the arms that were piled up before him. He begged the All-Powerful Lord to grant to those who would bear them the valor and strength that led David to defeat the unfaithful Goliath. Upon delivering to each knight the sword that had been blessed, the priest would say: “Receive this sword in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. May it serve you for the triumph of the Faith. However, do not shed innocent blood with it.” After sprinkling the standards of the Cross with holy water, he delivered them over, saying, “Go to combat for the glory of God and let this sign make you triumph in all dangers.”