The few colorful fall leaves to be found in western South Dakota were to reach their peak this week, so, in typical fashion, a strong wind picked up overnight and is expected to blow throughout the rest of the day. So, now until the snows fly, South Dakota's foliage will best be observed in the gutters of streets. Along with the wind, today marks the arrival of this year's celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (previously known as Our Lady of Victory) which is celebrated on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto during which an out-manned and unlikely navy, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, defeated the navy of the Ottoman Turks, thus saving European Christianity (especially in the South) yet again from the incessant threat of the spread of Islam. Had the Turks won, they would have enjoyed an uncontested route to Italy and its surrounding environs. Likewise, the Mass readings for this today bring us to Luke's account of Jesus' remarks about a house divided against itself.
The coincidence of all three of these events make a strong point to me. The word diabolical, in its Greek origins, means to drive a wedge between or to separate something. This is always the goal of the Evil One. He desires that we would flutter scattered and without direction just as the wind blows the leaves. He wants our defenses to be broken and to prevent us from having access to one another. He wants us to become isolated, alone, and convinced that we have no friend, no advocate, and no place to turn.
Nature demonstrates the danger of such isolation. The turkeys just outside my window this morning instinctively know that they are safer in a group than they are as individuals. Cows know this. Deer know this. Wildebeests know this. Only humans, it seems to me, are unaware that to become isolated is to risk destruction.
We need a Church. We need a family. We need the security of recognizing that we are never alone, and we are never abandoned. A house divided cannot stand. A man alone will likewise be destroyed.