Lately, I’ve had a crazy image in my head of the old Looney Tunes character, Yosemite Sam. Whenever someone said something that challenged him or rubbed him the wrong way, he’d scowl, draw his guns, and growl, “Them’s fightin’ words!” If the violator didn’t rescind what he’d said, Yosemite Sam would blast him.

I’ve been seeing a lot of “Yosemite Sams” around town these days, especially online. As soon as someone says anything contradictory, disagreeable, or challenging, the guns come out and the recipient growls, “Them’s fightin’ words!” Sadly, it often doesn’t stop there but turns into a virtual brawl as each party tries to verbally annihilate the other.

Them’s fightin’ words.

Like Yosemite, but in a far, far, more vile and tragic way, we’re quick to the draw and ready to blast anyone who challenges us with what we perceive to be “fightin’ words.” But unlike Yosemite Sam and his cohorts, this isn’t a cartoon with inconsequential results. We’re dealing with real people who have real souls and we’re obliged to real Commandments given to us by God himself.

We have to think before we draw.

Perhaps this is stretching the image, but what if we had a different kind of weapon in our holsters? What if, instead of guns we had…rosaries?

It’s not as absurd as it may sound. It’s actually been done before.

It happened in 1571 in Lepanto, on the Mediterranean Sea. On October 7, 1571, the Battle of Lepanto took place – the greatest sea battle in history. During the battle, the vastly-outnumbered Christian forces faced the powerful and large fleet of the Ottoman Empire. It was no match, and the fall of Christendom to the Muslim Turks seemed liked. As the battle began, Pope Pius V – waiting in Rome – began to pray the Rosary. He encouraged all Christians to pray it as well, begging our Lady to intercede for a Christian victory. Against impossible odds, the Christian fleet defeated the Turks, thus saving Europe from being overrun by Islam.

The victory was credited to the power of the Rosary and October 7 was henceforth celebrated as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The Rosary is indeed a powerful weapon against opposing forces.

Pope Pius V knew what we often forget. For all the human power on earth, there is a heavenly power that is finer and fiercer than any other. Grace overcomes all, and our Lady’s intercession through the Holy Rosary is the instrument – weapon, if you will – of that grace.

When we’re approached with “fighin’ words” or perceive our values and opinions are being contested, we need to draw our weapons. But, the weapons we should draw aren’t guns, cross words, or insults. Rather, the weapons we should draw are our rosaries. Granted, it’s really a wild analogy and perhaps a crazy image. But, indulge your imagination – and mine – for just a moment. Picture Yosemite Sam stepping up beside you as you’re about to blast somebody for something they’ve said (or written). Picture yourself seething, holding back, and waiting for Yosemite to take action. He reaches for his holsters, and suddenly – BAM! – he pulls out his Rosary!

Can you imagine how things would change if we first prayed the Rosary before responding to any trying situation? Or even just a decade of the Rosary?

Of course, I’ve used a truly silly image, but my point is quite serious. Think, better yet pray before you shoot back at those “fightin’ words.”

The Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons available to conquer adversity of any kind. At Lepanto, our Lady fought the battle for the Christian forces, so to speak. What if, instead of fighting our own “fightin’ words” battles, we allowed Our Lady of the Rosary to fight them for us?