October is devoted to the Holy Rosary (a sacramental and devotion that has been called the spiritual weapon of our times by saints and popes). Last year at this time our priest asked me to write something for the bulletin (the front page of our bulletin usually has a letter or short essay from our deacon, priest, or some other leader of ministry…none of which describes me, but okay) about the rosary, knowing that I pray it daily, and that I write. Gentle reader, you can be sure that I was quite happy to comply, since promoting this devotion pleases Our Lady, the Queen of the Rosary. This year, I’d like to share that little essay here:
Surely you’ve seen them, hanging at Mother Mary’s waist, or from her hand, stretched out in a giving gesture: those beads, so precious to some Catholics: the rosary. It’s been described by many a Catholic Knight as the weapon of our time, and indeed it is. But if you’re not the type to see yourself wielding a sword, let me suggest that this great gift from the Holy Mother can be seen also as a spade, a tool with which to work. There’s no sacramental with which one can more efficiently contribute to the economy of grace. After she’s used it to muck out her own depths, a soul’s supererogatory grace will overflow to the benefit of others. And if we say the Fatima prayer after each decade, then with each chaplet we perform five acts of a much neglected spiritual work of mercy, that of praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Who knows how many of our relatives languish in those flames, longing for God’s face, because praying the rosary fell out of fashion? Let us get to work.
Some people (especially if they’ve been harassed out of the practice by their Protestant companions or coworkers) hesitate to say the rosary because scripture admonishes us to avoid “vain repetitions” in prayer. But that referred to a practice of the pagans, chanting a short phrase or “divine” name to the point of distraction. And there is nothing vain about the Our Father, given to us by Christ Himself, or the Hail Mary, combining words spoken by Gabriel to the Holy Mother at the Annunciation and those addressed to her by Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Ghost, at the Visitation, when the Blessed Virgin carried our unborn Lord to visit her so that He could sanctify John the Baptist in the womb. No wonder he lept for joy!
If you already pray the rosary, Glory be to God! And his Holy Mother. Consider making your intention during the Prayer for Life campaign the end of abortion, or that any woman faced with that “choice” choose life, and that the abortionists’ hearts be softened and their eyes opened to the reality of what it is that they do. If you have not been saying the rosary, now’s a great time to start, and that’s a great reason. There are guides online, or you can pick up a brochure with instructions at the parish office. Because meditating on the mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, or Glorious, depending on the day of the week) is an important aspect of how to pray it, your knowledge of the lives of Jesus and Mary will deepen, and their stories, in a mysterious fashion, will perform their wondrous work: the transformation of ourselves and the world. There’s much more I’d like to say. Each mystery deserves its own essay. Let this suffice, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of God’s grace, shower you with mercy, through the rosary or whatever avenue you open to her.