The weapon of Rosary
Once Mother Theresa was at the airport. Checking for emigration was going on. They were asking the passengers whether they possess any weapons with them. Mother Theresa was in the queue and her turn came. Very politely the staff asked her the same question. She too said politely: “Yes, I have”. The staff said, “Take it out”. She took out her Bible and Rosary and said: “these are my weapons”.
We have entered into the month of October in which the Church encourages the faithful to have special devotion to the powerful prayer of Rosary, powerful because, we are repeating the Word of God and meditate on the various events in the life of Jesus and Mother Mary. Rosary is both vocal prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Holy Trinity- Father, Son and to the Holy Spirit; it is addressed to the Blessed Virgin, and is a meditation centered on Christ. Pope Leo XIII has said that the Rosary is of divine origin, not human. The prayer Our Father is the perfect prayer taught by Jesus.
‘Hail Mary, full of grace’ is an angelic salutation. Angel Gabriel sent by God came to Virgin Mary and addressed her: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you”. (Lk.1.30). The second part of the Hail Mary is based on the greeting with which St. Elizabeth welcomed the Blessed Virgin Mary When she visited her (Lk. 1.42).
In the the third part, we ask Holy Mary to pray for us and help us now and at the final moment of our lives. The ‘Glory be’ is a canticle of praise to the Most Holy Trinity. Thereafter we pray the prayer which Mother Mary taught the three little Seers of Fatima: “Oh my Lord Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of your mercy”. What a beautiful prayer!
History has witnessed many miracles that happened and victories won through this prayer. It was through the weapon of Rosary, a powerful military victory was obtained at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. (The Turks against the Christian Europe). The Venetian Senators after the battle of Lepanto said: ‘It was not courage, not arms, not leaders, but Mary of the Rosary that made us victors”.
Fr. Gabriel Amorth, theVatican chief Exorcist who died recently has written in one of his books: “One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.” Yes, it has got tremendous power, if said well, with faith and devotion. Satan knows the power of it, but we often do not.
Mother Mary once said to a holy soul: “Here is an example to help you understand the efficacy of the Rosary. You remember the story of David who vanquished Goliath. What steps did the young Israelite take to overthrow the giant? He struck him in the middle of the forehead with a pebble from his sling. If we regard the Philistine as representing evil and all its powers- heresy, impurity, pride- – , we can consider the Aves of the Rosary as the little stones from the sling capable of overthrowing the enemy”. Saint Padre Pio and many other saints and Popes have called it “a glorious weapon against Satan.
The true devotion to Mother Mary demands that we imitate her and imbibe her virtues in our lives. Yielding to the Will of God was her most important virtue. So all of us who pray the Rosary devoutly join with her to say YES to God’s will which Satan dislikes. So each Hail Mary devoutly prayed becomes a blow to the enemy.
If we do not strive to imbibe Marian virtues into our lives, Rosary will remain just as a mechanical recitation of some prayers. Many people think that the Rosary is just a continuous repetition of the vocal prayers. They overlook the fact that the rosary is both vocal prayer and a prayer of meditation. It is sometimes seen as too simple and therefore superficial. The rosary is simple, but the gentle repetition of its prayers makes it an excellent means to lead us to deeper meditation. It gives us an opportunity to open ourselves to God’s word and help us to turn our minds to the life of Christ. The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead us to contemplative prayer because we focus on the lives of Jesus and Mary through the meditation on the Mysteries.
In the Apostolic Letter of St Pope John Paul II, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” (Rosary of the Virgin Mary- 2002) he wrote: ‘CONFIDENTLY TAKE UP THE ROSARY ONCE AGAIN. REDISCOVER THE ROSARY IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURE, IN HARMONY WITH THE LITURGY AND IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR DAILY LIVES.’ The saintly Pope encouraged all Christians to “turn back to the prayer of Rosary which is strongly recommended both by many Popes and also in Marian apparitions. We need to endeavour to keep the devotion to praying the Rosary alive and well in our time. In a world filled with fast – paced distractions and technology, we endeavor to encourage people to unplug from time to time for prayer and meditation on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.”
What makes the Rosary an atom bomb to destroy the works of the evil is our praying the Rosary with faith and fervor, meditating on the mysteries in the life of Jesus and Mother Mary, thus making the Rosary purely Scriptural. It should be a contemplative prayer and not just a ‘mechanical repetition of formulas’. The primary focus of praying the Rosary should be to meditate upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ – summarized in the Mysteries. The 20 Mysteries provide a summary or a highlight of important events contained within the Gospels, which helps us to remember the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. So it is well said that ‘The Rosary is the Bible on a String’. (Fr. Ronan Murphy). Pope Paul VI called the Rosary a compendium of the Gospel. It is a powerful spiritual tool to repel the arrows of the evil one against our faith and morality.
St.Louis de Montfort has said: “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary. For even if you are now on the brink of damnation, even if you have sold your soul to the devil…sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and save your soul if you say the Rosary devoutly every day of your life. Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
As Our Lord Jesus Christ promised us, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20) Family members praying the Rosary together is the best means to safeguard the family, especially the children from evil. Saint Pius X stated “If you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary!” Today people are busy with TV and social media. And the youth is going away from faith as they do not have any interest in spiritual life. But it is important to instill the habit of praying the Rosary in families together with children. As Pope Benedict XVI in his Pontificate exhorted the families: “Let there be Christian culture in your homes”.
When Mother Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 to the three shepherd children, they asked who she was: Our Lady replied, “I am the Lady of the Rosary!” She promised that there would be peace, many conversions would take place and in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph”. But for this, we must heed to her message of praying the Rosary devoutly everyday in our families. Pope Pius XII said: “If you pray the Rosary together, you will experience peace in your families; you will get on well together”. If we pray the Rosary everyday ‘in the light of the scripture’, with a spirit of faith and love , our Lady will help us to grow in the Lord; She will help us to lead a life led by the Holy Spirit as she herself was filled with the Holy Spirit.