I recall in our younger years, my mother who is a Marian devotee would call everyone in the family to join her in praying the Holy Rosary particularly during the month of October which is traditionally devoted to the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. She would always include “World Peace” as one of her prayer intentions. (Oh, if only there were digital cameras for taking “selfie” or “groupfie” (group selfie) during those times, it would be a “sight to behold” for the ten of us in the family kneeling down and reciting the Holy Rosary!)
How about these days? How many of us, specifically Catholics, still love the Rosary and pray it daily, or at least during the month of October? Where are the families which used to bond together to recite the Rosary at home? Who among us are still carrying rosaries in our pockets and bags? Do our little ones and the youth know about what it is? Have we asked ourselves about all these? The sad reality is that at present we rarely see families sitting down and eating together at dinner time, how much more in praying the Holy Rosary.
Is it because so many of us place more emphasis on our own material comforts polluting our minds with selfish agenda and greed? While we need money for our living and more of it to pay for some luxury and leisure activities, unfortunately many of us are busy thinking of our own enjoyment to the point of forgetting our responsibilities to God, families and fellow men. We are so preoccupied living for the moment but we fail to see the real connection, our first priority and ultimate goal, that is, to have a closer relationship with God.
The world is currently encountering myriads of problems and challenges. Apart from economic and environmental risks, we are likewise facing personal, social and religious related issues. The world is at war in many aspects, even in our respective homes. Many families have been broken due to failed marriages and poor communications. We are at war among ourselves and among countries throughout the world. We are seeing violence, not peace; hatred but not love. Recently, our christian and other minority brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq are under siege by the Islamic State extremist group (ISIS) witnessing the most ghastly blood lettings, children are dying of thirst and hunger, women are being kidnapped, some are massacred while others are forced to leave their homelands. There is also a decade long unresolved issues in the Israel-Hamas war. In another instance, a large influential country is trying to “bully” its smaller neighboring countries by occupying and building on disputed uninhabited seawater territories. Again, this is due to power, greed, envy and hatred.
Our world is in its toughest stage now and World Peace is becoming scarce. The United Nations can not even control this, hence would not be able to deliver peace to the world. So, how can we contribute in cultivating a culture of peace in our lives, our homes, our schools, our workplaces , our nations and our world? For peace to ever happen everywhere, it has to be a concerted effort from all people throughout the world. It is about time for us to get involved on this and it should start from within, from our homes and from ourselves. It would require a change of hearts and true conversion.
It is during these moments that our world needs prayer and meditation. It is only our loving and merciful God who can give us the calming gift of forgiveness and true peace in our hearts and in our world. If we have inner peace, we will still be happy regardless of the external challenges and we can achieve this through prayers. Lifting our hearts and minds to God would make us closer to Him and would make us feel better.
Most especially, praying the Holy Rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon, more powerful than the weapon of war against the growing scourge of war and violence because it is both a prayer to God and a meditation of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother on earth. As they say, it is the meditation on the mysteries that gives the Rosary its staying power. Unfortunately, we have simply forgotten to pray the Holy Rosary. Some of our Catholic families have dropped the Rosary off from their radars and this is really sad. Please remember that as Catholics, we have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. The message of Our Lady’s apparitions centers on praying the Holy Rosary everyday to obtain and promote World Peace. By praying the Holy Rosary, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, we can obtain the gift of God’s promises to us, the gift of true lasting peace and happiness.
The newly canonized saints, namely Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were crusaders of the Holy Rosary, not to mention the many Saints who have reached the heights of perfection because of the Rosary. St. John XXIII once said that the Rosary is a “magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world”. On the other hand, St. John Paul II encouraged the youth to pray the Holy Rosary particularly “in public without shame”. He further said that everyone, even if alone, can recite the Rosary while going to work, school, at homes or in any places. According to St. Pope John Paul II, one of his favorite prayers is the Rosary, after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. Pope Francis likewise supported this belief. In one of his homilies, he said that the Blessed Virgin Mary accompanies us in prayer, particularly in the prayer of the Rosary, which “sustains us in the battle” against the “evil one and his accomplices.”
As others would say, praying the Holy Rosary is like a breath of fresh air. When we persevere and say the Rosary from a loving heart, there will be amazing special graces. Each Rosary beads speaks of love and it is meant to give us fresh life and nourishment to our spiritual life. If we can spend time shopping or roaming around the city for long hours, why can’t we spare 30 minutes of our time for the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Praying the Holy Rosary either before or after our norms for the day would make our day more happy and fruitful. We will find peace amid the busy and chaotic world we are in.
From now on, let us spend time to pray more particularly the Holy Rosary. As Catholics, let us go back to our old times, returning to our knees and seek Our Lady’s intercession to help us in our battle for peace in our families and in the world. The Blessed Mother once said that “My Rosary will defeat Satan and bring peace to hearts and so to the world. Our Lady of Fatima promised us final victory over the forces of evil: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”.
Our loving God and our Blessed Mother would be delighted to see us especially the kids of today and their families all gathered together in front of the altar lovingly reciting the Holy Rosary. Indeed, it would be beautiful to see something like this! May true and lasting peace reign in our hearts!
Note: This article has earlier been published by the writer in another Catholic magazine in NY.