by Clemens Pater
Every day, in addition to my ‘smartphone,’ my wallet and my keys, I carry my rosary. It is a powerful weapon in the spiritual warfare that we constantly face as Catholics wanting to be faithful.
The Rosary is our Catholic prayer – drawn from Sacred Scripture and from the Dogma of ‘Theotokos,’ the God-bearer, the Mother of God. It is both a discursive mediation on the life of Jesus and Mary, as well as a contemplative path for us.
Pope St. John Paul II, proclaiming 2003 the Year of the Rosary, added the Mysteries of Light, the Luminous Mysteries, and issued his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, On the Rosary of the Virgin Mary.
There he said, “The rosary mystically transports us to Mary’s side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is ‘fully formed’ in us.” (Gal 4:19) This role of Mary, totally grounded in that of Christ, and radically subordinated to it, “in no way obscures or diminishes the unique mediation of Christ, but shows His power.”
St Louis de Montfort says of Mary’s role, “Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ.”
The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on October 7th, 1571, off western Greece, in which a fleet of European Catholic ships, part of an alliance arranged by Pope St. Pius V, decisively repulsed the attack of the Ottoman Empire. The victory prevented the Muslims from expanding further along the European side of the Mediterranean.
The Catholic fleet credited the victory to the Virgin Mary, whose intercession with God they had implored for victory through the use of the Rosary, which Pope St Pius had urged all Catholics to pray at the crucial moment.
Pope St. Pius V instituted a new Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the battle, which is now celebrated as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7.
The Rosary is rightly regarded, not only in the ways taught by St. John Paul II. It is a most powerful weapon in the mission of the Church Militant, in the work of Spiritual warfare.
Pope Francis has called this present time a “piecemeal World War III.” There are wars of all sorts that divide us, and seek to destroy our freedom and our values.
We are also at war spiritually. Pope St. John Paul II wrote, “‘Spiritual combat’ is [an] element of life which needs to be taught anew and proposed once more to all Christians today. It is a secret and interior art, an invisible struggle in which (we) engage every day.”
We should be clear about who our real enemy is. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12)
The weapons include all the norms of the Catholic life: prayer, fasting, the intercession of the angels and saints, the cultivation of the virtues, reading and studying the Sacred Scriptures, and the Sacraments.
And one of the best weapons is Mary’s Rosary. It is a powerful prayer. In it, the virtues of Our Lord and His Mother are exemplified. It is a reflection on the Sacred Scriptures and the mysteries which are a foundation of the Sacraments. The rosary is a powerful weapon in the battles that we face each day.
I carry the Rosary. I pray it daily.
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From the Catena of the Legion of Mary
Confer, O Lord, on us,
who serve beneath the standard of Mary,
that fullness of faith in You and trust in her,
to which it is given to conquer the world.
Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity,
which will enable us to perform all our actions
from the motive of pure love of You,
and ever to see You and serve You in our neighbor;
A faith, firm and immovable as a rock,
through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast
amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life;
a courageous faith which will inspire us
to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things
for Your glory and for the salvation of souls;
A faith which will be our Legion's Pillar of Fire
- to lead us forth united
- to kindle everywhere the fires of divine love
- to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death
- to inflame those who are lukewarm
- to bring back life to those who are dead in sin;
and which will guide our own feet in the way of peace;
So that - the battle of life over,
our Legion may reassemble, without the loss of any one,
in the kingdom of Your love and glory. Amen.