Catholics have abandoned the Rosary “to their spiritual impoverishment” and should once again take up this “powerful weapon for the spiritual warfare that is part of our daily life,” Orlando Bishop Thomas G. Wenski counsels in his column this week.
October is the Month of the Rosary and Bishop Wenski has that too-rare talent of being able to make prayer, conversion and piety sound like masculine endeavors. Here’s more:
Yet, in the contemplative prayer that is the recitation of the Rosary, Mary has given us a simple yet powerful weapon for the spiritual warfare that is part of our daily life in this “valley of tears.” It is not a weapon of violence or intimidation but rather one of peace and healing for praying the rosary leads us to a more intimate relationship with the Mother of Mercy, our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope. In a world still threatened by weapons of mass destruction, we have in the rosary – as Mary indicated to the shepherd children of Fatima – a weapon of mass conversion. Indeed, the rosary sustained many of God’s faithful caught behind the Iron Curtain during decades of communist oppression and atheistic indoctrination. Deprived of freedom to practice their religion openly and oftentimes impeded from assisting at Mass, these faithful Catholics found in the rosary the strength to persevere. And should we not recognize in the unanticipated events of 1989 when the Berlin Wall was taken down and the communist regimes of Eastern Europe dismantled the evidence of Mary’s powerful intercession?
This revered prayer of devotion in no way detracts from the Church’s official prayers that are found in the liturgy. Indeed, the rosary can help us to prepare for and participate more fruitfully in the liturgy, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is the “source and summit” of our Christian life. For the rosary is, in the words of Pope John Paul II, simply the contemplation of the face of Christ through the eyes of Mary.
The rosary, then, as a prayer that has us gaze upon Jesus through the eyes of Mary, can help us embrace life: to understand that life is not a burden to be endured but a gift to be shared. In this way, the rosary is a powerful antidote against the “Culture of death” of our contemporary society – a culture in which the dignity and the right to life of the unborn, the disabled and the aged is increasingly discounted. The quiet witness of those who pray the rosary outside of abortion mills testifies to the efficacy of this prayer as a weapon to oppose what Pope Benedict has called the “new dictatorship, that of relativism and the domination of technology.”