Power of the Rosary
Oct 7, 2019
October 7th Feast Day
St. John Paul II implored the faithful to pray the Rosary most especially for peace in the Third Millennium, which began in the West with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Rosary has been a unique weapon in spiritual warfare and is especially suited in praying for peace throughout the world. It is also a great defender in family life. In the last few decades an onslaught of attacks have been waged against the family, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.
The Rosary is much needed in a time like ours in which divorce, “gay marriage”, and contraception have divided human beings from their call in family life. Children are increasingly becoming either irrelevant or accessories in a “throwaway culture”, as Pope Francis has stated many times. We must implore Our Lord through His Mother to heal the deep wounds that exist in our culture.
It is essential that we pray the Rosary for peace and for the family, but more than anything, the Rosary guides us on our journey to holiness. The meaning of our lives is to become a saint. The goal is the Beatific Vision. In this “veil of tears” we need every possible weapon at our disposal and this is why the Rosary is so important. Not only should we pray it as individuals, we need to bring it into our domestic churches…our homes. We need to teach our children to pray the Rosary and pray it together as a family.
The following story serves to highlight this desperate need:
The Killer and the Rosary.
On May 14, 2009, Mgr. William Kerr, a leading human rights figure, died.
In 1978, the police called Msgr. Kerr in the middle of the night to accompany them to a sorority house in Tallahassee. When he arrived he was told that all but one of the girls in the house were dead or near death, killed by the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy. After administering last rites to one of the college girls who was dying, the police on the scene asked Fr. Kerr to speak with a girl who had survived the massacre unscathed. They had a very specific question: Why did Bundy stop right inside the door to her room, drop his weapon, and leave without touching her?
The young woman refused to speak to anyone except a priest. When Fr. Kerr approached the near-catatonic girl, she told him that her mother had made her promise, before going off to college for the first time, that she would pray the Rosary every night before bed for protection. Even if she fell asleep praying the Rosary, which she had that night. When Bundy came into her room to murder her as he had the other girls, the beads were still clutched in her hands.
Ironically, Bundy later sought out Msgr. Kerr as a spiritual counselor while he waited on death row. Over the course of their sessions, Bundy explained to Mgr. Kerr that when he entered the girl’s room, he just wasn’t able to continue with his spree, he dropped his weapon, and he fled.
Such is the power of our Mother’s protective mantle. Such also is the wisdom of a mom, who managed to give her daughter the most efficient, powerful weapon - the rosary, which later saved her life.
St. John Paul II wanted to faithful to pray the Rosary faithfully in order to grow in holiness, conformation to Christ, and to change the world. It is a prayer of great power and importance in the Christian life. It is one that is capable of healing the wounds in our world, whether caused by violence or the splintering of the family.
The Rosary serves as a guide and constant reminder of how our lives must be shaped by our desire to be more and more like Christ. Saint Paul expressed this project with words of fire: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). And again: “It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
In Christ, God has truly assumed a “heart of flesh”. Not only does God have a divine heart, rich in mercy and in forgiveness, but also a human heart, capable of all the stirrings of affection. If we needed evidence for this from the Gospel, we could easily find it in the touching dialogue between Christ and Peter after the Resurrection: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Three times this question is put to Peter, and three times he gives the reply: “Lord, you know that I love you” (cf. Jn 21:15-17). Over and above the specific meaning of this passage, so important for Peter’s mission, none can fail to recognize the beauty of this triple repetition, in which the insistent request and the corresponding reply are expressed in terms familiar from the universal experience of human love. The repetitious nature of the Rosary like one’s heart-beat and breathing…is the soul’s persistent refrain: “Lord, you know that I love you.”