Feast: Our Lady of the Rosary
pale disc that could be viewed without harming the eyes. Although the gathered crowd could not see Our Lady, on hearing Lucy shout, "Look at the Sun!" thousands of eyes turned their gaze toward what was a very different sun from anything they had previously known.
United in a bond of love and beauty, Our Lady of the Rosary and the Blessed Trinity reached down upon sinful humanity, leaving those present as well as future generations yet another sign of heaven’s constant plea of repentance. On that very day the dancing sun would forever be burned into the intellects of the seventy-thousand onlookers. Those who doubted, doubted no longer; those who believed shook with joy; the children’s eyes filled with tears of wonder and love as they, along with all who were present, witnessed the Miracle of the Sun.
Yet in light of all Our Lady has done, in view of all the miracles attributed to her intercession, those of Fatima, Lourdes and Guadalupe and countless others, there are still those numerous, clashing voices of dissent: there are those who are misguidedly ashamed in seeking the help of the Virgin; those who commit grave error in thinking little of the Mother of our Lord, ignoring the teaching of the Catholic Church and the many references to her in Scripture, as if she is but some unimportant figure in the reality of Salvation whose position as Mother of the faithful ought to be ignored; there are those who neglect the Rosary; there are those who purposefully ignore the Rosary; there are even those who despise the Rosary.
St. Louis De Montfort has something to say of such an unfortunate situation: "Even though God has set his seal of approval on the holy Rosary by many miracles, and in spite of the Papal Bulls that have been written approving it, there are only too many people who are against the holy Rosary today. These “freethinkers” and those who scorn religion either condemn the Rosary or they turn others away from it. . . . It is easy to see they have absorbed the poison of hell and that they are inspired by the devil – for nobody can condemn devotion to the holy Rosary without condemning all that is most holy in the Catholic Faith, such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation and the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of his holy Mother" (Ibid.).
There were "freethinkers" then as there are now; freethinking their way into the slavery of sin; making of themselves enemies of the Mother of God; forsaking the truly beautiful.
Pope Leo XIII proposed, on September 1, 1883, in his encyclical "Supremi Apostolatus Officio," that the Rosary is an effective spiritual weapon against the evils of an ill society. Rightly noting that there have been many "exceedingly great favors obtained" through the ages by the Christian peoples’ devotion to the Rosary, he tells us: "We desire that that same devotion [to the Rosary] should be offered by the whole Catholic world with the greatest earnestness to the Blessed Virgin, that by her intercession her Divine Son may be appeased and softened in the evils which afflict us" (SAO, introduction).
The diamond-hard weapon with which to combat our greatest evils – specifically the barbaric practices of legalized abortion, an "intolerable moral corruption" in which the intentional killing of our youngest children is engaged in a manner of blatant, deplorable openness, as if ending the life of the innocent is an entirely innocuous choice which people are "free" to make – is found in devoutly praying the Rosary. It is necessary that, in order to realize abortion’s defeat, the Catholic faithful, the universal Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, return all the more to the Rosary.
Pope Leo XIII continues: "It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; . . . [the Immaculate Virgin] has a favor and power with her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain. And, as it is her greatest pleasure to grant her help and comfort to those who seek her, it cannot be doubted that she would deign, and even be anxious, to receive the aspirations of the universal Church (Ibid., 2).
"This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven, has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy spread abroad, or by an intolerable moral corruption, . . . " (Ibid., 3).
It is certain that devotion to the Rosary, a powerful weapon which efficaciously destroys vice, evil and sin, is the answer to the "intolerable moral corruption" so prevalent in our secularist society.
Further, to be truly Christian is to worship as Christians ought; in the fullness of truth as whole and complete Christians. Therefore Catholics in communion with the Church necessarily include veneration to the Mother of God in their life as Christians:
Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation, "Marialis Cultus" (1974), reminds us devotion to the Virgin Mary is an integral aspect of Christian worship: "This devotion [to the Blessed Virgin Mary] fits--as we have indicated above--into the only worship that is rightly called "Christian," because it takes its origin and effectiveness from Christ, finds its complete expression in Christ, and leads through Christ in the Spirit to the Father. . . . And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God, who has placed within His family (the Church), as in every home, the figure of a Woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family ‘and carefully looks after it until the glorious day of the Lord’" (MC, introduction).
On December 10, 1925, Our Lady with the Christ Child appeared to Lucia, who at this time was a nun at the Dorothean convent in Pontevedra, Spain. She was eighteen years old. The Christ Child first spoke, saying: "Have compassion on the heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them."
Lucy’s thoughts certainly must have cast back upon that day at Fatima, when soggy ground suddenly turned dry, when wet clothes instantly became once more warm, when the Miracle of the Sun was forever recorded in history, when the Lady "more brilliant than the sun" announced to the entire world:
"I am the Lady of the Rosary. I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and to ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for he is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day."
F. K. Bartels operates catholicpathways.com, and may be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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