“The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to it’s choral recitation and to it’s constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, it’s deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.”
– Pope John Paul II, ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae’
The story is told of a young businessman travelling on a train. In his train cabin, there was an elderly gentleman, gently moving the beads of his Rosary through his fingers as he quietly prayed. The younger man was horrified that in the Age of Reason, such superstition was still to be seen. He chided the elderly man, telling him that science had made religion outdated and unneccessary. “Really?”, asked the older man, “and how did you come to learn that?”. The younger of the two was not properly able to answer his travelling companion, but suggested that he might send the elder man some reading material later, once home. The older man smiled. The younger man asked for an address to which he could send the material promised, and the elder gentleman, Rosary still in his hand, took a business card from the pocket of his overcoat. His companion read the name inscribed upon it – ‘Louis Pasteur, Paris Institute of Scientific Research’.
We tend to see things in a very short-sighted way; we often believe (quite erroneously,of course) that we have suddenly come upon the answers to all the great questions of life, that our opinion trumps the wisdom of the ages; in short, that we know best. Believing this is almost always a sign that we are in error.
The Church, on the other hand, tends to take a much longer look at things, and she sees situations, events, currents and trends, with the wisdom she has accumulated over the last two millenia – ably assisted, of course, by the light and grace of the Holy Spirit.
For a very long time now, and in a perfectly consistent manner, the Church has continusouly recommended to us the prayer of the Rosary – a seemingly simple but deeply profound prayer; one suited to all the situations of life, encompassing as it does the various joys, sorrows and glories of the Lord and His Mother. The prayer of the Rosary is also enormlously powerful – powerful enough to secure victory in temporal matters, powerful enough to prevent and to shorten wars, and powerful enough to touch the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to whom the prayers are addressed, asking Her, in turn, to touch the Heart of Her Son on our behalf.
The Rosary is also the prayer which She Herself continually asks us to pray – it is, therefore, within the grasp of all, rich or poor, simple person of faith or great theologian, Priest or lay-person, adult or child.
Knowing this, then, how could we refuse to meet Her request?