As we approach October, the month of the Holy Rosary, we remember and rededicate ourselves to the simple request of Our Lady at Fatima that the whole world recite the Rosary daily for peace in the family and in the world.
We may be personally aware of the life-changing power of this prayer in our circle of friends and family. This is because it has the power to align our hearts to God, to focus our thoughts on Him.
As our minds quiet and our bodies become still, we gain an abiding sense of peace in the assurance that our prayers are heard and answered. Sinners are saved and those without faith are converted.
Pope St. John Paul II wrote a beautiful Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, saying, “Families seldom manage to come together, and the rare occasions when they do are often taken up with watching television.
To return to the recitation of the family rosary means filling daily life with very different images, images of the mystery of salvation: the image of the Redeemer, the image of his Most Blessed Mother. The family that recites the rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the center, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on” (“The Rosary of the Virgin Mary,” 41).
When prayed with others, the rosary’s effectiveness is amplified. We can see this most vividly in history. 70,000 Austrians prayed the rosary for peace when rallied by a Franciscan priest, resulting in the sudden, inexplicable withdrawal of Russia from Austria in the immediate aftermath of World War II; Christians defeated a much superior naval force at Lepanto when all of Europe was called to join in this prayer; an army of 600,000 rosary-praying women is credited with the successful effort to suppress communism in Brazil only 50 years ago.
The power of the rosary was in the thousands of voices raised in prayer.
What, then, keeps us from this devotion?
We must cling to the rosary if we are to be witnesses to the saving power of Christ in our families and in our world. We should gather with others to strengthen their petitions and allow them to support ours.
This October, call down the blessings of the rosary on your family with regular, planned recitations. Kneel before the Blessed Sacrament with your rosary. Join a parish rosary group.
Or all of the above – if everyone in the Archdiocese of San Francisco prayed the rosary together, amazing things would happen. Let’s not allow this opportunity to pass us by. Again, Pope St. John Paul’s apostolic letter encourages us:
“I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.” (43)