In one of my previous parishes, my predecessor as pastor put out a challenge to the parishioners to read the Bible each day. He even distributed bibles to anyone who asked for one. Being a priest who majored in Sacred Scripture in the seminary, how could I not be an advocate of such an initiative?
While I still believe in the importance of reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture, I also think that our turbulent times necessitate a revival/renewal of an ancient, time-tested practice--praying the daily rosary. After all, these are days of intense spiritual warfare and in such circumstances we need spiritual weapons to do battle.
The history of the holy rosary reveals its power combating heresy (against the Albigensians) and providing victory in battle (the battle of Lepanto). It was requested by our Lady herself during various Church approved Marian apparitions (Fatima). It has tremendous spiritual benefits for those who faithfully pray it.
Simply stated, the rosary traces the highlights of the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and the life of his Mother Mary as found in Sacred Scripture and Church Tradition. It is, in a sense, the bible on beads. We can use the rosary to help us spiritually each day as we recall and reflect on various mysteries of our faith and our salvation.
The repetition of the prayers is meant to help us get into a spiritual rhythm and a reflective mindset. The meditation on the mysteries helps us to recall and reinforce essential truths of our faith. The rosary also seeks the intercession of Our Lady who is essential to the plan for our salvation. She is our spiritual mother guiding us and accompanying us on our journey of life.
If you are unfamiliar with the mechanics of praying the rosary or do not know the various mysteries given for meditation, these can be found very easily online and then printed out for reference. The rosary has evolved with time even adding elements such as the Fatima prayer and the Luminous Mysteries.
The challenge that I put out to all of you who will read this is to pray the holy rosary daily. Maybe it has to start with simply praying a decade each day (before going to bed?), but I hope that it will grow into a devotion that will bring much peace and consolation to your soul. May I suggest that you pray it with the intention of bringing back to the faith someone in your family or among your friends who has left the Catholic faith or no longer practices it? That intention should keep us all busy for quite some time.
October is the month traditionally dedicated to the holy rosary. Please take the time to strengthen, renew or begin this devotion in your personal spiritual life and in the life of your family.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Our Lady of Fatima and the 3 Visionaries