A Simple Defense: The Rosary
Never have I received such a positive response to an article I have written like I did to my “To Whom Shall I go?” column in the Catholic New York of September 13, 2018.
That rather short and simple piece suggested that every parish in the archdiocese offer the traditional Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after each Mass during the nine days (a novena) leading to the Feast of the Archangels on September 29. My request was based on the exhortation from Pope Francis that we bluntly acknowledge the powers of darkness, personified in Satan, so mighty and so evident in the crisis of abuse in the world, our culture, and, tragically, in the Church.
Seems many of you were in agreement. The letters, e-mails, and conversations from so many were in accord with the Holy Father: sin, evil, the realm of darkness, the Devil, were working overtime! This crisis is primarily moral and spiritual, you told me, and could only be pushed back by reliance upon the ammunition Jesus Himself recommended: prayer and penance. And who better to ask for back-up than the “Prince of the Heavenly Host,” St. Michael the Archangel.
But, come to think of it, there is even a mightier power to enlist, the Blessed Mother of Jesus herself. Like the brave warrior – women of ancient Israel – – Deborah, Judith, and others – – Mary was the one promised in the Garden of Eden to crush the head of the serpent. Catholic wisdom tells us that the mention of her name brings a chill wind to hell itself. Lucifer could not damage her from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to the time of her Assumption into heaven.
A second assault on the Prince of Darkness, following our supplication to St. Michael, is especially appropriate the month we begin today, as October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is a simple, repetitive, biblical prayer. We take seriously our Lord’s imperative that persistence characterize our petitions, as we repeat over-and-over again the other archangel, Gabriel’s salutation to our Lady, the Ave Maria.
Our perseverance is the more patient as we lace the Ave with the Pater Noster, straight from the Master Himself, and let our minds rehearse the epochal events of the life, death, and victory of Jesus and His Mother . . .
Each bead weakens Satan, and he hopes we’ll give-up on the Rosary, as he tries to convince us it is childish (it is childlike!), superstitious, a talisman of the past best saved as an ornament for our cold hands in the casket.
Get it out of the nightstand drawer and begin again to thread a spiritual bullet-proof vest. Beelzebub’s wiles are complicated; defense against them is rather simple.
Say the Rosary!