“And immediately Jesus stretching forth his hand took hold of him, and said to him: O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt”? (Matthew 14:31)
Ever since Our Lady instructed St. Dominic to preach her psalter to combat the Albigensian heresy, the Rosary has been a source of miraculous graces—which, indeed, she promised it would be! Throughout St. Dominic’s ministry, the praying and preaching of the Rosary was effective for the conversion of sinners and heretics, the healing of the sick, and the exorcism of demons!
It is related in some of his biographers that St. Dominic counselled the queen of France herself to pray the Rosary for help conceiving a son and heir to the throne—advice which she took up ardently, and did indeed receive the blessing of a son, who would grow up to be the great crusader king St. Louis IX!
The very feast which we celebrate today—Our Lady of the Rosary (or Our Lady of Victory) commemorates the fateful Battle of Lepanto, in which an immense fleet of Ottoman Turks sailed toward Rome in order to conquer Europe. Pope Pius V responded to the threat by a two-pronged counter-attack—first, by appealing to the nations of Europe to send soldiers and sailors to fight the Muslim fleet, and second, by calling on Catholics to pray the Rosary. While the appeal for secular arms was responded to underwhelmingly, the response of the Holy League was tremendous! Through their intercession via the Rosary, Don John of Austria was able to definitively defeat the twice as large Turkish fleet!
The Rosary has been instrumental in converting the most hardened sinners—including one Bartolo Longo of Pompeii, who, in the 1800s, was a Satanist priest, but who, through the prayers of the Rosary, was set free from his devilry, and went on to propagate the Rosary in Pompeii, and is now a Saint! The Rosary has been instrumental in saving lives, such as the Jesuit missionaries in Hiroshima, who were living 8 blocks away from ground zero—and yet they not only survived with scarcely a scratch, there were no lingering sicknesses or other signs of radiation poisoning, loss of hearing, or other effects one would expect from a nuclear explosion!
I’ve seen the amazing power of the Rosary in my own life and the lives of friends, as well. A friend’s wife left him, taking his children with her, and moving to the opposite side of Canada. When he told me, I began praying my Rosary for reconciliation in his family. Within a year, my friend’s wife and children had moved back home with him! Another friend needed a better job in order to make ends meet. She told me that the absolute latest that she could find a job by, without having to move out of her apartment, would be within a month. A day before that ultimatum date, she’d found the perfect job, which not only paid more than what she required, but was just a few blocks from her apartment!
One morning a few years back, while I was recovering from breaking my ankle, and taking the bus to work, as I prayed my Rosary on the bus, a woman sat down in the seat next to me to tell me that she had just that morning cried out to Mother Mary in despair, tempted to abandon her faith in God altogether, because of certain insurmountable problems in her life. In defiance, she had determined to give up praying the Rosary unless she was given a sign that Someone was really listening. Then she got on the bus and saw me sitting there, praying using an exactly identical set of beads to the ones she had angrily shoved into her pocket. I ended up running into her randomly just a couple weeks ago, and she told me that that encounter had been a turning point in her faith, and she’s very much on fire for Christ!
And in a previous post, I wrote about how my Jewish neighbour became curious about Catholicism, and asked me if I had a Rosary that he could have to take with him when he went to visit his sick aunt in Argentina. While she lay in a hospital dying of Tuberculosis, he prayed that Rosary by her bedside, and she was healed, and discharged from the hospital a day later. He later showed me a picture of them standing in front of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a church where they’d gone to give thanks to God for her recovery!
So how is it, after all these signs and stories from history and personal experience, that I still can doubt the miraculous power of the Rosary? A friend began making steps to return to his faith after more than 20 years. I helped him return to Confession last year, and was very hopeful for him—but he would tell me about his girlfriend, and her hatred for the Church, and her own New Age-y, occult beliefs, and all the things she would say to disparage the Church. He even had his head spun so much by her teachings that he was ready to abandon the faith all over again! I began to pray in earnest for his situation, and his re-re-conversion. But I confess that I didn’t even think to pray for her conversion. As far as I could see, she was a lost soul. I may have even wanted God to get my friend out of that relationship! In my lack of faith, I thought it would be better—and certainly more likely—that they break up, than that she could convert!
A couple weeks ago, my friend approached me at work, saying that his girlfriend had heard this interview on a podcast, that had something to do with some “Miraculous Medal”, and now she’s going to Mass, and there was some presentation about “Our Lady of Fatima”, and she was wondering if I had a Rosary that I could give her…
When am I going to learn?
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