Sermon for the Sunday 21st after Pentecost. – On the Most Holy Rosary.

My dear friends, as you all know, this month is dedicated to the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.
Today, I would like to address the importance of this beautiful devotion, and some practical matters on the proper way to practice it.

No one ignores what is the nature of the Rosary. The Rosary, if it is properly prayed, is a mix of both mental prayer, that is meditation, and vocal prayer; it consists in the recitation of 15 decades of the Hail Mary, with one Our Father preceding, and a Glory be at the end of each decade. In each one of these decades, we meditate on the mysteries of the life, passion, and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, some protestants might have two objections against the Rosary.

One, that it is a vocal prayer and is repetitive, and it seems pointless. It would be better to pray with your mind and with your own words.
Second, they will object to the fact that we pray so much to the Virgin Mary, and it would seem that we are relegating our Lord.

But these allegations are false and absurd.

For the first one, anyone who is familiar with the Bible will know that God himself established vocal prayer, and vocal prayer has always been part of the true religion.
The whole book of the psalms is nothing else but a collection of vocal prayers, inspired by God. It contains 153 psalms.
Well, if we look at the Our Father and the Hail Mary, we cannot but recognize that these surpass the psalms by far: The Our Father was dictated by Christ himself. The Hail Mary was dictated by God the Father to the Angel his messenger, and the latter part was dictated by the Holy Ghost to the Holy Catholic Church.
And guess how many times we repeat the Hail Mary in a full rosary: 153 times.

“And I will say more, even if your mind is so tired, or distressed or sad, that you cannot pray as you would, as long as you do your best effort, you please God greatly because…The mere fact that you are setting aside fifteen minutes to pray, and that you follow conscientiously a prescribed method, is a clear sure sign that you are making an act of the will, and that you are applying your understanding to give that time and effort to God.”

So it is the will of God that we pray vocally and externally. But, will it not be better to pray with our own words, spontaneously?

We do that too! The Catholic Church does not want us to cease praying from our own hearts and minds to God, but together with that, we receive prayers that may be prayed externally and vocally, because these are necessary too.
Vocal prayer, as established by the Church is necessary for several reasons:

  • 1st.- To express our homage to God in an external, public fashion. God is our creator, of both body and soul, and he must be praised and honored not only internally but also externally.
  • 2nd.- God is also the creator, keeper, and benefactor of our families and societies. And therefore we must worship him in a group, publicly and collectively, to recognize his dominion over us, and to repay his love and care to us. Now, there is no other way, to have a collective, external, ordered, and peaceful prayer, if it is not through vocal prayer.
  • 3rd.- When we pray, what we give God is not the beauty of our words or the quality of our reasonings, but our understanding and our will. We connect to God, and we glorify Him, by occupying the faculties of our soul in Him.
    The protestants would have us be deprived of these prayers. But I ask you, what can we do when we are sick, or depressed, or tired; when we are unable to concentrate? How many times when we are like that, we cannot even think of the most basic necessities? How will we pray mentally, how will we focus and avoid distractions when our human frailty kicks in?

And it happens, as it is frequently the case with the protestants, that as they experience the difficulty of prayer in distress and against our human weakness, they end up by praying very rarely if anything at all. They lose discipline in prayer, and they give it altogether.

But what the Church gives us is a prayer that occupies our minds, that is easy to follow, even if your faculties are not 100 percent, a prayer in which you occupy your hands, you have different images and mysteries in your minds every 3 or 4 minutes, a prayer finally, that has all the necessary aids, to help us focus and pray fervently.

And most importantly a defined, established prayer, which allows us to keep discipline, and to exercise the virtue of perseverance, because its a prayer we can pray every day, we know exactly what is asked of us, we do it with the purpose of pleasing God, and we know we can pray it wherever we are.

And I will say more, even if your mind is so tired, or distressed or sad, that you cannot pray as you would, as long as you do your best effort, you please God greatly because: remember what we said, that in prayer we give God our understanding and our will, and that’s what matters? well, that’s essentially what we have in the Rosary. The mere fact that you are setting aside fifteen minutes to pray, and that you follow conscientiously a prescribed method, is a clear sure sign that you are making an act of the will, and that you are applying your understanding to give that time and effort to God.

What a beautiful assurance we get when we pray the rosary, and how many graces and aids are lost by those who despise the practices of the Church!

You all know of Father Pio de Pietrelcina, who had the stigmata of Our Lord in his hands and feet.

It is said his superior approached him once, and asked him, under obedience, how many rosaries he had prayed during that day. It was around 2 in the afternoon.
Father Pio, reluctantly said he believed to have prayed around 36.

My dear friends, If I hear from any of you that you pray the rosary daily in the family, I do not fear for your salvation, as long as you persevere. But if you tell me that you don’t pray your daily rosary, even if you think to be in the state of Grace, I will pray for you as I would pray for a soul who was on the road to hell. So much is it indicative of the state of the soul, when they fail to pray their daily rosary.

Some would also say, that we are relegating our Lord to a second place, and putting Mary in the first place.
Those who say that, have no idea of what the rosary is, or of how to pray it. Because in the rosary, we are accompanying our Lord throughout his life. Every time that we say a Hail Mary, we are doing it dwelling in the mysteries of our Lord. We say it in the manger, we say it in the temple, we say it in the Agony in the Garden, at the Cross, during the coming of the Holy Ghost, in heaven itself!

Jesus our Lord is in the Holy Rosary, as the sap is in the plants, and if we pray to the Virgin Mary, is because in the Holy Rosary she is our vehicle to Christ, the magnifying glass through which we can see him better, she is the book where his life is written, because as the Gospel said “Mary keep all these things in her heart.”

And that is the reason why we begin every mystery with the Lord’s prayer, and then we accompany that with ten Hail Marys, to finish by praising the Blessed Trinity.

Let us finalize by suggesting an easy way to make your rosary more significant. When you say the Hail Mary, imagine that in the first part, you are handing our Blessed Mother a Rose. You are Praising Mary, you are giving to her. In the Second Part of it, imagine that you are begging her for something, for a particular need.

My dear friends, approach your Mother, pray to her, listen to her when she has asked repeatedly that we pray the rosary daily. From this depends the salvation of our families, and of our countries. It is the weapon of Christian Men, and the defense of Christian Women. Don’t let it happen, that when our countries fall, we might have to say as the Jews and Prophets of the old testament had to say, when their country fell in the hands of their enemies, and God abandoned them to the punishment: “Thou are just O Lord, and you give us what we deserve. For we have not kept Thy commandments.”
Let us instead pray the Rosary. Pray it Every Day. Pray it fervently, and encourage others to Pray it.

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