Our Lady’s (not so) secret weapon: The Holy Rosary

James Coleman

by Michaelyn Hein –

The first time I really prayed a Rosary was at the beginning of miscarrying my first baby.

I knelt alone in a pew in an empty church, praying the Joyful Mysteries, because they centered on birth, something I desperately wanted to experience. As I clicked off Hail Mary after Hail Mary, I meditated on Our Blessed Lady’s experience of motherhood, and I begged her to help me somehow not lose this baby.

Still, somewhere around the third mystery, the miscarriage began. My mind reeled. I’d been promised this was a weapon against evil. Though I had no dedication to it, I always believed it had power. And, yet, it did not save my child.

So many of us approach the Rosary the way I did in that devastating moment, as a good luck charm that we forget we tucked away in a junk drawer somewhere, and which we only go hunting for when things fall apart. For many of us, the Rosary is a last-ditch effort at salvation from the perils that threaten our joy.

But I wanted the Rosary to be more than that. Though I ignorantly wondered if our Blessed Mother had failed me, my loss stirred within me a craving for a relationship with Mary and those seemingly endless beads.

Time marched on after that first loss, and I soon found myself praying a daily Rosary. I’ve heard it described as Our Lady’s lasso, and indeed it felt to me to be a gentle one that wrapped me inside its mysteries and made me feel less alone. As I suffered through two more pregnancies that ended in losses, I found in Mary the only person who could empathize with my mother’s grief.

Soon, I couldn’t go a day without wanting to meditate on the day’s mysteries. Years passed and I finally gave birth to living children, and the Rosary remained a part of my life. As my children grew and I taught them to say it, I tried winning my son’s love for it by suppressing my soft and feminine view of it, and instead repeated words I wasn’t sure I believed, “It’s a weapon, you know.”

“How?” he asked.

I tripped over words as I looked for an answer. I cited Mary as “Terror of Demons” and, since the Rosary was instituted by her, it made sense that it had to be so. Only, inside, I wasn’t convinced.

Until a friend invited me to my first experience of praying a public Rosary in a nearby town. The reason for the rally was to pray peacefully outside a bookstore hosting a “drag queen story hour” for 3-to-6-year-olds, an issue especially close to my heart since my three children all centered around that age.

When I arrived at the appointed place, I was late. I slipped into the group as they began the first Joyful Mystery, dug my rosary out and began to recite the Hail Mary. Though it was a Saturday afternoon in a large tourist town and the sidewalk was crowded with passersby, I settled myself into prayer, naively assuming this would be an easy, quick hour.

Within moments, however, I heard my first verbal attack against us. And then another, and another. The words were vicious and angry and full of contempt. I shrunk into my winter coat, closed my eyes and began to offer my prayers for those launching the assault our way.

As I did so, years of misunderstandings disappeared and were replaced with a recognition that, yes, this Rosary, this decades-long prayer, is indeed a weapon. There, in front of the bookstore, it was a weapon of defense as we armed ourselves in its promise of Mary’s protection. And it was one of attack, as I realized that the voices hurling such ire at us weren’t coming from just angry people. No, the voices I heard were coming from somewhere far deeper and darker, and the hatred being spat wasn’t at us, but at the Lady we represented as we praised her name aloud 53 times.

For the first time in my life, I felt, as I passed beads through my fingers, merely an instrument in the battle between principalities that St. Paul speaks of in the Bible. Yes, the Rosary, I discovered, must be a weapon to incite such assaults as the ones we experienced that day.

And when I reflect on my first Rosary, the one I prayed as I begged God to let my unborn baby live – well, that was a weapon, too – though, a far more subtle and unrecognizable one.

St. Josemaria Escriva said of the Rosary that this “apparently monotonous way of beseeching Our Lady as children do their Mother, can destroy every seed of vainglory and pride.” Indeed, the destruction of our deep-seated vices takes time and the proper tool to chisel out of us the sins that threaten to strangle us.

The Rosary didn’t save any of my three unborn children from what looked to my husband and me to be untimely death. But, through every loss, I held the rosary tighter, and, in so doing, my marriage was mysteriously fortified, the appreciation of the children we eventually had was strengthened, and the love for Our Lady that I’d always envied but couldn’t quite grasp, became real for me as I clutched her gift to us, the Rosary.

As Sister Lucia said, “There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” Though the resolution may not look like what we expect, be assured that as we pick up the weapon of the Rosary, our Immaculate Mother picks up the fight for our souls.

Michaelyn Hein is a wife, mother and writer from Hopewell, NJ

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6 Comments
  1. Beautiful witness to the power of protection from our Blessed Mother, than you for sharing your experience.

  2. That was a beautiful. Witness to the power of the rosary . Our Lady does surround n protect us especially when we say the rosary and ask for her help .

  3. Truly a beautiful article about the Holy Rosary and Our Blessed Mother. Since the year 2015 I have daily prayed the Rosary “devoutly”. Through the Holy Rosary, Our Blessed Mother has led me so intimately closer to Our Lord Jesus and in turn He has wonderfully given me His Mother. My words so inadequately express this. Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary may Our Lord Bless all of you, all the days of your life.

  4. Truly outstanding! More, please.

  5. Fantastic! More, please.

  6. Beautiful!!! Beautiful!!! Beautiful!!! Thank you for writing this article.

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