by Joseph Pronechen –
“If you want peace in your heart, in your home, in your country, assemble together every night and say the Rosary,” Pope St. Pius X said as if he himself seemed to anticipate Fatima several years before 1917.
Yet today we look around us and too often see society in turmoil. What was always good is now bad, what was always bad is now good. But this is no time for discouragement, and no time for slacking off in the battle.
Sister Lucia of Fatima insisted: “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary.”
St. Pope Pius V in the 1570’s already believed this. When he saw Christendom not more than a shambles and Moslem Turks ready to deal the last blow, he got Don Juan of Austria to head remnant armies to join together forming the first Holy League. St. Pius V called on Catholic everywhere to pray the Rosary and implore Our Lady for her intercession. Don Juan gave every man in the naval armada a rosary, and all prayed it.
They asked for our Blessed Mother’s intercession, priests heard confessions, and against great odds, with heaven’s help a small Christian fleet crushed the huge Turkish Moslem fleet in the Battle of Lepanto.
Pius V and all the leaders attributed that surprise victory saving Christianity and western civilization to Our Lady. He commemorated this historic battle by instituting the feast of Our Lady of Victories, soon changed to Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrated October 7.
In one of Leo XIII’s encyclicals on the Rosary he devotes a long section to the Lepanto victory, saying, “those who were unable to take part formed a pious band of supplicants who called on Mary and unitedly saluted her again and again in the words of the Rosary, imploring her to grant the victory to their companions engaged in battle. Our Sovereign Lady did grant her aid…the Christian fleet gained a magnificent victory, with no great loss to itself, in which the enemy were routed…”
St. John Paul II singles out Leo XIII’s encyclical in his own apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary), especially noting the Rosary is “an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society.”
John Paul II proclaimed in the same apostolic letter, “At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer.”
That’s why in every appearance at Fatima, Our Lady told the seers — and us — “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”
Although it was during the time of WWI, Our Lady never meant for people to stop saying the Rosary when the war was over. Then and now the Church teaches us that we are the Church Militant. St. Paul reminds us the battle “is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12). So as the Church Militant we must be ready for this spiritual combat always.
St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who himself was once healed by Our Lady of Fatima, strongly stated: “The Rosary is the weapon.” We must keep this weapon in our hands for the fight and not let it slip, but rather to tighten our grip.
Sister Lucia said, “Calling to mind the insistence with which God, by means of the Fatima message, recommends the prayer of the Rosary, and also all that the Church’s Magisterium has said about it over the years, we can conclude that the Rosary is a form of vocal prayer which, in general, suits all of us, for which we should have the highest regard, and which we should make the greatest effort never to abandon.”
Lucia believed that “after the liturgical prayer of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the prayer of the holy Rosary, because of its origin and sublime nature of the prayers which compose it and also on account of the mysteries of our redemption which we recall and contemplate in each decade, is the most pleasing prayer we can offer to God and the one most beneficial to our souls. If this were not so, Our Lady would not have recommended it to us with such insistence.”
“We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times,” proclaimed Venerable Pope Pius XII, the first pope to hail Fatima.
Just as Europe was once saved, we can help bring about victory to save this country from its enemies, temporal and spiritual. It is through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the Rosary.
Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed it best: “I could conquer the world if I had an army to say the Rosary.”
Joseph Pronechen is a frequent contributor to Soul Magazine and a regular contributor to the National Catholic Register. He is also the author of “The Fruits of Fatima.”