As we pray the Rosary during the month of October, seeking Our Lady’s assistance, we are reminded about the conversations between Jesus Christ and St. Peter, the Apostle, after the Resurrection of Jesus (John 21: 15-17). Jesus asks him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Jesus asks this question three times and Peter’s answer was, “Lord, you know that I love you.” By asking Peter three times, Jesus emphasised the importance of Peter’s love and obedience to Jesus, as it was necessary for his future ministry.
St. Pope John Paul II, the great modern saint, in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (Rosary of the Virgin Mary – RVM), which was promulgated on 16 October 2002, emphasised that a prayer and devotion to the Holy Rosary is necessary and important, because it has changed the lives of many. As Peter repeated three times to Jesus’ question, ”Do you love Me?” – we too should not fail in the simple repetition of praying the Rosary, “to understand the Rosary, one has to enter into the psychological dynamic proper to love” and the Rosary is an outpouring of that love. Thus, we are encouraged to recite the Rosary repeatedly and courageously, giving ourselves to Christ, out of love for Him (RVM, no. 26).
In this Apostolic Letter, St. Pope John Paul II strongly encourages us to practice and devote ourselves to the Most Holy Rosary because it is a “genuine training in holiness” that guides us in our contemplation of the great mysteries of our faith (RVM, no. 5). As we pray daily during the month of Rosary, we will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to form and reform our lives much closer to Christ’s heart.
Our lives are challenged by all kinds of temptations and trials, and our personal struggles tire us. Saint Pope John Paul II recommends that we adopt the habit of rolling the small rosary beads through our fingers, and go into the depth of Christ’s mysteries (cf. RVM, no. 36). We may not have immediate answers to our problems or solutions to defeat the devil, but it will give us the “confidence of knowing that God looks with favour on his lowly servants.” Praying the Rosary increases our faith and gives us courage to say “Yes” to our Lord. With the intercession and maternal care of Mother Mary, may we find consolation and peace, discovering a path to life eternal.
Saint Pope John Paul II quoted the late Father Patrick Peyton (1909-1992), who was an Irish Catholic priest, internationally known as the ‘Rosary Priest’. He said “the family that prays together, stays together” and insisted Catholic families pray the Rosary for the sake of their families – which were under attack and in crisis. We have seen and heard of the growing number of separations and divorces in our families and communities. Praying the family Rosary is a way for us to bring these troubled married couples closer to Jesus, and to unite them in difficult times.
Earlier this month, the Holy Father, Pope Francis stated that the devil is trying to divide and attack the Catholic Church with a series of sexual abuse scandals within the clergy. He invited Catholics around the world to pray a special prayer every day during the month of October, for the Church to succeed through the devil’s assault. The clergy should also be men of prayer, and pray for themselves and for the people of God.
Our devotion to Our Lady and the family Rosary can serve the Universal Church, its clergy, married couples as well as our children. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us in our time of sorrow and frustration, and be our comfort, joy and strength.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy