Let Not This Appeal Go Unheard

Let Not This Appeal Go Unheard

Solemnity of the Most Holy Rosary

The feast of the Holy Rosary which is this coming Thursday, 7 October, is solemnised today on the first Sunday of October, month dedicated to this Holy Rosary. The epistle for today’s Mass sets the tone for the feast when we hear Wisdom addressing us: Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord. (Proverbs 8:32-35).

The Divine Wisdom personified in this passage of the holy book is placed by the Church on the lips of Mary Immaculate. Listen to me, she says, as a good Mother. Keep to my ways. How do we keep to the ways of Mary unless it be by contemplating the mysteries of her life in the most Holy Rosary? Hear instruction and be wise. Indeed, as we accompany Our Lady and Her Divine Son through the various mysteries of this great prayer, we find ourselves becoming wise, both by listening to the words they pronounce, and by imitating the actions we see them perform. Blessed is the man that hearth me and watcheth daily at my gates. Countless masters vie for our attention. Numerous teachers tell us they have the solution. Truly blessed are those who know how to give that time each day to watch at the gates of Our blessed Lady, attentively considering her role in the salvation of our souls. He that shall find me shall find life and shall have salvation. Yes, indeed, for within those mysteries of the Rosary is to be found the very source of life, Jesus Christ Himself.

But why is the Rosary such a powerful prayer? I would suggest a number of reasons.

First of all, it is a simple prayer. It unites easily learned vocal prayers with contemplation of mysteries of the Gospel which we all know for having heard them many times. In company with Our Lady we contemplate her Son and the great mysteries of His life, death and resurrection.

Secondly, it is a humble and an easy prayer. Anyone can pray the Rosary. It requires no great expertise or study. Anyone can pray it, from the small child who is beginning to learn his catechism, to the expert theologian who knows the ins and outs of the faith. It can be prayed by the healthy whom it teaches how to make good use of their talent, and it can be prayed by the sick who do not have energy of mind or body to do more. Anyone, at any time, can grab the sacred beads, and thereby take and hold Our Lady’s hand along the way of salvation. Even if fatigue or illness makes it impossible to say the prayers or think of the mysteries, just holding the beads is a prayer, as a sign of love for Mary and trust in her.

Thirdly, it is deep prayer. The vocal prayers it includes are the two most important prayers of our faith, containing all that we need to obtain. The Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, is the prayer that was taught to us by Jesus Himself, and it has us ask for all the things that are good for us in the order of salvation. The Hail Mary, the first half of which was given to us by the archangel Gabriel and St Elizabeth, takes us straight to the central truth of our faith, namely the Incarnation of the Eternal Word in the womb of the humble Virgin of Nazareth. The mysteries we contemplate are those very mysteries by which He brought us salvation, and so they reveal to us the deepest mysteries of God.

Finally, it is a powerful prayer. It has us address Almighty God with the omnipotent and ever efficacious prayer of His Divine Son. It puts on our lips the saving Names of Jesus and Mary, which are the terror of all the demons of hell. It moves the most Powerful Virgin, the Lady of Victories, to intervene in our lives, for she is ever waiting for us to involve her.

My Dear Friends, humanity finds itself at the brink of the abyss, on the verge of incalculable disaster. Our human efforts to fight for truth and freedom are necessary, but they are very limited. The Rosary is not limited. There is no grace that cannot be obtained by the recitation of the Rosary. Let us not fail to obey our Mother who tells us to pray her Rosary. She knows what is best for us, and she wants to save us. Pray the Rosary every day.

Almost 20 years ago, Pope St John Paul II gave us a beautiful apostolic letter on the Rosary, which he concluded with these forceful words, which I make my own today: “May this appeal of mine not go unheard!”