A Gift from Heaven
by Father Stefano Manelli, S.T.D.
At Lourdes and at Fatima Our Lady appeared particularly to recommend to us the recitation of the Rosary. At Lourdes She Herself held a beautiful Rosary while Bernadette recited the Hail Mary’s. At Fatima, in every apparition, She recommended the recitation of the Rosary, especially during the last apparition, when She presented Herself as the “Lady of the Rosary”.
It is truly of great importance that Our Lady gave us the Rosary. When She spoke at Fatima of the salvation of sinners, of the ruin of the souls in hell, of wars and of the future of our age, Our Lady indicated and recommended the Rosary as the prayer that saves.
Sister Lucy of Fatima tells us in short that “in our time the Blessed Virgin gave an added efficacy to the Holy Rosary, so that there is no problem, material or spiritual, national or international that cannot be solved with the Rosary and our sacrifices.”
Saves and Sanctifies
One morning St. Joseph Cafasso, while passing through the streets of Turin, met a poor, old, hunchbacked woman, who recited the Rosary softly as she walked.
“Why in such a hurry, good lady?” asked the saint.
“Oh, Reverend, I pass to clean the streets!”
“To clean the streets ... ? What do you mean?”
“Look, last night there was the carnival and the people committed many sins. Now, I am saying the Hail Mary’s to cleanse this place of sin.”
The Rosary cleanses the soul of sin and adorns it with grace. The Rosary saves souls. St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote in his agenda, “Many Rosaries, many souls saved.” Do we think of this? We will save many souls by reciting the Rosary. What charity of inestimable value would this be!
What can we say of the conversion of sinners through the Rosary? We ought to speak of St. Dominic, St. Louis de Montfort, the Holy Curé of Ars, St. Joseph Cafasso, St. Padre Pio, etc.
The Rosary does good to all — sinners, men of good will, and saints.
When St. Philip Neri was asked what prayer to choose, he responded immediately, without hesitation, “Recite the Rosary and recite it often.”
Even when St. Padre Pio was asked what prayer he preferred most, he answered almost abruptly, “the Rosary”.
The saints, above all, have shown the efficacious grace of the Rosary. Many saints were true apostles of the Rosary — St. Peter Canisius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Camillis de Lillis, St. Anthony M. Gianelli, St. John Bosco, etc., perhaps among the greatest and most remarkable examples was St. Padre Pio. He is the most prestigious of all humanity. For many years he recited daily more than one hundred Rosaries. A gigantic model who guaranteed the fecundity of the Rosary for his sanctification and for the salvation of souls.
“How many thousands of souls were mysteriously attracted to that priest, who for hours and hours, day and night, with swollen and bleeding hands recited the Rosary while standing at the foot of Our Lady’s Statue. He has truly shown that the Rosary is the chain of salvation which hangs from the hands of Our Savior and His Blessed Mother and which indicates the source of every grace that comes down to us, and where our every hope must go up.” (Pope Paul VI.)
“Scoundrel!” shouted the devil to the Holy St. Curé of Ars while pushing him hard against the wall of the room. “You have already robbed me of eighty thousand souls this year, and if there would be four priests like you I would surely end my reign on earth …” He acknowledged that his being a priest was a special gift from Our Lady, because he knew how to say the Rosary well, remained always in his humility, aware of being unworthy in all aspects. Above all, he thought of praying and doing penance with all his strength. The rest God did for him. These were the things that humiliate hell totally, and made it unable to face this humble priest.
It is the truth of God’s word, “every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11.) And still, “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5.)
If now we think of the surpassing grandeur of Our Lady, we will understand immediately of humility that must be in Her, “Exalted above all the choirs of Angels.”
The humility of Our Lady is noted in the first pages of the Gospels, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38.) It is manifested in the Visitation to St. Elizabeth, who rightly cried out, “Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43.) It shines forth in the birth of Jesus which took place in a poor stable because “there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk. 2:7). It is wrapped up in thick silence and hidden for thirty years in Nazareth. It is resplendent of opprobrium and ignominy on Calvary where Our Lady was present as the Mother of the Condemned.
The humility of Our Lady is more or less proportional to Her Supreme Regality. She was highly exalted because She was supremely humble.
We must learn humility from this school.
The Rosary Every Day
All the prayers, knowledge and love of St. Bernadette seemed to consist in the Rosary. Her sister Antoinette said, “Bernadette did nothing but pray and did not know what else to say besides the Rosary.”
The Rosary is an evangelical, Christological and contemplative prayer in the company of Our Lady. (Marialis Cultus, 44-47.) Praise and supplication which constitute the Hail Mary urge the mind towards contemplation of the present mystery of the Rosary.
The Rosary can be said equally well on the street as at the foot of the altar. When the mind is recollectedly turned to Mary, it pleases Our Lady if it is said in the church or on a train, while walking, or flying in an airplane.
Is it possible that we can not find even a quarter of an hour daily to offer a Rosary to Our Lady? The Rosary can be said any place, any time, with anybody, without books or ceremonies, aloud or in silence.
Let us think of the Rosaries recited in the wards of the hospitals by St. Camillis de Lellis and St. Bertilla Boscardin; on the way to Rome by St. Vincent Palotti; on a train and on board a ship by St. Frances Cabrini; in the Sahara Desert by Brother Charles de Foucauld; in royal palaces by the venerable Maria Christina of Savoy; in concentration camps and in the bunker of death by St. Maximilian Kolbe; above all in the family by Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, by the parents of St. Thérèse and by the mother of St. Maria Goretti. Let us not waste time on trivial and detrimental things, when we have a precious treasure like the Rosary. Let us recite it and promise Our Lady to end the Marian month with it. “Every day a Rosary for You, O Mary!”
In the Immaculate Heart
At Fatima the Rosary was the gift of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We want to conclude the Marian month putting our Rosary in the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the commitment of reciting it daily.
The Rosary and the Immaculate Heart of Mary mark the final triumph of the Kingdom of God for this epoch.
True devotion to the Rosary and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary guarantees salvation. Even Our Lady says that the souls devoted to the Rosary and to Her Immaculate Heart will be chosen ones of God “as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.”
Our Lady Herself wants to light and to keep burning in us the love for the Rosary and for Her Immaculate Heart.
Recite a Rosary in thanksgiving.
Offer a Mass and Communion in thanksgiving.
Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.