On October 7, 1983, Our Lady said to Father Gobbi: Beloved sons, in the battle in which you are daily engaged against Satan and his crafty and dangerous seductions, and against the mighty armies of evil, apart from the special help given you by the angels of the Lord, it is necessary for you to employ a weapon which is both secure and invincible. This weapon is your prayer.
Prayer possesses a potent force and starts a chain reaction in good that is far more powerful than any atomic reaction.
The prayer of my predilection is the holy rosary. For this reason, in my apparitions I always ask that it be recited… (275)
Why is the holy rosary so efficacious? There are many, many reasons.
On January 17, 1871, the Mother of God appeared to four children at Pontmain, about 180 miles west of Paris. Everyone prayed the rosary; and the children reported that every time they prayed the rosary, the image of Mary increased in size. Mary encouraged their prayer, saying, "Pray, my children, God will hear you in a short time. My Son permits Himself to be moved." They did as Mary asked: they prayed the rosary. And as if by magic, the westward sweep of the German armies halted. And within ten days an armistice was signed, on January 28, 1871. In gratitude to the Mother of God for her intervention, the French nation built the Basilica of Our Lady at Pontmain.
On May 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal.
In every one of the six Fatima apparitions, the Mother of God gave mankind the antidote to the world poison of Atheistic Communism, namely, the rosary! In fact in the last apparition in October, Our Lady appeared as the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.
"Pray the rosary daily" was her request. But again, few heeded it. So World War II followed.
Our Lady knows that you cannot be thinking day in and day out on the mysteries of Our Lord's life and not be changed, for the thoughts that enfold you are the thoughts that mold you. Our Lady knows that. Hence her ardent requests for our saying the rosary.
What Our Lady seeks – and the Church and the Gospel – is Renewal, which is a change of hearts. That is why she asks for the rosary, for the rosary renews hearts, changes people; and when people change, society will change.
One of the greatest objections to the rosary is precisely because it is a thinking prayer. Some will say, "I don't like to think." Or "I can't concentrate on the mysteries. My mind wanders. That's why I quit saying the rosary."
I think the trouble here is that too often we try to intellectualize the mysteries. We peer into them to extract lessons from them. Rather, we should just look at the mysteries of the rosary in the Ignatian sense of contemplation. St. Ignatius said, "just look at the scenes of Our Lord's life without trying to pull out all kinds of lessons and applications to your life." Just be there, like watching the TV series "You were there." The lessons and applications will come spontaneously.
Once a young lady told Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen that she would never say the rosary, for anyone who keeps saying the same thing over and over again can't be sincere. The Archbishop asked her if she were engaged. She answered yes.
"Does your fiancé love you?"
"How do you know?"
"He told me so."
"Did he tell you just once?"
"Of course not."
"Did he tell you twice?"
"He's told me a hundred times that he loves me."
"Oh, I wouldn't marry him. He can't be sincere – saying the same thing over and over again."
The truth is, repetition is the language of love. Repetition does not create monotony; in fact it creates stability; it reaffirms; even serves as a cushion against the future shock of change. When a mother says to her child, "I love you," the child wants to hear it again and again.
Monotony is eliminated, not by constant change, but by attention and sincerity and purpose. If golf were only hitting a ball, it would be worse than monotonous. But give it a purpose; have a green and a cup to shoot for, ah, then it becomes a wonderful game.
One day, Dr. Carlos Finlay returned home very late at night. He was tired and sleepy, when he remembered that he had not said his rosary that day. He always prayed the rosary daily. So he devoutly began to say his rosary. A buzzing mosquito flew persistently around his head, forcing him to divert his attention many times.
Suddenly, as if inspired by the Blessed Virgin, to whom he was addressing this prayer, the idea, which made him famous, came into his mind that the mosquito is the transmitting agent of yellow fever and malaria. He acted on this theory and proved it to be correct. This concluded a long series of efforts and investigations by numerous scientists for an answer to malaria. Thus was the way paved for the completion of the Panama Canal.
The great Austrian composer, Franz Haydn, told his admirers: "When, in the course of composing a work, I feel myself bogged and get no inspiration, I take my beads and start praying the rosary. Soon my mind becomes loaded with so many melodies that I am able to notate but a few only."
Frederick Ozanan, founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for giving spiritual and material help to the poor, one day he entered a church in Paris. It was empty except for an old man, praying the rosary in front of an altar. He went near to get a closer look at this man and discovered that it was his professor Ampere who was saying the rosary.
Ampere was a great mathematician and physicist who created the science of electro-dynamics and invented among other things the means of sending telegraphic messages. Ozanan often said: "The rosary of Ampere did me more good than all the books and sermons." Ozanan is now up for beatification.
Maryknoll Bishop James E. Walsh in a letter to Father Paul R. Milde, O.S.B., described how saying the rosary sustained and consoled him during his years of confinement in a Chinese prison.
"My great support during twelve years of imprisonment was the rosary. I had no religious books and could not obtain any, so it was impossible for me to celebrate Mass or recite the Breviary.
"Privation is the keynote of prison life. With no facilities on hand except air to breathe and bare walls to contemplate, the situation appears gloomy. No place to go… nothing to do… endless monotony to look forward to… the prospect is bleak. What to do under these conditions? From long habit the answer with me was prompt and automatic. Turn to the rosary of course. Fall back on the rosary.
"The rosary sustained me when other means were lacking. It came to my aid whenever I felt oppressed by any trouble. It was my never-failing lifeline all through my prison years."
One of the great generals of World War I was Marshal Ferdinand Foch. His mother was a companion of St. Bernadette of Lourdes. Together with Bernadette, she always prayed the rosary at the cave at Massabielle. "Always," she used to tell him, "be faithful to your rosary. Never let a day go by without reciting it devoutly." Each evening they recited it together.
When World War I broke out, her son led the armies of France, and his great victories were in no small part due to his fidelity to praying the rosary every day. He died grasping his rosary.
In Our Sunday Visitor I spotted a notice of how the rosary had brought a priest back to his priesthood. "Attributing his readmission to the priesthood to the rosary, Father William Blazewicz stood before his congregation at the Sacred Heart Parish in Mondovi, Wis., and told them the story of losing his faith and regaining it." (5/14/89).
Oh, the power of the rosary! It has such power, not only because thinking on the mysteries of Our Lord's life can change us, but especially because Mary makes the rosary her prayer and prays with us.
When in each Hail Mary we say, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…" Mary accedes to our request and joins her prayers to ours thus making the rosary most powerful. As she told Fr. Gobbi once, "You ask me to pray for you fifty times. I hear your prayer and pray with you. And so your prayer becomes all powerful, for my Son will deny me nothing."
St. Louis de Montfort wrote: "If you say the rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, 'you shall receive a never fading crown of glory. 'Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in Hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil… sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and save your soul. IF – and mark well what I say – IF YOU SAY THE ROSARY DEVOUTLY EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE…" (p.12)
The saints have called the daily praying of the rosary a sign of predestination to Heaven. And the writings of the saints contain no doctrinal error.
At 2:45 a.m. on August 6, 1945, a B-20 took off from the island of Tinian to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. At 8:15 a.m. the bomb exploded eight city blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady's Assumption in Hiroshima. Half a million people were wiped out. All that was left was darkness, blood, burns, moans, fire and spreading terror.
However, the church and the four Jesuit fathers stationed there survived: Fathers'Hugo Lassalle, Kleinsorge, Cieslik and Schiffer. According to experts they "ought to be dead," being as they were within the most deadly one-mile radius of the explosion.
The miracle of their survival, their devotion to Our Lady, their church dedicated to her Assumption, made it clear to these survivors that this was more than coincidence. It taught them the power of Mary and her prayer, the rosary.
At the end of World War II, the allies did a nasty thing: they turned Catholic Austria over to the Russians. The Austrians tolerated this Soviet domination for three years, but that was enough. They wanted the Soviets out of their country. But what could Austria do: seven million against 220,000 million?
Than a priest, Pater Petrus, remembered Don John of Austria. Outnumbered three to one, Don John led the Papal, Venetian, and Spanish ships against the Turks at Lepanto, and through the power of the rosary miraculously defeated them. So Pater Petrus called for a rosary crusade against the Soviets. He asked for a tithe: that ten percent of all Austrians, 700,000, would pledge to say the rosary daily for the Soviets to leave their country.
For seven years the Austrians prayed the rosary. Then, on May 13, the anniversary of the apparition at Fatima in 1955, the Russians left Austria.
Al Williams, former custodian of the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, heard me tell this story once. He said to me, "You know, Father, I am Austrian. Well, three months before Therese Neumann died, I visited her (June 18, 1962). One question I asked her was,'Why did the Russians leave Austria?'She told me,'Verily, verily, it was the rosaries of the Austrian people.'"
John Cortes, brilliant writer and diplomat of the 19th century wrote: "Those who pray do more for the world than those who fight. If the world is going from bad to worse, it is because there are more battles than prayers."
One night in mid-1962, Dona Amelia Bastos listened to her husband and a band of anti-Reds discuss the looming threat of Communism. "I suddenly decided," she said, "that politics had become too important to be left entirely to men… Moreover, who has more at stake in what's happening to our country than we women?"
She formed CAMDE (Campaign of Women for Democracy). In Belo Horizonte, 20,000 women reciting the rosary aloud broke up the leftist meeting there. In Sao Paulo, 600,000 women praying the rosary in one of the most moving demonstrations in Brazilian history, sounded the death knell of the Communist revolution.
These women with rosaries in their hands or around their necks, issued a 1300 word proclamation:
This nation which God has given us, immense and marvelous it is, is in extreme danger. We have allowed men of limitless ambition, without Christian faith or scruples, to bring our people misery, destroying our economy, disturbing our social peace, to create hate and despair. They have infiltrated our nation, our government, our armed forces and even our churches…
Mother of God, preserve us from the fate and suffering of the martyred women of Cuba, Poland, Hungry and other enslaved nations!
Our Lady at Fatima said that if her requests were not heard that the errors of Russia would spread all over the world even to the United States. Well, it has happened here. Whoever would have believed that Americans would have defended the right to murder unborn children, to hold up homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle? That the Supreme Court of our nation would outlaw God from our schools, legitimize hard-core pornography, and so on and on.
(Editorial Staff: This same situation has spread all around the world, in every continent.)
And who has more at stake here than the women of our nation? Please God, may they, like the women of Brazil, take the lead in getting our country back from the forces that would destroy it. And may they use the weaponry, recommended by Our Lady, and used by the women of Brazil: the rosary! Not just the private rosary, but the family rosary, for it is the family that is threatened.
…frequently recite the holy rosary! Then the powerful Red Dragon will be shackled by this chain, and his margin of action will become ever more restricted. In the end he will be left impotent and harmless. The miracle of the triumph of my Immaculate Heart will be made manifest to all.
(Our Lady to Fr. Gobbi 10/7/83)
By Rev. Albert J.M. Shamon