A Reliable Aid in Every Age
"HELP AMERICA PRAY THE ROSARY"
Br. Samuel Trecost, O.P.
October 07, 2022
Imagine a religiously uninformed millennial stopped in traffic behind a car with a bumper sticker that says,
PRAY THE ROSARY
(Anyone who has spent time in a Catholic church’s parking lot knows this sticker—the wind-blown American flag in the background, the fragile-looking chain-link rosary to the left.)
Now, suppose this irreligious driver has never heard of the rosary but, after reading this bumper sticker, decides to do some research. He finds a set of instructions and, after reading about the prayers, the mysteries, and the beads, says to himself, “This? Doing this is going to help America?”
For us Catholics, the answer to this man’s question is a vehement “yes!” We believe that God—who uses the weak to shame the strong (cf. 1 Cor 1:27) and who casts down the mighty but lifts up the lowly (cf. Luke 1:51)—chose Mary, a lowly virgin from Nazareth, to be the mother of Jesus and has crowned her as heaven’s most powerful intercessor. This same God, moreover, has also willed that, through the rosary (so bizarre and unsophisticated in the eyes of unbelievers), Mary should accomplish many mighty deeds and be a source of aid for Christians in their every need.
The Church commemorates one such mighty deed today on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which marks the victory at the Battle of Lepanto on this day in 1571. Though outnumbered, Christian forces defeated a massive fleet of Ottoman invaders at sea, after Pope Pius V ordered that churches and monasteries keep vigil and urged all believers to pray the rosary for the welfare of Christendom. Pope Leo XIII recounts the illustrious event in his 1883 encyclical Supremi Apostolatus:
And thus Christ’s faithful warriors, prepared to sacrifice their life and blood for the salvation of their faith and their country, proceeded undauntedly to meet their foe near the Gulf of Corinth, while 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; for in the naval battle by the Echinades Islands, the Christian fleet gained a magnificent victory . . .
Pope Leo XIII saw that the late nineteenth century was no less threatened by calamities and dangers than the time of Lepanto. Confident that the Blessed Mother still stood ready to lend her aid, he hoped to spur Catholics to take up their rosaries once again and beg the favor of the Mother of God for the Church and the world.
Today’s feast, along with many other miracles attributed to the rosary, should likewise induce us to cling to those beads. Heeding the advice of many popes, saints, grandmothers, and bumper stickers, we ought to call upon her whose intercession has power, both yesterday and today, to overcome plagues, wars, heresies, and—yes—even to help America.
Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (used with permission)
Originally published in the Dominicana Journal
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