Saturday, July 30, 2011
PREDESTINATE SOULS, you who are of God, cut yourselves adrift from those who are damning themselves by their impious lives, laziness and lack of devotion----and, without delay, recite often your Rosary, with faith, with humility, with confidence and with perseverance.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, told us to follow His example and to pray always----because of our endless need of prayer, the darkness of our minds, our ignorance and weakness and because of the strength and number of our enemies. Anyone who really gives heed to this Our Master's commandment will surely not be satisfied with saying the Rosary once a year (as the Perpetual Members do) or once a week (like the Ordinary Members) but will say it every day (as a member of the Daily Rosary) and will never fail in this----even though the only obligation he has is that of saving his own soul.
1. "We ought always to pray and not to faint."  These are the eternal words of our Blessed Lord Himself. And we must believe His words and abide by them if we do not want to be damned. You can understand them in any way you like, as long as you do not interpret them as the world does and only observe them in a worldly way.
Our Lord gave us the true explanation of His words----by means of the example He left us. "I have given you an example that as I have done to you, so you do also."  And "He passed the whole night in the prayer of God."  As though His days were not long enough, He used to spend the night in prayer. Over and over again He said to His Apostles: "Watch ye and pray";  the flesh is weak, temptation is everywhere and always around you. If you do not keep up your prayers, you shall fall . . . And because some of them evidently thought that these words of Our Lord constituted a counsel only they completely missed their point. This is why they fell into temptation and sin, even though they were in the company of Jesus Christ.
Dear Rosary Confraternity members, if you want to lead a fashionable life and belong to the world----by this I mean if you do not mind falling into mortal sin from time to time and then going to Confession, and if you wish to avoid conspicuous sins which the world considers vile and yet at the same time commit "respectable sins"----then, of course, there is no need for you to say so many prayers and Rosaries. You only need to do very little to be "respectable": a tiny prayer at night and morning, an occasional Rosary which may be given to you for your penance, a few decades of Hail Marys said on your Rosary (but haphazardly and without concentration) when it suits your fancy to say them----this is quite enough. If you did less, you might be branded as a freethinker or a profligate; if you did more, you would be eccentric and a fanatic. But if you want to lead a true Christian life and genuinely want to save your soul and walk in the saints' footsteps and never, never, fall into mortal sin----if you wish to break Satan's traps and divert his flaming darts, you must always pray as Our Lord taught and commanded you to do.
If you really have this wish at heart, then you must at least say your Rosary or the equivalent, every day. I have said "at least" because probably all that you will accomplish through your Rosary will be to avoid mortal sin and to overcome temptation. This is because you are exposed to the strong current of the world's wickedness by which many a strong soul is swept away; you are in the midst of the thick, clinging darkness which often blinds even the most enlightened souls; you are surrounded by evil spirits who being more experienced than ever and knowing that their time is short are more cunning and more effective in tempting you.
It will indeed be a marvel of grace wrought by the Most Holy Rosary if you manage to keep out of the clutches of the world, the devil and the flesh and avoid mortal sin and gain Heaven! If you do not want to believe me, at least learn from your own experience. I should like to ask you if, when you were in the habit of saying no more prayers than people usually say in the world and saying them the way they usually say them, you were able to avoid serious faults and sins that were grievous but which seemed nothing much to you in your blindness. Now at last you must wake up, and if you want to live and die without sin, at least mortal sin, pray unceasingly; say your Rosary every day as members always used to do in the early days of the Confraternity.
When our Blessed Lady gave the Holy Rosary to Saint Dominic she ordered him to say it every day and to get others to say it daily. Saint Dominic never let anyone join the Confraternity unless he were fully determined to say it every day. If today people are allowed to be Ordinary Members by saying the Rosary merely once a week, it is because fervor has dwindled, and charity has grown cold. You get what you can out of one who is poor in prayer. "It was not thus in the beginning."
Three things must be stressed here; the first is that if you want to join the Confraternity of the Daily Rosary and share in the prayers and merits of its members, it is not enough to be enrolled in the Ordinary Rosary or just to make a resolution to say it every day; as well as doing this you must give your name to those who have the power to enroll you in it. It is also a very good thing to go to Confession and Holy Communion especially for this intention. The reason for this is that the Ordinary Rosary Membership does not include that of the Daily Rosary, but this latter does include the former.
The second point I want to make is that, absolutely speaking, it is not even a venial sin to fail to say the Rosary every day, or once a week, or even once a year.
The third point is that whenever illness, or work that you have performed out of obedience to a lawful superior or some real necessity, or even involuntary forgetfulness has prevented you from saying your Rosary, you do not forfeit your share in the merits and your participation in the Rosaries of the other Confraternity members. So, absolutely speaking, you are under no obligation to say two Rosaries the next day to make up for the one you missed, as I understand it, through no fault of your own. If, however, when you are ill, your sickness is such that you are still able to say part of your Rosary, you must say that part.
"Blessed are (those) who stand before thee always."  "Happy they who dwell in your house! Continually they praise you."  "Oh, dear Lord Jesus, blessed are the brothers and sisters of the Daily Rosary Confraternity who are in Thy presence every day----in Thy little home at Nazareth, at the foot of Thy Cross on Calvary, and around Thy throne in Heaven, so that they may meditate and contemplate Thy Joyous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. How happy they are on earth because of the wonderful graces that Thou dost vouchsafe to them, and how blessed they shall be in Heaven where they will praise Thee in a very special way----for ever and ever!"
2. The Rosary should be said with faith----for our Blessed Lord said "Believe that you shall receive; and they shall come unto you."  If you believe that you will receive what you ask from the hands of Almighty God, He will grant your petitions. He will say to you: "As thou hast believed, so be it done to thee."  "If any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God----but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering."  If anyone needs wisdom, let him ask God with faith, and without hesitating, and through his Rosary----and what he asks shall be given him.
3. Thirdly, we must pray with humility, like the publican; he was kneeling on the ground----on both knees----not on one knee as proud and worldly people do, or with one knee on the bench in front of him. He was at the back of the Church and not in the sanctuary as the Pharisee was; his eyes were cast down, as he dared not look up to Heaven; he did not hold his head up proudly and look about him like the Pharisee. He beat his breast, confessing his sins and asking forgiveness: "Be merciful to me a sinner"  and he was not in the least like the Pharisee who boasted of his good works and who despised others in his prayers. Do not imitate the pride of the Pharisee whose prayer only hardened his heart and increased his guilt; imitate rather the humility of the Publican whose prayer obtained for him the remission of his sins.
You should be very careful not to do anything out of the ordinary nor to ask nor even wish for knowledge of extraordinary things, visions, revelations or other miraculous graces which Almighty God has occasionally given to a few of the Saints while they were reciting the Rosary. "Faith alone suffices": faith alone is quite enough for us now that the Holy Gospels and all the devotions and pious practices are firmly established.
Even if you suffer from dryness of soul, boredom and interior discouragement, never give up even the least little bit of your Rosary----for this would be a sure sign of pride and faithlessness. On the contrary, like a real champion of Jesus and Mary, you should say your Our Fathers and Hail Marys quite drily if you have to, without seeing, hearing or feeling any consolation whatsoever, and concentrating as best you can on the mysteries. You ought not to look for candy or jam to eat with your daily bread, as children do----but you should even say your Rosary more slowly sometimes when you particularly find it hard to say. Do this to imitate Our Lord more perfectly in His agony in the garden: "Being in an agony, He prayed the longer,"  so that what was said of Our Lord (when He was in His agony of prayer) may be said of you too: He prayed even longer.
4. Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray. The Eternal Father yearns for nothing so much as to share the life-giving waters of His grace and mercy with us. He is entreating us: "All you that thirst, come to the waters . . ."  This means "Come and drink of My spring through prayer," and when we do not pray to Him He sorrowfully says that we are forsaking Him: "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water." 
We make Our Lord happy when we ask Him for graces and if we do not ask, He makes a loving complaint: "Hitherto you have not asked anything . . . ask and you shall receive . . . seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you." 
Furthermore, to give us more confidence in praying to Him, He has bound Himself by a promise: that His Eternal Father would grant us everything that we ask in His name.
1. Luke 18:1.
2. John 13:15.
3. Luke 6:12.
4. Matt. 26:41.
5. 3 Kings 10:8.
6. Ps. 83:5.
7. Mark 11 :24.
8. Matt. 8:13.
9. James 1:5, 6.
10. Luke 18:13.
11. Luke 22:43.
12. Isaias 54:1.
13. Jeremias 2:13.
14. John 16:24 and Matt. 7:7.
at 11:43 PM
Saturday, July 23, 2011
THERE ARE SEVERAL ways of saying the Holy Rosary, but that which gives Almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the Rosary publicly in two groups.
Almighty God is very pleased to have people gathered together in prayer; the angels and the blessed unite to praise Him unceasingly. The just on earth in several communities join in communal prayer night and day. Our Blessed Lord expressly recommended common prayer to His Apostles and disciples and promised that whenever two or three were gathered together in His name He would be there in the midst of them. (Cf. Matt. 18:20)
What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst! And the only thing we have to do to get Him to come is to say the Rosary in a group.  This is why the early Christians often gathered together to pray in spite of all the Roman Emperor's persecutions and the fact that assemblies were forbidden. They preferred to risk the danger of death rather than to miss their gatherings, at which Our Lord was present.
This way of praying is of the greatest benefit to our souls because:
1. Normally our minds are far more alert during public prayer than they are when we pray alone.
2. When we pray in common, the prayer of each one belongs to us all and these make but one great prayer together, so that if one person is not praying well, someone else in the same gathering who prays better may make up for his deficiency. In this way those who are strong uphold the weak, those who are fervent inspire the lukewarm, the rich enrich the poor, the bad are counted as good. How can a measure of cockle be sold? This can be done very easily by mixing it up with four or five barrels of good wheat.
3. Somebody who says his Rosary alone only gains the merit of one Rosary, but if he says it together with thirty other people he gains the merit of thirty Rosaries. This is the law of public prayer. How profitable, how advantageous this is!
4. Urban VIII, who was very pleased to see how devotion to the Holy Rosary had spread in Rome and how it was being said in two groups or choirs, particularly at the convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, attached one hundred days' extra indulgence, toties quoties, whenever the Rosary was said in two choirs. This was set out in his brief "Ad perpetuam rei memoriam," written in the year 1626. So every time you say the Rosary in two groups you gain one hundred days' extra indulgence.
S. Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer to appease the anger of God and call down His Mercy and Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has always advocated public prayer in times of public tragedy and suffering.
In his bull on the Rosary, Pope Gregory XIII says very clearly that we must believe (on pious faith) that the public prayers and processions of members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary were largely responsible for the great victory over the Turkish navy at Lepanto which Almighty God granted to Christians on the first Sunday of October, 1571.
When King Louis the Just, of blessed memory, was besieging La Rochelle, where the revolutionary heretics had their stronghold, he wrote to his mother to beg her to have public prayers offered for a victorious outcome. The Queen-Mother decided to have the Rosary recited publicly in Paris in the Dominican Church of Faubourg Saint Honore and this was done by the Archbishop of Paris. It was begun on May 20th, 1628.
Both the Queen-Mother and the reigning Queen attended the recitation of the Rosary together with the Duke of Orleans, Cardinal de La Rochefoucault and Cardinal de Berulle, as well as other prelates. The court turned out in full force as well as a large proportion of the general populace. The Archbishop used to read the meditations on the mysteries aloud and then begin the Our Fathers and Hail Marys of each decade while the congregation made up of religious and lay folk answered him. At the end of the Rosary a statue of the Blessed Mother was solemnly carried in procession while the Litany of Our Lady was sung.
This devotion was kept up with admirable fervor every Saturday and resulted in a manifest blessing from Heaven: for on All Saints' Day of the same year the king defeated the English at the island of Re and made his triumphant entry into La Rochelle. This goes to show the great power of public prayer.
Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it. It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken. "In union there is strength." Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls. So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God's anger, to draw down His grace and mercy upon us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his Angels more forcefully?
Dear Rosary Confraternity members, whether you live in town or in the country, near your parish Church or near a chapel, go there at least every evening (with the parish priest's approval, of course), together with all those who want to recite the Rosary in two choirs. If a Church or a chapel is not available say the Rosary together in your own or a neighbor's house. This is a holy practice which Almighty God, in His mercy, has set up in places where I have preached missions----to safeguard and increase the good brought about by these missions and to prevent further sin.
Before the Holy Rosary took root in these small towns and villages, dances and parties of debauchery went on all the time; dissoluteness, wantonness, blasphemy, quarrels and feuds flourished. One heard nothing but evil songs and double-meaning talk. But now nothing is heard but hymns and the chant of the Our Father and Hail Mary. The only gatherings to be seen are those of twenty, thirty or a hundred or more people who, at a fixed hour, sing Almighty God's praises just as religious do. There are even places where the Rosary is recited in common----five mysteries at a time----at three special times every day. What a blessing from Heaven this is!
Just as there are wicked people everywhere, do not expect to find that the place you live in is free of them; there will be some who will be certain to avoid coming to Church for the Rosary and they may even make fun of it and will probably do everything in their power to stop you from going, exerting their influence by bad example and bad language. But do not give up. As these wretched souls will have to be separated from God and Heaven for all eternity because their place will be in Hell, already here on earth they have to be separated from the company of Christ Our Lord and His servants and hand-maids.
1. St. Louis' message fits in beautifully with that of the great "Family Rosary Crusade" of today. M.B.
at 9:06 AM
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"
I WOULD like to add that the Rosary ought to be said reverently----that is to say it ought to be said, as far as possible, kneeling, with the hands joined and clasping the Rosary. However, if people are ill they can of course say it in bed or if they are traveling it can be said on foot----and if infirmity prevents people kneeling it can be said seated or standing. The Rosary can even be said at work, if people's daily duties keep them at their jobs, because the work of one's hands is not by any means always incompatible with vocal prayer.
Of course, since the soul has its limitations and can only do so much, when we are concentrating on manual work we cannot give our undivided attention to things of the spirit, such as prayer. But when we cannot do otherwise this kind of prayer is not without value in Our Lady's eyes and she rewards our good will more than our external actions.
I advise you to divide up your Rosary into three parts and to say each group of mysteries (five decades) at a different time of day. This is much better than saying the whole fifteen decades all at once.
If you cannot find the time to say a third part of the Rosary all at one time, say it gradually, a decade here and there. I am sure you can manage this; so that, in spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed.
Saint Francis de Sales sets us a very good example of faithfulness in this respect: once when he was quite exhausted from the visits of the day and remembered, towards midnight, that he had left a few decades of his Rosary unsaid, he would not go to bed until he had finished them on his knees, notwithstanding all the efforts of his secretary who saw he was tired and begged him to let the rest of his prayers go until the next day.
And do let me remind you just once more to copy the faithfulness, reverence and devotion of the holy friar who is mentioned in the Chronicles of Saint Francis and who always said his Rosary very devoutly and reverently before dinner. (I have told this story earlier in this book, THE SEVENTH ROSE.)
at 6:14 AM
Sunday, July 10, 2011
WHEN YOU have asked the Holy Spirit to help you pray well, put yourself for a moment in the presence of God and offer up the decades in the way that I am going to show you later. [See Chapter 50.]
Before beginning a decade, pause for a moment or two----depending upon how much time you have----and contemplate the mystery that you are about to honor in that decade. Always be sure to ask of Almighty God, by this mystery and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, one of the virtues that shines forth most in this mystery or one of which you stand in particular need.
Take great care to avoid the two pitfalls that most people fall into during the Rosary. The first is the danger of not asking for any graces at all, so that if some people were asked their Rosary intention they would not know what to say. So, whenever you say your Rosary, be sure to ask for some special grace. Ask God's help in cultivating one of the great Christian virtues or in overcoming one of your sins.
The second big fault a lot of people make when saying the Holy Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over as quickly as possible! This is because so many of us look upon the Rosary as a burden which is always heavier when we have not said it----especially if it is weighing on our conscience because we have promised to say it regularly or have been told to say it as a penance more or less against our will.
It is really pathetic to see how most people say the Holy Rosary----they say it astonishingly fast and mumble so that the words are not properly pronounced at all. We could not possibly expect anyone, even the most unimportant person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was a compliment and yet we expect Jesus and Mary to be pleased with it! Small wonder then that the most sacred prayers of our holy religion seem to bear no fruit, and that, after saying thousands of Rosaries, we are still no better than we were before! Dear Confraternity members, I beg of you to temper the speed which comes all too easily to you and pause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary. I have placed a cross at each pause, as you will see:
Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
At first, you may find it difficult to make these pauses because of your bad habit of saying prayers in a hurry; but a decade that you say recollectedIy in this way will be worth more than thousands of Rosaries said all in a rush----without any pauses or reflection.
Blessed Alan de la Roche and other writers (including Saint Robert Bellarmine) tell the story of how a good confessor advised three of his penitents, who happened to be sisters, to say the Rosary every day without fail for a whole year. This was so that they might make beautiful robes of glory for Our Lady out of their Rosaries. This was a secret that the priest had received from Heaven.
So the three sisters said the Rosary faithfully for a year and on the Feast of the Purification the Blessed Virgin appeared to them at night when they had retired. Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes were with her and she was wearing beautiful robes that shone and all over them "Hail Mary, full of grace" was blazoned in letters of gold. The Blessed Mother came to the eldest sister and said "I salute you, my daughter, because you have saluted me so often and beautifully. I want to thank you for the beautiful robes that you have made me." The two virgin Saints who were with Our Lady thanked her too and then all three of them vanished.
An hour later Our Lady and the same two Saints appeared, to them again, but this time she was wearing green which had no gold lettering and did not gleam. She went up to the second sister and thanked her for the robes she had made Her by saying her Rosary. Since this sister had seen Our Lady appear to the eldest much more magnificently dressed she asked Her the reason for the change. The Blessed Mother answered: "Your sister made Me more beautiful clothes because she has been saying her Rosary better than you."
About an hour after this she appeared to the youngest of the sisters wearing tattered and dirty rags. "My daughter" she said "I want to thank you for these clothes that you have made Me. The young girl was covered with shame and she called out: "Oh, my Queen, how could I have dressed you so badly! I beg you to forgive me. Please grant me a little more time to make you beautiful robes by saying my Rosary better ." Our Lady and the two Saints vanished, leaving the girl heartbroken. She told her confessor everything that had happened and he urged her to say her Rosary for another year and to say it more devoutly than ever.
At the end of this second year on the very same day of the Purification, Our Lady, clothed in a magnificent robe and attended by Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes, wearing crowns, appeared to them again in the evening. She said to them: "My daughters, I have come to tell you that you have earned Heaven at last----and you will all have the great joy of going there tomorrow." The three of them cried:
"Our hearts are all ready, dearest Queen; our hearts are all ready." Then the vision faded. That same night they became ill and so sent for their confessor who brought them the Last Sacraments and they thanked him for the holy practice that he had taught them. After Compline Our Lady appeared with a multitude of virgins and had the three sisters clothed in white gowns. While Angels were singing "Come, spouses of Jesus Christ, receive the crowns which have been prepared for you for all eternity," they departed from this life.
Some very deep truths can be learned from this story:
1. How important it is to have a good director who will counsel holy practices, especially that of the Most Holy Rosary;
2. How important it is to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly;
3. How kind and merciful the Blessed Mother is to those who are sorry for the past and are firmly resolved to do better;
4. And finally, how generous she is in rewarding us in life, death and eternity, for the little services that we render Her faithfully.
at 7:36 AM
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"
WHEN THE ROSARY is well said it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and it is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer. But it is also the hardest prayer to say well and to persevere in, owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words.
When we say the Little Office of Our Lady, or the Seven Penitential Psalms, or any prayers other than the Rosary, the variety of words and expressions keeps us alert, prevents our imagination from wandering, and so makes it easier for us to say them well. On the contrary, because of the constant repetition of the same Our Father and Hail Mary in the same unvarying form, it is difficult, while saying the Rosary, not to become wearied and inclined to sleep or to turn to other prayers that are more refreshing and less tedious. This goes to show that one needs much greater devotion to persevere in saying the Holy Rosary than in saying any other prayer, even the Psalms of David.
Our imagination, which is hardly still a minute, makes our task harder and then of course there is the devil who never tires of trying to distract us and keep us from praying. To what ends does not the evil one go against us while we are engaged in saying our Rosary against him.
Being human, we easily become tired and slipshod----but the devil makes these difficulties worse when we are saying the Rosary. Before we even begin he makes us feel bored, distracted or exhausted----and when we have started praying he oppresses us from all sides. And when, after much difficulty and many distractions, we have finished, he whispers to us: "What you have just said is worthless. It's useless for you to say the Rosary. You had better get on with other things. It's only a waste of time to pray without paying attention to what you're saying; half an hour's meditation or some spiritual reading would be much better. Tomorrow when you're not feeling so sluggish you'll pray better; don't finish your Rosary until tomorrow." By tricks of this kind the devil gets us to give up the Rosary altogether or else hardly say it at all, and we keep putting it off or else change to some other devotion.
Dear Rosary Confraternity members, do not listen to the devil, but be of good heart even if your imagination has been bothering you throughout your Rosary, filling your mind with all kinds of distracting thoughts----as long as you really tried hard to get rid of them as soon as they came. Always remember that the best Rosary is the one with the most merit, and there is more merit in praying when it is hard than when it is easy. Prayer is all the harder when it is (naturally speaking) distasteful to the soul and is filled with those annoying little ants and flies running about in your imagination, against your will, and scarcely allowing you the time to enjoy a little peace and appreciate the beauty of what you are saying.
Even if you have to fight distractions all through your whole Rosary be sure to fight well, arms in hand: that is to say, do not stop saying your Rosary even if it is hard to say and you have absolutely no sensible devotion. It is a terrible battle, I know, but one that is profitable to the faithful soul. If you put down your arms, that is, if you give up the Rosary, you will be admitting defeat and then, having won, the devil will leave you alone.
But at the Day of Judgment he will taunt you because of your faithlessness and lack of courage. "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater."  He who fights even the smallest distractions faithfully when he says even the very smallest prayer he will also be faithful in great things. We can be absolutely certain of this because the Holy Spirit has told us so.
So all of you, servants and handmaids of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who have made up your minds to say the Rosary every day, be of good heart. Do not let the flies (it is thus that I call the distractions that make war on you during prayer) make you cowardly abandon the company of Jesus and Mary, in whose holy presence you always are when saying the Rosary. In what follows I shall give you suggestions for getting rid of distractions.
at 6:10 AM