Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Holy Rosary: A sling for Christians in the spiritual battle

“God has established not just one enmity but ‘enmities’, and not only between Mary and Satan but between her race and his race. That is, God has put enmities, antipathies and hatreds between the true children and servants of the Blessed Virgin and the children and slaves of the devil. They have no love and no sympathy for each other. The children of Belial, the slaves of Satan, the friends of the world, - for they are all one and the same - have always persecuted and will persecute more than ever in the future those who belong to the Blessed Virgin, just as Cain of old persecuted his brother Abel, and Esau his brother Jacob. These are the types of the wicked and of the just. But the humble Mary will always triumph over Satan, the proud one, and so great will be her victory that she will crush his head, the very seat of his pride. She will unmask his serpent's cunning and expose his wicked plots. She will scatter to the winds his devilish plans and to the end of time will keep her faithful servants safe from his cruel claws.

But Mary's power over the evil spirits will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lie in wait for her heel, that is, for her humble servants and her poor children whom she will rouse to fight against him. In the eyes of the world they will be little and poor and, like the heel, lowly in the eyes of all, down-trodden and crushed as is the heel by the other parts of the body. But in compensation for this they will be rich in God's graces, which will be abundantly bestowed on them by Mary. They will be great and exalted before God in holiness. They will be superior to all creatures by their great zeal and so strongly will they be supported by divine assistance that, in union with Mary, they will crush the head of Satan with their heel, that is, their humility, and bring victory to Jesus Christ.” (Treatise On True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin, 54).

I have always viewed the sling which David used to slay Goliath as a harbinger, a sort of figure or sign pointing to the Holy Rosary which would be given to the faithful by Our Lady and by which they would “crush the head of Satan” – “the very seat of his pride” as Montfort puts it. We read in 1 Samuel 17:

“With his shield-bearer marching before him, the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David. When he had sized David up, and seen that he was youthful and ruddy, and handsome in appearance, he held him in contempt. The Philistine said to David, ‘Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?’ Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods and said to him, ‘Come here to me, and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.’ David answered him: ‘You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the Lord shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will leave your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field; thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God. All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he shall deliver you into our hands’…David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground. Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone..” (1 Samuel 17: 41-47, 49-50).

The Devil is the adversary of faithful Christians. And, like Goliath, he seems to cast a big shadow. But when we approach him on the battlefield [“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens,” Eph 6:12] we have our own sling as a weapon – the Holy Rosary. And every bead, every Hail Mary prayerfully recited, is hurled as a weapon against the Devil’s head, the seat of his pride. Therefore, Montfort exhorts us, “So arm yourself with the arms of God, with the holy Rosary, and you will crush the devil’s head and stand firm in the face of all his temptations. That is why even a pair of rosary beads is so terrible to the devil, and why the saints have used them to fetter him and drive him from the bodies of those who were possessed.” (The Secret of the Holy Rosary, 85).
Related reading here.


Michael Cole said...

The Catechism (2679) says that: "Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes,for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope."

Outside of the Mass, the Rosary is the most powerful prayer. All of Hell trembles in fear every time the words "Hail Mary" are spoken.

Priests should encourage the recitation of the Rosary and the wearing of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

ACatholicinClinton said...

The following text of Father Gabriel Amorth, chief exorcist of the Vatican, is taken from the March-April, 2003 issue of “Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace”:

The recent Apostolic Letter of John Paul II, "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" (released last October 16) encourages all Christians to turn back to the prayer strongly recommended both by the latest Pontiffs and recent Marian apparitions. Paul VI called the Rosary a compendium of the Gospel. To make it more complete, John Paul II added the 'mysteries of light' to cover Jesus' public life. Padre Pio called the Rosary beads a weapon of extraordinary power against Satan.

One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: "Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end." The secret that makes this prayer so effective is that the Rosary is both prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Father, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Holy Trinity, and is a meditation centred on Christ.

Today more than ever, the world is in need of prayer and meditation. It is in need of prayer because people have forgotten God, and without God the world has put itself on the edge of a precipice. This is why in Her messages, Our Lady insists so much on prayer. Without God's help, Satan wins. The world is also in need of meditation because if the great Christian truths are forgotten, souls become void. This void is grabbed up by the enemy, and he fills it with his lies. And today we see the results with widespread belief in superstition and occultism.

The most obvious danger for our society today is the downfall of the family. The rhythm of today's world has broken the family unity. Little time is spent together, and even when the family is together, its members don't speak because the television speaks. Where are the families which recite the Rosary together in the evenings? Pope Pius XII insisted in his own time: “If you pray the Rosary together, you will experience peace in your families; you will get on together.” “The family that prays together, stays together,” would say Father Peyton, the untiring apostle of the family Rosary. “Satan wants war,” Mary said one day in Medjugorje. Well, the Rosary is the weapon which is able to guarantee peace for the world, because it is a prayer and a form of meditation able to transform hearts and defeat the enemy.

Wendy said...

"This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven, has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy spread abroad, or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies. Ancient and modern history, and the more sacred annals of the Church, bear witness to public and private supplications addressed to the Mother of God, to the help She has granted in return, and to the peace and tranquility which She had obtained from God. Hence Her illustrious titles of helper, consoler, mighty in war, victorious, and peace-giver. And amongst these is specially to be commemorated that familiar title derived from the Rosary by which the signal benefits She has gained for the whole of Christendom have been solemnly perpetuated."

That's from Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Letter on the Rosary titled "Supremi Apostolatus Officio" - 1883.

More than ever, we must pray the Rosary. And especially as a family. Remember Father Patrick Peyton and his Family Rosary Crusade? The family that prays together stays together.

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