Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paul Harvey, dirt roads and Heaven's peace plan

I grew up listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. I always appreciated his genteel style and his dignified approach to the news and talk radio in general. I was really saddened when he died recently. His death represents more of a loss than I think most people realize. For Paul Harvey was the very epitome of civility. And our age is lacking in civility. This is why we have become so alienated from one another. So angry. So lacking in peace. We have exchanged a relationship with Christ Jesus and our neighbor for technological progress and material things.

Some years ago, Paul Harvey addressed this in a most beautiful way with a broadcast entitled "Dirt Roads":

"What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved.
There’s not a problem in America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency that wouldn’t be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character.

People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride. That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home…a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along. There was less crime in our streets before they were paved. Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they’d be welcomed by five barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun. And there were no drive by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse! People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous, they didn’t tailgate by riding the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust & bust your windshield with rocks. Dirt Roads taught patience.

Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk you walked to the barn for your milk. For your mail, you walked to the mail box. What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rode on Daddy’s shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap. Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole. At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to hitch up a team and pull them out. Usually you got a dollar…always you got a new friend…at the end of a Dirt Road!"

We have indeed created such a mess haven't we? Everything across our society is crumbling: The economy, government, our educational system, churches, families. But there is a way out from underneath our problems, a solution which has gone untried for so long:

“Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world . . . for she alone can save it.” (Our Lady—July 13, 1917)

God has placed peace in her hands, and it is from the Immaculate Heart that men must ask it." (Jacinta—shortly before her death)

There you have it. Heaven's stimulus package for peace! Most, unfortunately, will scoff at such an idea. "Absurd" some will say. "Simplistic" still others will say. But I have seen up close the transforming power of the Holy Rosary and watched with amazement as those who prayed it with sincerity experienced changed lives. I have seen the Holy Rosary alter events with a supernatural power which must be experienced to be believed and appreciated.

We can return to simplicity of life and holiness. We don't have to be alienated from Christ Jesus and our neighbor. We can change the human heart through prayerful recitation of the Rosary. Why do we find this so difficult to accept? Mostly because we are too proud and believe too much in our own abilities.

The Rosary has the power not only to restore relationships and heal a broken world where neighbor is alienated from neighbor. It has the power to shape our will so that we may all the more easily abandon it to the Divine Will. I prayed so many Rosaries as my father was dying at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester. I prayed day and night. Yes, my father still died. Yes, his passing filled me with sadness. But when Our Lady entered my father's hospital room to bring him back home, the peace I experienced was something words will never be able to convey.

Our roads may be paved now. But there is a way back to simplicity of life and holiness. It will only be by holding our Heavenly Mother's hand and walking with her that we will recover what we have lost: "for never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help or sought her intercession was left unaided." And that, as Paul Harvey would have said is "the rest of the story."

Amen and Good Day!


Jacky S. said...

Your post really touched me. Thank you. And what you say about the rosary being the instrument of peace is so true. Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. knew this. He said, "The family that prays together stays together." By the grace of God, hearts will be moved to return to the Church and a sacramental life through praying the rosary. We need to get the word out and call people to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!

God bless you.

Ann Duclos said...

Our Lady brings us to her Son Jesus without Whom we can do nothing. Ad Jesus per Mariam. Jacky, Father Peyton was so right. It's prayer which acts as the "glue" that holds our families and society together. We need to stop thinking that WE can solve our own problems and get back to the basics. Paul is right....this IS the way out.

ShrewsburyCatholic said...


"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.

We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good, but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!"

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, ‘The Rest of the Story,’ and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord’s help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called ‘One nation under God.’

I've always enjoyed that prayer. I hope your readers will share it with others.

Michael Cole said...

Great post Paul. Pope Benedict XVI said that: "The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic manner - not mechanically and superficially, but profoundly - brings peace and reconciliation. It contains the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the heart of each Hail Mary."

Why then aren't Catholics (and especially priests) promoting the Rosary as a means to peace and reconciliation? Because many have really lost their faith in the supernatural realities.

Let's all renew our efforts at promoting the Rosary to everyone who will listen. Things are going from bad to worse. We need the Rosary more than ever.

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