Thursday, October 6, 2016

On the Rosary

from: Octobri Mense, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Rosary (09-22-1891):

8. Moreover, we may well believe that the Queen of Heaven herself has granted an especial efficacy to this mode of supplication, for it was by her command and counsel that the devotion was begun and spread abroad by the holy Patriarch Dominic as a most potent weapon against the enemies of the faith at an epoch not, indeed, unlike our own, of great danger to our holy religion.
The heresy of the Albigenses had in effect, one while covertly, another while openly, overrun many countries, and this most vile off spring of the Manicheans, whose deadly errors it reproduced, were the cause in stirring up against the Church the most bitter animosity and a virulent persecution. There seemed to be no human hope of opposing this fanatical and most pernicious sect when timely succour came from on high through the instrument of Mary's Rosary.
Thus under the favour of the powerful Virgin, the glorious vanquisher of all heresies, the forces of the wicked were destroyed and dispersed, and faith issued forth unharmed and more shining than before. All manner of similar instances are widely recorded, and both ancient and modern history furnish remarkable proofs of nations saved from perils and winning benedictions therefrom.
There is another signal argument in favour of this devotion, inasmuch as from the very moment of its institution it was immediately encouraged and put into most frequent practice by all classes of society. In truth, the piety of the Christian people honours, by many titles and in multiform ways, the Divine Mother, who, alone most admirable among all creatures, shines resplendent in unspeakable glory. But this title of the Rosary, this mode of prayer which seems to contain, as it were, a final pledge of affection, and to sum up in itself the honour due to Our Lady, has always been highly cherished and widely used in private and in public, in homes and in families, in the meetings of confraternities, at the dedication of shrines, and in solemn processions; for there has seemed to be no better means of conducting sacred solemnities, or of obtaining protection and favours.
9. Nor may we permit to pass unnoticed the especial Providence of God displayed in this devotion; for through the lapse of time religious fervour has sometimes seemed to diminish in certain nations, and even this pious method of prayer has fallen into disuse; but piety and devotion have again flourished and become vigorous in a most marvellous manner, when, either through the grave situation of the commonwealth or through some pressing public necessity, general recourse has been had-more to this than to even other means of obtaining help - to the Rosary, whereby it has been restored to its place of honour on the altars. But there is no need to seek for examples of this power in a past age, since we have in the present a signal instance of it. In these times - so troublous (as we have said before) for the Church, and so heartrending for ourselves - set as We are by the Divine will at the helm, it is still given Us to note with admiration the great zeal and fervour with which Mary's Rosary is honoured and recited in every place and nation of the Catholic world. And this circumstance, which assuredly is to be attributed to the Divine action and direction upon men, rather than to the wisdom and efforts of individuals, strengthens and consoles Our heart, filling Us with great hope for the ultimate and most glorious triumph of the Church under the auspices of Mary.
10. But there are some who, whilst they honestly agree with what We have said, yet because their hopes - especially as regard the peace and tranquillity of the Church - have not yet been fulfilled, nay, rather because troubles seem to augment, have ceased to pray with diligence and fervour, in a fit of discouragement. Let these look into themselves and labour that the prayers they address to God may be made in a proper spirit, according to the precept of our Lord Jesus Christ. And if there be such, let them reflect how unworthy and how wrong it is to wish to assign to Almighty God the time and the manner of giving His assistance, since He owes nothing to us, and when He hearkens to our supplications and crowns our merits, He only crowns His own innumerable benefits;(8) and when He complies least with our wishes it is as a good father towards his children, having pity on their childishness and consulting their advantage. But as regards the prayers which we join to the suffrages of the heavenly citizens, and offer humbly to God to obtain His mercy for the Church, they are always favourably received and heard, and either obtain for the Church great and imperishable benefits, or their influence is temporarily withheld for a time of greater need. In truth, to these supplications is added an immense weight and grace - the prayers and merits of Christ Our Lord, Who has loved the Church and has delivered Himself up for her to sanctify her . . . so that He should be glorified in her.(9) He is her Sovereign Head, holy, innocent, always living to make intercession for us, on whose prayers and supplication we can always by divine authority rely. As for what concerns the exterior and temporal prosperity of the Church, it is evident that she has to cope with most malicious and powerful adversaries. Too often has she suffered at their hands the abolition of her rights, the diminution and oppression of her liberties, scorn and affronts to her authority, and every conceivable outrage. And if in their wickedness her enemies have not accomplished all the injury they had resolved upon and striven to do, they nevertheless seem to go on unchecked. But, despite them the Church, amidst all these conflicts, will always stand out and increase in greatness and glory. Nor can human reason rightly understand why evil, apparently so dominant, should yet be so restricted as regards its results; whilst the Church, driven into straits, comes forth glorious and triumphant. And she ever remains more steadfast in virtue because she draws men to the acquisition of the ultimate good. And since this is her mission, her prayers must have much power to effect the end and purpose of God's providential and merciful designs towards men. Thus, when men pray with and through the Church, they at length obtain what Almighty God has designed from all eternity to bestow upon mankind.(10) The subtlety of the human intelligence fails now to grasp the high designs of Providence; but the time will come when, through the goodness of God, causes and effects will be made clear, and the marvellous power and utility of prayer will be shown forth. Then it will be seen how many in the midst of a corrupt age have kept themselves pure and inviolate from all concupiscence of the flesh and the spirit, working out their sanctification in the fear of God;(11) how others, when exposed to the danger of temptation, have without delay restrained themselves gaining new strength for virtue from the peril itself; how others, having fallen, have been seized with the ardent desire to be restored to the embraces of a compassionate God. Therefore, with these reflections before them, We beseech all again and again not to yield to the deceits of the old enemy, nor for any cause whatsoever to cease from the duty of prayer. Let their prayers be persevering, let them pray without intermission; let their first care be to supplicate for the sovereign good - the eternal salvation of the whole world, and the safety of the Church. Then they may ask from God other benefits for the use and comfort of life, returning thanks always, whether their desires are granted or refused, as to a most indulgent father. Finally, may they converse with God with the greatest piety and devotion according to the example of the Saints, and that of our Most Holy Master and Redeemer, with great cries and tears.(12)
8) S. August. Epi CXCIV al 106 Sixtum, c. v., n. 19.
9) Eph 5.25-27.
10) S. Th. II-II, q LXXXIII, a. 2, ex S. G. reg. M.
11) 2 Cor 7.1.
12) Heb 5.7.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Reminder: First Saturday Devotion is Tomorrow!

Dear Friend of Our Lady,
 
    I’ll be very quick – DON’T FORGET the Fatima Saturday devotion tomorrow!
 
    Receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and of course, spend 15 minutes with Our Lady, thinking prayerfully (meditating) on the mysteries of the rosary.
 
    Finally, please get to Confession within 8 days, as Mary asked at Fatima.
 
    Then you can rest assured that once again you have made a huge investment in your eternal salvation!
 
    Haven’t started your Five First Saturdays devotion yet?
 
    Well, there is no time like the present – click here and see what all the excitement is about!
 
    In a nutshell: Our Lady of Fatima revealed Heaven’s solution for the times we live in and is asking for 5 days (first Saturdays of 5 consecutive months) in exchange for Eternity!
 
    Not a bad deal, my friend.
 
    Be sure to take Our Lady up on it.
 
I remain your friend,
In Jesus and Mary,
 
 
Robert E. Ritchie
 
Robert E. Ritchie
America Needs Fatima
www.anf.org
 
PS:  Click here to read all about the Five First Saturday devotion. The forgotten part of the Fatima message!
 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Rosary, the Devil and the Queen

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, he was known for his powerful, moving sermons on the Rosary, which led people to adopt this devotion to their great benefit.
Furiously jealous of the holy man’s success with souls, the devil began to so torture Thomas that he fell sick, and was so ill for so long that the doctors gave up on saving his life.
One night, when the poor man thought he was near death, the devil appeared to him in a hideous form, coward that he is, seeking to frighten Thomas into despair.
But, making an effort, the good priest turned to a beautiful picture of Our Lady near his bed crying out with all his heart and strength:
“Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!”
No sooner had he pronounced these words, the picture came alive and extending her hand, the heavenly Lady laid it reassuringly on the priest’s arm, saying:
“Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you. Get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you did before. I promise to shield and protect you from your enemies.”
No sooner had Our Lady pronounced these words, than the devil fled in a hurry. Getting up, Thomas found that he was perfectly healed.
Thanking the Blessed Mother with tears of joy, Blessed Thomas again went about preaching the Holy Rosary, now with renewed favor and gumption, and his apostolate and his sermons were enormously successful.
St. Louis the Montfort concludes this story saying, “Our lady not only blesses those who say her Rosary, but also abundantly rewards those who, by their example, inspire others to say it as well.”

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Origin of the Holy Rosary


Second Rose, from the Secret of the Rosary, by Saint Louis de Montfort

Rosary Guide Booklet Banner

Since the Holy Rosary is composed, principally and in substance, of the Prayer of Christ and the Angelic Salutation, that is, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, it was without doubt the first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful and has been in use all through the centuries from the time of the Apostles and disciples down to the present.
But it was only in the year 1214, however, that Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by Saint Dominic who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.
I will tell you the story of how he received it, which is found in the very well-known book "De Dignitate Psalterii" by Blessed Alan de la Roche.
Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma.
At this point Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said:
"Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"
"Oh, my Lady," answered Saint Dominic, "you know far better than I do because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation."
Then Our Lady replied:
"I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."
So he arose, comforted, and burning with zeal, for the conversion of the people in that district he made straight for the Cathedral. At once unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together and Saint Dominic began to preach.
At the very beginning of his sermon an appalling storm broke, out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that all were very much afraid. Even greater was their fear when looking at a picture of Our Lady exposed in a prominent place they saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God's vengeance upon them if they failed to be converted, to amend their lives, and seek the protection of the Holy Mother of God.
God wished, by means of these supernatural phenomena, to spread the new devotion of the Holy Rosary and to make it more widely known.
At last, at the prayer of Saint Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went on preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and value of the Holy Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their false beliefs. In a very short time a great improvement was seen in the town; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits.

Monday, April 11, 2016

“Why Don’t They Tell us These Things”

JacintaIt often happens that while traveling with the Fatima statue we get into conversations with host families about the Fatima message. Such was the case one evening in Atlanta, Georgia while chatting with one father and his 12 year old daughter, Lillie.

The last time I had seen this girl was close to five years ago. In the interim, she has developed into a lovely respectful young lady with an artistic talent matched by her keen desire for knowledge.
The subject that evening was children who had attained sanctity. This naturally led to a conversation about the heroic sacrifices of the youngest seer at Fatima, Blessed Jacinta Marto.  I never tire of telling the story of her heroism that was so well recounted by William Thomas Walsh in his masterful book, Our Lady of Fatima.
One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta’s final illness with the dreaded flu of the time and her death — alone in a hospital far from home. It was actually there in the hospital that she had a private apparition in which Our Lady asked her if she would undergo such suffering for poor sinners. Jacinta unhesitatingly accepted but in her weak moments, she would break down in tears as she contemplated her situation. She was, after all, only 8 years old, dying in a strange hospital, far away from her mother and Lucia, whom she loved so much. 
However, she had an iron will and she would regain her composure the minute she remembered the good she was capable of doing for poor sinners by her suffering. Immediately she would wipe away her tears and offer up her suffering.

Telling this story, I noticed that Lillie was paying close attention absorbing it in all its details. Realizing this, I made it a point not to leave out any detail in the narration of the life of this heroic little girl. When I finished, Lillie asked a simple yet pungent question: “Why don’t they tell us these things?”

“That is a very good question,” I responded.

And although I don’t know if I know the answer, one thing I do know: young people are starving for marvelous examples like that of Blessed Jacinta Marto.
Written by Norman Fulkerson

Invitation to learn more about Blessed Jacinta Marto:

Jacinta’s Story is the Fatima story imaginatively told through the eyes of Blessed Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three seers to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917 to deliver the most important message of our times. The book is hardbound and richly illustrated by author Andrea F. Phillips.
Jacinta’s Story contains many vital lessons for children—why it is so important that they pray the Rosary, obey their parents and follow the difficult but rewarding road of virtue in this life.
Visit our On-Line store to place your book order: http://store.tfp.org

Saturday, March 12, 2016

How do we love God?

It is certain that the love of God
does not consist in
this sweetness and tenderness which we for the most part desire;
but rather in serving Him
in justice, fortitude, and humility.
His Majesty seeks and loves courageous souls.

St. Teresa of Avila