Dear brothers and sisters, I am so happy that we maintain a strong spiritual bond with our brothers and sisters at Casa Hogar in Peru. Not only is there the strong financial support we provide through the Fr. Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild, but also there is our strong union through the Rosary promotion that is offered by the boys and girls who make the rosaries that I am happy to give away at our Confirmation ceremonies across the Diocese. As young people in our Diocese receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are drawn more deeply into the mystery of love shown to us in the consolation of our meditation on the life of Grace offered to us in the recitation of the Rosary.
I remind our young people (and all those who attend our Confirmation ceremonies) that the Rosary is not “junk jewelry,” nor is it an “accessory,” for dead bodies. Praying the Rosary unites us with the Biblical realities of our Blessed Lord’s life among us, and offers us the opportunities to meditate on those realities with our Blessed Mother. This is a strong part of the devotional life of the Church. Devotion helps us to energize our faith with a personal sense of attachment to Jesus and Mary, in this case; but devotion energizes us with strength to enter more deeply into personal relationship with each of the Members of the Blessed Trinity and with all the saints.
Disassembling our prayer through the mediations of the Rosary, we come to a deeper awareness of our relationship with Jesus and Mary and enter into the reality of their life and their genuine human experiences that lead us more predictably to their sharing of divine experiences with us as well.
Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Ignatius of Loyola were great champions of imaginative prayer, or the opening of the mind and heart to the contemplation of a Scriptural passage by placing oneself in its midst as a participant. In Francis’ case, one of the most stirring examples is the formation of the Christmas crib—or Francis’ “real life” version of his imaginative prayer about the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord. For Ignatius, we have the “Spiritual Exercises” used by countless men and women for retreats over the years; or the “Consciousness Examen,” trusted as a means of daily prayer and personal “self-correction” for one’s daily life. These forms of prayer bring us into the area of contemplation and meditation used by saints over the centuries of active and genuine faith.
October is traditionally held as the “Month of the Rosary,” particularly noting the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on 7 October (established by His Holiness Pope Pius V after the victory of Christian forces in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571) as the epicenter of the devotion. I must further remind you once again, that the Church celebrates 2017 as the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Fatima. Both of these events are very significant for Christian and world civilizations for without the victory at Lepanto and the warnings given at Fatima—both done under active involvement of Our Blessed Lady, and both accomplished by the praying of the rosary by virtue of Her direct instruction—the world, as we know it, would be an extraordinarily different place!
Battles fought hundreds of years ago, apparitions of Mary, happening a hundred years ago, do not seem to phase us much these days; nevertheless, there is a strange nexus in the power of evil and the lives of all humanity, that seems to bubble and hiss in the cauldron of contemporary society threatening once again and with even greater ferocity to spill out, scalding and destroying our fragile lives.
I urge you, my dear brothers and sisters, pray the Rosary! Be active in your devotion to the Mother of God. She has been involved—over centuries—in the affairs of humanity and has warned us about so many aspects of our silliness and empty pursuits. She has been right—everytime!