the rosary combines vocal and mental prayer



             “The Rosary is a prayer that always accompanies me” (Pope Francis)

When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Mother Teresa in an apparition, as testified to by Saint Mother Teresa herself, she told Mother Teresa to teach families to say the rosary (Come Be My Light, Doubleday, p. 99). When Mary appeared in Lourdes and then at Fatima, she came wearing a rosary. Why the importance of the rosary? Because without prayer it is very difficult to overcome the world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri: “Those who pray are certainly  saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned” (no. 2744). The “world” wants to drown out our desire for God: to make God irrelevant. As one person once said, “who needs God when you have a Cadillac?” The world places a high priority on things rather than God. Go to a mall: where is God to be found?

To remedy this downward pull of worldliness, we need prayer – especially prayer that is concentrated on the life of Christ, from his birth to his resurrection. The rosary accomplishes this need in a powerful way because it joins our sometimes very weak prayers to those of the Blessed Virgin whom Jesus loves with the most indescribable of loves. Mary presents our prayers to the Lord in a way that makes those prayers very pleasing to Him.

The great spiritual writer of the 19th century, F.W. Faber, whom The Catholic Encyclopedia calls “a master” of the mystical life, says in one of his books that “I cannot conceive a man as being spiritual who does not habitually say the rosary” (Growth in Holiness), and Faber was a convert. He justifies this strong statement by saying that if we are going to persevere in the faith we need to perpetually keep Mary and Jesus before us: and that is what the rosary does. He mentions that the rosary combines vocal and mental prayer, presumably meaning that it strengthens our interior lives and aids in contemplating the presence of God. It is Mary’ prayer: it is a prayer, as Faber states, that has been strongly sanctioned by the Church and the saints.

There is a “strange seduction” in the world that draws our hearts away from the one true good that we all need: God. The rosary is the antidote to this deception.  As Deacon Marc once said, the rosary repels evil and promotes virtue. The Blessed Virgin always has our best interests in mind, to wit: prayer and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We should pray the rosary with great love and confidence: it is a devotion very dear to our Lord’s heart.

My friend: say the rosary as often as possible. Devotion to Mary is the “safety of souls.”

“All for Jesus,”

Tom (see note below regarding the miraculous image used in this post)

P.S. In notes published after his death, the following was said by Father Faber: “In consequence of all these blessings [from saying the Rosary], the devil makes the Rosary a special subject of temptations, weariness, contempt, and the like. Persevere in it, and it will itself be the chain of your own final perseverance.” He also calls the rosary “an instrument of power.”  Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, p. 308

Image: Black Madonna of Częstochowa (Public Domain, U.S.A.). Pope Francis prayed in front of this famous icon during his recent World Youth Day visit to Poland in July of 2016. According to Joan Carroll Cruz, “the miracles attribited to Our Lady of Czestochowa are numerable and spectacular.” When my daughter Bridget Mulcahy visited the image in question at the Jasna Gora Monastery in Poland (during her WYD pilgrimage) she took the following photograph of the “wall of crutches” there which speaks to the miraculous, healing intercession of Our Lady of Czesochowa. Thanks Bridget!


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