Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ireland's Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith

Coastline along the Slea Head Peninsula, the westernmost part of the Dingle Peninsula, located in the barony of Corca Dhuibhne in southwest County Kerry, Ireland. Photo: Pam Brophy/[CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, November 26, at 9:30am (2:30pm local time in Ireland), I will be uniting my recitation of the Rosary to the faithful Catholics in Ireland participating in the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith: a national prayer effort that will encircle Ireland with a "Human Rosary." 

Drawing inspiration from Poland's Rosary at the Borders and a similar Italian effort, participants will be praying for the preservation of the faith and the protection of life at all stages, including the developing human being in the womb.

It also draws encouragement from Matthew's Gospel, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matt 18:20)

Organized by a small, but faithful team of Catholics, this national prayer effort calls on all Catholics (the clergy, those in religious Orders, and the laity) to take part by selecting locations along the coast which they are prepared to travel to. It is a call that has been heard and well received throughout Ireland as much of the coastline is quickly filling up with several locations.

To form the "Human Rosary," organizers initially sought fifty-three locations for all the Hail Mary's of the Glorious Mysteries (including the three in the introductory prayers) and additional locations for the Apostles' Creed, Our Fathers, Glory Be, and the Fatima prayers. As of this blog post, there are almost 200 designated locations on the coast, and that number is growing. 

The date for this event was not randomly selected, but specifically chosen to be held on the Solemnity of Christ the King, which has a special significance for Ireland: Ireland was the first nation to be consecrated to Christ the King in the 1930s. As to the importance of this solemnity, the organizers point out that, "Acknowledging Christ as King has relevance for the spiritual, social, cultural, legal, and political life of Ireland. When we honour Christ as King, we are immediately brought to His Queen, Mary and her Immaculate Heart!"

It is Mary's Immaculate Heart that all participants will be appealing to for Her intercession to restore Ireland to a Culture of Life and rid the landscape of the moral disorder that has taken root in the past few decades.

Such an appeal highlights the importance and need for prayer, which organizers for this event have prepared an impressive prayer program that includes: recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary beginning at 2:30pm (local time in Ireland), in honour of Christ the King and His Queen the Immaculate Heart of Mary; prayer to Saint Patrick, the martyrs, saints and holy souls who preserved the faith through the years; prayer to Saint Michael, the angel of Ireland, and the guardian angels of the Irish living and dead; prayer for the protection of life in Ireland; prayer for the preservation of faith in Ireland; prayer of consecration to Christ the King; prayer of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; prayer for the blessing of Ireland; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; and the planting of Miraculous Medals around the coast.

The Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith is also an appeal, in particular, to the Catholic laity in Ireland, one that echoes the words of Saint Pope John Paul II's homily—during his Apostolic Journey to Irelandon October 1, 1979, at the Greenpark Racecourse, Limerick:
Lay people today are called to a strong Christian commitment: to permeate society with the leaven of the Gospel, for Ireland is at a point of decision in her history. The Irish people have to choose today their way forward. Will it be the transformation of all strata of humanity into a new creation, or the way that many nations have gone, giving excessive importance to economic growth and material possessions while neglecting the things of the spirit? The way of substituting a new ethic of temporal enjoyment for the law of God? The way of false freedom which is only slavery to decadence? Will it be the way of subjugating the dignity of the human person to the totalitarian domination of the State? The way of violent struggle between classes? The way of extolling revolution over God? 
Ireland must choose. You the present generation of Irish people must decide; your choice must be clear and your decision firm. Let the voice of your forefathers, who suffered so much to maintain their faith in Christ and thus to preserve Ireland's soul, resound today in your ears through the voice of the Pope when he repeats the words of Christ: "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life?" (Mt 16 :26). What would it profit Ireland to go the easy way of the world and suffer the loss of her own soul? (3)
Your country seems in a sense to be living again the temptations of Christ: Ireland is being asked to prefer the "kingdoms of the world and their splendour" to the Kingdom of God (cf. Mt 4 :8). Satan, the Tempter, the Adversary of Christ, will use all his might and all his deceptions to win Ireland for the way of the world. What a victory he would gain, what a blow he would inflict on the Body of Christ in the world, if he could seduce Irish men and women away from Christ. Now is the time of testing for Ireland. This generation is once more a generation of decision. (4)
Saint Pope John Paul II's homily is ever more relevant today; a relevance that is also understood by many faithful Catholics from around the world. With each passing day, the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith is not only gaining momentum, but increased international attention and support. Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland has urged Scottish Catholics to follow in Ireland’s footsteps.

Confirmed locations as of November 14, 2017.
The Daughters of Mary Mother of Healing Love in the United States will be uniting their Rosary—and asking others especially of Irish descent to do likewise—encouraging everyone to "...[O]ffer this gift in honor of our Irish ancestors who suffered so much to hand on the great treasure of the Catholic faith to us!" 

Joining the effort will also be faithful Catholics from England: the Missionaries of Charity in London, and at the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houghton Saint Giles, Norfolk.

The Catholic Herald in England also has reported on this national prayer effort with an article entitled, Irish Catholics plan mass-rosary prayer along coast.

Here in Canada, LifeSiteNews has reported this event with Dorothy Cummings McLean's article, Thousands to pray rosary on Irish coasts to protect nation from abortion.

This is an especially important time for Ireland; secularism has done much to wane and remove the faith from the hearts of minds of many, providing an opportunity for those—including international globalist and billionaire George Soros through his Open Society Foundation—who seek to usher in a Culture of Death and drastically change Ireland's Christian identity and culture.

Part of what the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith seeks to accomplish is the defeat of the Eighth Amendment repeal referendum scheduled for May or June 2018. Abortion advocates are hoping that a "successful" referendum will remove the pro-life provision in the constitution which reads, “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

The Eighth Amendment was approved by 67% of the Irish population in a referendum on September 7, 1983. It came into effect on October 7, 1983, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Next year's referendum will be an opportunity for Ireland to, once again, positively respond to St. Pope John Paul's homily of October 1, 1979, in Limerick:
And so I say to all, have an absolute and holy respect for the sacredness of human life from the first moment of its conception. Abortion, as the Vatican Council stated, is one of the "abominable crimes" (Gaudium et Spes, 51). To attack unborn life at any moment from its conception is to undermine the whole moral order which is the true guardian of the well-being of man. The defence of the absolute inviolability of unborn life is part of the defence of human rights and human dignity. May Ireland never weaken in her witness, before Europe and before the whole world, to the dignity and sacredness of all human life, from conception until death. (6) 
As to why all this is happening in Ireland one need only look to Ireland's history stemming from the last century up until the last few decades. It is not difficult to ascertain how the forces of darkness (the Evil One and his demons) have been waging a war to usher in a moral disorder that includes a Culture of Death:

  • Contraceptive devices and birth control pills have been available for decades
  • A referendum in 1992, resulted in the option for women to travel to another country (England) in order to have an abortion, as well as the availability of information regarding abortion "services" in other countries.
  • In 1995, Ireland's ban on divorce was removed through another referendum.
  • The referendum of 2015, ushered in "same-sex marriage." 
  • In 2016, the Irish government set up a "Citizens' Assembly" to "consider" the future of the Eight Amendment, which concluded in April 2017, that the Eight Amendment should be repealed. They voted overwhelmingly for abortion to be permitted on the grounds of a mental or physical threat to the life of the mother, in cases of disability, and for socio-economic reasons.

Those interested in further information about Ireland's moral decline, including a detailed report available for download, please read Voice of the Family's article, Ireland's Tragic Abandonment of Catholic Teaching.

The Eight Amendment repeal referendum is a disturbing development, but no matter what the problem, issue, or crisis may be, we as Catholics always have recourse to Divine Intervention through Our Lady of the Rosary who, throughout the history of the Catholic Church, has provided Her assistance to those who have put their trust in Her intercession.

Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith speaks volumes about the trust in Our Lady's intercession, as well as to the understanding that the battle for Ireland is primarily a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons; 
that a most efficacious way to fight the good fight is through group recitation of the Rosary.

Saint Louis De Montfort stated in his book, The Secret of the Rosary, Forty-Sixth Rose: Group Recitation, that not only is group recitation of the Rosary the method of prayer that the devil fears the most, but "...[I]t is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him." (98)

Utilizing the Rosary as a spiritual weapon has long been understood by the Church from the very beginning of its origin, when it was given to St. Dominic by Our Lady in 1214—which St. Louis De Montfort details in the same book, Second Rose: Origin—as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.

I cannot help but also think of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Supremi Apostolatus Officio, on devotion to the Rosary and its efficaciousness as a remedy for the many evils of society, who wrote, "It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God." (2)

Written in 1883, Pope Leo XIII's encyclical not only encouraged devotion to the Rosary, but spotlighted how important it has been in the history of the Catholic Church when faced with several threats; namely, the violence of heresy, intolerable moral corruption, and aggressive Islamic attacks by the Ottoman Turks.

This encyclical is a historical lesson that has not lost its relevance for the many evils of today's world. It is in my view, a worthy addition to anyone's reading list on the Rosary that is sure to inspire Catholics in Ireland to join Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith at a time in Ireland's history that is so dependent upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May this national prayer effort inspire Catholics in Ireland—and throughout the world—to be united in prayer on November 26; that this day may draw God's Divine Intervention upon the nation, uproot and remove the moral disorder from the Irish landscape, and restore Ireland to a Culture of Life.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Declares 2018 to be the Year of the Families

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Budapest Family Summit
Prime Minister Viktor Orban giving his speech during the Budapest Family Summit. Photo: About Hungary Blog/PM Orbán at World Congress of Families XI summit: 2018 will be the year for families

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared 2018, to be the "Year of the Families"; a declaration made on May 25, during his opening speech at the Budapest Family Summit.

It is a declaration that not only spotlights a nation's strength relies on its people—and fundamental to that is the family, the primary cell of society—but also seeks to address the declining birth rate experienced by many countries in Europe (including Hungary) with real and immediate solutions that will help families have more children.

The World Congress of Families (WCF) and the International Organization for the Family (IOF) chose Hungary for the second time to host this summit—whose theme was “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again”—because Hungary, as the WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs put it, "...[H]as demonstrated its strategic leadership as an advocate for the natural family in Europe." Here is what the WCF also published about why they chose Hungary:
Hungary’s leadership in defense of family, life, and Christianity is well known in Europe. The adoption of key provisions in the Hungarian Constitution in 2011 defining marriage between a man and a woman and protecting human life from conception to natural death have made the Orban government the hero of pro-family and pro-life leaders from all over the world. Hungary’s leadership is fully committed to family friendly governance and has recently launched a new national motto, 'Hungary, the Family Friendly Country.'
In Hungary's constitution, The Fundamental Law of Hungary, there are four provisions that specifically point to the truth and accuracy of Jacobs' statements. The first is contained within the National Avowal, which states, "We hold that the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence, and that our fundamental cohesive values are fidelity, faith and love." (2)

The second is located at FOUNDATION Article L, "(1) Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the survival of the nation. Family ties shall be based on marriage and/or the relationship between parents and children."

The third is under FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY Article II, "Human dignity shall be inviolable. Every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; the life of the foetus shall be protected from the moment of conception."

The fourth is at FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY Article XV, "(5) By means of separate measures, Hungary shall protect families, children, women, the elderly and persons living with disabilities."

Hungary's constitution is impressive; reading it is time well spent. For those interested in knowing more about it, consider my post of December 2016, Viktor Orbán: A True Leader of and for the People of Hungary and Hungary's Constitution The Fundamental Law of Hungary.

It comes as no surprise that Hungary was chosen to host this summit; part of the goal of this summit, as stated on the WCF website, was to "...[S]trengthen our existing international network and help launch a new global profamily alliance of countries dedicated to defending marriage, the family and the sanctity of human life.”

Since Orbán and the party he leads, the Fidesz Party, was elected in 2010, the government has spent 9.7 billion EUR in support of families. Debt relief, child support, family housing incentives, support for household modernization are just some of the latest measures put into place to help families.

It is part of a demographic battle that Orbán is fighting—an approach that seeks to strengthen families from within Hungary rather than rely on the false solution of immigration—knowing full well that strong families will create a strong, competitive, and prosperous Hungary for current and future generations.

The family is at the center of Orbán's vision of the future! It is Orbán's firm belief that protecting families, no matter what the costs, is essential.

Orbán certainly articulated that very belief during his speech at the Budapest Family Summit (World Congress of Families XI)a speech worth reading to not only better understand the importance of the family, but to capture the strength and intelligence of Orbán's leadership.

A safe society is a fundamental component of any government's plan to protect families, which Orbán highlighted in the first part of his speech, when referring to Brussels' so-called "refugee" resettlement scheme and the migrant crisis that it created.

Hungary's border fences along the Hungarian-Serbian border
Hungary's southern border fences along the Hungarian-Serbian border. Photo: About Hungary Blog/Hungary’s southern border fence has been protecting the frontier of Europe for two years

Orbán responded to that threat with the building of two border fences along the border with Serbia, as well as establishing border-hunters (specially trained border guards), who form part of a security force: modern-day border-fort garrisons, police officers, and the defence forces.

Not only has Orbán brought the Balkan-migrant route—of which Hungary is an extension—to a complete halt, but he has enabled Hungarians to live in a peaceful and safe society; and in the process, has inspired confidence in young people to have families, secure in the knowledge that throughout Hungary will echo the "Happy cries of children rather than sirens from police cars and ambulances."

Today, Hungary is one of the safest countries in Europe!

The danger for Hungary and Europe is not over as Orbán pointed out, "It is only a matter of time and political expedience before millions of people who are ready to set out are once again channelled in our direction." (1) The coalition of human rights activists and people smugglers continue to work to send waves of migrants—mostly men in their prime—in the direction of Europe.

Recent developments prove Orbán to be absolutely correct as has been reported by Government Spokesman Zoltán Kovács in his latest blog post, European Parliament speeds up realization of the Soros plan.

In that post, Kovács spotlights the proposal made by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for a limitless resettlement quota scheme, that coupled with what he described as a "Hungary-bashing report," points to a pro-immigration agenda that will attempt to strong-arm any member that refuses to cooperate.

Youth and traditional dancing at the Budapest Family Summit
Hungarian youth and traditional dancing at the Budapest Family Summit. Photo: Daily News Hungary/INTERNATIONAL FAMILY SUMMIT – ORBÁN: GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE FAMILY TAX BENEFITS

One of the most salient points in the speech that Orbán so candidly spoke of, is the declining birth rate among European countries, including Hungary. He went on to state that, "...The time for straight talking has come. Europe, our common homeland, is losing out in the population competition between great civilisations. Fewer and fewer marriages are producing fewer and fewer children, and the population is therefore ageing and declining." (2)

There are two views on how to solve this problem. The first sees immigration as the answer, while the other view taken by Central Europe (including Hungary) is that they must solve the demographic problem by relying on their own resources; a truth that Orbán stated must be acknowledged through a spiritual renewal.

To put the declining birth rate in Hungary into perspective, Orbán cited from national statistics on Hungary's population in 1980, when the population was at 10,709,000 people; by 2017, that figure dropped to 9,799,000. It is a dramatic drop in population—a loss of almost 1 million people—which as Orbán pointed out, "...[I]s more than all the casualties we sustained in World War II." (2) 

So important is the need to address the declining birth rate that Orbán refers to the restoration of natural reproduction not only as a national cause, but "the national cause."

Orbán's goal is to raise the birth rate to 2.1% by 2030, which will require responsible family policies that must be pursued for decades, over the course of several governments. Orbán considers this to be the first precondition for the population turnaround.

The second precondition is a powerful financial engine, "A competitive model that is full of energy." Elaborating further on this Orbán stated that any major political, social and intellectual turnaround always requires financial resources:
As far as we Hungarians are concerned, I can tell you that here economic growth is in a range between three and five per cent. This is the magical GDP growth. Government debt is declining and unemployment is coming to an end. Because our economic policy has been successful, the next target of our general and economic policy is to promote the number of children being born. It is to this that we’ve adjusted our fiscal system, it is to this that we’ve adjusted our housing support system; and our work-based economic system – with which we shall soon reach full employment – also serves this purpose. (3)
The third precondition for a successful demographic turnaround is for Europe to be in "good shape"; that is, each country's economic plan has to include support for the family. So important is this that Orbán stated, "If as a unit of community the family does not occupy first place in the hearts of young people, however, economic strength and excellent national economy figures are in vain: we cannot achieve anything." (3) Hungary spends 4.6% of GDP on family support.

Orbán acknowledged the simple truth that it is essential to pursue a policy that removes obstacles from the path of young people if more children are to be born. It was in the spirit of this truth, that he declared 2018, as the "Year of the Families." 

Accompanying that declaration is an action plan that will help to ensure young people are financially supported and encouraged to have more children. There is no better way to understand that action plan than to read it from Orbán's own words:
We’ve decided to further raise the rates of family tax allowances, and to place families with two children at the centre of this, as they represent the largest section in Hungary. And I’ve learnt that where there is room for two, there is also room for three – or even four. Braver families may even find room for five. For young women with two children and student loans, the Government will cancel fifty per cent of their debt, and for those with three or more children one hundred per cent of the student loan debt will be cancelled. For graduates we shall extend the term of maternity leave by a year, and for university students it is extended until the child reaches the age of two. Hungarians 3/4 understand the meaning of this family policy measure. “My home is my castle”: this is how the Hungarians think, and this is another reason why it is difficult to adopt a good policy here. We have decided that families with mortgages can have one million forints written off their debt if they have three children, and one million forints will be written off for each further child, with the state bearing the burden. Finally, we shall embark on infant day care developments on an unprecedented scale. We are going to build infant day care centres everywhere families live, and we shall renovate existing infant day care centres wherever necessary. We are also opening up our family support system – although cautiously – to fellow Hungarians who live outside the borders As a result, from next year they may also be eligible for maternity support after the birth of children, and baby bonds will be available across the entire Carpathian Basin. (4)
If that wasn't impressive enough, Orbán also announced the establishment of a research institute that will serve to better Hungary's spiritual and intellectual competitiveness, and good policy planning. The institute will become an international think tank that will, as Orbán put it, "...[P]rovide sufficient knowledge and intellectual munition to help and support families, laying the philosophical foundations for our family policy, and enabling accurate understanding of the situation in Europe and the world." (4)

Using the analogy of a ship sailing into the wind Orbán pointed out that obstacles do exist, but no matter what those obstacles are, with perseverance, courage and the backing of like-minded allies, together Hungary and Europe, just like a ship that knows what port it is aiming for, will reach its destination.

The brave, responsible, and intelligent leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has proven itself for seven straight years, and there is every reason to believe that Hungary's progress and growth will continue for many years to come: the Hungarian model is working and it shows!

Such is the kind of leadership that other countries should be seeking if they are serious about: a major demographic turnaround; protecting and strengthening the family; securing their borders; and guarding against all threats to their Christian identity, heritage, and culture.

God bless Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for continuing to demonstrate the kind of leadership that is so desperately needed in many countries in Europe, in Canada, and throughout the world.

May 2018, be a great year for the families!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Poland's Rosary at the Borders National Prayer Event and the Importance of Group Recitation of the Rosary

Poles in the forest on route to the Polish-Czech border to pray.
Faithful Catholics in Poland walking in the forest near the city of Szklarska Poreba, Poland along the Polish-Czech border during the Rosary at the Borders on October 7, 2017. Photo: Martin Divisek/European Press Photo Agency via New York Times.

It comes as no surprise to read the news coming out of Poland of the Rosary at the Borders national prayer event that took place on October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary; a feast in which Catholics commemorate and give thanks to Our Lady for Her intercession in the great victory of Christian forces over the Ottoman naval fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

The day began with the celebration of the Mass in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary after which the faithful made their way to the borders to recite all four sets of Mysteries between 2:00pm to 4:00pm: the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries.

This national prayer effort was organized by a lay Catholic organization, Solo Dios Basta Foundation, founded in June 2015, by a group of secular evangelists, retreat organizers, and filmmakers, whose Mission page includes an impressive list of goals, not the least of which is for the "Promotion of Christian culture, activities for the New Evangelization and support for the comprehensive development of Polish society, especially support for cultural, educational and therapeutic activities."

Rosary at the Borders, was sanctioned by Church leaders in Poland, and included 320 parishes from twenty-two dioceses participating at approximately 4,000 locations along Poland’s border with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and the Baltic Sea.

It was a national prayer effort endorsed by Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo—who is the only Prime Minister in Europe whose son is a priest, ordained in May of this year—in a tweet, "I greet all the participants." 

This Rosary event was by no means limited to the land as there were participants in fishing boats at sea, as well as on kayaks and sailboats forming a Rosary-chain on Polish rivers.

One of Solo Dios Basta's (God Alone is Enough) founders, Maciej Bodasiński, stated that many people also prayed over the radio, in parish churches, in homes, at the airport, in hospitals, in the streets, and at roadside crosses and chapels.

In addition, there were many Catholics from all around the world reciting the Rosary, united with the people of Poland: Akita, Japan, New Zealand, the village of Stamsund in the Lofoten Island above the Arctic Circle, China, Cambodia, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and in the USA.

Polish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan also prayed the Rosary in solidarity with their fellow countrymen back in Poland.

Many of us here in Canada were also united to this national prayer effort!

Mountain view of participants at the Rosary at the Borders prayer event
Mountain view of the Rosary at the Borders event on October 7, 2017. Photo: Solo Dios Basta Foundation

Poles have always had a strong awareness and understanding of their Christian culture and identity; a fact that I first discovered when reading, Witness To Hopea book written by George Weigel, on the life of a young Polish man, Karol Wojtyła, who later become Fr. Karol Wojtyła and whose vocational path led him to become as he is more widely known, Saint Pope John Paul II.

It was during that reading in 2003—to which I dedicated the majority of my summer weekends—that I became quite impressed with the Catholic Church in Poland specifically with respect to how the young Karol Wojtyła, together with millions of other Poles, kept their Christian culture and identity alive during the Nazi occupation—a time when Poland's political borders were temporarily removed from the map of Europe—and during the many decades that followed under the Communist regime that lasted for half a century.

Today we see that same Polish spirit, keenly aware of the importance of the Rosary for the protection of Poland and Europe, for the conversion of sinners and unbelievers, and peace in the world.

It is with that same spirit that the Poles have responded to a similar threat as in the sixteenth century: the threat of Islam overrunning Europe. Unlike the military threat of the 1500s, today's Muslim threat comes in the form of aggressive migration to Europe from Africa, the Middle East, and from even farther away locations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries in that region.

Poles have always understood that the threat of Islam is primarily a spiritual battle that is to be primarily fought and sustained with spiritual weapons; namely, the Holy Mass and the daily recitation of the entire Rosary!

It is an understanding that has translated into other forms of action. Poland, together with Hungary, have lead the Visegrad Four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) in rejecting all Muslim migration to their respective countries: the Soros scheme that Brussels has embraced to change Europe's demographics and Christian culture through a massive influx of Muslim migrants, who are overwhelmingly men in their prime.

So threatened is Christianity today in Europe, that Krakow Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski stated during Mass, “Let’s pray for other nations of Europe and the world to understand that we need to return to the Christian roots of European culture if we want Europe to remain Europe."

We see the same concerns in the Czech Republic elections, in which migration fears dominate the election.

In the recent Austrian election, the people voted Sebastian Kurz, from the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), into power who is expected to be the next chancellor and form a coalition with Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ); both of whom are conservative and share beliefs in common with Poland and Hungary, including the rejection of Muslim migrants.

Rosary chain at the border. Photo: LifeSiteNews/‘There was spiritual unity:’ Catholics reflect on Poland rosary crusade

Many Catholics could learn from Poland of the importance of group recitation of the Rosary, which although may be inferred by the large amount of participants through "strength in numbers"—estimated to have been approximately 1.5 million Catholics—is probably something that is not fully understood.

The specifics of that full understanding are available to us from Saint Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret of the Rosary, to which he dedicated an entire chapter, Forty-Sixth Rose: Group Recitation

Saint Louis De Montfort begins the chapter by emphasizing the fundamental importance of group recitation of the Rosary: that it gives the greatest glory to God; that it does the most for our souls; and it is the prayer that the devil fears the most.

Further reinforcing its efficaciousness, St. Louis De Montfort referred to scriptural passage of Matthew 18:20, when he stated, "Our Blessed Lord expressly recommended common prayer to His apostles and disciples and promised that whenever two or three were gathered together in His name He would be there in the midst of them." (96)

Adding a note of encouragement he stated, "What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst! And the only thing we have to do to get Him to come is to say the Rosary in a group." (96)

As an aside, it is worth mentioning the footnote attached to that encouragement, "St. Louis' message fits in beautifully with that of the great 'Family Rosary Crusade' of today." (96) In its current form, The Secret of the Rosary, was published in 1954, which explains the reference to the Family Rosary Crusade: an international Rosary prayer effort, founded by Fr. Patrick Peyton in and around that time, that was well known throughout the world, as was the most famous slogan that developed from it, "The family that prays together, stays together." 

Other important points that St. Louis De Montfort lists for our consideration when praying the Rosary within a group setting are:

  • Our minds are far more alert during public prayer than private individual recitation
  • With prayer in common, the prayer of each individual belongs to everyone and; thus, it makes for a greater prayer in that, if one person is not praying well, someone else in the same gathering who prays better may make up for the deficiency. Those who are strong uphold the weak; those who are fervent inspire the lukewarm.
  • When an individual recites the Rosary privately, that individual only gains the merit of one Rosary, but when recited within a group setting, every individual gains the merit of the group's recitation.
  • Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer in appeasing God's anger and drawing His mercy upon the Church. This has always been advocated in times of public tragedy and suffering.

Poles praying the Rosary outside of a parish
Praying the Rosary outside of a parish. Photo: LifeSiteNews/There was spiritual unity:’ Catholics reflect on Poland rosary crusade

Saint Louis De Montfort also makes a special appeal to members of the the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosaryof which I am a member—that no matter where they reside, they should strive to gather together in a parish Church, chapel or someone's home to recite the Rosary in two choirs.

Saint Louis De Montfort elaborated further on the importance of gathering in large numbers to recite the Rosary:
Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it. It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken. 'In union there is strength.' Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls. So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God's anger, to draw down His grace and mercy upon us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his angels more forcefully? (98)
To illustrate the Rosary's efficaciousness, St. Louis De Montfort cited from his own ministry of the transforming effects upon small towns and villages where he preached missions; places where debauchery, blasphemy, quarrels and feuds ended and became places where hymns and the chant of the Our Father and Hail Mary were heard.

Like in the time of St. Louis De Montfort, there are those today who are enemies of the Rosary and may even try to hinder its establishment and growth—some of whom have even criticized the recent Rosary at the Borders event—to which we can apply the saint's encouragement to the faithful, "...[D]o not give up." (99)

Saint Louis De Montfort dedicated an entire chapter to enemies of the Rosary, Ninth Rose: Enemies, in which he referred to such people as, "freethinkers," who have "absorbed the poison of hell" and are "inspired by the devil." (29)

The Catholic Church in Poland has admirably demonstrated that they will never give up. May Catholics throughout the world be inspired by such faith and devotion.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Praying The Entire Rosary Each Day a Decade at a Time

A photo of St. Louis De Montfort's book, "The Secret of the Rosary."
Saint Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret of the Rosary, Tan Book's pamphlet on How to Pray the Rosary, and Rosary beads from Medjugorje blessed by Jesus at St. James Church and Our Lady during one of Our Lady's apparitions

If you have been following my blog for any serious length of time, you have probably come across my Rosary label and the several posts dedicated to it. With October being the "Month of the Rosary," I thought it fitting to publish today's post adding to that list, drawing encouragement and inspiration from Saint Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret of The Rosary.

The Secret of the Rosary, is an especially important read for anyone who is serious about understanding the Rosary and its proper recitation. The book is comprised of four main sections: a Preface, that instills in the reader the power of the Rosary and how effective it was in St. Louis De Montfort's life and ministry (1673-1716); a Dedication to priests, sinners, devout souls, and little children; and the two main sections of Part 1: What is the Rosary; and Part II: How to Recite it

Saint Louis De Montfort includes many intriguing and informative chapters or "Roses" that will greatly aid and guide the reader to a more devout recitation of the Rosary: a brief history of the origin of the Rosary and how it was given to the Church by Our Lady in 1214, to Saint Dominic; the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary that arose from this devotion; the miracles of the Rosary; how it is a means of perfection and a wealth of sanctification; the numerous benefits; its power as a weapon against the Evil One and his demons; and how to pray the Rosary with attention, reverence, and devotion.

For those who are just discovering the Rosary or have been struggling to pray all four Mysteries—the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous and Glorious Mysteries—it can seem somewhat daunting to include two hours of prayers a day dedicated to the Rosary alone, to what is already a very busy schedule. It is a daily challenge that we all face, but there is a way to achieve this: praying the Rosary a decade at a time.

The effort to pray the Rosary a decade at a time is explained in chapter, Forty-Fifth Rose: With Reverence, which St. Louis De Montfort dedicated to employing an effective method for the reverent and complete recitation of the Rosary each and every day.

Saint Louis De Montfort first begins by recommending that the Rosary be recited reverently and as much as possible, on our knees with hands joined, clasping the Rosary. Exceptions can be made for those who are: bedridden; travelling; or if infirmity prevents people from kneeling, they can recite it seated or standing.

As to the effective method to successfully complete the entire Rosary each day, St. Louis De Montfort advises the reader to segment the recitation into "three" different times of the day—to which we can add a fourth for the additional Luminous Mysteries introduced to the Church through Saint Pope John Paul II in 2002—each dedicated to one set of the Mysteries.

Further to this Saint Louis De Montfort further suggests that if we cannot find the time to pray a "quarter" of the Rosary all at one time, then we should recite a decade, "here and there," so that as he put it, "...[I]n spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed." (95)

As to how to accomplish this in today's busy world with our hectic schedules imposing upon our time and energy, it really is a matter of rethinking our daily calendar.

If due consideration is given to Rosary, it won't take long to discover that there are several opportune times throughout the day to pray a decade or two, "here and there."

The consideration to pray the entire Rosary can start from the effort of an earlier morning rise for dedicated prayer time, which could be extended to the commute to and from work. 

There may even be opportunities at work—depending on what you do for a living—to add a few decades. Those who make such an effort, can expect a reward from Our Lady as St. Louis De Montfort notes:
Of course, since the soul has its limitations and can only do so much, when we are concentrating on manual work we cannot give our undivided attention to things of the spirit, such as prayer. But when we cannot do otherwise this kind of prayer is not without value in Our Lady's eye's and she rewards our good will more than our external actions. (95)
If you start to take advantage of those five-to-ten minutes throughout the day, you will discover even more time and eventually come to realize that the recitation of the entire Rosary was never an additional two hours to your day, but in lieu of many things that were not really necessary in the first place.

The added benefit of praying the Rosary a decade at a time, is that, it not only begins to develop consistent prayer habits, but it also helps to develop your prayer endurance. The analogy of training for a marathon comes to mind.

Much in the same manner as preparing for a marathon, the daily recitation of the entire Rosary cannot be something you embark on without proper training. As one trains for a marathon by building up one's endurance by running a few kilometres, and increasing that distance over time, so too does praying the Rosary a decade at time, build up your "prayer endurance." Eventually, you will be able to pray many decades completing the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries so that by the end of your day, before you lay your head down to sleep at night, you will have crossed the "spiritual finish line," and completed the "Marathon of Grace."

The Rosary is such an important prayer, the second most powerful next to the Holy Mass. Its faithful recitation will result in many graces and blessings bestowed upon those who pray it and promote it, as stated in the second and twelfth promises respectively of Fifteen Promises given by Our Lady to Christians who recite the Rosary, "2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary," and "12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities."

There have been many other saints throughout the history of the Catholic Church who have demonstrated a great love for and devotion to Our Lady through the Rosary: the Dominican Father Alan de la Roche, who was given the task by Our Lady of reviving the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, which he began in 1460; the well-known Jesuit, Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez who was known to pray the Rosary with such fervor; we know from the chronicles of Saint Francis of a Franciscan friar who prayed the Rosary so fervently each day, before dinner; Saint Francis de Sales (Bishop and Doctor of the Church) who refused to let exhaustion be an excuse from the complete recitation of the Rosary; Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa); Father Patrick Peyton; and Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) who prayed thirty-six Rosaries a day.

We also know of Pope Leo XIII, the "Rosary Pope," who wrote many documents promoting the Rosary and encouraging its recitation; in particular the encyclical, Supremi Apostolatus Officio, to which I dedicated a blog post,The Rosary: An Effective Weapon Against the Evils of Society.

In more recent times, we have Saint Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, a document that was issued in 2002, not only to promote the recitation of the Rosary and to facilitate a better understanding of its purpose and daily inclusion in our lives, but to also introduce a new, fourth set of mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries.

So significant was this new addition that Saint Pope John Paul II declared October 2002 to October 2003, "The Year of The Rosary," which I also blogged about with my postSaint Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

In addition to the many saints, Our Lady has also encouraged us to pray the Rosary at her apparitions in Fatima and Medjugorje.

There are other resources on the importance and significance of the Rosary and yet with all this—and access to it via the internet for several years—so many Catholics still do not pray the Rosary, and those that do, many do not pray all four Mysteries.

The world would be a much better place if Catholics prayed at least one decade of the Rosary each day; even that would make a difference!

One can only imagine the peace and many blessings bestowed upon the world—not to mention the halting of chastisements upon mankind for participating and promoting evil—if all four sets of Mysteries were prayed, fervently and devoutly, each day.

May many Catholics be inspired to do just that.