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The Powerful Crown of Roses

May 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Dr. Peter Howard, Mary, Prayer, Rosary, Spiritual Warfare

The Powerful Crown of Roses

MirrorDetailFromAntonelloDaMessinaTheVirginMaryReadingWalters37433CrownOfRosesIn the kingdom of men, the crowns made of durable, precious metals yield the symbol of power and dominion. In the Kingdom of God, it is always the opposite. It is those crowns made from living vines and branches that God chooses to show that true power is found in those rooted in the earth – in other words, in humility (derived from the Latin humus meaning “from the earth”).

The first of those great crowns was manifested on Good Friday with the humiliation of Jesus. The second of the great crowns is mystically revealed by the Mother of God, DetailFromRosa3whom God sent to teach us a secret and powerful way to her Son. It is a way that involves a living crown—a crown made of the perfect earthen flower that reminds us of the paradox of Christianity – that only through being rooted in the earth (humility) and united to the suffering of Christ, will one bear true fruit. And this flower is the rose – the queen of all flowers — whose beautiful rose petals are fed only by a stem paved with thorns.

And just as the rose is the queen of all the flowers, the Rosary is the queen of all devotions. It is a prayer so simple Rosaryand humble, yet, as history has shown us, is among the most powerful prayers the Church possesses in its spiritual arsenal. It is its power to form the greatest saints and also the power to conquer the enemies of the Church that sets it apart from all other prayers outside the Liturgy and the sacraments. It is heaven’s prayer of choice for the Church in distress when the power of God is needed more than ever. And this is undoubtedly manifested at Fatima in 1917, that year of great spiritual revolution, where Our Lady revealed herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Why is this so significant? Let’s take a look.

Put simply, the Rosary is the perfect devotion composed of the three greatest prayers—the Our Father (given to us by Christ Himself), the Hail Mary (given to us through the words of the Angel and the prayer of the Church) and the Glory Be (sung by the heavenly host in the Book of Revelation)—all of which are preceded by the Creed, that disposes our souls directly to God and puts demons to flight. So, the prayers of the Rosary are given to us by God VitrailFlorac01060906DemonHimself through His direct revelation of the mysteries of Redemption as recorded in Sacred Scripture and transmitted by the Church. On top of these prayers we reflect on the saving mysteries of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church. And we do all this while “fingering the beads”. In short, we have a thoroughly incarnational prayer that occupies every part of our Christian person: body, mind and spirit. St. John Paul II emphasizes that, at the heart of the Rosary, is a pathway to deep contemplation:

The most important reason for strongly encouraging the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery which I have proposed in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte as a genuine ‘training in holiness’: ‘What is needed is a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer (St. John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 5)

So, we already have some pretty good incentives to get us to pray the Rosary. And not to sound like an infomercial, “but wait, there’s more . . .”

SilverRosary(Wiki)(Crop)The Rosary is a prayer of immeasurable power. Why is that? Well, when you are reciting at least fifty times the words that brought about the greatest miracle in history, a God-Man, you are asking Our Lady to mediate the greatest miracles upon the world in the here and now.

All we need to do is take a quick survey of Church history and we see the role the Rosary has in changing the course of world history. Beginning with the giving of the Rosary to St. Dominic in the 13th century, the Rosary was given as a means to convert a militant group of heretics, the Albigensians. As soon as St. Dominic began to preach the rosary and pray it for the conversion of sinners, the power of Mary’s mediation was witnessed as the Albigensians were conquered by Our Blessed Mother. St. Louis de Montfort explains why:

The Hail Mary is a sharp and flaming shaft which, joined to the Word of God, gives the preacher the strength to pierce, move and convert the most hardened hearts even if he has little or no natural gift of preaching…This was the great secret that Our Lady taught St. Dominic and Blessed Alan so that they might convert heretics and sinners.” — St. Louis Marie-Grignion De Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, paragraph 51.

BattagliaLepantoInVaticanoDetail2When Islam had already spread through most of Europe and its sights were now placed on Rome, Pope Pius V called upon the Holy Roman Empire to pray the Rosary in order to LaViergeDuRosaireProtegeantLesNaviresEspagnolsALaBatailleDeLepanteMaryLepantoDetaildefeat a massive and powerful Moslem navy en route to Italy. At the famous Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the Christian naval fleet obtained a decisive victory over the Moslems as both Catholics on land and sea, led by the Pope, called on the powerful intercession and mediation of Mary to save Europe. And she did. The victory was unquestionably attributed to her mediation and what resulted was a feast day of “Our Lady of Victory,” which was later renamed “Our Lady of the Rosary” on 7 October 1716 by Pope Clement XI commemorating this great battle and the true weapon that obtained that victory.

We fast forward to Fatima 1917. We have Our Blessed Mother revealing herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary” and explicitly asking us to pray the rosary for peace. If the previous examples are not enough to convince us of its power, let’s fast forward again to 6 August 1945, Hiroshima, Japan. Eight city blocks from ground zero of the atomic bomb explosion lived eight German Jesuits, who not only survived the blast, but had no residual effects of radiation. When a survivor of the blast, Fr. Hubert Schiffer, SJ, was asked (reportedly over 200 times by scientists, et al.) why he believed they survived and with no radiation side-effects, he simply said: “We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima.  We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home” (An excellent article on this can be found at http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/features/2010/08/05/the-priests-who-survived-the-atomic-bomb/ ).

OurLadyoftheRosaryI am convinced . . . the Rosary is as powerful as Our Blessed Mother says it is. It is therefore very significant that in the year of great revolution, Mary at Fatima reveals that she is “Our Lady of the Rosary” and she wants us to pray it for peace and the conversion of sinners—both intentions which are at the root of the history of the Rosary. Let us heed her request and do so, especially in our families. It is a proven fact that families who pray the rosary together stay together—and that doesn’t mean there won’t be great challenges within families. The Rosary is what tethers us to the redemptive mysteries and power of Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And the devil HATES the Rosary for this reason. And he tries every way possible to prevent us from praying it, especially as a family.

So, I have some tips for families. If your day is too hectic and sitting down for twenty minutes of prayer is too much of a challenge, then start your day with two decades of a rosary and finish the other three in the evening (either after dinner or right before going to bed). Drawing from personal experience, nothing calms children and prepares them for sleep better than the Rosary! Equally important is to add meditations throughout the prayer. Have one child or spouse read Scriptural passages while the first part of the Hail Mary is being recited and then all say the second half. We need help meditating and having meditations from Scripture or from other solid sources is key, in my opinion.

Lastly, don’t give up. Imagine the graces you are obtaining for your soul and those of your children—remembering that at the hour of your death you will have prayed countless thousands of times: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” Do you think Mary will have forgotten this greatest of tributes to her? I think not and that gives me inexplicable hope and joy. What a gift to pass this on to our children!

And so I close with the words of the oldest of the seers of Fatima, Sr. Lucia dos Santos, who reminds us that we do have a simple, yet extremely powerful, weapon to combat the evils and challenges of our times, whether it be the threat of ISIS, another world war, the threat of global economic collapse, the attacks against the unborn and the family:

The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. (Interview with Sr. Lucia dos Santos by Father Augustín Fuentes, December 26, 1957).

What’s in your pocket?

PierreAugusteRenoirCrownOfRoses

Art:  Mirror detail from The Virgin Mary Reading, Antonello da Messina, between circa 1460 and circa 1462, PD-Worldwide; Detail from Rosa, MayaSimFan, 30 June 2007, CCA-SA; Rosary, Daniel Tibi, 16 January 2006, PD-Worldwide; Vitrail néogothique dans l'église Saint-Martin de Florac: Saint Michel et le Démon, détail (Neo-gothic stained glass from Saint Martin de Florac Church: Saint Michael and the Demon, detail), Vassil, 1/06/09, PD; Modification of A sterling silver Catholic rosary, Aprilwine, 13 November 2010, CC-SA; Detail from The Battle of Lepanto [1571] at the gallery of the geographical maps at the Vatican Museums, Spiros own work, 21 September 2008, CC-SA; Detail from La Vierge du Rosaire protégeant les navires espagnols à la bataille de Lépante (The Virgin of the Rosary Protects Spanish Ships at the Battle of Lepanto), Anual, 1 November 2012, CCA; Our Lady of the Rosary by Anonymous (Kraków), 1599, St. James Church, Sandomierz; source: Mariusz Karpowicz (1988); Crown of Roses, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, circa 1858, PD; all Wikimedia Commons.

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About Peter Howard

Dr. Peter Howard presently lives in Illinois with his wife, Chantal, and five children. Dr. Howard is a professor of Theology at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation (avila-institute.com). In 2015, Peter and Chantal founded HeroicFamilies.com dedicated to the mission of “awakening Catholic families to their critical call to live their faith with courage, passion and purpose.” He is also a Catholic videographer (MEDIAtrix.tv), author and national Catholic speaker who has spoken at the 2015 American Chesterton Society Conference, 2012 Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas; the United States Air Force Academy; parish retreats and on Catholic radio programs such as Radio Maria. Peter earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. Dr. Howard's theological expertise lies predominantly in Mariology and the teachings of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. He is the author of the 2014 book: The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen. Like his spiritual mentor, +Fulton Sheen, Dr. Howard is passionate about evangelizing families by communicating the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith as the answer to the challenges and errors of the world. If you would like to invite Dr. Howard to speak at your parish or event, contact him at invite@heroicfamilies.com

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  • Camila

    Encouraging post. Thanks Dr. Howard.

    • Thank you, Camilla. We are surrounded by hope by Our Blessed Mother’s special presence and message in this extraordinary Marian age. I see the rosary as what keeps us tethered to this hope! God bless you.

  • Patricia

    The Rosary is a powerful spiritual battle tool that individuals, families, and Catholic Communities can pray daily with the specific intention to protect and stop our Christian brothers and sisters from being murdered…..so too for the protection our innocent unborn children, the renewel of our Catholic Faith in our culture and the stop of aggression throughout the world! It is something that can be done right here, right now by each of us without funding, resolutions, legislation, and politics. It would be a movement more effacious than ” boots on the ground”! Let’s get started

    • Cathy

      Patricia,I enjoy your comments.A movement more effacious than “Boots on the
      Ground” I feel that if one is committed to the Blessed Mother you are those Boots
      on the Ground. “To pray daily with specific intention” may I suggest 1 st Saturday’s
      When Lucia asked the Blessed Mother to clarify the 1st Saturday requirement
      The response was 5 If I remember correctly the year was either 1925 or 29. Recently on Sunday Night Prime Dave Carrelo (director of the Blue Army Shrine
      New Jersey) did mention that one can take The 1st Saturday’s and apply them for specific intentions. .The Blessed Mother Came with The Ultimate Peace Plan,and
      The Triumph of her Immaculate Heart to come.Maybe .Why not take this prescription to heart as a Nation as the World .For we are not headed ,we are on the collision course.With the fervor supplied by the Holy Spirit lets renew this devotion,Maybe Peter or Dan would consider putting forth more forums related to this,and maybe invite the World Apostalate of Fatima to Participate in this.They are
      A Pontifiaclal Lay Association.,both Nationally as well as internationally. these are
      Interesting and some may say scary times ,but so great to say I am Catholic vs a
      World that is anti. Happy Pentecost

      • LizEst

        Thank you for your comment Cathy. In future, please do not cut and paste things into the comments box (combox). It brings odd spacing and other invisible coding with it. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), particularly number 4:1-18, here: http://www.spiritualdirection.com/frequently-asked-questions (a link for these is found on every page on our site). God bless you…and Happy Pentecost!

        • Cathy

          Hi Liz,
          Believe me it’s not intentional I am working with an I pad and this cut /paste I am totally stupid about it do try to get out of it I guess unsuccessfully.

          • LizEst

            Are you typing directly on to the white “Join the Discussion” box on our site?

          • 7cathy17

            Yes,but I was finding as I had to go back to correct something I was looking @ cut and paste. I would tap the screen to remove cut and paste and continue on.r

          • LizEst

            From what you wrote, I cannot tell what you are doing. To edit your post, click on “edit” directly under what you wrote. Your message will show up. At that point, you can correct it. When you are done, click on “Save Edit” in the dark box of the lower right portion of your message. You should not have to do anything else.

          • 7cathy17

            Thanks Liz

  • Diana Marie Winkler

    Really liked the post. Gave me insight and that, “hmmmm, something to ponder!”I liken my Rosary to that of David’s slingshot. Every bead I pray upon is like a stone being shot out to defeat Evil ( the crucifix on the Rosary is my “Sight”) and the stone finds it’s target every time. I sleep with one my Rosaries wrapped around my hand….I like to be a battle-ready soldier!

  • Barbara Schoeneberger

    The Knights of Columbus have a scriptural rosary pamphlet which is just wonderful. It has a scriptural quote from either the Old or New Testaments to be read before each Hail Mary. This is a great way for the whole family to learn scripture as it ties in to the truths of the Faith.

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  • LizEst

    Very interesting testimony. It’s not that the other prayers were bad. That was not the issue. The issue was not saying the rosary at all. God bless you Charles! Happy Pentecost!

    • Charles Saliba

      The issue was not saying the rosary at all.

      Definitely!

      But the fact that I was just commenced my
      spiritual life, and although a cradle Catholic, in the truth I was only a
      Sunday mass hero and nothing else, not even commune for at least forty years, I
      was not that keen, and generally speaking I lacked religious practices!

  • Cathy

    I am a bit puzzled by your sharing that you felt misguided by the interior castle
    And Catherine of sienna in regards to vocal prayer would you consider commenting on that if the forum permits,

    • Charles Saliba

      I am a bit puzzled …..I am posting the related pieces for you,

      The dialogue of St. Catherine. Page 68 By what means is this acquired? By perseverance seasoned with the most holy faith.”But do not think that the soul receives such ardor and nourishment from prayer, if she pray only vocally, as do many souls whose prayers are rather words than love.Such as these give heed to nothing except to completing Psalms and saying many paternosters. And when they have once completed their appointed tale, they do not appear to think of anything further, but seem to place devout attention and love in merely vocal recitation, which the soul is not required to do, for, in doing only this, she bears but little fruit, which pleases Me but little.

      Interior castle: But whoever shall accustom himself to speak with the majesty of God, as he would talk with his slave, without considering whether he speaks properly or no, but who speaks only what comes first into his head, or what he may have learnt by heart by having repeated it at other times,- this I do not consider to be prayer: and God grant that no Christian may pray in this manner among you, my sister.

      Cathy, permit me to make you aware, the way I read these writings, 10 years ago, in the very beginning of my spiritual life, very very nervous, no nothing at all what spiritual life is,and all what’s related to it, so in complete blindness and anxious to learn things, unaware of it, the wrong way, all by myself, and loads of it, in one go, and not just one book, but various books, in fact I never read one whole book, simply selected from the contents what,as stupid as I was, most probably still am,regarding spirituality,I considered beneficial,and interested me in that moment in time!

      Notwithstanding that, I tell you, thanks God that I started it that way, and even without being aware of what, and where I was heading to! One thing there was and more is for sure in the truth, not that I was frightened that God throw me to hell, I deserve it!

      But real love for God!

      • LizEst

        Charles — Your post is really long. Please review our “Frequently Asked Questions” here, particularly number 4:1-18. For future, please summarize and condense what you are trying to say…or, we may shorten it or not allow it at all. Thank you…and God bless you!

      • Cathy

        Thank you much for your sharing.Like you said you have been on this journey for 10 years or so.I will share that I came back 21 years ago after a 20 year absence.I don’t know that any of us really know the spiritual life until
        We arrive on that path,and you realize in time there no other path.Be assured
        That you never did this alone,by yourself It is God within you and always has been ,we just don’t realize it.We read, practice devotionals,go to the sacraments,but this all God moving in us.We can’t accomplish anything with
        out him.(1 God 3 persons) May I suggest the Sacrament of the Present
        Moment by Jean Pierre de Causade.I happened to buy the tape 21 years ago and have really been listening as of late a lot.As a tape it is called Abandonment to Divine Providence,same author. so don’t beat yourself up
        God knows what he is doing, Thank you for touching on Saint Catherine
        Of Sienna for I found her here on the computer,she is one of my newer
        Interests what I have read one would think she alive today in these pages.
        Don’t let Satan give you second thoughts send him to the foot of the Cross
        God Bless you Always Amen

        • LizEst

          …but do not talk to Satan, or any other demon. They are deceivers.

          • Cathy

            Very good Liz Amen

          • Yes, At the root of sin is entering into dialogue with the evil one — as did the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. He suggests doubt, we then rationalize God’s law and we commit to an evil act — in the name of choosing something good.

            I would add for clarification that Sending Satan to the foot of the Cross is not dialoguing with him. So, your recommendation, Cathy, is a good one.

  • Cathy

    The rosary the Queen of all devotions ,brings to mind the chess board where the
    Queen has the greatest movement of ease thru Gods grace she will crush the head of the serpant ,in this ongoing Battle.While the rosary is incarnational a
    Montfort Priest once said the Divine Mercy Chaplet is the Crown of the rosary. It
    Is our Redemption. when he explained this I envisioned a opulent rosary with a red.jeweled rosary over it, The red rosary was washing the opulent rosary with
    Precious blood .It seems that the rosary and the chaplet go hand and hand,especially needed at this time in human history.As William Sockey noted
    In the previous forum it is not solely in the rosary that will change everything.
    The Blessed Mother came with a peace plan in 1917. Iit is a formula so to speak for the conversion of sinners,me my family ,my community and the world
    Making.reparation ,offering up sufferings ,First Saturday Devotions.
    For the conversion of sinners and the world,.This was my understanding and
    When you consider the fact that The Blessed Mother says War is a consequence of sin, May I suggest that we take The Whole Fatima Message
    Which started with a call and a preparation with an angel in 1916,for May 13,
    1917 and the revealation of our condition backed up with a remedy to heart and begin to seriously and faithfully practice it.

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