Sin and the Rosary cannot co-exist. “Either you will give up sin or you will give up the Rosary,” says Bishop Hugh Doyle.
The Rosary prayed from the heart destroys, not only sin, but hopelessness, would agree Immaculee Ilibagiza- a firsthand witness of the Rwandan massacre of the 90’s. The then-22-year-old woman kept prayer continuously rising to Heaven on a family set of Rosary beads as she and seven other women hid in a tiny room from armed men. “I felt like my head was laying on the lap of the Blessed Mother,” Immaculee later reported (Interview, One Hail Mary at a Time website). The young woman escaped unharmed, carrying forgiveness for the persecutors- fellow children of God- with her in her heart.
What is the Rosary? It is a link to Heaven- a gift from our spiritual family, and a gift we return to Mary for the benefit of other people. During the recitation of the Rosary, we put our life in the Father’s hands (Imagine the 10 beads per decade as 10 fingers we clasp with our own.) Free from self-interest, we can enter into our Savior Jesus’ life: His birth at Bethlehem, His Sacrifice on the Cross and in the Eucharist, and His rising in glory on the third day.
As we think about each mystery, it produces a specific, actual fruit in our lives. When we pray the second Luminous mystery, (the occurrence of the wedding feast at Cana reported in St. John’s Gospel) it produces the fruit of “Do whatever He tells you.”
The Rosary is a proven prayer to convert masses of sinners, inspire the weak, and strengthen limp hearts with courage. Consider the message of St. Bernard on the power of praying in union with Jesus’ sufferings. The martyrs could remain constant unto death, he taught, only due to “their constant mediation on the wounds of Jesus Christ” (The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis DeMontfort). , Prayer also unites the disunified. A mother’s prayers unite a family best, and through the Rosary the Blessed Mother binds the souls of believers together.
And the real miracle of the Rosary is perhaps not even the miraculous protection against evil it contains within it; its real miracle is the very real miracle of hope. Immaculee did not just survive the massacre- she emerged with a heart transformed to carry hope to the others she would meet for the rest of her life. The real miracle of the Rosary is its gentle power to conform our will to Mary’s will, which is always the Lord’s Will. His ways are not our ways. They are much better.
We pray in union with the saints in Heaven, through Mary, to God, Who teaches us to choose His life over our own life in our relationship with Him and with our neighbor. The Rosary is a beautiful way to live here on earth as we will (God-willing) live forever in Heaven. Each Hail Mary lovingly prayed will “be just as exquisite thousands of years from now as they are today” (Louis DeMontfort). In a culture that is constantly changing, we cling to the Rosary as a sure refuge. It is founded on the unchangeable Word of God.
As a certain Dominican priest who travels to parishes speaking about the power of the Rosary gently reminds us, if you keep a Rosary hanging from the dashboard of your car, great… only, remember to take it down to use it!