By: Megan Naumovski
If you look up synonyms for PANDEMIC, you find at least 40 different words of which only a small handful seem at all connotative of something as negative as the Coronavirus. Most eml of the synonyms listed seem to invoke a description rdmore relatable to what many films of us have found as an antidote to our current situation of fear and outbreak
Catholic (but catholic, with a little “c”)
One of the first words I saw was “catholic”; not to be confused with Catholic, which is a proper noun describing a kind of Christian. The adjective catholic also means universal, and when we say the Nicene Creed at each Sunday liturgy, we are proclaiming belief in the four pillars of the church; one, holy, catholic (not Catholic) and apostolic. We are stating our belief in the one church of Jesus Christ that is his universal church.
There are few times I feel more catholic (and Catholic) than when I say the rosary because it is the total and the whole of intercessory prayer (by the way, ALL synonyms for pandemic as well.) I feel I can–in a steady and comprehensive way–capture the totality of all prayers in my heart, as well as those for the suffering around the world, and give them all to Jesus in faith through the capable hands of his mother.
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
-Saint Maximillan Kolbe
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. —Revelation 12:1
Empyrean means heavenly or celestial. The divine transcends through prayer of the rosary because of the four sets of mysteries we consider, Glorious, Sorrowful, Joyful or Luminous are scriptural. Each guide us through five “decades” which begin with an Our Father, then ten Hail Mary prayers, and finally a Glory Be.
Each decade is based on a moment in the life and legacy of Christ, including that which began in the womb of his Blessed Mother, and ending with her reuniting with him in Heaven. We meditate through these divine moments with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, which can take us to great depths of these great mysteries. Where would we be without the divine help of the Holy Spirit?
“The celestial b0odies are the cause of all that takes place in the sublunar world.” –Saint Thomas Aquinas
The repetitive prayer of the “Hail Mary”, most of which is found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 1, starting around verse 42 “Hail Mary, full of grace…” ends with a simple a petition to ask Our Lady for her prayers, “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” I think it is a good idea to ask her to pray for us at this defining moment, when we enter the empyrean realm.
We do not usually think of the physical when considering prayer, but the rosary involves the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—as we account for each prayer while walking with the Blessed Virgin Mary through her son’s life. Because my own ‘terrestrial” mother has been devoted to the rosary for years, having made many a pilgrimage, she has a wide variety of rosaries.
Taking an extra suitcase when she goes on her “holy travels”, my mom buys up all the rosaries she can fit and brings them home to hand out to everyone she meets all year long. On several occasions she purchased one for every child in my kids’ school (about 350 students.)
The rosaries range from simple plastic rosaries, to six-feet-long rosaries that include every decade—all 20—on one long strand. Some rosaries are themed, such one I have with icons of the great basilicas as the Our Father beads; there are also “peace rosaries”, and “stations of the cross” rosaries. Some rosaries have special beads that smell like rose petals because many have reported the smell of roses when fervently praying the rosary in holy places. Others are made from small rocks from the land where visions of Our Lady took place (I have one of these too!)
In any case, if you ask someone who has a great devotion to the rosary to tell you about their favorite rosary you will get a fast answer. Devotees hold fast to their favorite. Some prefer the smooth wood or the gripping texture of rope. Consequently, if we get too attached to our favorite rosary, sometimes we will be asked to give it up to someone else.
Unique Tool for Spiritual Growth
I have heard many stories of someone who adores a certain rosary (for sentimental reasons or the feel of it, etc.) they will hear the Holy Spirit nudge them to give it away. Always reluctant, they hear it loud and clear within their spirit and feel the unmistakable nudge to hand it over. Always to a recipient that seems to be on the verge of discovering the devotion for themselves and sure enough pass the special sacramental on to bless another. Perhaps the Holy Spirit wants us to keep the spirit of the prayer in the forefront, which is trust in the intercessory prayer of Jesus’ favorite lady, his mom.
Many of the faithful have turned to this prayer over centuries of pandemic disease, wars, starvation and natural disasters. With burdened fingers grasping the smooth beads in search of refuge, tender souls find themselves universally affected. Perhaps the fifteen promises that accompany the rosary make it appealing to some. I believe the rosary is pandemic because we receive consolation from our spiritual mother.
“Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.” —Saint Padre Pio
“The Rosary is a prayer both so humble and simple and theologically rich in bible content. I beg you to pray it.” –Saint John Paul The Great
“There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult is it, that we cannot resolve by the power of the Holy Rosary.” Sister Lucia (visionary of Fatima)
“Give me an army saying the rosary, and I will conquer the world.” –Blessed Pope Pius IX
Megan Naumovski is on a mission to remind the world of the love God has for each and every soul, and how that love deserves our response. Every day she is a wife and mom in her domestic church, but in the world she helps lead others to Christ though ministry leadership, teaching, speaking and blogging at The Domestic Church of Bosco, http://boscoworld.blog.