Why the Rosary is the Best Spiritual Vaccine for the Pandemic

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

—the rosary.

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.

Rosary

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

Empyrean

 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.

Birth of Jesus

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.

Terrestrial (physical)

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.)

JPII rosary quote

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.

Rosary medicine

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.


Related Links

The Holy Rosary according to the Method of St. Louis de Montfort

5 Whimsical and Witty Things I Learned about the Rosary

 

 

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5 Whimsical and Witty Things I Learned about the Rosary

By: Megan Naumovski

“The Rosary is the Bible on a string” —Fr. Ronan Murphy

By design, to participate in praying the Rosary is a spiritual journey through the life of Christ, accompanied by his Blessed Mother in a multi-sensory experience. I have heard several stories of fallen away Catholics who even refused to let go of their rosary for the great peace it brings them.

Rosary a day keeps the devil away

For as much as the Rosary is a favored devotion of most practicing Catholics, there are a lot of funny ideas going around about it.  Over the years people have shared some quirky stories about this “necklace” of beads.  Each anecdote taught me a little something for my own rosary embrace each day. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said,

“The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual…”

Rushing the Rosary

A group of men and women friends had a conversation about how long it took them to “say” their rosary. “How long does it take you, Meg?” they asked me.

Honestly, I had never timed myself, but I knew with the way my brain works the answer was going to astound.  “Um, maybe 35 min?” Some of the “competitors” were saying “I can get mine down to 5 minutes and 30 seconds!”  It was a silly conversation, but it got me wondering…what is the amount of time it should take say a proper rosary?

Soon after, I listened to different rosary podcasts. I noticed that they varied in recitation time.  Some rosaries only took 18 minutes–without any bells or whistles—to between 30-45 minutes if you added music, scriptures or prayed in Latin.  Which one is right for me?

In the end, the amount of time really does not matter. Whatever pace you take, let it be one of a rhythm that lulls you into the spiritual state. The rosary can be like music. Whether your tempo is adagio (slowly with great expression) or allegro (fast, quickly an`d bright), you need to find the count that allows your heart and mind unite to the heart of Christ.

Praying it in a group or as a family

Once during a homily, our pastor told us the story of his family rosary growing up.  One uncle, who usually lead the prayer, was always messing up the order of the Apostles’ Creed.

Because he spoke the prayers with lightning speed, the whole family would crack up every time one of the aunts would stop him in the middle of the first minute to ask if he was sure he got the order right.  “Jesus ascended into Heaven and then descended into hell…” and then the argument ensued.

Rosary funny meme

Since there was no Google at the time, it became part of the weekly family rosary to stop and discuss this finer point.  Once the giggles stopped and the concentration was reeled back in, the family rosary commenced again. St. John Paul II proclaimed, “How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening!”

Praying it all

“Just pray your rosary as you fall asleep. The angels will finish it for you”.

While struggling to “check” my rosary off for the day like an errand, I had to run when someone once gave me the advice above. Just let the angels finish saying it for me as I fell asleep.  Later, the same person told me she later mentioned this in confession and the priest responded with, “Yes. And the ANGELS get the credit, too.”

Falling asleep to the rosary at times is easy to do.  As stated above, there is a certain rhythm to the prayers which is meditative and comforting.  Conversely, people I know have said they keep their rosary by the bed because they sense when their eyes pop open at 3:00 am, they are supposed to pray for a soul in trouble.  This is the stuff of saints! A friend in our prayer group reminded us that being on your knees is a much better way of keeping alert during prayer when possible and much more reverent.

Start small and be consistent in prayer

When I first started spiritual direction, I was told to make sure to say at least one decade a day for my husband. As a starting point, I felt my assignment was realistic.

Praying the Rosary

Later, I knew I could do better. I started to add more decades, attempting to keep up with a few friends who were more diligent with their devotion to the rosary. Before I knew it, however, I was rattling off decades and getting to the “Hail Holy Queen” prayer at the end before looking behind me like “Did I actually pray those decades?” In the end, if I didn’t remember praying them, I knew it wasn’t really prayer. I had reduced this beautiful prayer to a habit.

It has been recognized by many saints that just saying one Hail Mary with your whole heart is worth more than thousands said with our mouths alone. St. Louis de Montfort plainly stated, “Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”

“Our Lady’s Warriors” say it well on their website: The Power of One Hail Mary

Praying with purpose

We cannot even begin to understand the graces behind this powerful weapon, as named by the great Saints, Padre Pio, Louis de Montfort, and Dominic.  With the power of such a devotion, you would think we should “wield” it intentionally, but so many Catholics I know couldn’t explain the rosary to  non-Catholics. Still yet they aren’t even sure the purpose behind the prayers.

Our Lady of the Rosary

I remember one couple we knew who were married . The husband he was Catholic and the wife wasn’t. She was very strong in her non-Catholic Christian faith. As the wife brought up one thing after another that she did not understand about Catholicism, the rosary at the top of her list, I looked at him and asked why he didn’t tell her? He answered, “I don’t know.” And by that, he meant he didn’t know the answers, but he still identified himself as Catholic.

Solving the Mystery of the Mysteries of the Rosary

What we need to know above all, is that the rosary is a set of five mysteries. Each decade of beads that is entwined in our fingers—not just with wooden, plastic or glass beads—but also entangled with the extending fingers of our Divine Mother—Mary.

As we speak the Hail Mary from the words of Luke’s gospel, she directly leads us through Jesus’s most precious life moments.  We see him incarnate into his mother’s womb, meet John the Baptist in utero,  hear about Christ’s birth,  witness Jesus enter into the temple for dedication, and ponder Joseph and Mary’s joy after finding Jesus in the temple.

Our hearts wrench with pain as we see him sweat blood with our sins bringing a painful crucifixion commencement: whipped, stabbed in the head with thorns, walking the Via Dolorosa (way of sorrows), and his death on the cross.

We continue to ponder the Glorious mysteries of his resurrection as well as miraculous encounters with his mother and the apostles with the remaining Glorious and Luminous mysteries.  The Rosary retells Jesus’ entire life!

St. Louis de Montfort quote

The best part of all, is that you not only hold his beautiful mother’s hand throughout this journey, but you grab the hands of all of those you know who need protection and prayer. Behind you comes a long line of souls—as many as you can imagine—along on the spiritual pilgrimage that is the rosary.


Wisdom from the saints on the Rosary

“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena

“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.” –Saint Louis de Montfort

The Rosary is the Weapon.~St. Pio

The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.~Pope Pius XI


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.


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Expect Nothing Gain Everything

Author Chris Tiegreen wrote, “Thankfulness is difficult to express when one starts with an attitude of entitlement.”  From my experience, I noticed that whenever people claim to deserve everything– I am including myself as the prime perpetrator of this attitude— rarely do things work out. Since my family starting praying the Rosary on a nightly basis, my attitude and approach to situations outside my control began to change.

After several months in a row where I went into work with high expectations, I quickly discovered rarely did the reality match my ideals. Anger, resentment, frustration and negativity came forth from my unrealistic anticipations. Falsely equating high expectations with my desire to be entitled to high production metrics and quality scores caused me to dive into a den of despair. Oftentimes, I came home from work with these feelings still churning inside me. Lacking patience, I lashed out at my family whenever the kids made messes or my wife made excessive requests for help. I sought to control all facets at home in hopes to gain a sense of control in the workplace. Ironically, by expecting everything oftentimes I gain nothing but disappointment and distress.

Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, “Everything is a gift from God: it is only by recognizing this crucial dependence on the Creator that we will find freedom and peace.” Shifting my mindset to viewing all things in life as a gift greatly helped lift my gaze upward and in turn raised my hopes. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect role model as someone who graciously accepted unexpected news that the world would consider an upheaval—an unexpected pregnancy in the most unexpected of all situations!

With my wife being pregnant with our rainbow baby, we viewed this child as a total and completely free gift from God. Moving away from the entitlement mindset, I am able to embrace, ever so slowly, this gift of the sustained and healthy pregnancy. St. Therese of Liseux declared, “I understood that love comprises all vocations – that love is everything, and because it is eternal, embraces all times and places.” Without love all else in life ultimately is moot. Humanity truly deserves nothing. Nevertheless, the Creator of the Universe granted life and even became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Since my move away from my selfish, entitled, greedy mindset, I seek to thank God for the blessings in my life. I ask the Holy Spirit for the graces to continue with this mindset and I pray for you to encounter the same joy that gratitude brings as well!


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” –G.K. Chesterton

“Gratitude comes naturally when you take so much responsibility that you expect nothing except what you’ve earned through hard intelligent work and always see where you can improve.” –Anonymous

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Toy Cars, Smiles, and Autism: A Birthday Tribute to Our Family’s Healer

minion birthday gif.gif

Today my family celebrates my youngest son’s two-year old birthday. Since his breakthrough into this world, he provided my life with light, levity, and laughter. Being our rainbow baby—a child born after suffering a marriage—his name seemed to be apropos, Josiah. The name Josiah actually means “healer”. Truly, the Holy Spirit guided my wife and I toward this name. In a gridlock over boy names, suddenly the name Josiah entered my mind as an option. Upon telling my wife of this idea she fell instantly in love with the name. Only after settling on this matter did we discover his healing nature.

psalms-147-3

According to Psalm 147:3, “[God] heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” The Divine Physician sends healing graces in a myriad of ways—the ordinary and prime method is through the gifts of the seven sacraments. Children are a natural fruit of the procreative sexual acts. God elevates these fruits in the sacrament of Matrimony to provide husband and wife opportunities to growth in holiness and strength to remain steadfast and calm in difficult family times.  Paragraph 1641 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states,

By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God.147 This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they ‘help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.’

As previously stated, the ordinary means of growing in holiness is through participation of the sacramental life. Within the sacrament of Matrimony I have learned that laughter is a strong defense against the prowess of pride. No other person [aside from my wife] is able to consistently cause me to laugh or smile, and I mean genuinely grin until my mouth hurts or laugh until my side hurts, than my son Josiah! Recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder he poses an array of daily challenges, but his [apparent] disability gives him the unique ability to provide levity to stressful situations throughout the week.

die-cast-toy-cars

A major trait for people with autism spectrum disorder is that they normally become obsessed with a particular interest that encompasses nearly every facet of life. Toy cars emerged as my son’s particular obsession–several months ago– and he needs to carry at least one car in hand at all times. Toy cars provide comfort to him during stressful and changing situations. Allowing him to carry toy cars helps minimize meltdowns and tantrums. Seeing my son’s enthusiasm and joy whenever he wakes up in the morning and runs over to the toy-chest to dump over his box of cars and trucks gives me a smile. His routine is the same each day.

Consulting the King of Paradox

The joy of autism in my son reminds me of the words of G.K. Chesterton,

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we (Orthodoxy). 

not bored

Monotony does not exist in our household. Autism spectrum disorder is challenging to deal with as a parent. I would be a liar if I said otherwise. However, going into marriage and thinking parenting, of any kind, would be easy is a fallacious  lie the Evil One sows into the minds individuals entering marriage. Admittedly, I am prone to the sin of laziness and I too fell, and recently fell, into the trap of believing that parenthood should be easy. The benefit of writing this tribute is that it has allowed me time to ponder the ups and the downs of fatherhood.

Mary’s Perfect Motherhood–a pathway to a more perfect fatherhood 

Recently, I renewed my dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary through praying the Rosary as I rocked Josiah to bed. Starting with a couple Hail Marys I worked my way up to a decade before he started chucking his toy cars onto the floor–this is a sign he usually is ready for me to lay him down in the crib. The simple petition to my spiritual Mother actually allowed me to grow in the virtue of patience–vitally important for my journey toward being a better father. St. Josemaria Escriva advocated of the Rosary by saying, “Say the Holy Rosary. Blessed be that monotony of Hail Mary’s which purifies the monotony of your sins!” 

go to sleep.gif

My experience can attest to the truth value of his statement. Bedtime is the perfect time for the Devil to swoop in and allow for sins of impatience and anger explode. Children often arise from bed, even now as I write, my daughter is getting out of her room to try to escape nap time [thus interrupting the flow of my writing!] “Dad! I dropped my golden boogers (jar of gold flakes that she somehow found from my childhood trip to Yellowstone) behind the dresser!” This was the reason my children were up. I cannot make up this stuff. Truly the fruits of marriage provide unique opportunities and challenges for parents to ferment in holiness.

 Thank you God for the gifts of my children–challenging as they may be to raise. I am grateful to celebrate my son Josiah’s birthday– the creator of laughter, smiles, and curator of toy cars in our household. May God bless you and I pray the Holy Spirit is able to open your hearts to the joy of laughter just as my son frequently does for my family!

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