August 20, 2017
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”
We just celebrated the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary this past week, so it is a good time to reflect on the importance of Marian devotion.
The prayers of the rosary are largely straight out of the scriptures. The Our Father was taught by Christ himself. The Hail Mary is a combination of the words of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth greeting Mary (Luke 1:28, 42), followed by a plea for her prayers for us. The Glory Be is simply a prayer of praise and glory to God as a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, and her constant request was to pray the rosary. Perhaps you grew up praying the rosary as a family. I did. My family went through phases when we would pray the rosary every day, or only occasionally, but it was always a part of our life. We also would include the rosary on road trips, by always beginning our time in the car with this prayer. Having formed that habit as a child, I continue it today—not only praying the rosary in the car, but I made a resolution in high school to pray the rosary every day, and I have never intentionally failed to say the rosary every day for the past 15 years. I know that devotion to Our Lady is a huge reason why my faith is so strong today.
If praying the rosary as a family is not a regular part of your family’s routine, I encourage you to begin. Here is a powerful story that helps illustrate the power of the rosary and Mary’s guidance in our lives and that of children.
Fr. Hugh Thwaites, S.J. writes: “I remember someone telling me of a friend of his, a great Catholic, the pillar of the parish, whose children had all lapsed, one after the other. They had all fallen away from the sacraments and from attending Mass. So I said to him, ‘I wouldn’t mind betting that your friend had been brought up to recite the family rosary when he was a boy, and that his children haven’t.’ The next time I saw him, he said that this was indeed true. His friend had recited the family rosary at home when he was a boy, and when he had got married and started his own family they all said the rosary. But then, one evening when they were about to start the rosary, one of the children switched on the television, and that was that. The custom of the family rosary was dropped, and in due course, they gave up the practice of the faith.” ( https://www.olrl.org/misc/fmrosary.shtml )
We’ll talk more about technology use, like the TV, another time, but for now it’s enough to say that if we have time to watch TV, we also have time to pray the rosary.
I encourage all families, especially we who attend the parish dedicated to Our Lady, to pray the rosary every day.
You are in my daily prayers.
God bless you,
Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke