Honor Mary by Asking for Her Help

In his article, Prayer takes Practice, Fr. Ed Broom lays out five ways to improve your prayer life.  For the TL;DR crowd, the summary is:

  1. Conviction — Have faith that prayer is actually important
  2. Confession — Mend your relationship with God whenever you sin
  3. Set a time and place to pray — Routine helps you pray consistently
  4. Mass and holy communion — Mass and the Eucharist are the greatest prayers in the world
  5. Seek our Lady of the RosaryPray the rosary to bring about peace

I want to focus on that last point — seeking out our Lady of the Rosary (naturally, this is a rosary prayer blog after all).  On Aug 22nd, we celebrate the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary which we pray in the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the rosary.  When we pray the rosary we are in essence “crowning” our Heavenly Queen.  Mary wants nothing more than for us for to have a close relationship with her son, Jesus Christ.  We honor and crown her whenever we show faith and conviction that our relationship with Jesus matters to us.

But having conviction and faith is not easy.  Think about it.  You may brood for days over a friend’s disagreeable Facebook post.  You can get into a funk at work or at home when it seems like nothing is going smoothly.  Many of us get tied up in knots over our finances.  But how much time and energy do we devote to thinking about the state of our relationship with Jesus?  Do we put more energy into worrying about Facebook posts than finding time to go to Confession?  Do we spend hours on our hobbies and minutes in prayer?

If you feel like you are falling short in improving your prayer life, I suggest starting with the fifth point on that list.  Pick up a rosary and earnestly tell Mary that you need her help.  Tell her you need the courage to go to Confession.  Tell her you need help to be more engaged at Mass.  Tell her you need help praying on a more regular schedule.  Tell her you need more faith and conviction that prayer actually means something.  Praying the rosary will make all the other items on that list easier to accomplish.

 

You crown Mary through the rosary when you earnestly say, “I need your help!”  Speaking as a parent, I feel honored when my kids need my help no matter how trivial the matter.  I’m lucky that my kids are young because it will feel odd when the day comes when they no longer need my help.  Mary isn’t satisfied with the title of a queen but with nothing to do.  She wants us to come to her with all our worries and problems so she can help us.

And let’s face it, we all need Mary’s help because having a perfect relationship with Jesus is nearly impossible because of the active attempts by Satan to derail us and our own weakness towards sin.  But God knows this challenge and doesn’t leave us in a hopeless situation.  He gave us a Heavenly Queen in Mary and the means for her to help us through the rosary.  Honor Jesus by honoring Mary by asking for her help through rosary prayer.

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What the Gospel and Rosary Teach Us About Good Works

This upcoming Sunday’s Gospel is from Matthew.  I’m only including the part I’m going to reflect on in this article.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

In this Gospel passage, John the Baptist makes a distinction between piety and good works.  The Pharisees and Sadducees considered themselves good people because they followed the Mosaic law to the letter.  But John implies in his comparison to a tree not bearing good fruit that just following rules or having a certain status does not lead to salvation.  One must follow up with good works, charity, and compassion.

Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees
Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good works, charity, and compassion were the cornerstone of Jesus’ ministry.  He came into this world, not as someone of status and authority, but as a servant who ministered to those people society had excluded.  Jesus repeatedly taught that what matters most to God is what someone does, not what their title is.  Whether it was teaching the golden rule or telling the parable of the poor woman who gave all she had to charity, Jesus’ ministry centered around instilling the value of good works and sacrifice.  Inversely, those who only followed rules and sought status and honor He routinely called hypocrites.

This past Thursday’s Gospel from Matthew echoes a very similar message:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Notice how Jesus is saying that just accepting Him as the Savior is not enough.  You have to follow up with action what you proclaim in your words.  To put it in more modern terms (but now maybe ridiculously outdated), you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

When you hear and read this Gospel, meditate on the Second Joyful Mystery of the rosary, The Visitation.  Think about Mary in this mystery, someone who recently learned that she was to be the mother to the Massiah.  What does she do?  Does she flaunt the fact that an angel visited her?  Does she go about looking for an elevated stature in the community?  No.  Instead, she travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth and helps her through her pregnancy although she herself was pregnant.  Mary’s initial action after the Annunciation was one of charity.

Also, consider the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the rosary when you reflect on this Sunday’s Gospel.  Mary was assumed into Heaven and now acts as our intermediary to her son, Jesus Christ.  Even when bestowed the title Queen of Heaven (Fifth Glorious Mystery), she has never stopped actively guiding us through the minefield of life.  She protects us from evil, helps those who ask for her assistance, and has continually appeared to many delivering a message similar to John the Baptist in the Gospel — Jesus loves you and wants you close to him, but you must make the effort to love Him through good works, charity, and compassion.

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Doing Right When Wrong is Acceptable

A while back ago I was out grocery shopping with my wife.  We went to a small produce store that had a lot of its fruits and vegetables just outside the main doors along the sidewalk.  As I was shopping, I noticed a man walk by who started riffling through a pile of plums before finding one that he liked.  But instead of putting it in a bag or walking inside to pay for it he just continued walking along his way eating it as if he had just grabbed something from his home refrigerator.

I usually give people the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he owned the store.  Maybe he was a close friend of the owners.  Maybe he had previously bought a bad plum and the store said he could pick a different one.  But the most likely answer was that he just felt like eating a plum and they were right there on the sidewalk for the taking.  The chances of getting caught were slim so why not right?

Shoplifter
God saw that!

Today I read this article titled There is such a thing as a free lunch in the San Francisco Chronicle about how stores are looking the other way when it comes to shoplifting.  They don’t want to confront a shoplifter because the liability and legal costs of a confrontation usually outweighs the cost of whatever is being stolen.  I can’t really fault the businesses for wanting to protect themselves from thousands of dollars in legal fees or lawsuits over a $5 sandwich.

But what about the people doing the shoplifting?  I don’t think these are cases like some modern-day John Valjean where someone is stealing to feed their family.  As I saw at the produce store, that plum was stolen by someone who looked like they had the means to pay for it.  The same goes for the people observed in the Chronicle article.  If you have designer clothing or a smartphone I’m sure you can pay for a sandwich.

The Chronicle article reminded me of an article I wrote about a while ago about the declining influence of religion in the United States.  A growing segment of the society doesn’t practice any religion nor does religion and spirituality play a role in their lives (referred to as the Nones).  When we have people openly shoplifting we are seeing the result of the grow influence of the Nones.  By stamping out religion, governments create a moral void that can only be filled by rules, laws, and punishments.  While people used to self regulate their behaviors according to an upbringing of learning what is right and wrong, we now have a population that believes something is okay if there are no immediate consequences.  Because without religion, what else is there to worry about except the here and now?

But this also raises an interesting question about personal ethics.  It’s becoming increasingly challenging to live morally when there are no consequences for living immorally.  The problem is that the idea that there are no consequences is actually a lie.  There are consequences both in this life and the next.  We so often forget that God sees all and that we will one day have to account for our actions.  Even if we receive mercy and forgiveness we will still need to atone for our sins in Purgatory.  But there are also consequences in this world.  When we don’t get in trouble for doing wrong, we tend to do more wrong.  And this becomes a slippery slope that can have dire consequences if we go too far down the wrong path.  When we pray the rosary, let’s ask God for the wisdom to understand the temporal and eternal consequences of our actions and the strength to always do the right thing.

Rosary Intentions

Let’s now look at the rosary, particularly the Glorious Mysteries.  I’m going to try something a little different.  Instead of diving deep into a particular mystery, I’m going to give you some ideas for rosary prayer intentions that you can meditate on.  My goal is that you’ll be able to better integrate what you read on RosaryMeds into your rosary prayer routine.

  1. The Resurrection: Jesus rose to new life proving that there is more to our existence than this world.  We pray for the changing of heart and behavior of those who live only for the here and now.
  2. The Ascension: Jesus ascended into Heaven and sits at the right of God as our final judge.  We pray for mercy on those who live in sin that they may change their ways and seek forgiveness before standing before Jesus Christ.
  3. Pentecost: The Holy Spirit infused the apostles with strength to preach the truth in a world that didn’t want to hear it.  We pray that we let the Holy Spirit guide us in living morally and according to the truth regardless of the norms of society.
  4. The Assumption: God assumed Mary into Heaven because He had a special plan for her — to act as our guide and bring us closer to her son Jesus Christ.  May we listen to Mary’s messages that call us to pray, fast, and receive the sacraments because they will lead us to true happiness.
  5. Mary’s Coronation: Mary sits as Queen of Heaven.  We ask for her intercession, especially for those in most need of God’s mercy.

Need more rosary prayer ideas?  Download my free ebook.

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5 Ways the Rosary Offers Relief from Today’s Headlines

Meditation ideas on the Glorious Mysteries of the holy rosary for dealing with all the troubling news the world is encountering right now.

Lately there has been a lot of news that has many people thinking the world is falling apart. We hear of people suffering from natural disasters across the globe, atrocities committed by groups like ISIS across the Middle East, silly presidential election news (Trump?  Hillary Clinton’s favorite ice cream flavor?), and troubling social/political news about Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and ObamaCare. Basically, if you’re looking to get worried and upset about something, you don’t have to look much further than your Facebook news feed to grow a few gray hairs.

To me, praying the rosary is all about gaining perspective. And I think everyone could use a little perspective right now. I try to remember that the world has never been a perfect place and has been marked by problems both natural and man made. However, we live in a time when news has never been more accessible which means we get more bad news at an accelerated pace. Or we get a distorted view of the scope of outrage or support on any given issue. But thinking society is falling apart isn’t new.  Mankind has always had its share of problems.

Picture back to the time Jesus lived. If Facebook existed then people’s walls would have been filled with complaints about cheating tax collectors, Roman occupation, and corrupt pharisees. Furthermore, people were probably praying for the same types of solutions we pray for today.  Something to the tune of “Please God, make all our problems go away.”

Jesus did not come into this world to magically change the world with a wave of his hand.  He didn’t make all the Jews’ problems go away. But he did answer the people’s prayers. He did that not by making things easier but by challenging people to look beyond the troubled state of the world and their immediate, physical needs. He wanted them to concentrate more on the state of their souls rather than the actions of Cesar.  For example, he told the rich man to look beyond earthly wealth and to gain riches in Heaven by being charitable (Mark 10:17-31).  He said that those who are persecuted in this world will find glory in Heaven (Matthew 5:10).  He said that we all have to take up our crosses in this life so that we may find comfort in the next (Matthew 16:24-27).

In that spirit, let’s take a look at the Glorious mysteries of the rosary and meditate on gaining a more heavenly perspective instead of dwelling so much on the today’s troubling issues.

#1. Live for something more than this earthly world

The First Glorious Mystery is about Jesus rising from the dead.  The perspective gained from this mystery is that our earthly death is not an end.  Jesus’ crucifixion and death was only a transition from his earthly life to his true, heavenly one.  Jesus’ rising proved that there is so much more to us than the physical realities of this world.

When we think about all the injustice, death, and suffering in this world we should remember that none of it will persist after our earthly death as we rise to new life in Jesus’ kingdom.  And while a lifetime of pain and suffering may seem like an awfully huge cross to carry, it isn’t even a measurable instant of time compared to the eternal joy and happiness Jesus prepared for us in Heaven through his resurrection.

#2. Pray for those have fallen

The Second Glorious Mystery is about Jesus ascending into Heaven.  The perspective gained from this mystery is that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, and will judge the living and the dead.  This is important to understand because we need to pray for the repentance and conversion of those who live in sin and cause so much scandal, misery, and unhappiness.  It may seem easy to complain and become stressed over others’ misdeeds.  It’s also easy to ignore them and focus only at our own salvation.  But we do need to pray for them and always be an example to the world of Jesus’ Truth.  Because everyone, including those who live in sin, will one day stand before the Lord with their sins in plain view.  Since we are called to love one another, we should do whatever is possible so that everyone, saint and sinner alike, will enjoy eternal happiness in Heaven.

#3. Let the Holy Spirit guide you

The Third Glorious Mystery is about the Holy Spirit coming to the apostles after Jesus’ ascension.  We live in a difficult world but we can look to the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and courage to persevere and maybe even change the hearts of others.  I don’t think any of the apostles would have thought that they were going to change the world when Jesus first called them to put down their nets and become fishers of men.  But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit they did just that by boldly venturing out and spreading Jesus’ truth.

We too may not think that there is much we can do when we see what appears to be impossible situations to fix or the deep seated hatred in people’s hearts.  But the Holy Spirit does give us the power to live according to Jesus’ truth and to lovingly bring people into God’s grace.  Like when Jesus was here in this world, he did not provide a quick fix to humanity’s problems.  Similarly, the Holy Spirit won’t give us a quick fix either.  But if we have faith and let the Holy Spirit guide us, we can personally thrive and bring others to know Jesus Christ.

#4. Follow our mother Mary’s roadmap for happiness

The Fourth Glorious Mystery is about Mary’s assumption into Heaven.  God had a very special plan for Mary and her assumption shows just how revered and elevated she is.  She was not only set aside to be the vessel through which God would manifest himself in human form, but she was also set aside to be our guide and mediatrix after her earthly death.  Like with the Third Glorious Mystery, the perspective we should gain from this mystery is that Mary is always there to help guide us closer to her son’s love.  She has appeared many times with a message of hope, love, and a call to action for conversion.  Over the generations, she has laid out a roadmap of prayer, fasting, and repentance which we should follow.  While it’s easy to get down and think nothing we do can do that will make much difference, Mary says otherwise.  And we should all listen to our mother.

#5. Remember that you are protected

The Fifth Glorious Mystery is Mary’s coronation in Heaven.  We have to understand that there are evil force at work.  And Satan and his minions are playing the long game where they want you to focus all your energy on this world in the hopes that you will be led astray and become his slave for eternity.  He wants you to “go with the crowd” even if what is popular in modern society goes against God’s plan.  Or he wants you to fall into despair, blame God for all that is wrong with the world, and turn away from your faith. But Mary is a powerful queen who reigns in Heaven.  When we accept and live for God’s Heavenly Kingdom then we fall under Mary’s protection against evil and Satan’s influence.  No matter what transpires in our world we know that we will have protection for what matters most — our eternal soul.

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Amateur Night: How the Media Covers the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the image ...

In my article about Pope Benedict renouncing his papal authority I told you to be cautious of the media’s coverage of the upcoming conclave. While I expected their reporting to be high on conjecture and low on facts, I can’t believe just how far out in left field some of these “news reports” and editorials are. If you were to piece together comments from various anchors, you would think that the Catholic Church is a horrible institution for not seriously considering a pro-contraception, pro-abortion, married woman as pope. The reporting is almost so ridiculous that even the best writers of all time for Saturday Night Live wouldn’t be able to come up with a parody of the coverage since the coverage is already a parody on shoddy news reporting.

I present the contenders for “worst recent news coverage of the Catholic Church.”  Thank you Creative Minority Report for doing the legwork of collecting these gems.  I would find them hilarious if they were meant as satire.  But unfortunately, they’re serious and are probably highly influential on people’s opinions and perceptions of the Catholic faith.

  1. ABC News:The Catholic Church not in touch with modern society
  2. MSNBC Panelist: Sotomayor for Pope
  3. E.J. Dionne — The best choice for pope? A nun
  4. Conclave & The Media: The Silly Season
  5. CNN vs The Catholic Church
  6. Hoping the Next Pope Isn’t Catholic

Many of these reports follow a similar template.  They automatically dismiss any of the Church’s doctrines that run counter to what is generally accepted in modern society regardless of their moral merit.  Actually, the reports are not only dismissive, but pretty much say the Church’s teachings are wrong and outdated and need to be changed with the next pope.  And not one of these reporters actually interview a priest who would explain why the Church holds certain teachings.  Instead, it is much easier to show anti-Catholics (or not well-catechized Catholics) voicing their frustrations with the Church under the cover of reporting on Pope Benedict‘s renouncement and the conclave.

I told you that the media was going to treat the choosing of the next pope like a political election.  Just go back four months to the presidential race and you will see the same template.  Instead of reporting news and getting stories from multiple, credible sources, the media just airs their progressive wish list and demonize doctrine that has stood the test of time for almost 2000 years.  I think the media has been so relaxed in its duties of holding politicians responsible for their actions that they no longer understand what it means for someone to uphold their core doctrines and principles.  The media doesn’t care if politicians ignore the Constitution (or the equivalent documents in other countries) and so they can’t begin to understand why the Church doesn’t arbitrarily change her doctrines to be more popular.  They act like the pope can wave a magic wand and make artificial contraception no longer sinful behaviour which shows a serious lack of understanding of one of the largest religions on the planet.  This type of irresponsible reporting is scandalous because it leads astray Catholics who aren’t well catechized and turns public sentiment against the Church.

What RosaryMeds Do I Need?

The decent of the holy spirit by Tizian (1546)

Many Catholics have come down with an acute case of noncatechisisitis.  Symptoms include believing biased news reporting of the Catholic Church and not understanding core Church doctrine.  The remedy is to pray and meditate on the Third Glorious Mystery — The Decent of the Holy Spirit.  So many people need the aid and guidance of the Holy Spirit right now, especially the cardinals as they choose the next pope.  But we also need the Holy Spirit to increase our faith in the moral correctness of the Catholic Church.  I’m not Pope Benedict or even a Fr. Robert Baron when it comes to completely understanding the theological foundation for Church doctrine on requirements like non-married priests or male-only priests.  But I pray that the Holy Spirit will open my heart and give me the faith to embrace these teachings.  In a way, the Holy Spirit has the ability to bypass our minds and let us know the deeper truths God imprinted on our souls.  We live in deliberately confusing times.  But the Holy Spirit will lead us through them if we only take the time and effort to listen to God with an open heart through prayer.

Have you encountered any anti-Catholic or just plain ignorant reports on the Chruch from supposedly credible news outlets?  Feel free to tell your story in the comments.

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It Will Get Ugly in November

I have a feeling this year’s presidential election is going to get much uglier than in years past.  Politics has always been a dirty business, but lately everyone seems to act so much more “unhinged.”  People are expressing the slightest disagreements with such high levels of vitriol and anger.  Looking at some peoples’ reactions, supporting traditional marriage or Paul Ryan‘s budget proposal isn’t just a difference of opinion, but more akin to supporting a holocaust or war crime.  In case you forgot, here are some of the issues that will bring about an unprecedented level of conflict leading up to the November vote:

  • Class warfare (Occupy movement, the 99% vs 1%, taxing the rich, more entitlements, etc.)
  • Financial warfare (budgets, deficits, defaults, socialism vs. capitalism, etc.)
  • Armed conflicts (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, global terrorism, etc.)
  • Government expansion (Obamacare, HHS mandate, nanny laws, greater police surveillance, etc.)
  • Social issues (the poor, gay marriage, identity politics, etc.)
  • Religious freedom threats (HHS mandate, freedom of “worship”, abortion funding through Planned Parenthood, etc.)

And those are just some of the real issues.  We will also fight through accusations of racism, bigotry, and intolerance for any criticism of the Obama administration, media bias, and all the “fakeraversies” and “outrage du jour” that people cook up.  This election will be a perfect storm of important, country-changing issues mixed with just plain craziness.  If you remember back to Obama’s first months as president, the biggest controversy back then was him authorizing federal funds for embryonic stems cell research.  Compared to what is on the table this election, that ethical breach seems like small potatoes now.

I came across this article after hearing about it on Immaculate Heart Radio.  It’s titled “10 Ways Catholic Voters Will Be Misled” and is worth a glance.  It breaks down how the various political groups, the Obama administration, and the media will spin various issues to either tug at the Catholic voters’ heartstrings or attack and dismiss the Catholic position on certain topics.  For example, here is one way Catholic voters will be misled:

“Progressive” Catholic groups will produce polling that supposedly shows Catholics disagree with Church teaching on the sanctity of life and marriage, implying those who agree are in the minority and “behind the times.”

We hear this sentiment all the time whether it be from Nancy Pelosi, Katherine Sibelius, or the Georgetown University administration.  The attacks are only going to get stronger and more aggressive as we get closer to November.  And they won’t magically disappear regardless of the election’s outcome.  Unfortunately, Catholics are going to have to bunker down for a war we will probably fight for our entire lives.  We will experience some glorious wins and some agonizing defeats.  But it’s important that we keep up the fight for what is good, just, and right.

These political battles remind me of the Fourth Joyful Mystery — The Presentation in the Temple.  Remember, St. Simeon waited and prayed in the temple his entire life before finally meeting the baby Jesus.  His life was probably full of frustration as people probably mocked him and what they saw as a sad waste of time.  But he endured and eventually had his victory when he laid his eyes on Jesus.  We should remember the strength and endurance St. Simeon showed when we feel crushed by political forces that seem unstoppable.  Defending our faith will eventually lead to happiness.  It may not be a happiness this world can offer and to many, it may look like we’re wasting our time living Catholic values.  But we will find happiness in God’s heavenly kingdom where we will find our true victory.

Catholic Cross Jesus

When thinking about defending the Catholic faith in the voting booths this November, I’m also reminded of the lessons from the Fourth Glorious Mystery — Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.  We must remember that Mary and the saints are our guides who help us navigate life’s obstacles by showing us the path God puts before us.  Mary has given many messages throughout history.  One theme she keeps repeating is the importance of knowing the faith.  After all, how can we live and defend the faith and love God if we do not know Him?  That is why it is so important to learn the Church’s teachings on various issues so you won’t be misled by those who try to use your faith for their poltical advantage.  Read the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Listen to Catholic radio.  And most importantly, open your heart and mind in prayer to listen to the guidance of Mary and the saints (need help?  Buy my book on Amazon).  Our battles will not end at the polls in November, but with the help of the Church and the power of our faith we can endure whatever craziness comes our way.

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Urgent Moral Turnaround Needed!

Last week Obama declared that all health care providers must cover contraception regardless of their moral objections.  That’s it, no discussion, no conscience clauses, nothing except a token stay of execution.  Laws that reflect and respect morality are on life support and the government is looking to euthanize them.  I wish I could say that we’ve hit a crescendo on the assault of religious freedom, but unfortunately I think we are still in the initial salvos.  It’s contraception coverage today, tomorrow its mandated abortion coverage, then on to mandated abortions and who knows what else.

Is this the new face of morality?

Remember that laws reflect the morality of a civilization.  If morality played a more important role in peoples’ lives there is no way a law like this would even be considered.  For me, one of the largest problems with this contraception mandate is not that it’s a law, but that the general public doesn’t recognize or care that evil is becoming rooted in our laws.  Any civilization that makes intrinsic evils the cornerstone of its laws cannot thrive or even survive.  I’ve heard the saying, “Satan’s greatest weapon is making people believe he does not exist.”  That saying has never been more true than when intrinsic evils become the law of the land in the land of the free.

I could vent and rant about this topic for a thousand more words and look at it from a variety of angles.  I could dive into how the systematic dismantling of morality has led to a breakdown in all aspects of society whether it be education, economics, medicine, or crime.  But I’m going to leave that to other articles.  I want to focus on the central theme of RosaryMeds — discussing the need for prayer and the rosary.

Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the image ...
I prefer his moral guidance

Look at the Fourth Glorious Mystery — Mary’s Assumption into HeavenGod assumed Mary into Heaven and gave her a special role — bring us closer to her son, Jesus Christ.  Over centuries, she has appeared to many people with many messages.  She asks us to have a strong faith.  In order to have a strong faith, we need to be well versed in the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church.  How else are we to love God and do His will if we never learn His will?  How do we know right from wrong if we never study it and then meditate on it?  Part of the reason laws like the contraception mandate pass is in part due to Catholics not taking a true interest in learning and then defending their faith.

I also think we should turn to the Second Joyful Mystery — The Visitation.  Prayer is good and I truly believe it has the power to change the world.  But part of its effectiveness is that we must act on what God gives us through prayer.  Mary didn’t sit on the grace God gave her in the Annunciation, but she went out into the hostile world and shared that grace with her cousin Elizabeth.  And her son, Jesus, didn’t spend all His time in meditation but instead went out in the world and converted people.  His life was a living prayer since all His actions reflected God’s power and glory.  And so, He calls us to also go out into the world, powered by the guidance of the Holy Spirit from our prayers, to convert souls.

Finally, think about the Fifth Joyful Mystery — the finding of Jesus in the Temple.  Mary and Joseph travelled for three days before realizing Jesus was not with them.  And when they did realize He was missing, they searched in sorrow before finding Him.  I believe we are in a world that has gone very far and still hasn’t realized that Jesus is missing in it.  Hopefully, one day soon, we will realize that Jesus is missing and have the courage to turn around and find Him.  Like Mary and Joseph searching for Jesus “in sorrow,” our return to God’s grace and the rebuilding of morality will not be easy.  There will be setbacks.  There will be those who will stand in our way every chance they get.  But we must have the conviction to endure and continue our arduous mission to bring Jesus’ love into this world.

It’s simple physics.  The world will stay on its course unless opposed by an opposite counter action.  It’s not like one day laws will suddenly appear that will magically turn the world into a moral place.  If we want to change the laws, we have to first start by converting souls.  It takes people like you and me, fueled by prayer, to influence others and change this world for the better.  Without moral people speaking up, this world will continue on its course.  And if you think things are bad now, just wait and see where we go if we sit on our hands.  That’s all I can say for now or else my blood pressure will shoot through the roof.  But believe me, I will revisit this topic and do what I can to fight the further legalization of intrinsic evils.

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Our Lady’s Messages: March 2011

Message of March 02, 2011

Dear children; My motherly heart suffers tremendously as I look at my children who persistently put what is human before what is of God; at my children who, despite everything that surrounds them and despite all the signs that are sent to them, think that they can walk without my Son. They cannot! They are walking to eternal perdition. That is why I am gathering you, who are ready to open your heart to me, you who are ready to be apostles of my love, to help me; so that by living God’s love you may be an example to those who do not know it. May fasting and prayer give you strength in that and I bless you with motherly blessing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.

St.Michael parish church in Mondsee ( Upper Au...
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Mary’s message fits right in with the March 27, 2011 Gospel reading.  I discussed how in that reading Jesus contrasts our worldly needs and wants against our spiritual needs.  And here Mary tells us how she suffers tremendously when she sees us put our human wants in front of God.  None of us want to upset our earthly mothers by behaving badly.  Similarly, we don’t want to disappoint our Heavenly mother, Mary, by not living for the kingdom of Heaven.  We should remember her words when we pray the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the rosary that Mary is our Heavenly mother who is there to help us find God’s grace.  We need to listen to our mother by praying and fasting like she asks.

The Annual Apparition of Our Lady to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on March 18, 2011

Dear children! I am with you in the name of the greatest Love, in the name of dear God, who has come close to you through my Son and has shown you real love. I desire to lead you on the way of God. I desire to teach you real love so that others may see it in you, that you may see it in others, that you may be a brother to them and that others may see a merciful brother in you. My children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. With motherly love, I will show you what I expect of each of you, what I expect of my apostles. Set out with me. Thank you.

We do not make our faith journey alone.  In her message, Mary says that she is with us every step of the way.  She has the desire to lead us into God’s graces.  We not only have her help, but also the help of the Holy Spirit, angels, saints, and the entire Church.  We have a tremendous amount assistance in our corner.  But what they cannot give us is that desire to live in God’s love.  Each of us has to make that decision to want to have a relationship with God.  From that spark, Mary, the angels, and saints of Heaven can turn that spark into a fire of grace, joy, and happiness.  Let us remember Mary, Queen of Heaven, is there for us when we pray the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the rosary.

 

Message, 25. March 2011

Dear children! In a special way today I desire to call you to conversion. As of today, may new life begin in your heart. Children, I desire to see your ‘yes’, and may your life be a joyful living of God’s will at every moment of your life. In a special way today, I bless you with my motherly blessing of peace, love and unity in my heart and in the heart of my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Rubens Annunciation 1628 Antwerp
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What does Mary mean by having a desire to see our yes?  Remember, March 25 is the feast day of the Annunciation which we remember when we pray the First Joyful Mystery of the rosary.  That was when Mary said yes to God to being the mother of Jesus Christ.  The Annunciation marks the start of Jesus’ church on earth with a woman having the courage to say yes to God’s incredible request.  And so it is fitting that Mary asks us to commit to conversion.  She wants us to step out of our worldly comfort zone and take a chance living for Jesus’ heavenly kingdom.  As she says in her other messages, Mary will be there to guide us and comfort us when we do commit to living as God asks.  Mary received the ultimate blessing in the Annunciation when she said yes to God.  All she desires is to see us receive God’s grace by making the same decision.

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Rosary Meditation: The Fifth Glorious Mystery

Today’s rosary meditation is the Fifth Glorious Mystery — The Coronation of Mary. In this decade we see Mary awarded the honor of Queen of Heaven for having wholeheartedly accept God’s call. This is Her rightful place for having faith is God’s plan in The Annunciation, spreading the joy of God in The Visitation, giving birth to Jesus, and ultimately accepting the sorrow of His crucifixion and death. Mary is now in Heaven and amplifies and purifies our prayers and presents them to Her son, Jesus Christ. Mary’s coronation gives Her many titles — Queen of Peace, Queen of Angels, Queen of Saints, and Queen of the Rosary.

Coronación de la Virgen, óleo sobre lienzo. 17...
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Today’s rosary meditation is the Fifth Glorious Mystery — The Coronation of Mary.  In this decade we see Mary awarded the honor of Queen of Heaven for having wholeheartedly accepted God‘s call.  This is Her rightful place for having faith in God’s plan in The Annunciation, spreading God’s joy in The Visitation, giving birth to Jesus, King of the World, and ultimately accepting the sorrow of His crucifixion and death.  Mary is now in Heaven and amplifies and purifies our prayers and presents our needs to Her son, Jesus Christ.  Mary’s coronation gives Her many titles such as the Queen of Peace, Queen of Angels, Queen of Saints, and Queen of the Rosary.

Mary is the Queen of Peace.  Like many people, when I think of peace I think of a world without war and conflict.  And while that is a lofty goal and something worth praying for, Mary and the saints want us to dig deeper.  We cannot have peace in this world with each other unless we have an inner peace with God.  She wants us to work towards this internal peace by reconciling our ways with God’s ways.  She calls us to align ourselves with the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed to us through the Church.  This means putting aside worldly desires of money, power, fame, popularity, and anything else that might distract us from doing God’s will.  Mary knows that we cannot have real peace as long as there is conflict in our hearts between our love for Jesus and our love for earthly desires.

Mary is the Queen of Angels.  We must remember the angels in our prayers, particularly our guardian angels who protect us.  While we may not be aware of it, angels fight against the forces of evil every day to protect our souls from Satan and his minions.  Mary understands the precious gift of being in God’s grace and desires all of us to be in communion with Jesus Christ.  She directs the angels to fight for us because She does not want anyone to lose the gift of grace, especially for the momentary and trivial pleasures of this world.

Mary is certainly the Queen of the Rosary.  The rosary is our way of communicating with God.  We pray it remembering all the sorrows, joys, and glories of Jesus Christ.  When we pray the Joyful Mysteries we pray for the strength to accept God’s plans for us as Mary did.  When we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries we pray for the strength to remain faithful in the face of great suffering.  In the Luminous Mysteries we pray for the strength to live according to Jesus’ teachings.  And in the Glorious Mysteries we pray for the strength to live for our eventual resurrection and judgment.  Mary gives us a great gift in the rosary because we can use it to reflect on all dimensions of our faith.  It reminds us to thank God for all He gives us, ask for forgiveness of our sins and shortcomings, and ask Him for strength to live according to His Truth.

Let us pray that we take full advantage of the rosary to reflect and meditate on our faith.  May we look to Mary to guide us and help bring us closer to Her son, Jesus Christ.

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Rosary Meditation — The Fourth Glorious Mystery

In the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the holy rosary we meditate and pray on Mary’s Assumption into Heaven. Having accepted God’s plan in the Annunciation, Mary was honored by being assumed, body and soul, into God’s kingdom. However, Her work was far from over as She now takes the role of our guide and spiritual mentor. She is always trying to bring us closer to Her son, Jesus Christ.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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In the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the holy rosary we meditate and pray on Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.  Having accepted God’s plan in the Annunciation, Mary was honored by being assumed, body and soul, into God’s kingdom.  However, Her work was far from over as She now takes the role of our guide and spiritual mentor.  She is always trying to bring us closer to Her son, Jesus Christ.  She has a difficult challenge since She needs to not only fight the forces of evil, but also fight against our own weaknesses to live as one of God’s children.

Mary has appeared to many different people over the centuries and reiterated the ways we can live in God’s grace and ultimately live in His kingdom of Heaven.  Her messages can be narrowed down to five simple behaviors that She wants all of us to do:

  • Pray:  How can you have a meaningful relationship with God unless you talk to Him?  It doesn’t matter whether you recite prayers, meditate, or just have a free-form prayer session.  You need to talk to God and more importantly, listen to what He tells you.
  • Bible: Again, how can you love God if you do not know Him or His Church?  Read the Bible, the Catechism, and the writings of saints and scholars.  Know your faith so that you can live it with every thought, word, and action.
  • Fast: The key is to detach yourself from the bonds of this world and leave room in your soul for God’s grace.  Mary’s messages at Medjugorje always talk about leaving room for Jesus’ love and mercy and fasting makes you more receptive to God’s truth.
  • Confession: You need to free yourself from the bonds of sin by receiving absolution.  Like a shower for your soul, the Sacrament of Confession cleans away the damage sin inflicts on you and strengthens your resolve to remain in a state of grace.
  • Eucharist: You need to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood regularly because it is your spiritual fuel that will give you the strength and resolve to do God’s will.

Mary wants only the best for us.  She wants us to be close to Her son, Jesus Christ.  That is why She was assumed into Heaven so that She can be our guide and protector from evil.  What She asks of us is not terribly difficult.  She asks us to recognize God in our lives through prayer and act according to His Word.  Taking the time to listen to Mary and following Her guidance will lead to something far greater than anything in this world — God’s kingdom.  So, when we pray this mystery we should ask ourselves, “Are we listening to our Heavenly Mother?”

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