What’s Your Request?

King Solomon, Russian icon from first quarter ...
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The first reading for Sunday, 7/24/11, was the story about how Solomon the Wise actually became, well, wise.  In a dream, God came to Solomon, ruler of Israelites, and granted him one request.  Instead of earthly wealth and power, Solomon asked for the gift of wisdom.  God granted Solomon his request because of its unselfish nature.  Likewise, God gives us special gifts for praying the rosary if our requests are to help further our relationship with Him.

The Confraternity of the Rosary was started over 500 years ago by the Dominican order.  It is a Catholic association that promotes praying the rosary.  Over the years, the Virgin Mary made 15 promises of the benefits that come from praying the rosary.  They include gifts like:

  • What you shall ask through my Rosary you shall obtain.
  • To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities.
  • Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune.

Sound great?  If taken out of context one might think that praying the rosary will yield money, power, fame, and fortune.  If I ask for one million dollars I will receive it right?  I have a guarantee to find the love of my life or get that big promotion at work!  Of course, we know the rosary does not work like this.  So what does Mary mean in these promises?

We have to go back to Sunday’s reading and the story of Solomon.  God did have the power to grant Solomon whatever he wanted.  But God also reserved the right to turn down Solomon’s request if it was selfish or did not further His Heavenly kingdom.  The same goes with the promises of the rosary.  We will obtain whatever we ask as long as those requests are to deepen our relationship with God.  God will answer our prayers when we ask Him for what is truly important.  When Mary speaks of our necessities, she is not talking about our earthly ones.  Everything that happens in this life, good and bad, will one day pass away.  Our true necessities revolve around the state of our soul which will determine where we spend all eternity.  That is the aid we will receive praying the rosary.

Often we are like small children when we approach God in prayer.  To a child, a toy on the shelf at a store or a candy bar in the checkout counter feels like the most important thing in the world.  And children are devastated when they do not get what they want as we see when a parent drags their wailing child through the isles of a supermarket (poor parent).  And yet we often do the same thing in our prayers.  We ask God for things that we think are incredibly important because we lack the perspective to know that they are really quite inconsequential.  One of the benefits of the rosary is that we will not only receive our spiritual necessities, but we will gain a deeper understanding as to what those needs are.

So when we pray the rosary, let us remember to approach God humbly with our requests and intentions.  We should remember what is truly important which is the salvation of our soul and the souls of others.  Everything else, whether it be about work, finances, and relationships in this world are trivial when compared to receiving God’s grace.  And while it is fine to ask God for help in these areas we should remember to keep those requests in perspective.  Who knows?  Maybe one day God will come to you in a dream, as He did Solomon, and give you one request.  Will your heart be centered on God so that you will ask for what is truly important?