While eating healthier, getting up earlier, exercising, and similar commitments are all good and commendable, I want to recommend one resolution you will never regret: praying a daily rosary.
We all have rosaries laying around our homes or hanging from the mirrors in our cars. It is hard to imagine a Catholic without a rosary. But it is all too easy to let it turn into an unused accessory or decoration. The rosary is not a good luck charm. For it to benefit us, we actually have to pray it. Here are five reasons to make a daily rosary part of your New Year’s resolutions.
1. The 100th Anniversary of Fatima
On May 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal. Over the next few months, she appeared repeatedly to warn them of impending disaster if the world did not repent of its sins. She asked them to pray for peace in the world and to offer sacrifices for the salvation of souls. “Continue to pray the rosary every day,” was her message.
Sadly, hardly anyone has listened to Our Lady’s warning, and despite a century of some of the most bloody wars in history, the world has only sunk deeper in sin and corruption. As the 100th anniversary of these events approaches in 2017, it is hard not to feel like something big is around the corner, and indeed there are many signs that this could be a very important year in the history of the world. Now, more than ever, we need to heed Our Lady of Fatima’s message and “pray the rosary every day.”
2. World Peace
Nearly everyone I know is on edge about world events. Russia, China, Europe, politics here in the U.S.—it is like a powder keg ready to blow. Today alone, a Russian ambassador was assassinated in Turkey and a bus plowed into a crowd in a terrorist attack, killing at least 9. That’s not to mention the ongoing war in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, where thousands upon thousands of Christians are suffering immensely at the hands of radical Islamic terrorism and other forces.
Ultimately, we shouldn’t be surprised by these events. Scripture speaks of “wars and rumors of wars” that are but the birth pangs of the coming of the kingdom of Christ. So what’s the solution in these dark times? In the above mentioned Fatima messages, Our Lady emphasized that the rosary was a powerful weapon in obtaining world peace. “Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world…” (Our Lady, July 13, 1917). It’s so simple it almost seems unbelievable. But God has many times honored this prayer with miraculous results, and we should use it.
3. A Blessing on Your Home
The family is under attack. Never before has there been so much confusion and outright hostility surrounding the nature of marriage, the relation between men and women, and sexuality and gender in general. A stable, two-parent family is an anomaly these days—a freak occurrence almost. Worst of all, this confusion is not lamented, it is celebrated.
In this midst of this crisis of marriage and the family, we should seek to have homes where God is at the center. Homes filled with peace and love and that are blessed by God. And the best way to do that is to pray as a family. As the famous saying goes, “The family that prays together, stays together.” It might be hard at first, but make a commitment and stick with it. It gets easier with time. If you need a meditation aid for squirmy kids, look up Fr. Patrick Peyton’s rosary videos on YouTube. They will help.
4. Inner Healing
We all have wounds in our souls that are a result of our fallen condition. They are a result of the broken world into which we are born, inflicted by both our sins and the sins of others. Often these are buried deep, but they affect our daily choices and emotional state often unconsciously. To heal these wounds, we need to encounter Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. He alone can restore our souls and give us the wholeness we desperately need.
By praying the rosary, we are brought by Our Blessed Mother into the Lord’s presence. She is the Theotokos, the God-bearer, a living monstrance. As she bore Christ to her cousin St. Elizabeth, so she can bring him to us so we can encounter his healing presence. We should take up the rosary, praying as we do in the liturgy: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
I recommend Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s book, Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing.
I don’t know about you, but I constantly struggle with myself, my fallen nature. Like St. Paul, I find myself doing things I don’t want to do and failing to do the things I do want to do. But the struggle is not hopeless. Grace is real and powerful. It is the nitro-fuel of the spiritual life, and we are promised that we will always have the grace that we need to overcome our faults. If you want to fill your spiritual gas tank and have superabundant graces to energize your spiritual life, there is no other way to obtain them than praying the rosary.
Countless saints and popes have recommended the faithful recitation of the rosary as a sure way to transform your soul into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It is a prayer so powerful that it has altered history again and again, and it can change the course of your life too. If you want the grace of conversion, of sanctity, pray the rosary.
Perhaps as a Catholic, you feel you are well acquainted with the rosary, but it’s grown so familiar that you don’t really appreciate its full richness anymore. Whether you’re new to the rosary or you’ve been praying it for years, I strongly recommend Fr. Donald Calloway’s powerful new book, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon. It is the best, most thoroughly researched book on the rosary ever written, with nearly 400 pages of detailed biographies and rich historical facts. It took him years to write as he traveled around the globe collecting first-hand accounts of the rosary’s power, as well as the stories of many saints who have never before been heard of around the world. Add it to your arsenal.
PS: Be sure to check out the new Catholic Gentleman Rosary.