The attack on marriage is really an attack on the human person, and his dignity, for the devil seeks to pervert our true purpose, to pervert God's holy design. For many of us, we cannot march in protests or write dozens of letters or call numerous times to urge legislators to vote for the Truth. But one thing we can all do is pray and fast. We have designated one day each week to fast for these intentions:

1. That marriage may be preserved, promoted, and understood as God's plan for creation.

2. For all marriages that they may reflect the love of the Trinity.

3. For broken marriages that Christ bring healing and conversion to the spouses' souls.

4. For those who are married, for the sanctification of their marriage and their spouse. For those who are single, for their future spouse and vocation.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 3 Fast

"Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him.  He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it.  It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken.  "In union there is strength." Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls.  So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God's anger, to draw down His grace and mercy on us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his angels more forcefully? 
 (The Secret of the Rosary, 46th Rose, St. Louis deMontfort)
The family is facing a fierce onslaught from the forces of the evil.  The questions arises, then, how best to combat it?  
"The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put 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 with saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors." (Pope Pius XI)
Many complain of having no time on their hands today; their busy schedule and mounting workloads make it nearly impossible for communal prayer.  Perhaps they can make time to pray alone or before meals but gathering the family together is too arduous an undertaking.  The family rosary can become a lovely ideal rather than a concrete reality.  It is seen not as a necessity but rather a luxury.  One may say, "But the rosary does not take 15 minutes, but more like thirty or forty-five minutes once everyone is settled and so forth.  It's just not worth the effort."  And yet, how many absentmindedly pass thirty or forty-five minutes on the internet?  Yes, the family rosary does take effort and discipline; anything meritorious always does.  Sacrifice and inconvenience is often involved.  But, if it is a priority, then one always finds the time for it just as he always finds the time to eat.

St. Padre Pio famously referred to his rosary as his weapon.  Is anyone so naive to think that he is without need of the same weapon in battle?  The pioneers never considered entering an unknown frontier without a loaded gun; should we not arm ourselves and families as much as possible for the deadly attacks that are sure to come?  In the Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis deMontfort said:
"If priests and religious have an obligation to meditate upon the truths of our holy religion in order to live their vocation worthily, the same obligation, then, is just as much incumbent upon the laity - because of the fact that every day they meet with spiritual dangers which might make them lose their souls.  Therefore they should arm themselves with the frequent meditation on the life, virtues and sufferings of Our Blessed Lord which are so beautifully contained in the . . . mysteries of the Holy Rosary."

 In 1830, the Blessed Mother appeared to a French novice, Saint Catherine Laboure, in three apparitions.  In these, she displayed her complete and total maternal care for Catherine and every man.  In the first, the Blessed Mother sat on a chair in the chapel while Catherine affectionately rested her hands on Our Lady's knees and spoke to her for two hours.  The second and third visions have become famous as the ones in which Our Lady commissioned the Miraculous Medal.  As Catherine saw brilliant rays issuing forth from Mary's hands she heard their explanation:
"These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them.  The gems from which the rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask."
The first intimate encounter shows Our Blessed Mother's sensitive solicitude and gentle nature.  She is not a far-off queen, but one who is among her people, who desires to help them, to bring them to the King. Her later appearances to Catherine reveal how eager she is distribute God's graces to those who seek them, and how saddened she is to know how many do not even think to ask.  The servants at the feast in Cana knew who to ask, and were granted their petition because of the trust they placed in Mary's intercession.  Let us too go to her, the Morning Star who leads us to the Eternal Son.