In 1917, the Blessed Virgin visited three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Just a year earlier, the children were primed for this event by an angel of the Lord on three separate occasions.
We often hear atheists and skeptics ridicule the Christian, as at a first glance we do not seem to see the kind of activity today that is recorded in the Bible. The people living in biblical times would have surely felt the same; as the miraculous events recorded in Holy Scripture were localized and spread over a great number of generations.
But the Fatima apparitions prove to be the largest and most public miracles that the human race has ever seen. We should assume, therefore and furthermore, that the message is one of the most vital.
Has the message of Fatima been heeded? I would argue that it has not. Back in 1917, Sister Lucia said that she saw souls falling into Hell like snowflakes. The moral degeneration of the modern world makes 1917 look in some respects like the garden of Eden. There are many aspects of the Fatima message that are not being followed but by a fringe group of the faithful.
In his book, Secret of the Rosary, Saint Louis De Montfort assured us: “If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.”
If these words — or the innumerable other exhortations from saints and holy popes — are not enough, the Blessed Virgin herself unveiled fifteen promises that she will grant to her faithful children who follow her urgent appeals. The first time these promises were made manifest was to Saint Dominic in the 12th century, later re-articulated to Blessed Alan de la Roche in the 15th century. I have included the fifteen promises of the holy rosary at the bottom of this article. For the sake of brevity, I will highlight just a few.
“The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.”
In my opinion, the above promise is one of the most important for us. Who could deny that we live in an age almost entirely consumed by hellish forces; superabundant vice; unbridled sin; and, almost most tragically of all; such a widespread diffusion of error and heresy that it is difficult to recognize where the truth begins and where it ends?
No one — without a miraculous grace from God — will be able to withstand the tides of error that clatter ceaselessly against our shores — unless he faithfully recite the rosary. This protection against heresy is surely one of the main reasons Our Mother insists that we cling to the rosary more than ever in these times. Let us not forget: the rosary (as we have it today) was given to Saint Dominic in response to the saint’s struggle against the Albigensian heresy. It was given as a weapon to destroy this error and all others. I think we should recall that Saint Dominic tried other means to quell the Albigensians. He preached and used all the reasoning he could muster; he laid out the true doctrine of the Faith; he probably expounded the fathers with a genius and lucidity almost unknown to us today. But this would not suffice. It took the rosary and, almost as if to emphasize the point, the rosary alone to finally put to death this awful error of his time.
“The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.”
The next promise I will call to attention is simple and succinct, and it should give us all a great confidence in the Mother of Mercy and of our eternal salvation. We have been given by the Mother of God a sure and simple means to save our soul, which is the ultimate objective of this combat that we call life. How foolish would we be to neglect this great prayer, even for a day?
“You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”
All you ask, the Mother of God says! My experience in this regard has proved the promise completely true, as has the experiences of many others. The rosary has been a continual source of blessings for me — both spiritual and temporal — and I fear what would have become of me if I had not taken up the dreaded burden and stuck to it (as I thought the thing to be a great difficulty in the beginning). But, as with all things, once an action is habituated, it becomes not only easy, but joyful! There is much sweetness in the rosary for those souls who give themselves over to it entirely.
In addition to this promise, in the sixth promise, the Holy Mother tells us: “Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune[.]” Indeed, this is something we all desire now and always.
“The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.”
See how the Holy Mother desires for all her children to take up this charge, so infinitely good for their poor souls. The words almost betray a pain that some of her dearly beloved will not make the effort after such promises from on high, after such signs from heaven that the rosary is necessary for us.
To supplement these points, I will briefly quote Our Lady of Fatima, as to why she so desperately wants us to pray the rosary:
“Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them. ”
There are souls being lost. I do not think we could ever perceive the magnitude of this crisis. We can make a difference; Our Lady assures us of this! God requires our cooperation in His great work of the salvation of souls. We must cooperate. He has ordained in His Goodness and Wisdom that our prayers matter. We can obtain Divine Grace that could have remarkable effects on people we do not even know. If we neglect these prayers, how many souls will be potentially deprived of the grace that might lead them to amend their lives and be saved?
“I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day. ”
The Rosary is the divinely appointed remedy for the sins of men. “Let them continue saying it every day,” the Blessed Mother says.
My hope is that this article will encourage all to adopt a more radical adherence to the recitation of the rosary. Perhaps it will also provide some material to fan the flames of devotion for those who as of yet have not taken up this mighty and sweet weapon. We should pray the holy rosary as if doing battle, as that is truly what we are doing when we pray it. The humble prayer of a seemingly insignificant person can rattle Hell, frustrate the schemes of the evil one significantly, and effect real change in other people lives — all the while showering that person with an abundance of divine favors and graces.
It is rarely beyond anyone’s reach to pray all fifteen mysteries every single day, I am sure. In any case, five decades can and should be achieved. I ask you to resolve now to entirely appropriate the Rosary from this day forward, whether you pray 15 decades (or more) a day or one. Take the rosary (and Our Lady) “unto yourself,” as Saint John did at the foot of the cross. Spread devotion to it amongst all; cling to it; it is yours!
I will let Saint Lucia summarize for me:
The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families … that cannot be solved by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves. We will sanctify ourselves. We will console Our Lord, and obtain the salvation of many souls.
Fifteen Promises of the Holy Rosary
- Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
- I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
- The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
- The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
- The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
- Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
- Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
- Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenititude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
- I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
- The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
- You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
- All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
- I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
- All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ.
- Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.