Living in the End Times ~ Part 12

Living in the End Times

Being a Christian people, we are filled with a hope which is strengthened through both prayer and Sacrament. We have a God who has gifted us with a faith in His unfathomable Love and limitless Mercy, made known to us through Sacred Scripture and the teaching Magisterium of our Catholic Church.

In our last episode (Part 11), we reflected upon those special prayers given to us from both Heaven and the Church itself, prayers which strengthen and prepare us for all that will one day unfold upon the face of the Earth.

In this continuing series on “Living in the End Times”, I would like to spend time today reflecting upon those subjects which you asked for through past comments or in private messages.

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THE HOLY ROSARY

There was a request for knowing more about the history and Scriptural basis for the Rosary. The Eternal Word Television Network, on its webpage, presents a very detail history of this favorite devotion for many of God’s faithful.

The Rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Divine Office (the Breviary, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), during the course of which, early in Church history, the monks would pray each day the 150 Psalms.

The laity, many of whom could not read at the time, substituted 50 or even 150 Avé Marias (Hail Marys) in place of the Psalms. This prayer, at least the first half of it being biblically based, seems to date from as early as the 2nd century, as ancient graffiti at Christian sites has shown archeological researchers. Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Avés.

The first clear historical reference to the Rosary, however, is from the life of Saint Dominic (who died in 1221 A.D.), who was the founder of the Order of Preachers, or what is also called the Order of Dominicans. He preached a form of the Rosary in France during the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the faith in medieval Europe. Tradition reveals that it was the Blessed Mother, herself, who asked for the practice of praying the Rosary as an antidote for heresy and sin.

Saint Dominic de Guzman

One of St. Dominic’s future disciples, Blessed Alain de Roche (1428-1475 A.D.), began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the Rosary. The form of the Rosary we have today is believed to date from his time.

Over the centuries, many saints and popes have highly recommended the Rosary as the greatest prayer in the Church, only after the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, its most active promoters have been Dominicans.

Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. the Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys or Franciscan Crown, the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church.

Finally, in English it has been called “Our Lady’s Psalter” or “the beads”. This last term is derived from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).

The Rosary has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied with the prayers (it can and should be prayed silently when necessary so as not to disturb others), the mind meditates on the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ, from the Incarnation through His youth, through our Lord’s ministry, His Sorrowful Passion and the Redemption He earned for us, and finally His Glorious Resurrection and Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit together with the Assumption and Coronation of Mary – all represented by the different decades, most of which are found throughout the New Testament.

Meditation is the form of prayer by which the person who is praying uses the mind and imagination to consider a Divine Truth and uses the will to love it and form resolutions to live it. In this way, the heart, mind and soul of the Christian is formed according to the Gospel examples of our Savior and His first disciple, His Mother.

In God’s own time, when this purification of the heart, mind and soul has advanced sufficiently, our Lord may give the grace of contemplative prayer, that special Divine insight into the truth which human effort cannot achieve on its own.

Why pray the Rosary today? Most certainly, it is to grow in holiness in one’s daily prayer life. The following are a few others reasons why the Rosary should be prayed often, even daily:

  • “Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.” (Pope Pius IX)
  • “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.” (Our Lady of Fatima)
  • “There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessings upon the family…than the daily recitation of the Rosary.” (Venerable Pope Pius XII)
  • “We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times.” (Ven. Pope Pius XII)
  • “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary.” (Bishop Hugh Doyle)
  • “The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world.” (Pope St. John XXIII)
  • “The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel.” (Pope St. Paul VI quoting Ven. Pope Pius XII)
  • “Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary…can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [e.g.. the Mass] and can also become a continuing echo thereof.” (Pope St. Paul VI)
  • “My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God.” (Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima)
  • “How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening.” (Pope St. John Paul II)
  • Pope St. John Paul II has called the Rosary his “favorite prayer”, after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, and
  • Saint Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance: “…the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God.”

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THE ROSARY and SACRED SCRIPTURE

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”

  • Luke 1:28:  “And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.’” The Greek word kecharitomene means favored by grace, graced. Its tense suggests a permanent state of being “highly favored”, thus full of grace. Charity, the Divine Love within us, comes from the same root. God is Infinite Goodness, Infinite Love. Mary is the perfect example of created goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with the grace or charity.

“Blessed are you among women”

  • Luke 1:41-42a:  “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women…’”
  • Luke 1:48-49:  “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
  •  “Among all women” is a way to say the highest/greatest etc. in Semitic languages (these words would likely have been spoken in Aramaic). Mary is being called the greatest of all women, greater than Ruth, greater than Sarah, greater than EVE!
  • Since Eve was created immaculate (without original sin), Mary must have been conceived immaculate. And, although Eve fell into sin by her own free will, Mary must have corresponded to God’s grace and remained sinless. She could not otherwise be greater than Eve. Thus, as the Fathers of the Church unanimously assert, Mary is the New Eve who restores womanhood to God’s original intention and cooperates with the New Adam, her Son, for the Redemption of the world!

“Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

  • Luke 1:42b:  “and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
  • Jesus is Mary’s fruit. Good fruit does not come from anything but a good tree (Mt. 7:17-18)! The All-Holy Son of God could not be the fruit of any other tree than the Immaculate Virgin!

“Holy Mary, Mother of God”

  • Luke 1:43:  “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
  • Kyrios is the Greek word used by the Jews in the Septuagint Bible (Greek translation) for YHWH, the Divine Name of God. In her greeting of Mary, Elizabeth is saying: “How is it that the mother of my God should come to me.”
  • Against the heresies of the 4th and 5th centuries which tried to split the Person of Jesus into two, Divine and human, denying one or the other, the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. proclaimed Mary Theotokos (God-bearer, i.e. mother of God).
  • Jesus is a single Person, a Divine Person, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. To be mother of the Person Jesus is to be mother of a Person who is God. Mary’s title protects this truth against errors which emphasize or deny either the Divinity or the humanity of the Lord.

“Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

  • Luke 2:35:  “…and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
  • John 2:5:  “His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
  • Mary sees a need and appeals to Her Son to satisfy it. He does. We turn to Mary to ask her to intercede with her Son in our daily spiritual and material needs, but especially at the hour of our death. At that moment, our salvation hangs in the balance as the devil makes his final foray to deter us from the path to God (Rev. 2:10). It is not surprising, therefore, that both the Hail Mary and the Our Father conclude with an appeal to be delivered from the Evil One.

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Prayer is the raising of one’s mind, heart and soul to God. It is how we give Him glory by showing our complete dependence upon His Presence in our daily lives, humbling ourselves before His Divine Majesty and embracing His providential Love for each of us. Prayer then truly becomes our intimate conversation with the God who created us and loves us beyond all human understanding.

In Part 11, we covered several different types of prayer. The Rosary, in which we have gone into more detail today, is a very important prayer available to us and which we can offer to God from the very depths of our hearts.

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CLOSING COMMENT

Next Friday in this continuing series of “Living in the End Times”, we will prayerfully discuss in more detail the facts surrounding the Third Secret of Fatima and how it impacts us in these times in which we live today.

Again, I ask that you please pray that I may be able to continue to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in all that He wishes for you to learn, in all that He wishes for you know through this Evangelization Apostolate of God’s Divine Love and Mercy

– so that I may be able to continue to evangelize the fullness of His Truth, remaining ever faithful to the True Bride of Christ and the Magisterial teaching of His Holy Church, and guiding each of us into a more loving, holier and a more intimate relationship with our Creator, our Savior and our Enlightener – a Most Loving and Merciful God who calls each of us into oneness with Himself.

And as we begin to live in these final days of the “End Times”, may we take to heart always the words which our Lord spoke, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you.

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