Rosary: May 2007 Archives

The Family Rosary

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When Praying for Healing

It happens sometimes that the healing of a family member — in spite of persistent and fervent prayer — is impeded because of an unspoken resistance to the prayer or because of indifference to it within the family itself. In asking for the physical, emotional, or spiritual healing of a family member, it is crucial, first of all, that two or three family members — especially married couples — pray together. For this I recommend, above all, the Holy Rosary.

When one's family life is itself fragile or shattered, one should seek out close friends with whom to pray. Again, the Rosary is, I think, the most efficacious prayer. By means of the Rosary, Blessed Bartolo Longo, a layman, rebuilt family life and renewed society in the poverty, ignorance, and desolation of 19th century Pompei. Veritable miracles of grace, all attributed to the Rosary, confirmed Blessed Longo's initiatives and continue to the present day.

The Prayer of Faith

It is possible to add after each decade some invocations drawn from the Gospels, such as: "Lord, the one whom Thou lovest is sick" (Jn 11:3); "If thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us" (Mk 9:21); "I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief" (Mk 9:23); and, especially, the prayer of the centurion repeated in every Mass, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and N. shall be healed" (Mt 8:8).

The Sacraments

It is also indispensable that those who are praying for the healing of a loved one go to Confession frequently. Everyone — not just the penitent — benefits from the grace of sacramental absolution by which the glorious wounds of Christ are applied to the wounds of our souls.

Married couples do well to receive Holy Communion together at the same Holy Mass, at least on Sundays. So often as spouses receive Holy Communion together, the grace of the Nuptial Mass with which they began their married life can be renewed within them. The renewal of this grace benefits the entire family circle. The supernatural context of all healing is the unity that is the fruit of participation in the Most Holy Eucharist.

De Maria Numquam Satis

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Blessed Bartolo Longo wrote: "What is my vocation? To write about Mary, to have Mary praised, to have Mary loved."

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At 11:55 this morning I went down into the basilica to await the praying of the Supplica to the Madonna del Rosario di Pompei. I took a place in the front row of chairs. Behind me I could hear people arriving. There was some whispering about the requisite leaflet. Although Don Carlo had made copies available, many came prepared with their own leaflets. The atmosphere in the basilica was charged with holy anticipation. At noon, Don Carlo led us in the Supplica. The faithful read the text with the most touching piety and confidence. Blessed Bartolo Longo's prayer has an unmistakable spiritual unction. It touches hearts. It permits people to voice their need for help and their confidence in Mary in a wonderful solidarity, and without the slightest embarrassment.

After the singing of the Salve Regina in conclusion, I looked around at the people who had come. Men and women. Young and old. The nave was nearly full. Rather impressive, when one considers that the Supplica was being prayed in churches all over Rome at the same time.

O blessed Rosary of Mary,
sweet chain that unites us to God,
chain of love that unites us to the angels.
Tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell.
Safe harbor in the universal shipwreck,
we will never abandon you.
You will be our comfort in the hour of death,
to you the last kiss
of our dying life.
And the final word on our lips
will be your sweet name,
O Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii,
O dearest Mother,
O refuge of sinners,
O sovereign comforter of the afflicted.
Be everywhere blessed, today and forever,
on earth and in Heaven.
Amen.

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Our Lady of Pompei

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 is the Feast of Our Lady of Pompei. In Italy and in places all over the globe the feast will be marked by the solemn recitation at noon of Blessed Bartolo Longo's moving prayer, the Supplica, meaning supplication or petition.

The Prayer of People the World Over

The Supplica is, of Blessed Bartolo Longo's published prayers to the Mother of God, the most famous. Its incandescent words have opened countless souls to the grace of Christ through the all–powerful intercession of His Mother.

The Supplica is a prayer that people have made their own. It is known on every continent; it has been translated into hundreds of languages. No authority ever imposed it, it is not part of the liturgy of the Church, it was never submitted to revision by ICEL, and yet, it has become universal. Sociologists of religion, take note! Translators of liturgical texts, wake up and smell the Italian coffee!

A Prayer of the Heart

Certain rationalistic types disdain the Supplica. They see it as representative of an unenlightened, sentimental, southern Italian piety bordering on superstition. They find its emphases embarrassing, its display of emotion unnerving.

The literary style of Blessed Bartolo Longo is the expression of his own character. He was capable of gentleness and of passion. He was, like all meridionals, rich in sentiment and quick to express it both in song and in tears. He was moved, before all else, by the reason of the heart.

Blessed Longo was a lover of Truth; but his particular grace was the discovery of Truth through love. He found Truth, not in syllogisms and in concepts, but in the Heart and on the Face of the Word Made Flesh in the womb of the Virgin, and held in her arms.

The Prayer of One Delivered From Evil

The Rosary was the means by which, at the age of twenty–eight, a confused and desperate Avvocato Bartolo Longo — a practicing Satanist and medium at the time — was converted to the Truth and delivered from the powers of darkness. He vowed that he would spend his life proclaiming to others the Rosary's liberating and healing power. This is why, at the end of the Supplica, he exclaims: "O blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we shall never abandon you."

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Bound to Mary by the Rosary

The Supplica may not be everyone's cup of tea. Even pious folks may find it a bit too baroque, a bit overdone. It may be the southern Italian blood (mixed with Irish) that runs hot in my veins, but I love the Supplica and I plan on saying it with thousands of other people at noon on Tuesday. It is the prayer of a man very like myself: a poor sinner who fears nothing when he holds the Rosary in his hands, knowing that the Mother of God holds her end of the chain, and will not let it go.

The Supplica
Prayed at Midday on May 8th

O August Queen of Victories, O Sovereign of Heaven and Earth, at whose name the heavens rejoice and the abyss trembles, O glorious Queen of the Rosary, we your devoted children, assembled in your temple of Pompeii, (on this solemn day), pour out the affection of our heart and with filial confidence expresse our miseries to you. 



From the throne of clemency, where you are seated as Queen, turn, O Mary, your merciful gaze on us, on our families, on Italy, on Europe, on the world. Have compassion on the sorrows and cares which embitter our lives. See, O Mother, how many dangers of body and soul, how many calamities and afflictions press upon us. 



O Mother, implore for us the mercy of your divine Son and conquer with clemency the heart of sinners. They are our brothers and your children who cause the heart of our sweet Jesus to bleed and who sadden your most sensitive heart. Show all that you are the Queen of Peace and of Pardon.

Hail Mary. 



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A Guest from the Irish College

The Reverend Mr. Bernard Healy of the Pontifical Irish College visited me today. He was interested in seeing the Chapel of the Madonna di Bon Aiuto. We strolled in the rain–washed monastery garden, enjoying the white roses that are blossoming in profusion, as you can see in the photo above.

May Devotions in the Chapel of Bon Aiuto

The postulants and novices returned with me for the second day of May to pray the holy rosary in the chapel of the Madonna di Bon Aiuto. The Rosary is a deceptively simple prayer. The power of the Rosary is completely disproportionate to the effort required to pray it well. The secret is to begin saying it and to persevere in saying it whether one feels consolation or not. The Rosary is powerful because, almost imperceptibly, it changes the heart of the one who prays it, liberates from sin, and heals wounds resistant to every other treatment.

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Why the Devil Hates the Rosary

The devil, of course, hates the Rosary, precisely because it changes hearts, detaches from sin, attaches to the all–pure Mother of God, and leads to conversion. One of the ploys he uses to deter people from praying it is to suggest that unless one can pray it well, i.e. perfectly, one shouldn't pray it at all. I would suggest, rather, that the Rosary, even prayed badly, is better than no Rosary at all. The Rosary, exactly like the Jesus Prayer, opens the heart to seeds of contemplation that, in the end, become the fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.


The Rosary in Bits and Pieces

One should use every opportunity to pray the Rosary, even when can do so only in bits and pieces. The Holy Mother of God knows well how to sort out the bits and pIeces offered by her children. Those who persevere in the humble recitation of the Rosary are able to say, quoting the psalmist, that it "revives the soul, gives wisdom to the simple, rejoices the heart, and gives light to the eyes" (Ps 18:7–8).

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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