“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”
Pope Saint Pius X
I belong to a band of brothers, which is commonly called “The Men’s Household” amongst us and our friends. As part of the initiation, we are doing what is called Exodus 90, which is essentially 90 days of penance and fasting. Among many things, one of the duties required of us is to have at least one holy hour a week as a group and to make time for 30-60 minutes of prayer each day, separately. As devotion to our Blessed Mother, I usually try to make time for the Rosary during this time. Now, before I go further, I actually want to jump back in time for a little while. Because, before I came up to Oklahoma for school I had a weekly holy hour from 9-10 pm and 11pm-1 am every Friday. For a while, I didn’t always like going, because I was always scared. I’ll be quick to admit that I was pretty wrapped up in sin, even though I made honest attempts to be a good Catholic. Slowly over time, by the grace of God and by the tender love that comes from our Mother, I have made a lot of progress. But, one thing that remains the same is that I always get scared if I’m in adoration alone. It sounds ridiculous, but for me it’s a big issue. At first, I thought it was because I was weak, and I am, and that I just couldn’t be happy in God’s presence and trust in his loving protection. Then, the other day, while I was praying the Rosary I came to a startling conclusion, it wasn’t just me being weak, it was Satan and his minions trying to scare me from the Divine Presence, because he knows that if he can get me away from God Almighty, he can do with me as he will. So, this has been occurring for a couple years now, recently at one time in particular: While I’m praying the Rosary. For the most part, I can get through a good hour of praying without feeling overwhelming fear creeping up on me, unless I start praying devoutly or if I just start to recite the Most Holy Rosary. It gets, sometimes, to the point that my face will be drenched with sweat from the stress of forcing myself to remain with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament while praying the Rosary. Now, my patron saint is Padre Pio, who you may or may not know was tormented physically by devils. While all this is happening to me, I have myself convinced that I am not holy enough for God because I am so terrified of being tormented in the same manner; and while I’m praying, I’m terrified that, if I continue, a demon, or demons, will manifest themselves and begin to throw me around the room and start making animalistic, unholy sounds to deter me from completing the devotion. And through this fear I begin to doubt the validity of the Rosary and my Catholic faith as a whole, stemming from the temptation to think that the Rosary is an unholy devotion. So, as I’m praying the Rosary, I’m asking both my Guardian Angel and our Blessed Mother to guide me and protect me through the prayer, and in the back of my mind, in those “silent thoughts”, I hear myself say, “You (the demon/s) don’t want me to pray the Rosary.” And with this epiphany, my energy is renewed, I begin to pray with a fervor. I am now reassured that the Blessed Mother truly does have the power to subdue demons and lead me to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I am reassured that our Blessed Mother truly does love us and wants to protect and keep us in her tender care so that, through our cooperation, she can bring us to the bosom of our Heavenly Father. Padre Pio says,“When the enemy roars around you, it shows that he is not within you.” Because I have the realization, which can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit working through Mary and my Guardian Angel to speak to my conscience, I now know with a certainty that if these foul creatures are so hellbent on deterring me from this practice, then the Rosary is not merely a Holy devotion, but is, in fact, the Holiest devotion. If you still doubt the power of the Rosary, look at this account from St. Louis de Montfort’s book The Secret of the Rosary:
When St. Dominic, who spread the devotion of praying the rosary, was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil.
Saint Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him preach.
The devils who were in possession of this wretched man were forced to answer Saint Dominic’s questions in spite of themselves. They said that:
- There were fifteen thousand of them in the body of this poor man, because he had attacked the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary;
- They went on to testify that by preaching the Rosary he put horror into the very depths of hell and that he was the man they hated most throughout the whole world, because of the souls which he snatched from them through devotion to the Holy Rosary;
- They then revealed several other things.
Saint Dominic put his rosary around the Albigensian’s neck and asked the devils to tell him who, of all the saints in heaven, was the one they feared the most, and who should therefore be the most loved and revered by men.
At this they let out such unearthly screams that most of the people fell to the ground, faint from fear.
Then, using all their cunning, so as not to answer, the devils wept and wailed in such a pitiful way that many of the people wept also, out of purely natural pity.
The devils spoke through the mouth of the Albigenisian, pleading in a heartrending voice:
“Dominic, Dominic, have mercy on us – we promise you that we will never hurt you. You have always had compassion for sinners and those in distress; have pity on us, for we are in grievous straits. We are suffering so very much already, so why do you delight in heightening our pains? Can’t you be satisfied with our suffering without adding to it? Have pity on us! Have pity on us!”
Saint Dominic was not one whit moved by the pathos of these wretched spirits and told them that he would not let them alone until they had answered his question. Then they said they would whisper the answer in such a way that only Saint Dominic would be able to hear. The latter firmly insisted upon their answering clearly and out loud. Then the devils kept quiet and refused to say another word, completely disregarding Saint Dominic’s orders – so he knelt down and prayed thus to Our Lady: “Oh, all powerful and wonderful Virgin Mary, I implore you by the power of the Most Holy Rosary, order these enemies of the human race to answer me.”
No sooner had he made this prayer than a glowing flame leaped out of the ears, nostrils and mouth of the Albigensian. Everyone shook with fear, but the fire did not hurt anyone. Then the devils cried:
“Dominic, we beseech you, by the passion of Jesus Christ and by the merits of His Holy Mother and of all the saints, let us leave the body of this man without speaking – for the angels will answer your question whenever you wish. After all, are we not liars? So why should you want to believe us? Please don’t torture us any more; have pity on us.”
“Woe unto you wretched spirits, who do not deserve to be heard.” Saint Dominic said, and kneeling down he prayed to Our Lady:
“Oh most worthy Mother of Wisdom, I am praying for the people assembled here who have already learned how to say the Angelic Salutation properly. Please, I beg of you, force your enemies to proclaim the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this, here and now, before the multitude.”
Saint Dominic had hardly finished this prayer when he saw the Blessed Virgin near at hand, surrounded by a multitude of angels. She struck the possessed man with a golden rod that she held and said: “Answer my servant Dominic at once.” (Remember, the people neither saw nor heard Our Lady, but only Saint Dominic.)
“Then listen well you Christians; the Mother of Jesus Christ is all powerful and she can save her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual.
“We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that she offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires and aspirations of all the saints.
“We fear her more than all the other saints in heaven together and we have no success with her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon her when they are at the hour of death and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards are saved by her intercession.
“Oh if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called her) had not pitted her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this; and we would have seen to it that all the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder.
“Now that we are forced to speak we must also tell you this: nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because she obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.”
“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.’ Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practise black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if– and mark well what I say– if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”
-St. Louis de Montfort from The Secret of the Rosary