October 4, 1998
Brother John Raymond
On October 7 the Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. It came about because of the naval victory of Lepanto won by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571. This battle was important for preserving Christianity as the Turks were set on invading Europe and imposing the Moslem religion. The prayers of the members of the Rosary confraternity who were making processions at Rome pleading for the Turks to be turned back was answered. St. Pius V thereupon ordered that a commemoration of the Rosary should be made upon that day. Pope Clement XI, after another important victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene on August 6, 1716 in Hungary, extended this memorial to the universal Church.
The late Fr. Patrick Peyton coined the wonderful expression, "The family that prays together stays together." And the form of prayer he pushed for the family to use was the rosary. Now I'm sure if we had a bunch of Turks with knives in their teeth surrounding our house and breaking down the front door we might be inspired to pray a family rosary in desperation. But without an immediate visible threat to our family the need to come together in this way is hard to bring about. And yet there are so many threats to our family in modern day living that are surrounding our homes. I'm not only talking about possible physical violence but the many pressures from our society that are breaking families apart not to mention the moral degradation that surrounds us. Ultimately, our battle in not so much with what can be seen but with what cannot be seen. And a battle is indeed going on! The battle between light and darkness continues today. And we need ammunition to fight off the darkness and an advocate to help us. Our Lady of the Rosary offers us the help we so desperately need.
I believe the biggest challenge to the family rosary is getting everybody together for it. I mean if you can't even get everybody together for supper what are the odds of succeeding for prayer? Perhaps the best time is before bed, that is, if the children aren't staying up until 1am. Maybe it can't be every day. But at least once a week wouldn't be asking too much. And if your children ask you why they should let me tell you the following story that happened to me regarding the rosary.
I was driving down a two-way road early in the morning on my way to school praying my rosary, as was my custom. This road had many twists and turns and was lined on either side by forest. There had been a light rain the previous evening and the road glistened from being wet, or so I thought. What I didn't know was that the rain had frozen into a slippery glaze on the road. All of a sudden I lost control of the car. It completely turned around and slid backward at 50mph! The car was heading for the trees. I watched helplessly looking out the back window but still clutching my rosary. The car went off the road and down the snow covered sloping embankment. It stopped a few feet from the trees and was tilted on the embankment. Two young guys who had been traveling by van in the opposite direction witnessed this whole thing and came running over to the car to see if I was okay. They opened the passenger door to pull me out. Noticing me clutching my rosary the first thing one of the guys said to me was "Good thing you had your beads, man!"
Now the point of this long-winded story is that if these two strangers thought I was lucky because I had my "beads" then certainly your children should see the point of the family praying their beads too.