Pray! Prayer is not a last resort!

By Chris Sparks

It’s getting bad out there.

The spiritual weather of the world is turbulent, to say the least. In the West, the Light of Christ seems to be fading from far too many hearts. In the wider world, the Church is flourishing, but all too often persecuted, impoverished, or suffering — a great strength in one sense, but still something we should be working to alleviate.

The world is on the brink of nuclear conflict in a way she hadn’t been since the heart of the Cold War, and many nations are either at war or teetering in that direction. The many errors of the past century seem to have suddenly gained new life and vigor, and are driving many nations to the edge of destruction.

Fatima message
It's all in Fatima, really — it’s all there in Our Lady’s words. We missed our moment to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart in 1929, when she requested the consecration. As she predicted, World War II was the result, a second war, worse than the first, alongside the spread of the errors of Russia to many nations, leading to the destruction of many nations.And we have not yet seen the end of this time of history. We haven’t yet seen the promised Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the conversion of Russia, the end of the reign of the errors, or the time of peace.

On the one hand, this is hopeful. We are promised by Our Lady that the next portion of history shall be an era of peace. We have something to look forward to!
On the other hand, we can all be tempted to pray the words of the psalmist:

How long, Lord? Will you utterly forget me?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,
    grief in my heart day after day?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look upon me, answer me, Lord, my God!
    Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death,
Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed,”
    lest my foes rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your mercy.
    Grant my heart joy in your salvation,
I will sing to the Lord,
    for he has dealt bountifully with me! (Psalm 13:2-6).

First Saturdays
God has dealt bountifully with us, indeed—we weren’t just given a promise at Fatima. We were also given devotions, ways to welcome in God’s grace, speed the Triumph, and set the world to rights. We were given the First Saturdays of reparation and the daily Rosary for peace in the world.

This coming Saturday will be the First Saturday of October, the month of the Holy Rosary. Providentially, it’s also the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, formerly known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, commemorating the 1571 triumph attributed by Pope St. Pius V to the Rosary when the Christian fleet defeated the Islamic fleet at Lepanto.

As Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, recounts in his best-selling books Champions of the Rosary and 10 Wonders of the Rosary, Lepanto was far from the only world historic triumph of the Rosary in her history. Rather, this simple devotion has a storied legacy of incredible conversions, triumphs over the enemies of Christ and His Church, and much, much more.

Rosary Confraternity & Congress
That’s why a chapter of the Dominicans’ ancient Rosary Confraternity, recommended and celebrated by Fr. Calloway in Champions of the Rosary, is being established at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. With the approval of the Bishop of Springfield, the Most Rev. William Byrne, and the consent of the provincial of the St. Joseph Province of the Dominicans, the rector of the National Shrine (currently Fr. Matthew Tomeny, MIC) will be the director of the branch of the Confraternity here on Eden Hill in Stockbridge. Enroll here.

That’s also why the Marian Fathers are hosting the second annual Diocesan Rosary Congress from Oct. 7-13 on the grounds of the National Shrine. 
Remember St. John Bosco’s dream of the two pillars? The Church, represented by an armada of ships led by the Holy Father’s flagship, struggling through a storm, under attack. When the Holy Father moored his ship to the two pillars rising out of the ocean, topped on the one pillar by the Eucharist and the other, Our Lady, Help of Christians, the storm ceased; the attacks of the enemies of the Church ended; and the whole Church found safe harbor attached to those two pillars. 

That’s the heart of the Rosary Congress. Pairing perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with the Holy Rosary prayed every hour on the hour, this explosion of graces is a suitable response to the many evils of our time. Prayer, after all, is never intended by Christ or His Church to be the last resort. Rather, we are to begin, continue, and end with prayer. God is the Lord of all; why on earth would we hold off on bringing Him into our lives till the last minute? That’s like refusing to breathe or eat until you’re in an ambulance struggling to stay alive. 
Come; let us adore Him, and answer Our Lady’s call to pray the Rosary. Register here.

Graces and promises
So in this month of the Holy Rosary, bring the incredible graces and promises attached to this 20-minute devotion to bear on the many impossible situations confronting us in the present day. 

Pray for peace in all hearts; the conversion of poor sinners everywhere; for the good of our country, for peace in the world, for the needs and successful mission of the Church, for the Holy Spirit’s guidance of our leaders gathering in the Synod on Synodality. 

Pray for the pope, for your local bishop, for your pastor and deacons. 

Pray for the Marian Fathers and the whole Marian Family. Just bring everyone and everything to prayer, beginning with those closest to you and reaching out to encompass the whole world. 

Pray for God’s will to be done in this present age, for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of the Sacred Heart, for the transformation of our world from one fallen into darkness to one radiant with the light of Christ.

Chris Sparks is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.
Photo by Isabella Fischer on Unsplash



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