A Personal Reflection: Pray the rosary for peace in our homes, in our world
By Father Robert Becker
A couple of years ago Pope Francis “prescribed” praying the rosary daily. “It’s spiritual medicine … it’s good for your heart, for your soul, for your whole life,” he said.
At Fatima almost 100 years ago, our Blessed Mother told the children to whom she appeared, “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”
We human beings no longer have the luxury of war. We must work to end the violence and the wars that continue to rage, and I firmly believe that the best way to do this is through the daily praying of the rosary.
The rosary is much more than a devout prayer. The 20 mysteries of the rosary present to our imaginations and to our hearts the lived mysteries of Jesus Christ and our Blessed Mother. The rosary is the embodiment, the lived experience of the Apostles Creed.
My devotion to the rosary and to Our Lady of Fatima began as a child. We were 10 children, growing up with chores of feeding the chickens, milking our Jersey cow and putting together steam engine cars. We prayed the rosary every night when Dad got out the rosary after the 10 p.m. weather. It was not always pleasant, but it was always something we did to hold the family and the world together.
My sister Clara remembers Mom reading to us the story of the Three Children of Fatima. In 1917, when Our Blessed Mother appeared in Fatima, Portugal, my mother would have been 14 years old, the year of her First Holy Communion. Mom always had flowers by the Sacred Heart statue.
When I was 16, a high school sophomore, I contracted cancer of the lymphatic system, Hodgkin’s disease. At that time I was told to expect a two-year roller coaster ride of ups and downs, and I remember telling my mom “not to cry because I would just go to heaven.”
The family continued to pray the rosary nightly and the prayers of countless relatives and friends ascended to heaven as well. I received one set of treatments, and the disease completely vanished. My doctor was astonished.
After 35 years of active priesthood here in the Austin Diocese, I went to the doctor for my yearly exam and was told that the roller-coaster had picked me up once again. I was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer –– five tumors across both lungs.
By an unspeakable grace of God, I received as a gift a Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. I brought her to my home and was gifted with the ability to pray from one to four rosaries daily, usually while slowly walking the neighborhood. I began to sense that I was entering the Kingdom, meditating daily on the 20 mysteries.
After 13 weeks of treatment, all the tumors were reduced and no new tumors were found. Continuing maintenance is yielding the same results and my doctor is “thrilled.”
In recalling the various miracles that God has manifested in our lives, we are able to see and to believe more deeply in the spiritual realities of our existence, and to put these realities into practice. I am personally convinced that the many prayers are the major factor involved with both healings at age 16 and 67. I am deeply thankful to all the persons who have prayed for me. My brother and I continue to pray the rosary for world peace most mornings after breakfast.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the apparitions in Fatima. The angel of peace began appearing to St. Lucia and her cousins in the spring of 1916. The angel led the children into prayer to prepare them to receive the visitations of Our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Our Blessed Mother asked the three children if they would pray and make sacrifices for the salvation of others.
We, too, are clearly asked to pray and to be willing to make sacrifices as we pray for the intentions of our loved ones and especially as we pray for world peace. Where do we start?
I encourage families or individuals to begin the process of introducing prayer slowly –– five minutes daily for two to three months, then 10 minutes daily for a couple of months, building up to the 15 to 20 minutes we need to pray the rosary daily.
The rosary is a tried and true prayer! I firmly believe that praying the rosary daily will bring peace to our homes and thus to the world. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
Father Robert Becker was ordained a priest of the Austin Diocese in 1979. He is available to give presentations on praying the rosary to parishes. He encourages people first to pray until they have at least 12 people who are interested in the presentation, then to contact their pastor who will know how to get ahold of him in order to arrange a presentation. As presentation dates are set, they will be announced in the Catholic Spirit.