Have we lost control of country? Are we powerless to respond to the crisis of family life? In the midst of the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage, it is important to remember that God orders all things by his providence. He allows us to suffer and face challenges, as a means of sharing in his crucified kingship.
A Nigerian Bishop, His Excellency Oliver Dashe Doeme, received an important reminder of this reality when the Lord appeared to him. In response to the devastation of his community by Muslim terrorism, Jesus showed him how he could lead his flock to overcome this deadly threat:
In the vision, the prelate said, Jesus didn’t say anything at first, but extended a sword toward him, and he in turn reached out for it. “As soon as I received the sword, it turned into a rosary,” the bishop said, adding that Jesus then told him three times: “Boko Haram is gone.”
“I didn’t need any prophet to give me the explanation,” he said. “It was clear that with the rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram.”
What a powerful reminder of the power of prayer and the way that Jesus exercises his kingship over the world through His Body on earth. Our prayers participate in and communicate the saving power of Christ, which touches and transforms the world at its core.
Though its origin lies further in the past, St. Dominic is credited with handing down the rosary to us in its current form. Dominic and his Order of Preachers popularized the rosary in response to the Albigensian heresy, which held matter to be evil. What is significant for our own time is that the heresy’s view of matter led to an attack on marriage and procreation itself. The popularization of the rosary occurred precisely in the context of a battle for the sanctity of marriage and human life itself.
We see another connection of the rosary to our own culture in the apparitions of Lourdes and Fatima. Our Lady, looking to the new challenges of secularism and attacks on human life, emphatically urged us to embrace penance and especially the rosary to make reparation for sin and to bring about conversion. In particular the message of Fatima shows us how God wants us all to embrace a mission of prayer and penance for conversion:
First, the angel explained to the three visionaries:
Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. In this way, you will draw peace upon your country.
Our Lady reinforced this when she appeared to the children:
Are you willing to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings He wants to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and for the conversion of sinners?
Recite the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.
Our Lady of Fatima has made it very clear that the rosary, along with sacrifice, has the power to bring conversion and peace to the world. It has recently surfaced that Sr. Lucia, the primary visionary, understood the crucial significance of our struggle to defend the family: “The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Although “anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way,” Sr. Lucia exhorted us: “don’t be afraid” because “Our Lady has already crushed its head.”
The attack on human life and the family is related to a new heresy which rejects God’s order and plan for creation. Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ points us to the influence of a new heresy which undermines the goodness of God’s creation, of which we are a part. The new Albigensianism rejects God’s purpose for the world and also his purpose for the family:
Our difficulty in taking up this challenge seriously has much to do with an ethical and cultural decline which has accompanied the deterioration of the environment. Men and women of our postmodern world run the risk of rampant individualism, and many problems of society are connected with today’s self-centred culture of instant gratification. We see this in the crisis of family and social ties and the difficulties of recognizing the other. Parents can be prone to impulsive and wasteful consumption, which then affects their children who find it increasingly difficult to acquire a home of their own and build a family (162).
The battle to overcome the crisis of family and human dignity involves more than legislation and the courts. It is a conversion of culture. We need to rebuild our civilization from the ground up and the way that we begin is with the conversion of heart. Pope Francis shows us how our own habits are part of the overall struggle, as we fight against selfish isolation.
Following the call of Our Lady at Lourdes and Fatima, the recent revelation to Bishop Doeme, and the parallels with St. Dominic in facing a new Albigensianism, I would encourage everyone to commit to praying the rosary every day for our country: for the protection of human life and the restoration of family life. In this way that the Lord will enable us to share in his suffering kingship over the world. It is a spiritual solution to the deep spiritual crisis we are facing.
Pray the rosary and save our country!