Why the daily Rosary? That’s a good question. Let’s turn to the Fatima seer who gives so many clear reasons why Our Lady insisted on the daily Rosary for all. Servant of God Sister Lucia gives an impeccable explanation in her “Calls” from the Message of Fatima.
At Fatima, Our Lady ended her initial message in May with the direction, “Pray the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”
So crucial and necessary is this call that Lucia devotes a whole section of her book to the Rosary.
Sister Lucia on the Rosary
Sister Lucia, at this time a Carmelite, repeats a
question she was asked many times: “Why should Our Lady have told us to say the
Rosary every day rather than to attend Mass every day?”
“I cannot be absolutely certain of the answer, as Our Lady did not explain, and it never occurred to me to ask,” Lucia answers. But she does go on to share what she thought and came to understand about this call, willingly leaving “all interpretation of the meaning of the Message to Holy Church, because it pertains to the Church to do so…”
God is a Father who adapts Himself to the needs and possibilities of His children. Now if God, through Our Lady, had asked us to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion every day, there would undoubtedly have been a great many people who would have said, quite rightly, that this was not possible.
Lucia goes on to say, “On the other hand, to pray the Rosary is something everybody can do, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, great and small.” The Rosary request keeps everyone in the loop. Anyone can pray the Rosary anywhere, whenever they are able.
“All people of good will can and must say the Rosary every day,” Lucia counsels. “Why? In order to put ourselves in contact with God, to thank Him for His benefits and ask for the graces we need. It is the prayer which places us in familiar contact with God, like the son who goes to his father to thank him for the gifts he has received, to talk to him about special concerns, to receive his guidance, his help, his support and his blessing.”
“The Most Pleasing Prayer We Can Offer”
Lucia describes how she believes that, besides the Holy Mass, the Rosary “is the most pleasing prayer we can offer to God and one which is most advantageous to our own souls. If such were not the case, Our Lady would not have asked for it so insistently.”
Lucia also answers any questions people might have about the need for a fixed number of prayers in the Rosary, clarifying that “we need to count, in order to have a clear and vivid idea of what we are doing and to know positively whether or not we have completed what we had planned to offer to God each day, in order to preserve and enhance our relationship of intimacy with God and, by this means, preserve and enhance in ourselves our faith, hope, and charity.”
Moreover, Lucia describes how she sees very few truly contemplative souls who maintain within themselves “a relationship of intimate familiarity with God which prepares them for the worthy reception of Christ in the Eucharist.” So vocal prayer is “necessary for them, too, meditated, pondered, and reflected upon as much as possible, as the Rosary should be.”
While many fine prayers can be used to prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and to preserve our intimate relationship with God, Lucia notes, “I do not think that we shall find one more suited to people in general than the praying of the five or fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.”
Power of the Rosary
Sister Lucia articulates the power and necessity of the Rosary beautifully when she says:
Even for those people who do not know how, or who are not able to recollect themselves sufficiently to meditate, the simple act of taking the Rosary in their hands in order to pray is already to become mindful of God, and a mention in each decade of a mystery of the life of Christ recalls Him to their minds; this in turn will light in their souls a gentle light of faith which supports the still smoldering wick, preventing it from extinguishing itself altogether.
So what can happen if we neglect this directive from our heavenly Mother at Fatima?
Sister Lucia doesn’t mince words: “Those who give up saying the Rosary and who do not go to daily Mass have nothing to sustain them, and so end up by losing themselves in the materialism of earthly life.”
She concludes, “Thus, the Rosary is the prayer which God, through His Church and Our Lady, has recommended most insistently to us all as a road to and a gateway of salvation: ‘Pray the Rosary every day.’”
John Paul II’s Daily Rosary
John Paul II did. Because he is so closely connected with Fatima, we need to take a look his words concerning the Rosary. He gave them to the world in 2002 in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer,” the saintly Holy Father explained. “It has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.”
In every part, the Rosary is as deep as the gospel message, according to John Paul II. He continued in his apostolic letter to say that the Rosary places us in “the school of Mary,” who leads us to contemplate “the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love.” By praying the Rosary, he says, we can expect to “receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.”
So far, taken together, these wise insights explain why John Paul II then wrote, “The Rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth. To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.”
The Rosary should be our favorite prayer too.
John Paul II also emphasizes the Rosary as being a prayer for peace and for the family. See the Fatima connection here? Take the July 13 apparition, when Our Lady told the seers, “Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.” God puts the peace of the world into Mary’s hands, and she wants and needs our cooperation.
The Holy Father then gets right to the point about the family because of critical issues at that time concerning the family. He points out that “the family, the primary cell of society, [is] increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole.”
The remedy he proposes: “The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.” The pope also counseled that it is “beautiful and fruitful to entrust to [the Rosary] the growth and development of children.”
John Paul II next focuses on the perilous conditions of the world. He writes with great concern, “The grave challenges confronting the world at the start of this new millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on high, capable of guiding the hearts of those living in situations of conflict and those governing the destinies of nations, can give reason to hope for a brighter future.”
But echoing Our Lady’s messages to us at Fatima, John Paul II states:
The Rosary is by its nature a prayer for peace, since it consists in the contemplation of Christ, the Prince of Peace, the one who is “our peace” (Eph. 2:14). Anyone who assimilates the mystery of Christ — and this is clearly the goal of the Rosary — learns the secret of peace and makes it his life’s project.
That peace starts with individuals. As we meditate on each mystery along with the “tranquil succession of Hail Marys, the Rosary has a peaceful effect on those who pray it.” It’s the gift of peace that the Risen Jesus gives.
Finally, John Paul II returns to a favorite subject, and a most vital one: the family, stressing that “the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family.”
John Paul II said the family Rosary need not be a relic of the past, and it’s necessary for us not to “lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families, continuing to use the Rosary.” He also quotes Father Patrick Peyton, the Rosary priest, whose slogan, known by millions, was: “The family that prays together stays together.”
“The Holy Rosary,” John Paul II reaffirms, “by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together.”
And what strong plea does he end with for everyone, naming all groups from the sick and elderly to the youth? He tells every one of them, “Confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.”
This article is from a chapter in Joseph Pronechen’s book, The Fruits of Fatima: A Century of Signs and Wonders. It is available as an ebook or paperback from your favorite bookstore or online at Sophia Institute Press.