Paul Santo by NYCandre
The practice of praying with the heart is integral to a healthy spiritual life. In my experience, many Catholic Men tend to discredit their praying of the Rosary. Pope John Paul II in The Way to Christ: Spiritual Exercises commented on his experience of the lack of a deeper inner prayer life among men.
His perspective was that men quite often have decided that their lack of a prayer life was ‘not their personal style’ and that they ‘made up’ for their lack of an inner prayer life with extroverted action elsewhere. I have also experienced meeting other Catholic men with this similar attitude. They put their families first, then their white collar careers, then church attendance, then any spirituality beyond that is ‘permitted if their wives wish to do that, however, it is not their personal style to do so.’ I feel this is attitude is like someone who wants to plant a garden.
They go about, tilling the land until the covering grass is broken up. They till the soil, remove some of the stones. They add fertilizer and even put in a border to keep out the beasts of the field. However, they never add seeds or any plants whatsoever to the soil. The soil remains barren and lifeless and they never have flowers except for the occasional flowering weed.
1. The Power of Prayer
God has given authority in the spiritual realm to humanity. We exercise our indirect authority through prayer. God has voluntarily limited himself so that he must wait on the prayers of the faithful before he can take action. Through our prayer, we can intercede for those who might otherwise fling their soul into the abyss of hell. Through prayer, we can prevent wars and other disasters from happening.
If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Pope Pius IX.
2. Authority as Men
As men in our families or by ourselves God has given us the responsibility of authority. This includes spiritual authority. We can exercise the best authority in our households through leading our family’s in prayer. I understand it is a persistent temptation in many father’s lives to abdicate spiritual authority in hopes it may preserve a temporary peace in their household and more time to pursue their own interests.
Old Rosary by Ondřej Vaněček
However, this abdication of authority will inevitably lead to a failing of the spiritual strength of the family. It is only through utilizing his authority in an admirable way will a husband keep being respected by his wife. It is only by being an example of piety for his children that a father will have a hope of molding his sons and being an example to his daughters of what a man should be. There are many men who have trusted in their white collar careers, good schools, and church attendance to help shape their children.
They are shocked and dismayed when their children later leave the church. However they should not be surprised- the beginning of their children’s fall away from the faith began a long time ago when they observed that their father and by extension their family perhaps did not behave that much differently in their personal spiritual lives than anyone else. That is to say, not having a spiritual life at all. While prayer as a family is no guarantee for children, the lack of prayer has an inevitable consequence.
3. Armor against Evil
The Rosary is a powerful weapon against hell and its iniquitous works. It dispels vice, sin, and disbelief. In my own personal life, I can find my daily life can be much more of a struggle without praying the Rosary. It is also on those days which I have not prayed the Rosary where it is most likely for some small misfortune or another to befall me.
This has happened so frequently that when a minor calamity takes place in my life, I almost inevitably say to myself- ‘See, ah ha, I told you so. You neglected to pray this morning.’ Armor prevents the blow of the enemy from landing critically even if it does not prevent the concussion of it. So too is the Rosary. Through prayer, we are plugged into the divine grace economy of God. This powers us to love more charitably than we ever thought was possible. And through prayer we can obtain graces for our family members they might not otherwise be able to obtain since quite often they do not pray for themselves as much as we can pray for them.
In addition to this, I find the praying of the Rosary in my family to be a pleasant experience. We are united spiritually and afterward I feel the strength and refreshment necessary in life. Even our dog enjoys this- she jumps on the couch and leans against us the moment she believes we might start praying. She is quite confident that she will be patted more often than usual the moment we cease our usual business and sit down and begin praying together. Ordinarily I am too busy to give her attention for very long but when we pray she happily feels more included in the family. And she is quite right.
Even if you have sold your soul to the devil … sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if– and mark well what I say– if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day… -St. Louis de Montfort
The prayer of the Rosary is a great sign of predestination. Those Catholic people and friends who I have encountered in my life are all of varying dispositions and personalities. However those who I have known entering most into their destiny and exercising great virtues of love, faith, and charity were those who were most fervent in praying their Rosary.
I have also met Catholics who were the opposite of this. Invariably it seemed they disdained a heartfelt inner prayer life especially that of the Rosary. It is not a mistake that some of the most powerful Catholic apostates of our day are those who have rejected a prayer life. Saying grace before meals and singing a hymn or two on Sundays is not enough. No, you must sit down and spend time with God. This is like a relationship with a friend.
You must spend at least as much time with God as you would with a meal. Those who chomp down on the Eucharist and then flee the church before the Mass is even over concern me. Would they have exercised such a lack of decorum at a meal even at a fast food restaurant?
The Rosary by Robert Chealb
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:15
Purgatory is a pragmatic necessity in the spiritual economy. I find that burning calories on a treadmill to be a laborious and often tedious process. In a certain sense, it is quite painful although physical soreness seems to be the least of my sufferings.
Similar to this, purgatory allows the effect of sin to be burned off of souls. It is a painful process and I am quite certain the fires of purgatory burn just as hot as hell if not hotter. I think of it as an operation of grace- for those who have failed to repent of every sin in this life there still remains hope if they have not died in a sin unto death. While the damned have no hope of rescue, those in purgatory may hope for an eventual release from their suffering. This is not a fate I would want for myself. I would think that it would be a prudent act of fire insurance to prayer the Rosary and hope that through the grace of Christ Jesus I may be delivered from purgatory should I ever have the misfortune to end up there.
Our Lady gives the Rosary to St Dominic by Lawrence OP. Subject: Altar front in Jacobin Church in Toulouse.
Secret of the Rosary
Pray the Rosary