This Sunday, October 7, is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Its origin lies in Christendom’s crucial 1571 victory at the Battle of Lepanto. In the traditional, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, according to a rubrical provision (RM 358), we can celebrate this feast while commemorating the Sunday by adding its orations after those of the feast.
Speaking of the rosary, last week Francis invited all the faithful to pray the rosary daily during October, but concluding with the ancient Marian prayer Sub tuum praesidium and with the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel. The former, already in use in the 4th century, calls upon Mary as our refuge, beneath whose protection, like an outstretched cloak, we can be sheltered from all harm. The latter was written by Pope Leo XIII and was part of the so-called “Leonine Prayers” recited while kneeling after every Low Mass from 1884 to 1965. They are still recited today after every Low Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form. In the US, around a dozen bishops have asked that the St Michael Prayer be said after all Masses.
When popes start asking for special prayers to be added to, say, recitation of the rosary, already a mighty prayer, or after Mass, the mightiest prayer of all, even the least attentive of us will get the idea that something big is up.
This is, indeed, a time of crisis for the Church worldwide as we enter into a regimen of self-examination and purification from horrific and demonically stimulated evils, and reparation for particularly revolting sins.
In the midst of the confusion this present crisis has caused for our Catholic identity, it is right and proper to return to the devotions of our forebears. In 2010, when a terrible clerical abuse crisis rocked Ireland, Benedict XVI wrote a pastoral letter to the Irish Church. He asked everyone to offer up Friday penances and fasting. He said that falling away from traditional devotions and a lack of adherence to Catholic teaching and values were at the root of the crisis.
Let us all get down on our knees. Humbly bend the knee and pray. Say the rosary. Could you make an adjustment in your daily routine for a brief stop at church to visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? You can do it. Bend your knee, even right now, and pray to God in thanksgiving and for mercy.
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