I wrote in an earlier article (5 Good Reasons to Pray the Rosary) about Our Lady of Fatima’s request that we pray the rosary daily “to end the war.” The three children whom she was speaking to, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, assumed that she was referring to World War I, since the year was 1917 and the “war to end all wars,” as it was sometimes called then, had been raging on for years.
Unfortunately, of course, we know that believing WWI would be the last war was just wishful thinking. No doubt Our Lady was referring to World War I as “the war,” since she is always concerned with the trials we have in our specific, present moment, but, at the same time, she was also likely speaking about the greater war that has been going on since the world began. St. Paul wrote, in the Letter to the Ephesians, that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” Certainly, Mary was also speaking about this greater war.
With all the sadness, turmoil and death in our world today, we can assume that we need to pray the rosary more, not less, than back in 1917. In reading my Magnificat magazine for May, I found these words in the back, written by Magnificat’s founder, Pierre Marie Dumont, which offer some profound wisdom for interpreting our times, especially as the month of May draws to a close and we remember all those who have died, recently as well as all those we pray for on Memorial Day. Dumont suggests we might slightly adapt the Hail Mary from time to time, “so that the death of everyone, even the most hardened of sinners, may be a victory over death, because remember “the Father is not willing that any of his children should be lost’ (Mt 18:14)”. Consider adding an extra Hail Mary after each decade, saying this:
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for all the sinners who never pray to you,
Now and at the hour of their death. Amen.
If praying the rosary can change us, the pray-ers, surely it can also have a good effect on those whom we ask Mary to pray for, even if they - and we - don’t know what those effects will be. Who knows the difference this kind of prayer could have made in the past, or could make in the future?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
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