I do not pray the “new” Rosary (the one, I mean, which JP II of Assisi memory introduced to “improve” on the Blessed Virgin), but I seem to recall that one of the new Mysteries involved Jesus' call to repentance.
JP II simply thought he knew better.
Twenty years or so later, another Pope “improves” pretty much everything. I cannot imagine the man calling to repentance concerning much more than having used the air conditioner; he would, rather, call to dialogue; this dialogue would in no way include a call to conversion, because that would be Proselytism, an attitude Francis insults as he does everything Catholic.
That's another one who thinks he knows better.
So there we are: from the still orthodox – in the content; much less so in the attitude – new set of mysteries, to a new set of unofficial innovations and heresies spread via interview.
This is what happens when you think you can “improve” on the Blessed Virgin.
V II cannot be divided in a good and a bad part.
It is a fifty years long slippery slope.
When Pope Francis was informed that good, orthodox catholics had prayed more than 3,000 rosaries for him, he found nothing better to do than to mock them speaking with “progressive” nuns.
When a bunch of spirited “Charismatics” prayed for him, “speaking in tongues” like consummated dope heads, Pope Francis found it fitting to kneel and pray.
As they say: spot the difference.
At the beginning, Francis thought these Charismatics were like a “samba school”. But then he saw …. that there were many of them, so he changed his mind.
On this occasion, there were 50,000 of them; plus the press, the TV, the entire media enchilada.
Therefore, kneeling (something he never does in front of a Tabernacle) was certainly worthwhile.
The beginning of Lent is a beautiful day to start praying the Rosary.
The SSPX is running a wonderful Rosary Crusade.
All details on my blog post and the original link.
The SSPX will launch a new Rosary Crusade on 1 January.
Details here, with many thanks to the reader Elizabeth.
Other details will hopefully follow as to the participation of the laity (I’d love to enroll, though I do not live in the US).
Also please look at the other beautiful initiative of the pilgrimage of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
I look at the SSPX and Francis, and I have not the slightest doubt about who could teach Catholicism to the other.
I received a rather interesting link from a reader.
The link is in Spanish, but an Italian can understand what this is about: small package of a “medicine” have been distributed, with the Pope’s recommendation to take on epill a day (if I understand correctly) “as a preventative measure”, but otherwise “as many as the soul needs”. The package contains a rosary, and what I understand might be a small leaflet with praying instructions.
Now, it is rather childish that a Pope should put a rosary in people’ hand and not suggest that they pray… the rosary; apparently thinking that the Hail Mary is for them something painful or difficult to swallow, that must be taken in small doses at the beginning. Still, I notice two things:
1) Rosaries, unspoken of in my age, will be mentioned to millions who see them on TV. I even got years of Catholic instructions at school and no one ever told me what a rosary is, much less that I should pray it.
2) Obviously, counting is implied in the exercise of praying the rosary. Whilst Francis does not care for contradicting himself – perhaps he doesn’t even notice; I think he often talks without being in the least concerned of what he says – this is at least a good contradiction. Many came home holding in their pocket a rosary, and I am rather sure many of those did not even know what a rosary is before getting one in the hand. The counting of prayers, and then the counting of rosaries, will come from itself.
I have the impression that Francis is listening to those who say to him he has made a mess of things once too often and must now correct the course, sharpish. I am under no illusion – and will think it until contrary evidence – that this correction is not the fruit of conversion, but of the necessity to carry on with his modernist program in a rather more refined way than he did up to now, having seen that the bulldozer strategy does not work much, makes of him a clown – when he does not do it voluntarily himself -, procures him the hostility of some within the curia and, in general, backfires rather brutally.
We will see whether the next months bring us a Pope more willing to be Catholic – or to learn Catholicism – or whether this is merely a refinement of the strategy of confusion so typical of the Modernist.
We must keep praying for him, but we must keep vigilant too.
This one is not one to trust.
I pray, like many of you, my five decades of the Rosary every day. My prayers are, obviously, learned by rote, and repeated in the same way. Like many of you, I tend to be distracted and carried away whilst I pray the rosary, but I soldier on. The modern apps with a different gospel passage for every Hail Mary are a great help, but they are no magic wand, either. We get distracted. It's the human nature. If we were to start the rosary or the decade anew every time we get distracted we could never pray the Rosary in church, and we would likely stop saying the Rosary everyday.
Try to be as focused as you can, but say your rosary every day like a military man.
Besides the main dish of my prayer day (the rosary) I have, like many of you, the sides. I never think of my deceased loved ones without one or three “eternal rest”; I never think of people I love without a short prayer for them; I say an Hail Mary for every cripple or every old man in a wheelchair I see; I immancably say the Prayer to St. Michael The Archangel every time I see a faggot on the street.
Yes, all these prayers only take a very short time; yes, life will absorb me after them as fully as it did before; yes, most of the times I do not experience any kind of spiritual “turbo kick” after praying them.
I pray, because I am a Catholic; I pray prayers learned by rote, because I am a Catholic; I pray even when I am distracted, because I am a Catholic; when I wake up, I immediately say an Hail Mary, because I am a Catholic; I pray before going to sleep, and actually often fall asleep whilst mechanically repeating “Hail Mary”, because I am a Catholic. I have a reminder on my phone that tells me it's 3pm, so I can say an “Our Father” at the hour Christ died. Small things like that. Catholicism is largely made of small things.
I am fully aware that all this has a mechanical element in it. My morning Hail Mary could often be prayed better, and many people pray much more. My intra-day prayers are said by rote, as a kind of short-circuit in my daily life. My evening prayers have, at times, a sleepy quality in them. I could certainly do better, but then again I am doing better now than I did some years ago. My rosary is good on certain days, and less good on others, but I must not fight the laziness of not saying the Rosary anymore. It goes under the skin, you see, and you end up praying much more than you used to do even outside of the Rosary. Still: I have, most certainly, room for improvement. I think I will carry it to my grave.
The prayer life of a Catholic – I mean, of most of them – has always been like this: a soldiering in Christ, where the short glorious battle events are lost in the banal routine of military life: the drills, the making of the bed, the meals, all the unromantic, unexciting, uninspiring routine. A good soldier does not say: “who cares whether my bed is properly made: all I want or care for is battle!”. A good soldier knows that soldiering is made of many little things, and that the care with which he cleans his rifle is very important even if he might never have to use it in action.
Soldiery is, in the end, made largely of routine work. It is made, if you will, by rote. Catholic soldiery has, through all ages, been no different than this.
When my mother taught me the Hail Mary, she paid attention I had learned the words. Not the feeling. Not the “dialogue with Mary”. The words. Ave Maria, piena di grazia…
Why? Because this is what Catholics do. Catholics pray in set words. Of course, they can pray differently, and it is certainly not forbidden to a Catholic to throw himself at the feet of the Blessed Virgin and pour out to her the sorrows that plague him. But being a Catholic he will know – like countless generations before him – that this is, strictly speaking, not even necessary. He knows that when he prays in the set words transmitted to us by tradition, he has prayed well. For many centuries now, all Catholics from the illiterate peasant to the refined Prince have known this. This is, by the by, one of the reason why there are so many Catholic prayers.
But there is another reason, that I do not want to leave unmentioned. Catholic prayers are set in fixed words so that they: a) teach properly, and b) give a guarantee of orthodoxy.
Our set of rote prayers tell us a lot about Catholicism. The Litanies are doctrinal expositions; the “Hail, Holy Queen” reminds us that we live in a vale of tears, that we will only see Jesus if we are saved, & Co. At the same time, by praying set prayers we know that we are led through the straight railway of Catholic orthodoxy. Prayers are guaranteed right, and are sure to teach us properly. Spontaneous prayer achieves neither.
This system served countless generations of faithful before us. Yes, we are imperfect. Yes, we get distracted. Yes, we may even fall asleep whilst praying.
Welcome to Catholicism.
All this seems, as I write this, to be rather out of favour. Whilst Francis will not tell you you must not pray the “Hail Mary” or the “Our Father”, it is not clear when he draws the lines and says “enough of rote praying”.
What is clear is that God himself has given us the “Our Father”, but the current Pontiff doesn't see the serial repetition of this prayer with a favourable eye. It is also clear that the Blessed Virgin has – with several apparitions to, among others, Saint Dominic, Blessed Alain de la Roche, and the children of Fatima – recommended the recitation of the Rosary, but the Bishop of Rome sees all this – if you can read beyond the Francispeak; which you can – as now past its shelf life, a habit of past ages that is outdated and below the standard of the smart generation of post V II Catholics.
Once again: Francis doesn't do frontal attacks. His judgments (Heavens, he does a lot of it!) are always directed towards not exactly identified “bad Catholics”, who always end up looking like your grand-grandmother.
Again, he will use Francispeak. The “bad Catholics” are always described in a way that in the end allows you to say “he is not talking of me”, whilst also saying an awful lot that actually screams he is talking about me, big time.
The prototypical Catholic of once – and the traddie of today – are his obvious target, and the message is being understood more and more clearly as the repeated affirmations make it more and more difficult to attribute the quality Francis criticises to people who do not exist at all. If these people exist, then it's us.
You pray the rosary in a – somewhat – mechanical way? Check, and actually you probably do not even believe in God.
You count your rosaries? You are a Pelagian!
You are extremely sure of your Catholic faith? You have “excessive doctrinal security”.
You pray by rote? You are following a custom of the past.
Is it a surprise this Pontiff is so ignorant of even the basis of Catholicism? Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. If his prayer life is made of inordinate waffling his very way of seeing Catholicism will, one day, follow. It is obvious this man has not the faintest idea of not only basics like the works of mercy, but even the very essence of Christianity, as he manages to be very vague, but vaguely disturbing, even when he says to Eugenio Scalfari in which strangely and I would say uniquely defined God he believes. If Athanasius would read his description of God given to Scalfari he would, I think, not call him an heretic, but would probably decide the man needs a lot of work, because his way of talking of God does sound strange indeed.
This is one who has been making his own “bespoke” religion for many decades now; the unavoidable result of making his own, “bespoke” prayers for the same length of time.
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.
Hippie prayers, Francis.
Stellar blog post from David Werling on Ars Orandi about Pretty Pictures and Pious Pelagians.
Besides examining the attitude of the last two Popes concerning the new trendy word, Pelagian – a word used very appropriately by Pope Benedict, whilst Pope Francis gives the idea of simply repeating words he has heard or read somewhere -, this excellent article touches an extremely valid point: the V II “spontaneous”, vague, fluffy, tofu spirituality (yes, the one lived and promoted by Pope Francis) puts upside down the very concept of living and practicing the Catholic Faith.
There are other themes that lead one to a rather worrying reflection (like the separation between the love for the “pretty pictures” from the love from the Truth they represent and should inflame one for; or the brutal, but so true statement of the one who would never allow the Pontiff to teach religion to his children; a very sad fact whose reality is in front of our eyes every day).
Still, what impressed me most is this convincing portrayal of modern Catholicism, in which devout Catholics are considered wrong for being thorough, for taking Catholicism seriously, and for counting their rosaries.
I will not say more, because I could not make justice to the author. You can do much worse than invest the time to follow the link.
One and a half day into the latest mess created by Pope Francis with his own carelessness, we are put in front of a show of incompetence that lets one wonder why on earth Cardinal Bergoglio was deemed the best fitted to put some order in the Vatican machinery.
As I write this in a cold, grey UK morning, we have two Rosarygate updates on the usual Rorate Caeli. With the first we were informed a probably desperate Father Lombardi declined to comment on the “private” conversation of the Pope, as several Vaticanists explained to El Mundo that yes, Bergoglio is the man who would talk such rubbish. This was a huge occasion to clarify and set the matter to rest, and was lost.
Would it have been too much for the Pontiff to authorise Father Lombardi to say something on behalf of the Pope, renewing his encouragement to pray the Rosary, his respect for those who count them, his special gratefulness for the rosary bouquet given to him, and his renewed confidence in the work of the CDF? Too difficult? Really?
It was in fact too difficult, one thinks, because this is a Pope very humbly attached to heterodoxy and, in Franciscan simplicity, unwilling to backpedal even when the entire planet is asking “could he really have said that?”. Yes, he could. Yes, he did. Yes, you can bet your pint he'll do it again. This was not an occasional slip of the tongue, as such episodes are now at least one too many, and too worrying for that. This was an insight into Pope Bergoglio's world, which is why he refused to backpedal. Methinks, he considers all this mess a tempest in a glass of water, caused by people absurdly attached to these practices of the past like the Rosary, and who think they live in the Forties.
After a clearly hand-faced Lombardi declined to comment, the pressure was obviously on the CLAR to save what can be saved, or at least smooth some corner; but those at CLAR obviously refused to do the Pope's job, and confirmed (second Rorate update) the content of the report, though they tried to downplay the quotations implying the man with the writing pad must have been thinking of women, and all was written from “recollections” after the fact.
Don't make me laugh. As if words of the Pope would be put in quotation marks without someone there having written them down verbatim. Nor did CLAR, as I write, modify or correct or retract one single word of their report.
If CLAR had said “awfully sorry, we were very wrong on this one, the Vatican phoned and it is clear there must have been two or three rather massive misunderstandings”, the matter would have somewhat settled down, but they would have lost face without being in the end guilty of any misinformation. One can understand they decided to weather the storm and say “no, this is really what he said and meant”.
If I were in the same room as Father Lombardi – whom again I imagine, Jesuit and heterodox as he is, with the hands on his face, leaning on his desk in utter disbelief – I would suggest that anyone who is received by the Pope signs a confidentiality agreement, notepads are utterly forbidden, and even smartphones are given to Vatican officials before entering the Pope's room, as it is very easy to use them to record every word he says.
“But Mundabor” – you might say – “this is absurd! It is tantamount to admit the Pontiff is such a maverick that the Church must be protected from him every time he opens his mouth and speaks off-the-cuff!”.
Read on Rorate the transcript (unofficial and unauthorised; I wonder whether a dementi will follow) of the latest free-wheeling thoughts of a Pope for whom to think of something and to say it seems to be one and the same.
A group of faithful offers him more than 3,500 rosaries prayed for him. Think how beautiful and moving this is! Would you not be moved at knowing someone prayed one Hail Mary for you? When the Pope receives not 3,500 Hail Mary, but 3,500 rosaries he is not at all overwhelmed by the stunning beauty of this gift; instead, he takes it “with respect”, but he is also “concerned” at the practice.
The Rosary? Seriously? Do you think you live in the Forties? And come on, are you even counting?
Please visit Rorate and read there the entire text of the transcription; it transpire an atmosphere of mockery among the present, to which the Holy Father reacts by saying to them not to laugh, but clearly showing with his “concern” he thinks the same as they do, without the mockery.
For a Pope who goes around saying he is particularly devout to the Blessed Virgin, this is seriously beyond the pale. Actually, this is beyond the pale for anyone wearing a habit.
We live in times where, to put it mildly, what would be considered object of mild derision and cause of very sad reflections in a country curate comes from the mouth of a Pope with such astonishing frequency as to make it a part of everyday life, in the same way as the ramblings of the village stupid isn’t even noticed after a while.
In this case I don’t know about the village, but I don’t have many doubts about the stupid, because a Pope who has recently been publicly corrected about a fundamental tenet of Christianity – one that should be within the grasp of every catechised child – and insists in saying whatever happens to cross his not very well instructed or reflective mind without any problem perfectly fits the description. Can you imagine the Pontiff Emeritus talking like that? Can you imagine any Pope of the past doing the same?
And so we learn that to the string of pearls this truly astonishingly incompetent Pope has given us in less than three months another one must be added: don’t pray the Rosary because it’s so passé and for Heaven’s sake, don’t count them! I mean, do you think we are in the Forties?
I am now eagerly awaiting for the corrections or, ahem, “clarifications”, of the Lombardis and Rosicas of the world, explaining to us that the Pope is oh so very fond of the Rosary and by any means, feel free to count.
The worst of it is that the clarification might even not come.
What is cause for concern here is not the Rosary, but a Pope who is concerned about them.
My next rosary is for Pope Francis. I hope he won’t be too concerned.
May is the Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
What better occasion than to make a resolution to start to pray the Rosary every day, than the month of May!
Among the heavenly investments I have mentioned in a past blog post, the Rosary is – after Mass attendance, of course – very probably the best. Padre Pio and countless other saints insisted on the Rosary. Praying the Rosary devoutly every day is a beautiful sign of predestination. I cannot imagine a better way to enrich your prayer life – nay, your life – than to pray the Rosary.
When I die, I want my last rosary to be not older than the day before. And I can die every day. Therefore…
If you should read this blog for years and take from it the habit of praying the Rosary, the benefit taken from this blog would be spectacular even if I have written rubbish for now almost three years and in more than 2,000 posts (which I do not think, at all; but I’m not you, either…).
May is the month to start praying the Rosary every day.
If you use the search function you will find several posts your truly has written on the Rosary. It is not a coincidence that my “Catholic Vademecum” page has at the top not one, but seven posts all dealing with the Rosary.
The best spot on this blog (right upper hand side) is devoted to a link to the Rosary. I almost never click to it now as I pray the Rosary with other apps, but it is the best spot on this blog because the most important message of this blog is – apart from the commentaries on the facts of the day – to pray the Rosary.
Make of the rosary your priority. If you do not have time, take time away from this blog and pray the Rosary every day. I do write a lot, but praying the Rosary devoutly every day is infinitely more important and will do more for your salvation than countless hours spent reading my posts.
When you click here, think every time if your time would not be better employed praying the Rosary, unless you have already done so.
Don’t listen to me. Listen first to the Blessed Virgin, St. Dominic, Blessed Alan de la Roche, Padre Pio and countless others.
Again: after the Mass, I can’t see what better favour you can do to yourselves, and to those you love, than praying and encouraging them to pray the Rosary.
Let me say it in three short phrases.
Pray the Rosary.
Pray the Rosary.
Pray the Rosary.
I know this has been said very often already, but as we are at the beginning of the year it might be fitting to say it again: after Mass, the Rosary is very probably the most important individual salvation tool at our disposal.
I have already written about the promises of Our Lady to those who pray the Rosary faithfully and devoutly and I will not go back on the details. What is particularly worth insisting on, though, is that the Rosary allows us to factually secure our biggest venture on this earth (salvation, compared to which every other aim simply disappears) at the very affordable price of…. twenty minutes of serious application a day.
It has been rightly said that our time tells everything about our priorities, exposing the inner logic of the usual “I haven’t the time” we so often use to avoid an issue. As there are 24 hours in a day and I sleep seven and work eight of them, there are nine hours a day on which to arrange my priorities. If, therefore, I do not find the twenty minutes a day to seriously pray the rosary (in the bus, say, or on the train, or in the car, or during lunch time, or whenever it is) it simply means that I have found things things which, together, take 540 minutes of my time a day and I consider, both collectively and singularly, a more pressing instance than reasonable security about my salvation.
I maintain, on the other hand, that once the priorities are clear enough one will not need more than some minutes of reflection to find the time to say the rosary every day, which will be even easier considering the decades can be split and prayed singularly. Now you might call me scrupulous (or a wretched sinner, that I undoubtedly am) but I can’t imagine the Catholic who is so confident of his salvation that he considers a 20 minutes investment a day an unreasonable price to pay.
Cela va sans dire, to pray the rosary every day does not, in itself, guarantee salvation; you can’t be Goebbels and think you are certainly going to make it because you invest the 20 minutes. But if you pray the Rosary faithfully and devoutly every day, you’ll know that Mary will powerfully intercede for your salvation, and that you will rather not become a Goebbels in the first place. The idea is that as long as you pray the Rosary faithfully and devoutly to the end of your days you will be saved in the end, but if you choose to be evil (perhaps thinking you pray the Rosary so you’ll be fine) you are very probably going to stop praying it devoutly every day before your day comes. A corollary of this is that as long as you pray the Rosary devoutly every day, you know you are on the right path to avoiding Hell (there’s no guarantee, of course, about the length and hardness of our permanence in Purgatory).
Is, therefore, twenty minutes of our time a day too heavy a price to pay? How important are all the activities which daily occupy the above mentioned 540 minutes (or how many they are in your case)? Where do our priorities lie? I do not know you, but I am a wretched sinner and a worrier, and this is the only thing in life I can really, really not afford to get wrong.
I’ll gladly spend my twenty minutes with the Rosary, then. It used to be a bit of a chore, you see, but it isn’t any more. It’s a handful of years now I have started to recite it everyday. Never skipped a day, or looked back.
You may want to consider making of 2013 the year you start to devoutly pray the rosary every day. it’s not a great price to pay.
Take it from me, you will not regret it.
1. In my old age I am becoming more and more wary of always linking to posts I have already written. Fortunately for me, there are reasons why this must not deter you from deepening the matter a bit. The search function you find below allows you to search keywords. These are not always the keywords I have tagged, but every key word. You can, therefore, type “Vincent Nichols” and you’ll find more than you ever wanted to know without necessity for me to build endless links to the antics of our well-known enemy of Catholicism.https://mundabor.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=post
2. The “Catholic Vademecum” has now grown to several dozen blog posts. Whilst it is natural that a blog will prevalently deal with actual matters (the last madness of mad nuns,; or the last parody of Catholicism from evil bishops; or the like), in the end a blog should be there – I think – for the improvement of a Catholic’s instruction, so often a problem in these troubled times. Whenever there is no new post of mine to waste your time, you may want to waste some minutes – if you really insist in wasting time on my blog – on the “Catholic Vademecum” instead. It is my opinion that only a robustly equipped Catholic can withstand the tsunami of sugary common place now going around (you know what I mean: the “niceness” and “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” stuff). If I can give a contribution, it would be an honour to know I allowed you to show some charitable, but well-sharpened teeth to the enemies of Christ.
3. I feel that the “Online Breviary” is more than a bit neglected. As I see it, this is not meant exclusively for those who intend to pray the entire Breviary every day. In my eyes, this should be a useful resource for those who have some spare minutes to only dip in a beautiful patrimony of prayer for a short time: when you are waiting for the water for the pasta to boil, or if you can access this blog underway – say, from a tablet or smart phone – during a short wait for the train or the bus. A little, made many times, becomes a lot.
4. The “saint of the day” might perhaps also deserve a bit more attention. The site to which I link keeps everything slender and practical for the “busy man”. Again, summer and the unavoidable quiet day might be good occasions to read some interesting and instructive lines.
5. I am rather satisfied with the clicks to the “Daily offering to the Immaculate Heart Of Mary” and am glad to be of assistance to those who decide to regularly spend one minute in the company of the Blessed Virgin through my link. I think the exceptionally good “spot” within the blog page helps a lot.
6. Dulcis in fundo, the Rosary link. The link to the Rosary is by far the most important link of this blog, and again it is my opinion if this blog achieves the only results of educating some readers to the habit of the recitation of the rosary (daily, I hope: the habit can be taken without too much difficulty, and the “Catholic Vademecum” has several posts on the matter) then all the work has not been in vain. Apart from the Mass, I struggle to identify a single habit more conducive to our salvation than the recitation of the rosary, which is why the spot numero uno of this blog is dedicated to a very convenient, pretty well made online version of it.
I see my affectionate readers as soldier friends, sitting together with me in the trenches of these difficult times and hoping to get at the end of our active service without excessive damage to our fighting spirit and hopefully in a way conducive to the health of our immortal souls. I believe most of my readers are satisfied with my blog – the statistics being rather flattering notwithstanding the very immediate, direct and rather brutal style of this blog, which is certainly apt to discourage the delicate souls and PC plastic flowers – and value the contribution to their Catholic life a click on my page can give them. Therefore, it can’t be wrong to suggest to them how they can make the best of it.
I do not know you, but every now and then I am forced to examine the possibility that I may die and discover I did not pass the only exam that is important in our life, and did not achieve the only thing which, once achieved, makes everything else perfectly insignificant.
Confronted with the terrifying thought of a sufferance without end, of a failure that is not only utterly complete, but definitive in the most tragic of ways, I used to think – whilst trying to chase such terrifying thoughts out of my mind – that at least I would have some consolation from the thought of those among the people I loved who are destined, one day, to enjoy eternal happiness.
On second thought – and to make the thing eve more terrifying – I think such thoughts are simply wrong.
If I understand hell correctly, hell is a place where there is no love. If there is no love, there can be no place for feelings like the one of affection for those I have loved on earth. As a consequence, if I were to land in hell – God forbid! – I would end up, basically, hating my “hell companions”, hating those I have once hated, hating those I have once loved, hating simply everyone: those who are in hell because they are hateful people who went to hell, those who aren’t in hell because they aren’t.
A place without consolation, without human warmth or any form of affection, without any hope anything may ever change. Hated forever, hating forever, and no love in sight.
I am not informed whether some theologian has tried to inform us that in hell there must be solidarity among damned, perhaps a bridge club, certainly football teams and forms of camaraderie and friendships. But if I were so informed, I would wonder whether this is really hell they are talking about. If it be hell, there must be no love or friendship. If there is no love, there can be no consolation whatever for one’s affliction. It must be either hate or utter indifference for everyone else, for ever.
If you ask me, if such thoughts assault you, the best reassurance is to be found in those habits of which the Church says they are the best guarantee to avoid what I have described above. Besides the obvious suggestion of avoiding mortal sin – a strategy which has the disadvantage that I suspect most people who end up in hell thought their sins weren’t really bad, merely fashionable, and mortal sin something concerning others for one of the thousands reasons people fabricate in these cases – I think there is, in particular, one weapon the Divine Grace has given to everyone of us, and which everyone of us can use every day to march toward salvation one step at a time, resist scrupulosity and irrational fear, and go through life with a reasonable assurance that in some way we will manage to snatch salvation from the jaws of the dangerous human condition: pray the rosary faithfully and devoutly.
I am talking of around 17-20 minutes a day (after a bit of practice ); a time you will be able to conveniently divide in single mysteries; a time which, once the habit has been acquired, will become a pleasant moment of your day, a shield against the disappointment and sufferings of daily life, and most of all a great “eternal life assurance” bought at the price of a very small investment in time and effort.
The deal is excellent, the premium not high, the assured sum infinitely high. The deal is, in fact, so good, that one starts to understand the relaxed, optimistic, serene hope found so often in traditionally Catholic countries, in stark contrast to the gloom and rigidity of the traditionally Protestant ones. As an alternative, you can choose to see the rosary – as Padre Pio did – as a weapon, able to open you the way to heaven in the midst of the most difficult combat scenario. In this sense, the Rosary is like the Catholic’s Kalashnikov: simple, easy to use, cheap in purchase and maintenance, built with high tolerances and therefore not prone to jamming, so simple it can be used from a child, and devastating in his effect.
Don’t delay. Start today.
No, I mean today.