Sunday, October 5, 2014

October, the month dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary

It was for the protection of her children that Mary, the Mother of God,
gave the world her Rosary, that priceless jewel of her most tender love.
She told St. Dominic, "Preach my Rosary and there will be much fruit." For
centuries the Rosary has proven to be a great and marvelous power against
evil and a true solace in times of stress. Many popes have exhorted the
faithful to take up their beads and pray the Rosary.
Pope St. Pius V said that the spread of the Rosary would dispel the
darkness of heresy and the light of the Catholic Faith would shine forth in
all its splendor.
Pope Gregory XIII assured us that the Rosary was instituted to implore the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to appease the anger of God.
Pope Pius IX said, "Have courage, my dear children! I exhort you to fight
against the persecution of the Church and against anarchy, not with the
sword, but with the Rosary, with prayer and good example." He regarded the
rosary as a conquering weapon.
Pope Leo XIII placed great confidence in the favors obtained through
devotion to the Rosary. In his encyclical, Supremi Apostolatus Officio, he
said, " . . . it has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in
troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her
maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with
justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God."
Pope Pius X said, "Of all prayers the Rosary is the most beautiful and the
richest in graces; of all it is the one which is most pleasing to Mary, the
Virgin Most Holy. Therefore love the Rosary and recite it everyday with
In 1917 the Virgin Mother of God showed the modern world her power and
favor with God with the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. In the months leading
up to the miracle, Our Lady repeatedly urged Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco,
to pray the Rosary. They learned from her the grave importance of the
Rosary. She told them that God wanted the world to establish devotion to
her Immaculate Heart: "If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved,
and there will be peace. I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be
consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I shall ask that on the First
Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for
the sins of the world."
Our Lady warned that there would be grave consequences if her requests were
not granted: "Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, raising
up wars and persecutions against the Church, many will be martyred, the
Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated."
She told the children that if what she asked was not done, the world would
suffer. . . "The war is going to end; but if people do not stop offending
God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI." Her
warning went unheeded. The Second World War began in 1938 with the invasion
of Austria during the reign of Pius XI, just as she had predicted.
Despite the horrors which then rained upon the world, those who sought to
fulfill Our Lady's requests were covered spiritually and even physically
with the mantle of her protection. In days of darkness and sorrow miracles
bloomed and the power and excellence of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed
Virgin Mary was made known.
At 8:15 in the morning on Monday August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was
dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The people of Hiroshima and the world would
never be the same. The intense heat and radiation spread immediately and
engulfed all those in its path. Over 80,000 people were killed instantly.
Thousands more would die later from radiation poisoning. Men, women and
children endured incomprehensible suffering. The temperature at the center
of the blast was said to be as hot as the surface of the sun. The heat
evaporated metal, melted glass, and ignited clothing miles away. Eight
square miles were reduced to ash in resulting fires. Those whose flesh had
not melted away, faced horrible suffering in a variety of symptoms as the
radiation destroyed the cells in their bodies.
Hiroshima was obliterated in seconds, but beneath the mushroom cloud, in
the midst of horror, a miracle would rise from the ashes of destruction and
bear witness to the power of the Rosary and the truth of the Promises of
Our Lady of Fatima. Just blocks from the epicenter, the Church of Our Lady
of the Assumption was in ruins. However, the rectory next door, which
housed eight Jesuit priests, was still standing. Four of the priests were
in the rectory when the bomb dropped. They were showered with glass and
debris. Four other priests were in the surrounding vicinity but, they too,
survived the initial blast.
After their rescue, army doctors explained to them that their bodies would
begin a fatal deterioration due to radiation exposure. The doctors were all
astounded when, after examining all eight of the priests, there were no
findings of elevated radiation. They exhibited absolutely no ill-effects
from the bomb! Over two hundred scientists were said to have examined them
and none of them could offer any explanation for their survival. The
priests had not only survived the blast, they lived for decades in
relatively good health.
Fr. Hubert Schiffer, who had just returned to the rectory after saying Mass
that morning, supplied the answer on television years later. He said the
reason they had survived the nuclear holocaust was because, "In that house
the rosary was prayed every day. In that house, we were living the message
of Fatima." Secular scientists were all in agreement that the priests
should have died but, they could not agree on the reason for their
miraculous survival. They walked by sight and not by faith.
On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bomb was dropped on
Hiroshima, the U.S. dropped another one nearly 200 miles away, on Nagasaki.
That city had been the center of Japanese Catholicism ever since St.
Francis Xavier established its first mission church in 1549. For hundreds
of years thereafter, Nagasaki streets ran red with the blood of her
At 11:02 A.M. on that fateful morning in 1945, there were so many Catholics
in line for confession, that two priests were hearing them inside the
Urakami Cathedral. All were killed, and the largest church in the Orient
was demolished. Of the more than 100,000 people who died in Nagasaki,
nearly 10,000 of them were Catholic. One might wonder why they were not
protected as the priests in Hiroshima. If we walk with the faith of those
many Catholic Japanese, we learn that they were protected.
Dr. Takashi Nagai, lived in Nagasaki with his wife, Midori, and their two
children. Midori was a descendent of the early Catholic martyrs and a
devout Catholic. That morning Dr. Nagai had been at the hospital where he
worked. After the bomb was detonated he spent an agonizing two days,
helping the wounded before he could search for and find his wife, (the
children were not in Nagasaki that morning).
His home was a pile of ash and in those ashes he found the charred remains
of his beloved wife. He knelt and tenderly began to gather what was left of
her. In the bones of her right hand, the chain and cross of her rosary had
melted. Rather than spewing forth anger, Dr. Nagai bowed his head in
prayer, "My God, I thank you for permitting her to die while she prayed.
Mary, Mother of sorrows, thank you for having been with her at the hour of
her death. . . Jesus, You carried the heavy cross until You were crucified
upon it. Now, You come to shed the light of peace on the mystery of
suffering and death, Midori's and mine. . ." Dr. Nagai later said that
while his wife's remains were resting in his arms, her voice seemed to
murmur: "forgive, forgive."
Dr. Nagai found strength in meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. He
later wrote: "Men and women of the world, never again plan war! . . . From
this atomic waste the people of Nagasaki confront the world and cry out: No
more war! Let us follow the commandment of love and work together. The
people of Nagasaki prostrate themselves before God and pray: Grant that
Nagasaki may be the last atomic wilderness in the history of the world."
In the miracle of survival that was granted to the priests of Hiroshima and
in the miracle of the faith that gave strength to Dr. Nagai in Nagasaki we
witness the firm reliance and confidence granted to souls dedicated to the
Rosary. In these miracles the Promises of Our Lady of Fatima are truly
confirmed . . .
". . . The weapon which our Father gave
Each hand shall fearless wield:
Who bear our Lady's Rosary
Need neither sword nor shield"
With dauntless faith the ranks they face
Of error and of sin,
And, armed with those blest beads alone,
The victory they will win. . ."*

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