You may not have noticed it, but next year is an election year.
For a moment, though, we would do well to look beyond electioneering to the true hope of the Republic. This is not to dismiss politics — the way society is governed — as something of no account or something too worldly for the faithful to concern ourselves with, for neither is the case. It is, rather, to explore how the supernatural can leaven politics in order to make it Christian.
In the “Act of Dedication of the Human Race,” we pray for the “ordered tranquility” of all nations. This is a prayer for nothing less than peace brought about by a Christian polity, something that seems at least unlikely in our present circumstances. No matter how unlikely it may seem, I would like to propose that a powerful means of securing this great good for our country is the spiritual weapon of the Holy Rosary.
The Holy Rosary a weapon? Yes, a weapon! We are fighting a battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. “Our wrestling,” St. Paul reminds us, is “against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Eph. 6:12). In short, we need the big guns — and the Rosary is one of the biggest, as history testifies.
Our Lady of Victories
The military victories at Lepanto (1571), La Rochelle (1627), and Vienna (1683) come to mind as great campaigns won through the intercessory power of Our Lady’s Rosary. More recently, Our Lady saved Austria from Soviet enslavement after World War II. A priest named Father Petrus Vavlochek organized a Rosary procession led by Federal Chancellor Figl, who carried a Rosary in one hand and a candle in the other. In addition, more than 700,000 Austrians pledged to pray the daily Rosary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima. The result? On May 13, 1955, the anniversary of Our Lady’s first Fatima apparition, the Soviets agreed to Austria’s independence. They withdrew from the country altogether the following October, the month of the Holy Rosary and the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.
In Brazil, the Communist regime of President Goulart came to an end when the Catholic women of that nation saw to it that 600,000 people marched through São Paolo praying the Rosary and singing hymns. Realizing that a Communist revolution was impossible in Brazil, Goulart fled the country.
Accounts like this are manifold. Mary’s loving response to her children’s prayers through the Holy Rosary is not merely a thing of history, though. A dear and learned teacher of mine often says of God’s Providence, “it is not something to be studied in a book; we study it in our own lives!” The same is true of the Blessed Virgin’s power of intercession, which is coterminus with God’s Providence.
The Hungarian confessor of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, had this to say of what we can expect from the Rosary: “Give me a million families with Rosaries in their hands, uplifted to Mary. They will be a military power, not against other people, but for all mankind…. Let us, therefore, take the Rosary from family to family. With it in our hands, we shall conquer ourselves, convert sinners, do penance for our country, and will certainly move the merciful, mild, and benevolent Heart of Mary.”
And can we not move her maternal Heart to the conversion of our own Republic?
The Fatima message urges us to pray the Rosary daily for peace. We should point out that “peace” is not simply an absence of war, but “the tranquility of order,” something far higher. (It is the very thing we pray for in the above mentioned Act of Dedication.”) Only the Faith and the virtues that accompany it (especially infused justice and charity) can give a nation order. It is, therefore, fitting that the Fatima message speaks of both peace and the conversion of Russia. As unconverted Russia was the fomenter of war, so her conversion will be a harbinger of peace. The revival of the Cold War and Russia’s growing militarism should catch our attention. In 1957, Sister Lucy said, “Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation.”
Russia is not yet converted.
Our Lady promised that Russia would convert, but what of our America? Without any apology, I will use Saint Pio of Pietrelcina as an authentic commentator on the Fatima message. The prophetical friar was doubtless possessed of more than an earthly sagacity when he uttered this: “The Russian people will be converted. Their total conversion will happen very fast. The conversion of the United States will be slow, but sure” (Padre Pio: The True Story, by C. Bernard Ruffin, p. 264). On another occasion, the stigmatist said, “Russia will be converted, as the Blessed Virgin said she would. However, Russia will teach the United States a lesson in conversion” (ibid., p. 266, emphasis mine in both passages). If I read these passages correctly, it seems evident that Russia’s Fatima-promised, prodigious conversion will herald that of the U.S.
Recall that Our Lady called herself by one title only at Fatima: “I am Our Lady of the Rosary.” In light of the above, that should tell us something of the role of the Rosary in the conversion of both Russia and the U.S. to Christ the King.
Let the Campaign Begin
This past October 13, the TFP organized over 2,000 Rosary Rallies to honor Our Lady on the ninetieth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. An impressive showing for a special occasion. But why stop at that? We can take advantage of the forward momentum. As the month of the Holy Rosary draws to a close, we should not sheath this spiritual weapon Heaven has placed in our hands. As confirmed soldiers of Christ, we should brandish it about a bit more — unto a complete victory — a Catholic America. Regular Rosary rallies or Rosary processions are simple to organize (click the links to see how simple). They are also a powerful witness to our Faith, our love of the Blessed Virgin, and our desire to save our Republic. Priests, religious, and laity; children, teens, and the elderly — all can participate in a prayerful enthusiasm for a cause both Catholic and patriotic.
How different the world would be if the American superpower were under the sweet yoke of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King!
The Holy Father’s Message for World Mission Sunday
The message on the Vatican’s web site has some choice morsels of an evangelical nature. Excerpts follow, with our emphasis:
“As We direct our thoughts, on the one hand, to the countless multitudes of Our sons who have a share in the blessings of divine faith, especially in countries that have a long Christian tradition, and on the other hand, as We consider the far more numerous throngs of those who are still waiting for the day of salvation to be proclaimed to them, We are filled with a great desire to exhort you again and again, Venerable Brethren, to support with zealous interest the most holy cause of bringing the Church to all the world… . Please God, may it come to pass that Our admonitions will arouse a keener interest in the missionary apostolate among your priests and through them set the hearts of the faithful on fire!”
“Remember the immense spiritual needs of the numerous populations who are far from the true faith or who stand in such great need of the means of perseverance (cf. n. 55). And he [Pope Pius XII] urged the faithful to increase the number of Masses offered for the missions, saying that ‘this is in accordance with the prayers of Our Lord who loves his Church and wishes her to flourish and enlarge her borders throughout the whole world.’”
“May the unanimous invocation of the ‘Our Father who art in Heaven’ be extended in every community, so that his Kingdom will come on earth.”