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Mary, the Rosary, and Spiritual Armor by Ann Walker

The Feast Day for the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary is September 8. My first thought was to share ideas about Mary and her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. Instead, I decided to explore a special gift from Mary. When we think about Mary, we often recall how Mary loves to ask Jesus to protect us. As Catholics, we have something very special that we can use as a means for our protection. That special gift from Mary is the Rosary!

The Rosary has been recently attacked in the media. In an article in The Atlantic, there was an inference that people who pray the Rosary are “radical-traditionalists.” Most Catholics I know who pray the Rosary are truly just devoted to their love for Mary and Jesus, and it is hard to understand how that viewpoint is radical. Maybe some things aren't meant to be understood.

I always felt that the Rosary was special, but The Atlantic article confirmed what I already knew—The Rosary is newsworthy. The power behind the Rosary should be spread far and wide. In times like these, prayers are needed more than ever. Life has too many uncertainties to leave things to chance. Often, it feels like we need as much help and guidance as we can get, and the Rosary certainly can guide us and give us the peace of mind that only God can provide.

One of my earliest recollections of getting a Rosary was when I received my First Holy Communion. I learned that Mary asks us to pray a bunch of special prayers. I also learned that we keep track of those prayers as we hold each bead of the Rosary. I heard about apparitions in which Mary appeared to children and implored them to promote the recitation of praying the Rosary. The messages would especially resonate with those who were concerned about escaping various pending dangers as revealed in the Bible. Why are these prayer beads currently being mentioned in the media?

I guess the idea of praying a Rosary could be considered a radical concept to those who don’t believe in a higher power. The fact that the Rosary is mentioned in the secular media must show that Catholics are doing something right. Most Catholics understand the power of requesting Mary’s help to guide them, and they understand the richness of prayer. People offer prayers for many reasons, such as: guidance, hope, comfort, thanksgiving, and/or acceptance. It is reassuring to know that we don’t have to go very far to ask for help. Prayers can be said anywhere and at any time, and they can be said at any place. We can offer prayers privately, or we can pray aloud with others. I often wonder how non-believers find strength in trying times. Do you think they might secretly wish that they could experience the wonders of prayer like we do? They could be well-served by our examples of living a prayerful life! Evangelization, anyone?!

When glancing at written responses to The Atlantic article, one can see that many people feel the same way—they are offended. People are upset that they are being lumped in with those who might mean to do some type of harm to others. Most people are just trying to find a way to get through their days with some positive thoughts. Many want to get away from thoughts that distract them from the sadness of deaths caused by Covid. Many are seeking reassurance for loved ones who are dealing with uncertainties based on the ever-evolving realities of unemployment, food and energy scarcity, and inflation. These uncertainties don’t just happen to Christians, but Catholics are able to seek assistance through praying the Rosary. Just praying the "Hail Mary" is reassuring. "...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen." We know that we must do better in our lives, and Mary guides us towards making the changes that will help us to get closer to Jesus. Amen to that!

In addition to learning more about our mother, Mary while working at Gospa Missions, I have been blessed to become more aware of Saints who can also be called upon for guidance. It is reassuring to know that we can pray to Saint Joseph for protection of our families. We can pray to Saint Michael to help us in our battles with evil. We can pray to Saint Benedict for protection from spiritual dangers. We can pray to Saint Christopher for protection when traveling. We have lots of other Saints and our Guardian Angels to help us. These concepts seem to be hard for some non-believers to appreciate.

No matter what others think about our prayers, we must never give up on our reliance of God’s warriors to help us…and most especially, our Lovely Lady, Mary. We must continue to pray the Rosary for our protection and for the protection of those we love. As we do so, we are putting on our spiritual armor! We can be a great example as witnesses to what God does for us. What a gift the Rosary is for us!

Thankfully, we had an inspired follower of Jesus, Tom Rutkoski, who was gifted with the inspiration of starting a mission in Mary's honor. Thankfully, we have a place like Gospa Missions Amazing Grace store where we can find books and other items which can help us to draw closer to Mary, who brings our prayers to Jesus. Thankfully, we have a place like Gospa Missions which is inspired by Mary’s desire to help those in need -- most importantly, the orphans we sponsor in India. May God continue to keep us in His care and bless us. May we continue to be positive role models of what God has ready for those who love Him.

- By Ann Walker

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