by Fr Richard Heilman | January 22, 2016 8:39 PM
I was thinking back again to my seminary days back in the 1980s. I was asking myself, once more, why the rosary was not encouraged and, worse yet, why there was an unspoken understanding that if someone clung to the rosary that they would be suspect for a kind of fanaticism.
This was an era when many “Catholic” devotions and beliefs were swept under the rug. For example, we were not offered one minute of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in all my seminary formation. Scripture classes sought to explain away miracles as a “writing technique” that was used to point to some deeper truth. Like the multiplication of loaves and fishes was really about the “example of sharing,” because it was likely that many people there brought provisions and, once Jesus shared his food, then everyone started sharing, and it was then that they realized they had more than enough to feed everyone (note the Marxist themes 😉 ).
While I don’t believe I was conscious of it at the time, I look back now and see very clearly that there was an air of pride. It was a pride that said (without saying it), “We are a special generation … our generation transcends previous generations who simply were not developed enough to understand what we understand now.”
So, one can see why there was almost an embarrassment for what our “silly ancestors” believed and practiced. No problem, though, we have arrived and we still have time to fix it, we thought.
So, let’s put a stop to people simply “hearing Mass” … that’s silly …. let’s make them feel like “fellow ministers” of the Mass. Let’s cease the ridiculous practice of our underdeveloped ancestors who used to sit for hours staring at a “Communion wafer” in some kind of ornate vessel. Let’s stop the backward notion that God judges our every action, so let’s reduce the regularity of Confession … Oh! I know! Let’s called it “Reconciliation,” because that is less judgmental, and let’s have everyone come in a big group to receive God’s love and mercy all at one time (general absolution). And, by all means, let’s set aside the feeble-minded notion that we need to twiddle beads in repetitive prayer.
Oh, the pride! You see? That is why I believe God blesses such things as Adoration, frequent Confession, and grants power to the simple prayer of the rosary. Why? Because it knocks us off of our high horse (St. Paul reference) and asks us to “do it His way.”
Isn’t that precisely what He asked Adam and Eve? Think about it … a seemingly ridiculous request … “Don’t eat from that tree over there.” And, of course, here comes Satan to say (in effect), “God knows you are a good person, so He won’t care if you DO WHAT THOU WILT.” In fact, that is the “whole of the law” in Satanism … “Do what thou wilt.” And now, it is in the bones of a great many people in our world today … “Oh, God doesn’t care if I sin … and He certainly doesn’t need me to go to church to *prove* my love … no, He knows I love Him, so I can *do whatever I want*” (Do what thou wilt).
The rosary is very powerful because the worldly and the proud believe it is silly. Are we willing to do something God wants, even if the world thinks it is silly? This requires humility.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
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