Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2016:
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas October 30, 2016
Reverend. father, brothers and sisters in Christ. For those of you who noticed things like this, I was not with you a couple weeks ago because I took a few days off and went on a private retreat to West Bend, Iowa. I’m sure you would all agree that when you go on retreat there should be a purpose, at least a theme to make any retreat profitable. In my case, the theme was, “to know Jesus better, through the eyes of His Mother Mary,” while praying the Rosary and meditating on the Mysteries. This I will share with you a little later but first some background.
This to give us a reason to reflect on what father Greg has shared with us this month on stewardship. With what’s going on in our world today all that would have to happen is that good people stop praying. Proof of your willingness to pray is the fact that you are here today celebrating Mass with our Priest. I have been convinced for a long time that the most beneficial happening of the day for our world, our parish, and each one of us individually is to be able to celebrate Mass with our Priest, for sure, on weekends and daily if possible. According to the little handout the father gave us, number one on the list of stewardship is the Mass. This is the preeminent prayer of the church.
I would like you to consider that the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary is second to the Mass as a most powerful, reflective Prayer.
To back up a little bit: when I was a little boy a priest came here to preach on the value of the Rosary, also to pray for the conversion of Russia. His name is father Peyton. I don’t remember the exact date but it must’ve been some where between 1943 in 1950. If any of you remember exactly let me know and I will add it to my notes. I became so enamored at what he preached and taught about the Rosary that the Rosary has been a daily prayer for me, virtually ever since. It is rare that I would miss praying the Rosary each day.
I remember too: that one evening praying the rosary with my family, kneeling at the end of the couch, and wondering to myself, what Mary had to do with all of this. She spoke to me as clearly, as if she was speaking right into my head, “my role is to bring you to my son.” I am convinced that she has been doing exactly that.
There are stories to support the power that the rosary has: for example, the battle of the Lapinto where an invasion by the enemy was eminent and the people were asked to pray the Rosary. The Rosary was given credit for turning back this invasion force, so that it never happened. Another story, of the recent past, where an Easter Right Bishop had a vision of Christ. Christ was handing him a sword, and you know how that’s done with the handle first. When the Bishop reached out for the sword it was a rosary. To say that the rosary is a Sword in the hands of Christians, is almost an understatement because this sword is a two edge sword. Prayer works. The prayer of the rosary works.
Again a long time ago: my mother was telling us of how they prayed the rosary in German, up in Bluffton. She said that as they prayed the Hail Mary they would put a little insert in the prayer after the word of Jesus, to reflect the Ministry that they were praying. This to I was gradually able to do, rather gradually as I learned the mysteries the rosary. One day I reminded mother of this, and she said, ah, I never did! But I know she did, and I shall continue to give her credit for that.
As a matter of fact: in the last days Pope Francis said,, “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life, it is also the prayer of simple people and Saints … It is prayer of my heart,” he said. He also explains that the rosary is “a synthesis of Divine Mercy.”
I have used this insert idea, while praying the rosary for many many years. Some of you may well say, how can you keep your mind on the ministry while praying the rosary, while saying words? As a matter of fact sometimes we’re are accused of just saying a lot of words, I assure you it is a lot more than that.
You remember when you would holler at the kids to turn off the music and gift your studying done, and they would respond by saying I am studying! Maybe this will work with the rosary as well as you say the words of the Hail Mary that becoming quite automatic, by this time, maybe meditating on the mystery could really work!
So here’s how it works: for example, you would be praying, Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you blessed are you among women blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus, this is where you would put a little insert but let us say today you are paying the Joyful Mysteries, the first of the Joyful Mysteries is the Annunciation. So you would say Jesus, who was Announced, Holy Mary mother of God pray for us sinners know and at the hour of our death, Amen. And you would say this Hail Mary with the insert for each one of the Hail Mary’s in that Mystery.
Let’s do a few more so that you get the idea: the second of the Joyful Mysteries is the Visitation. So you would say, Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with the blessed are, women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, who Visited, Holy Mary mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. To finish that rosary, you would say, Who was born into the world, Who was presented, Who was found in the Temple.
Every ministry of the complete Rosary can be said in this way even the new five mysteries of the Rosary of Light.
This is what I found myself doing on my retreat. I was so crazy tired that I just laid on my bed and prayed rosary after rosary in this fashion and as I reminded you earlier to get to know Jesus through the eyes of His Mother. And taking notes for this Homily.
You can even use this meditation while praying the Rosary in common and I am convinced that you will find there is so much more to the Rosary than just the multiplication of words.
So you be Good, be Holy, preached the Gospel always using Words if necessary!
(‘Thank you’ to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here — Brian H. Gill.)