In this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary we wanted to draw your attention to the power this prayer has in the most dire situations. The rosary is one of the greatest weapons we have in the Catholic arsenal and stories of its power abound. In fact, the reason we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the seventh of this month is because the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto is credited to the intercession of Our Lady through the rosary, which the whole Church was praying.
Last month we had the privilege of hearing Immaculee Illibagiza speak about her experience during the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s. If you aren’t familiar with her story you need to read her book, Left to Tell, which has made a deep impact on each of us here. Her incredible ability to forgive the men who killed her entire family is almost too much to believe – it gives one chills just thinking about it. This is a grace that can only come from God, but it’s a grace He wants to give each one of us, if we dispose ourselves to receive it.
Immaculee credits her salvage mostly to prayer and to a set of rosary beads given to her by her devout Catholic father prior to going into hiding. Anger and resentment about her situation were literally eating her alive and destroying her faith, but rather than succumbing to the rage that she felt, Immaculée instead turned to prayer. She began to pray the Rosary as a way of drowning out the negativity that was building up inside her. Immaculée found solace and peace in prayer and began to pray from the time she opened her eyes in the morning to the time she closed her eyes at night. Through prayer, she eventually found it possible, and in fact imperative, to forgive her tormentors and her family’s murderers. [Read the rest of this article]
This peace is for all of us, whatever the trials and stresses of our lives may be, whether great or small. Immaculee writes on her blog:
When it comes to peace, I need to speak to you personally, because the only person we can really change is ourselves. And we can bring peace to the world only by first bringing peace to our own troubled, stressed out, and turbulent hearts. The great news is that we can all achieve this! When the Blessed Mother appeared in Kibeho she told us one of the greatest benefits of praying the rosary was its power to instantly restore peace to our hearts. Mary said, “My children…even if you don’t know what took your peace away, if you find a quiet place to pray and then pray your rosary from your heart, I promise that your peace will come back to you.”
I can assure you from personal experience Mary’s words are 100 percent true! Every time I get depressed, overly-stressed, or run down, I slip off to a quiet corner pray my rosary and, truly and without fail, my peace of mind and heart returns. It’s like the rosary prayers somehow enter our bloodstream and balance everything in our lives.
After Immaculee’s talk in San Antonio last month we had the blessing of being able to meet her. The peace and joy that proceeds from prayer and union with Jesus and Mary shine out from her soul, and spending just a few moments with her was a grace-filled experience.
This month of the Holy Rosary is an opportunity to deepen and renew our love for this powerful prayer. Through praying the rosary we open our hearts to the graces God wants to pour into our hearts, and through us, upon the entire world.