Weekly Challenge

Week Beginning June 9


Mothers are a source of consolation for their children. When I would fall and scrape my knees, my mom would lift me back up, bandage my wounds, and kiss my boo-boos. Although the injury remained, I felt better. When things did not go according to my sense of justice, I would complain to her, “that’s not fair!” She would smile at me, wipe my tears, and simply reply, “life’s not fair.” Certainly, that is not a lesson pre-schoolers want to hear. But something about her calm voice and honesty acknowledged my pain and comforted me, despite not having my way. She would remind me about all of the starving children, the lonely orphans, and those struggling with illness. Instantly, she shifted my mindset from a lack of gratification to an abundance of gratitude.

Saint Jerome explains how Our Blessed Mother also soothes us with her maternal love: “Even while living in the world, the heart of Mary was so filled with motherly tenderness and compassion for men that no one ever suffered so much for their own pains, as Mary suffered for the pains of her children.” When we come to her in times of trouble, she gives us the spiritual hug we need. Pope Saint John Paul II notes that “To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and His Mother.” Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina advises: “In times of darkness, holding the Rosary beads is like holding your Blessed Mother’s hand. Pray the Rosary every day, abandon yourself in the Hands of Mary. She will take care of you.”

Saint Teresa of Calcutta suggests that “If you ever feel distressed during your day–call upon Our Lady–just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’” Saint Bernard of Clairvaux elaborates: “In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”

When we feel down, Our Lady prays with us. She picks us up and furnishes the strength we need to persevere. Her faithful experiences give us hope. Even at our lowest point when life does not seem fair, she reveals that every cross brings grace and that good things come to those who place their trust in God. Leading us through the mysteries, she redirects our focus away from ourselves and toward our Lord. Servant of God Joseph Kentenich observes that “Being familiar with it [the Rosary] configures us to Christ. Through the Rosary we become apparitions of Christ and encounters of Christ.”

Mary’s Psalter teaches us about suffering and redemption and fills us with love and gratitude. Pope Saint Paul VI states: “By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are unfolded.” The Venerable Fulton Sheen remarks: “No normal mind yet has been overcome by worries or fears who was faithful to the Rosary. You will be surprised how you can climb out of your worries, bead by bead, up to the very throne of the Heart of Love itself.”

In our chaotic world, we find stability through repetition. The soothing rhythm and reassuring familiarity of the prayers create a space for silent reflection, contemplation of important truths, and intimate conversation with God. Pope Benedict XVI shares that “The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, it brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the center of each ‘Hail Mary.’”

“All the sins of your life seem to be rising up against you. Don’t give up hope!” encourages Saint Josemaría Escrivá. “On the contrary, call your holy mother Mary, with the faith and abandonment of a child. She will bring peace to your soul.” Pope Venerable Pius XII comments, “We put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils which afflict our times.”

Saint Augustine describes peace as the tranquility of order. Directed by our Queen of Peace, the Rosary helps us order our disordered passions and orient our lives toward our ultimate purpose of loving and serving God. This transformational process calms our mind, heart, and soul, thus facilitating inner peace. Saint Josemaría Escrivá counsels: “When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down.” Saint Anthony Mary Claret summarizes simply: “When people love and recite the Rosary they find it makes them better.”

As you pray the Rosary this week, ask Our Blessed Mother to console you through your challenges. Let her kiss your wounds, caress your scars, and heal your ills. Always carry your Rosary with you, so that it can carry you through your trials. Recall the words Our Lady of the Rosary imparts in a mystical vision to Gladys Herminia Quiroga de Motta: “The Holy Rosary is…the refuge of those who look for lightening their grief, and it is the door to enter to My Heart.” Peace be with you through your devotion to the Rosary.

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