– Corrado Gnerre

Dear friends , I am very fond of the prayer of the Rosary. I like to recite it several times a day and also when I am in church before the Blessed Sacrament. Someone, however, reproaches me, saying that it is one thing to say a Rosary a day, another is to insist. I don’t understand, but I notice that not a few Catholics have a sense of distrust of this prayer. What do you think about it?

Dear …, leave the criticisms alone and continue. Indeed, thank the Lord for the love of this irreplaceable prayer. It would suffice to say that the Saints take advantage of every moment to say the Rosary. St Pio of Pietrelcina had the privilege of reciting many rosaries a day. The Saints, reciting the Rosary, do not become alienated, nor misfits, on the contrary … they really understand life more than others and reach true wisdom. It does not seem to us that many theologians, who for study have abandoned prayer and despised the “naivety” of the Rosary, manage to reach the same levels of wisdom.

Dear …, one of the criticisms that have been addressed to the Rosary is to say: but what’s the use of mumbling so many ‘Aves,’ also often dazed by noises, distractions and so on? It is clear that the Rosary should be recited in the best possible way. It is a known fact, for example, that reciting it before the Blessed Sacrament makes it possible to gain a plenary indulgence. But – note – this does not mean that if you do not have these possibilities, the Rosary should not be recited. Whoever gets caught up in this concern, lets himself be fooled by a scruple behind which a demonic temptation can probably be hidden … and we know how much the devil hates this prayer.

The beauty of the Rosary also lies in its simplicity and ease; in fact, that is, that it can and must adapt to all situations. A tale is told of a soldier in the trenches who wrote a letter to his mother amid the roar of the battle. A fellow soldier asked him: “But how can you write with this noise? Who knows how many blunders escape there!” “It is nothing – replied the good soldier – the blunders, if his mother corrects them. The important thing is that I write to her.”  Saint Pio of Pietrelcina was once asked how to recite the Rosary. The Saint replied: “Attention must be brought to the Ave, to the greeting you address to the Virgin in the mystery you contemplate. In all the mysteries she was present, in all she participated with love and pain.”

Dear …, therefore pay attention to certain scruples, which also hide a mistake typical of very contemporary Catholicism, which, in an attempt to combat “naive devotionalisms”, places the experience of faith in an intellectual perspective, forgetting that it yes, it is “intelligence in faith”, but always oriented and aimed at fostering and love.

There has been a lot of talk about “adult Catholicism,” but isn’t it rather true that Jesus praises the little ones by indicating their existential position (amazement, wonder and abandonment) as a determining criterion for every Christian? The Rosary is to say to the Madonna many times “I love you” and to say many times to Jesus “thank you for what you have done and are doing for me” in your mystery of Redemption (which I am contemplating) and which has been accomplished and which is realized still in the individual life and history of men. One day a Protestant girl asked a Catholic bishop who had spoken of the Rosary: “But why recite so many Ave Maria’s? Isn’t one enough?” The Bishop, who had noticed that the girl was together with her boyfriend, asked her: “Do you prefer that your lover say to you only once ‘I love you’, or rather ‘many times’?” The girl understood.

Dear …, Lourdes and Fatima (just to mention two famous apparitions) speak clearly. The Virgin, faced with the real danger of the perdition of souls as an effect of a world that was increasingly moving away from the Law of God, asked to recite and spread the Rosary. She herself appeared with the beads in her hands. Can we refuse this request? In Michelangelo’s famous Last Judgment (1475-1564) of the Sistine Chapel, souls are depicted to the right of Jesus who are taken to Heaven thanks to Rosary beads to which they are closely attached. Michelangelo was not a theologian, but had fully understood the power of the Rosary. Power that is all in the greatness of Mary.

(From La buona battaglia. Apologetica cattolica in domande e risposte, 2019©Chorabooks. Translated by Aurelio Porfiri. Used with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved)