It is high time that Catholics arm themselves.
Some Americans revel in the fact that they have the right to bear arms. As Catholics, we too need to revel in the right given to us by God to bear a weapon of spiritual warfare. I am speaking of the Holy Rosary.
Sadly, this prayer became even for me, as it may be for many of you, a prayer that had to be said each day, not one that I deeply desired to say. It must be said that when you strip yourself of the armour of God, whatever that armour may be; a scapular, the Eucharist, the prayer to your guardian angel or St Michael or the Holy Rosary, you become defenceless against the enemy who then attacks you.
Many Catholics continue to live compromised lives where sin is condoned and justified. For a Catholic, sin must be vigorously and strongly fought against every day. We do this every day because the devil is at work not just every day but every minute. To combat the evil one, we need to carry our weapon of defence; the Holy Rosary.
For a long time, I noticed a former parishioner who wore the rosary around his wrist every day. In my ‘spiritual pride,’ I chastised him for doing so for it appeared to me as a piece of jewellery. He gently asked me if I had a rosary in my pocket to which I said no. “Then Father,” he said, “how do you defend yourself from the devil when he attacks you?”
Of late, the rosary has found itself around my left wrist as a reminder to both pray the Rosary as well as remind myself that Mother Mary leads the battle for me when the devil attempts to attack me. So let me explain the role of Mary as a defender of souls against the snares of the devil by looking to the Bible. This is something that I read and made a note of in my diary.
Biblically, Mary is the Ark of the new covenant. Just as in the Old Testament the Ark of the Covenant carried the rod of Aaron which was dead and came to life and the manna from the desert and the table of the law or the ten commandments. So also, in like manner, Our Lady who is the Ark of the New Covenant carried within her the Word of God that became flesh. She also carried the great High Priest who would die and come to life again (like Aaron’s rod). Finally, she carried within her, the living bread that came down from heaven (like the Manna from the desert)
What was the ark in the Old Testament? First of all, it was a privileged place of encounter with the Lord. The Lord is the Lord of the universe; he is everywhere but this is a privileged place of encounter because he is there on the mercy seat. Likewise, Our Lady is a privileged place of encounter, she brings you directly into the heart of God. Also, when Israel was at war, the Ark of the Covenant was carried in the front of the army because when the Ark was in the front of the army the battle belonged to the Lord.
Mother Mary is the woman who crushes the head of the enemy. As the Ark of the New Covenant, she leads the battle from the front. We know from exorcists how much the demons hate Mother Mary who, as we know, is not a goddess but a creature. Yet, here is a creature of the creator who destroys satan crushing him under her feet. It is humiliating for satan that a creature of God could destroy him and that is why he hates her so much.
Today, turn to the Rosary as your weapon of choice. Keep it always on your person. It does not matter if you forget your house keys and get locked out of your house. It is worse if you forget your soul and get locked out of heaven. It does not matter if you forget your wallet and are unable to purchase that which you desire greatly. It will be worse if forget your God who ransomed you with his most precious blood. It does not matter if you forget your mobile phone and are unable to text, chat, call or email. It will be worse if you forget that God through Mary gave you a hotline to her son and you never dialed into that number or even spent some time in knee-mail.
“Put on the armour of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”
– Ephesians 6:11-12
I want to dedicate this article to Fr Clarence Sequeira, my former assistant in St Stephen’s Church, Cumballa Hill, whose love for our Blessed Mother is unmatched and who celebrates his birthday today and also to Fr Cleophas Fernandes, my former rector who also celebrates his birthday today. Two holy priest and men of God.