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For Your Marriage

Dennis and Mary Jo Weiss have been married for more than 30 years. They write about a shared love of nature, prayer, and their children and grandchildren from their home in Hamburg, New York.

The Rosary, A Spiritual Weapon for Families

As a parent, one of the things I am called to do is sacrifice for my children. It just comes with the job. That sacrifice can take on many forms. It may be financial, that is the material things we forgo in order to provide for our family. It may be giving up some time commitments to outside activities you personally enjoy in order to create more time to spend with your family and children. It may be as simple and basic as attending to the physical needs of your little ones, who are so totally dependent on their parents, especially throughout those early years. Or it could be of a spiritual nature, that is, praying for the needs and wellbeing of your loved ones.

Those who do have children will certainly find themselves sacrificing in all these various ways at one time or another in their lives. But I would like to focus for a moment on the spiritual sacrifice, which we are called to undertake on behalf of our children. In particular, let’s consider one of the most powerful weapons that we have in our arsenal to fight our spiritual battles, that is, the Rosary.

First, I will admit right up front that I have personally struggled with the Rosary for much of my life. I recall times when I was in high school when I would walk into my parent’s living room and both of them would be sitting there with rosary beads in hand. I remember wondering what they saw in this form of prayer, one that I thought was repetitive and boring. And how did they have time to say a whole Rosary, especially all fifteen decades as I know my mom did each day? Surely God did not really need that much of our time when we could just simply tell Him our needs and add in an Our Father and Hail Mary or two. Wasn’t that enough?

I remember many years later talking to my mom and asking her what was she praying for when she said all of those rosaries. Her answer was “mostly for you boys.” You see, I am one of four brothers and believe me, we all did more than our share of stupid things to drive our parents crazy when we were young, especially during our high school and college years. While I think that we all turned out okay in the end, in reflecting back, I am certain that in a large part this was mainly due to all of the prayers and rosaries said by our faithful mom and dad.

Even as an adult I still struggle with praying the Rosary. At times, especially in the evening when I am tired, to say the Rosary can seem like such a chore. I find my mind wandering off to those things which I didn’t get done that day, or to what I need to do the next day. It can be a real struggle to bring my focus back to the words of the Our Fathers and Hail Marys, and to reflect on the meaning of the mystery in hand.

But as in all battles, it helps to have a fellow warrior “in the trench alongside you,” especially when you are in the midst of any spiritual warfare. Someone who “has your back.” That is why I have found great comfort in having my comrade in arms, Mary Jo, beside me to say the Rosary together.

For some time now, we have committed to trying to say a Rosary together every day, and just like my own parents, we have found ourselves asking for divine intercession in the lives of our children, among our many other petitions. We have had our share of answered prayers, both those that we recognize and those answers that may have come in ways not yet clear to us. For that we are grateful to Our Lady for her intercession.

There are times when we are both tired at night and may substitute the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (much shorter) for our daily Rosary. At other times we have changed up our prayer routine to do a novena to a particular saint, one who we feel called to specifically intercede in a certain situation. But mainly, we find ourselves going back to Mary, our Mother, and her Rosary.

The other day, for some reason we were talking about “Excalibur,” the legendary sword of King Arthur in the Knights of the Roundtable. I do not even recall why this came up, but that evening as we were heading to our back room to say our Rosary, Mary Jo held up her hand grasping her rosary and said, “Here is my Excalibur.” It struck me just how appropriate that comparison was. The Rosary is our sword to combat all the tricks the devil may use to draw us away from God. It is indeed our most powerful spiritual weapon.

I was reading an insert in our parish’s bulletin from last week and since it was the feast day of St. Dominic on August 8th, it listed the fifteen promises which Our Lady gave to him regarding those who pray the Rosary. They are quite remarkable and reassuring. Among them are: “The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell… and you shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.”

Why not take Our Lady’s word and use this weapon to combat the evil one?