The most powerful prayer that we have, after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (which is Christ Jesus’ own sacrifice offered to the Eternal Father) is the Holy Rosary. We might think of the rosary as a series of repetitive prayers, but it is far more than that: it is an introduction into Christian meditation.
When we think of “meditation” today, many people think of “Eastern meditation” which is rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism. It is an emptying of the mind, seeking to unite, in some way, with the divine through emptiness, through the void. Christian meditation, on the other hand, involves an emptying, but for the sake of a “filling.” We do need to try to empty ourselves of self-love, self-centeredness, in order to be able to receive the Love and Mercy of the Most Holy Trinity. So we place ourselves in the presence of Almighty God, invoking the Holy Trinity with the Sign of the Cross, and then we begin to repeat the inspired prayers.
“Inspired Prayers”! Yes, the Lord’s Prayer (the “Our Father”) was given to us by Jesus Christ Himself, and it is the perfect prayer, the model for all prayer. And the Holy Spirit inspired St. Matthew and St. Luke to include it in their Gospels. The “Hail Mary” is also divinely inspired (at least, the first two-thirds of the prayer is): The first part is the words of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, and the second part is the words of St. Elizabeth who, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” uttered them in praise of the Virgin Mary for her Divine Motherhood. And God inspired St. Luke to include both greetings in his Gospel (chapter 1).
But the Holy Rosary goes deeper than the inspired prayers: we also meditate on the mysteries of the infancy, public ministry, passion and death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We fill our hearts and souls with the Life of Jesus, “pondering these things in our hearts,” just as Mary did (cf. Luke 2:51). The more that we ponder and ruminate on the life of Christ, the more that we are inspired and encouraged to imitate Him, to pattern our lives after Him.
So why call the rosary a “weapon”? We are in a spiritual warfare! We are the Church Militant, the Church engaged in the battle for souls here on earth. Whenever the saints of the last 800 years (roughly the time that we have had the rosary in its modern form) have needed strength and courage for the battle, they have turned to the rosary. When the Christian fleet sailed into the Battle of Lepanto, vastly outnumbered by the Ottoman (Turkish and Muslim) fleet, they and the Christian peoples of Europe prayed the rosary, and a great victory was won. We are now engaged in a battle for the “soul” of America and of Western (Christian) civilization — we need to pick up our weapon, the Holy Rosary, and pray it every day! As our minds and hearts are drawn more and more deeply into Christ Jesus, we will be strengthened for the challenges that we face now, so that we can be authentic witnesses to the Lord Jesus before an increasingly unbelieving and secular world!