The Shrine on Social Media
V. Rev. Fr. Héctor R.G. Pérez
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    During the month of October we celebrate in a special way the Month of the Rosary. During this month, also, in addition to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary which we celebrated on the 7th, we also celebrate other important feasts of Our Lady which are very à propos, very pertinent, to the times in which we find ourselves for better or for worse. On the 8th we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Good Remedy, Patroness of the Trinitarian Order founded by St. John of Matha and St. Felix of Valois. Our Lady appeared to St. John under this title to come to his aid in raising funds to rescue and ransom the many Catholics from Europe who were being kidnapped by Moslem pirates. If they were young and handsome or beautiful, they were put into houses of ill repute. The others were sold into slavery. All were compelled at sword point to "convert" to Islam (which in Arabic means "struggle"). (Cf. Tim Staples excellent lectures sold by St. Joseph Communication in W. Covina, CA). Our Lady of the Rosary originally Our Lady of Victory, commemorates the tremendous miracle of the Battle of Lepanto on Oct. 7, 1571 when at the command of Pope St. Pius V the Spanish Admiral, Don Juan de Austria, led a pitifully small and ill-equipped naval force against the biggest most modern and best-equipped navy in the world then, that of the Moslem Turks, who came to capture all of Europe. With the help of the Rosary, David once again slew Goliath. The Pope even had a vision of the victory as he prayed the Rosary in his palace at the Lateran Basilica of St. John. The first name of the feast he instituted in thanksgiving was that of "Our Lady of Victory," which was later changed to "Our Lady of the Rosary." On the 12th, in Spain and throughout the Spanish speaking world, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar. This was the first apparition of Our Lady, while she was still alive and living with St. John the Apostle, to St. James and his disciples who were trying to evangelize Spain and the Iberian peninsula with little success. They were ready to give up. Our Lady appeared with the infant Jesus on a pillar of jasper, which she left. A statue of her and Christ as they appeared was sculpted. She promised him success if they persevered. Spain and Portugal were converted. The rest is history. The pillar still stands in the Basilica built there by the River Ebro in the city of Zaragoza. (Among its millions of visitors was the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, of happy memory).

    All of this brings us to the common theme - when all seems lost; when despair is at hand; when it is easier to give up and quit - then the Blessed Mother given to us by Christ at the foot of the Cross comes to our aid. During these times when the economy is a mess and threatening to collapse altogether everywhere in the world; when morals and customs seem to have reached the bottom of the pit; when political battles seem to be won by those who are enemies of Christ, His Church, and the Family and Life itself, we have recourse to so tender and caring a Mother. She has been given to us by Jesus Himself as our Protectress who always brings us His grace and His help. These times are no different. So we must get on our knees and pray with all our hearts. If we need to convert, then we must do so. If we need to confess our sins and bad habits, then we must do so ASAP. And even if things don't go our way or seem to be lost for a time, we know that in the end we shall conquer in Jesus' Name.
    During the month of September and October 2nd, Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, we have celebrated the great and infinite Providence and Love of God in creating a whole Universe of invisible beings, pure spirits, who serve Him the Pure and Simple God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These beings both the Scripture and Tradition, the two Founts of Divine Revelation (cf. Dei Verbum, the Constitution on Divine Revelation of vatican II - one of its most beautiful documents), call by the name "angels" which in part describes their role in regards to Man though not to God Himself. For the Greek word means "messenger." It was as such that God's Angels were sent to Abraham, to the Israelites on their exodus from Egypt, to various Patriarchs and Prophets. In some cases a very important Angel, an "archangel" was sent. We see this in Tobias with St. Raphael; in the annuntiations of St. Zachary and of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Nazareth with St. Gabriel. We also see that one of these Archangels is their Prince and fights against Satan, the Devil, and his forces of evil, his minions. (Apoc. 12:7-9). This is St. Michael. Then we have the Angels who are sent to each of us to "guard us in all our ways", (Ps. 91) whose faces always behold the face of God in Heaven. (Matt. 18:10). How wonderful that there is a whole universe of Beings created by God for His honor and glory which He even puts at our disposal in times of need - and in the case of our Guardian Angel(s) always! And as Mother of the King of the Universe, Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Mary is Queen of the Angels and also with Him Queen of the Universe. It is this Queen whom these Choirs of Angels also serve.

    All this leads us to this month of October dedicated to the Holy Rosary, the prayer most beloved of the Blessed Mother and second only to the Mass and the Stations of the Cross in power and in the Indulgences conceded to it by Holy Mother Church. On October 7th, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Rosary. In recent times all the apparitions of the Blessed Mother have asked us to meditate on the mysteries of and to pray the Rosary each day. All modern day Popes have written about it and encouraged Catholics to pray it. To that we add the invitation to all those who love Christ but are not fully part of the Mystical Body on earth, the Holy Catholic Church, to feel free to use this most magnificent prayer in which we repeat the very words of God (the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary - of which at least half is in St. Luke's Gospel) to praise Him. In addition, how can we not remember that in saying these vocal prayers we are also to mentally and spiritually meditate on the mysteries which announce each grouping or decade (ten) of the Rosary? We unite ourselves and relive with Jesus and Mary, and under her careful and loving guidance as Christ's Mother, as we look again and again at the infinite value and meaning of the events of their lives so intertwined by the very decree and Providence of God Himself. This prayer is so powerful that Pope St. Pius V asked the whole Christian world to pray it with him as the Christian forces under the Spanish Admiral, Don Juan de Austria, lead a small and insignificant navy comprised of even fishermen's boats, against the most august and powerful armada of the Turkish Empire. As with David and Goliath through the power of prayer the small Christian navy roundly defeated the Turkish Armada - this on Octbober 7, 1571 at the great Battle of Lepanto. In thanksgiving, Pope St. Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory (later changed to Our Lady of the Rosary). This feast gives the whole month of October its special flavor and, indeed, to the entire calendar and Liturgical year. Thus we rejoice in the power of God in His Angels and in His saints, of which Mary is Queen. We rejoice in the power of prayer, of which the Rosary is a prime example. With the Church and its Tradition we encourage everyone to pray the Rosary each day. Use it as St. Pious of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) did as a sword against the powers of darkness and evil. SAY THE ROSARY EVERY DAY! You will not regret it!
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