I COULD NOT join the group that Sis Gelly gathered to attend the Deepening Session in Paranaque. Fr. Fed was conducting the assembly and it was not a thing to be missed. But I was tied up to a prior commitment and could not squeeze my word out of that promise. It was a lapse I could not salvage by assigning someone to take down notes for me; it was unfair for the proxy because I’d take the credit for something s/he did which I missed. Besides being unthinkable for me to delegate a personal take. Still, it was one of those occasions when you wished you could be in two places at one time. And end up resisting to whine.
There was no need to yearn for what might have been. At last Tuesday’s Legion meeting, our President Sis Rhea assigned the Allocutio to Sis Angel who, excited (like the others) of my return from a month-long leave and At Isa’s LA sojourn’s end (the Legion has a penchant for double blessings), was assigned the topic that was what Fr. Fed discussed at the Deepener. I was thankful that I did not recriminate too much. And smiled as I thought of the proverbial mountain coming to Mohammed, not that I was anything like the Islamic icon.
Therefore, as my stance is when there is something essential going on, I gave Sis Angel a Catholic ear. While I pledged to myself to push my Catholic pen later.
From her notes, she read that praying the rosary has an important place in the apostolate of St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort. (Montfort is a constant Legion byword, having spilled over to grand proportions at the Madrinan Mission House where SMMs thrive). He wrote the eponymous book towards the end of his life and it was printed for the first time only in 1912, almost two centuries after this death. Pope John Paul II mentioned in his Apostolic Letter that Montfort is among those saints who ”has found in the rosary an authentic way of holiness”. Montfort believed that the rosary was a wonderfully secret way of knowing Mary and finding Jesus through her. He enrolled in the third Dominican Order and preached about the praying of the rosary in his missions, thereby earning the attribute “priest with big rosary” for he carried a large rosary which he allowed people who came to his mission to touch and pray with him. Praying the rosary was never an obligation for him but, rather, a personal experience. He assures that praying the rosary is the most perfect, shortest, surest and easiest way to Jesus and one progresses more in a short time through dependence and submission to Mary than long years of doing one’s will and counting on oneself.
The “little roses” intro to the book indicated Montfort’s desire for it to be read by all classes of people: priests, the simple faithful, mystical souls and children. He gives the book to priests as a white rose for the priest to really understand the secret so he will say the rosary daily and encourage others to do the same.
He gives a rose to the poor who are sinners like himself. It is red because the precious blood of Christ has fallen upon it. If the rose pricks, it is only for a short time and only in order to cure the illness of sin and save the soul. If we say the rosary faithfully until death, Christ assures that, in spite of the gravity of our sins, we shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. This part struck me dumb. As distracted as I often get when I grasp the beads, how far away am I from that crown indeed!
Montfort has a mystical rose for good and devout souls which comes straight from heaven and is to be planted in the garden of their soul by resolving to pray the rosary every day. For children, he gives a beautiful rosebud. One of the beads, it will open out into a gorgeous rose if children say the “Hail Mary” really well.
Montfort wants us to remember a story told him by a priest in Paraguay. Two little sisters were saying the rosary devoutly in front of their house. Suddenly, a beautiful lady appeared and walked towards the younger girl, who was about six or seven, took her by the hand and led her away. Her elder sister was very startled and looked for the little girl everywhere to no avail. She went home weeping and told her parents her sister had been kidnapped. For three days, the poor parents sought the missing child without success. At the end of the third day, they found her at the front door, looking extremely happy. They asked her where on earth she had been and she simply told them that the lady to whom she had been praying the rosary had taken her to a lovely place and gave her delicious things to eat. The lady also allowed her to hold a baby boy, who was very beautiful, so that she kissed him again and again. The parents, recently converted to the Catholic faith, sent at once for a Jesuit Father who had encouraged their conversion and taught them devotion to the rosary. It was this priest who told Montfort this story. Which is why he tells children to imitate these girls and pray the rosary daily. It they do, he says, they will earn the right to go to heaven to see Jesus and Mary. “Ïf it is not their wish that the children see them in this life, at any rate, after they die, they will see them for all eternity.” Montfort promised.