“The Rosary is the weapon for these times.”- St. Padre Pio
“If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Holy Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you might be with many cares and labors.” - Pope Pius XI
These are just a couple of the thousands of quotes by saints, popes, theologians, etc. about the necessity to pray the Holy Rosary. October 7th is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Additionally, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In today’s world and with our current events, I can’t stress the importance of praying the Rosary hard enough. The world needs our prayers. October 7th is the day the Catholic Church has dedicated to thanking Our Blessed Mother for her multiple prayers on our behalf.
I have many protestant friends who believe that we worship Mary. This is incorrect. Catholics do not worship Mary. We pray for her intercession; we do not pray to her. It is the same concept as asking a friend to pray for you. Mary is Christ’s mother and she is our mother because Christ lives within us. The Holy Rosary is scripturally based as we meditate on Christ’s life while praying, it is essentially a Bible study surrounded in deep prayer.
I am always thankful to Christ for His many blessings and I am particularly thankful for our Blessed Mother’s intercession, especially when my son, Andrew was born. Andrew was born with Trisomy 21 and Hirschsprung’s Disease. He was transferred from one NICU to a higher level of NICU. My other two children were 5 and 7 at the time. As students of our local catholic school, they are always learning about Mary. One day, my daughter, who was in kindergarten, brought home a beautiful picture of Mary that she had delicately colored with bright blue crayons for the dress and yellow for Mary’s crown. I immediately praised my daughter for her lovely work and asked if I could hang it in her baby brother’s hospital room. The next day, the hospital chaplain (a Catholic priest) noticed my daughter’s colored picture hanging by Andrew’s NICU crib and assured us that our Blessed Mother would always be with us. This colored picture also helped many doctors and nurses feel comfortable saying that they were praying for us. I am eternally grateful for Mary’s love, prayer and protection over my family.
Among the hustle and bustle of life, many people find it a challenge to find the time to pray the Holy Rosary. I offer the following tips:
1. Start with just a decade at a time. A decade is 10 prayer beads.
2. Focus on the mysteries to motivate you. These are the Joyful Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. You can learn more about these mysteries, and the Rosary in general, by visiting www.rosarycenter.org
3. Pray for an intention before each Hail Mary; this adds up to 50 prayer intentions!
4. Build it into your routine. Even small children can use Holy Rosaries. There are child-safe and teething Rosaries on the market. Don’t be afraid to see your children put the Rosary in their mouth, drop it on the ground, or play with it. It is important for them to become familiar with it. Remember, it is never too late to begin praying the Rosary!
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!
It is all to common to hear women share that they have had the same experience- they were pressured into abortion just because their baby was prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. Over and over again, I have heard these women share their stories and my own story is the same. I have never figured out why doctors decide to push women into abortion just because of a prenatal diagnosis that is different from a typical pregnancy. This, my friends, is eugenics.
This month is not only Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but it is also Respect Life Month and the month of the Holy Rosary! Coincidence? No, God doesn't do coincidences. He is an intentional God. The purpose of "awareness months" is exactly that - to bring awareness to a certain topic. Down Syndrome Awareness Month is important to me because it provides an avenue in which to drive home the message that Down syndrome is a beautiful gift from God and that people who live with Down syndrome live very typical lives.
When I look at my 2 year old, I don't see Down syndrome; I see my son. His father, big brother and big sister see the same. Andrew isn't going through the "terrible two's." Instead, he's a ball of joyful energy who is learning how to speak and rough house with his brother and sister! Down Syndrome Awareness Month was created to let the world know of the abilities of those living with the extra chromosome. They can do anything that anyone else can do. At Andrew's baptism a couple of years ago, a friend gave me an ornament that said, "I wouldn't change you for the world, but I will change the world for you." This very eloquently explains why Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Respect Life Month, and the Month of the Holy Rosary are so important to me.
I will change the world for Andrew- and all of my children. Through the help of our Blessed Mother, I want my children's worlds to be one filled with love, confidence, and inclusion. Every day I pray that my children are healthy, happy, holy, wholesome, safe and honorable. This prayer isn't just for my children, however. It is for every pre-born child. It is for every mother who is either contemplating abortion or pushed into abortion. This prayer is for an end to abortion.
Every child has the right to life; and those living with Down syndrome are no exception. There is a quote I have seen from an unknown author that says, "the journey may be long, but I love my tour guide." Raising a child with Down syndrome requires a lot of patience. It takes longer than their peers for these kiddos to meet their developmental milestones, but they will meet them. I have to force myself not to compare the development of my son to his peers. Instead, I focus on Andrew and his development, even though it takes him longer to learn how to eat, walk, talk, etc. That being said, he has come a long way and I am very proud of his hard work!
Down syndrome offers beauty that fills the world with light and love. Due to common features, most people recognize a person with Down syndrome right away. In my experience, I have seen those with Down syndrome bring out the best in the people that they encounter through a simple smile or greeting. I call this a superpower- the ability to change another person's disposition!
During the month of October, may we truly have an awareness of Down syndrome, life, and the power of the Holy Rosary. May we never cease fighting for the right to life. May we be advocates for the inclusion of those living with Down syndrome or another different-ability. Relying on the power of prayers and staying active in these causes, may we truly change the world and make it a more meaningful place for our children. In turn, may our children be the ones who make the world better than we leave it.
Mary, our hope seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."