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Padre Pio said, “The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.”
St. John Paul II seconded his opinion in 2002 when he wrote a Letter on the Rosary. He said the rosary was exactly suited to fight “the crisis of our age.”
What crisis did he mean? He meant the crisis of the family, which he said is “increasingly menaced by forces” that threaten to destroy it. And we know what those forces are.
The sexual revolution is the crisis of our time.
You can see the sexual revolution’s bad effects at every stage of life. The unborn are at risk because the sexual revolution promised sex without consequences; young children are at risk because it made pornography prevalent; it pushes teens to promiscuity despite an STD epidemic; young women (and men) face sexual harassment because of it; and among adults the destruction of marriage is the leading cause of poverty.
You can also see its bad effects in every area of society: Politics have been poisoned in defense of abortion; #MeToo revelations have tainted every profession; and, tragically, sexual abuse of minors is rampant in public schools and even infects the Church.
What can the Rosary do? For starters, it can defeat pornography.
An intriguing article spelled out one man’s struggle with pornography and the remedy he found in the Rosary.
He was addicted to pornography since the age of 11 and it continued after marriage. “I would itch for my wife to leave the apartment so I could secretly jump online,” he said. “Several times over the years I tried to quit. Each time, not only did I fail, but the addiction got worse to the point where I gave up resisting.”
What finally cured him? The Rosary. He began saying it every day, and at long last relieved his memory from dwelling over images he had burned in his brain from years.
I think I know why. The Rosary is the very opposite of pornography. The images in pornography are an elaborate lie: Using scenes that have nothing to do with themselves, users build a fantasy that puts themselves and their pleasure at the center. The Rosary, on the other hand, uses our imagination to put us in touch with a Divine reality that reveals the truth about ourselves, with Christ at the center.
“We should not be surprised that our relationship with Christ makes use of a method” like the Rosary, wrote John Paul II. Its “images, words and gestures engage the whole person in all his complex psychological, physical and relational reality.”
Or, more simply, as Bishop Hugh Doyle put it, “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: Either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary.”
Second, the sexual revolution diminishes what we think of others and ourselves. The Rosary elevates us.
Our world sexualizes everything, in a way that is the very opposite of the freeing reality we know in Christ.
You see it in commercials on television, in the plotlines of shows and in fashions, in social interactions — and of course online. What does it say about our society that if you do an online image search for “girls” — or your own daughter’s first name — you get pictures of scantily clad female figures?
We soak in a hyper-sexualized media environment that insinuates itself into every aspect of our lives, changing the way we see ourselves and others. It’s the opposite of the Beatitudes: Happy are the bold, and the brash; happy are those who hunger and thirst for sex and never have to mourn.
The Rosary can help reset our priorities. By continually reviewing the scenes from Christ’s life in Mary’s presence, it gives us the building blocks of a Christian life.
The Rosary teaches us to “relish what is right” and find meaning in Scripture (Wisdom and Understanding); it teaches us to know God’s will and trust God’s strength (Counsel and Fortitude); it gives us a God’s-eye view of the world (Knowledge); and helps us enjoy prayer and reverence (Piety and Fear of the Lord).
Third, in the Rosary, we ask for God’s help over and over again. And he answers.
Our Lady of Fatima spoke of how outraged God was by the fashions of 1917 Portugal. Think of how shocked the people of that day would be to see us, 100 years later.
Her remedy then is the same today: the Rosary.
St. John Paul said the Church always entrusts “the most difficult problems” to the Rosary, and is never disappointed. We need that now more than ever.
This appeared at Aleteia.