by Ken Rolheiser
Mary, miracles and praying for peace

Traditional English and German Christmas carols reflect on Mary:
For in this rose contained was / Heaven and earth in little space.

When St John Paul II visited his homeland, Poland, he prayed: “Lord send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.” And he struck the earth with his staff and insisted, “This earth! This earth!”

No one prayed the Rosary more fervently than Pope John Paul II. In age and poor health he knelt daily. Poland was freed from Communism and religious freedom flourished there.

Saint Pius IX said: "Give me an army reciting the Rosary and I will conquer the world."

In the miracle of Lepanto, the Ottoman forces were rolling across the Mediterranean bent on destroying Rome.

Pope Pius V, later canonized, forged an alliance between Spain and Venice who were enemies, and with a Hail Mary prayer, literally, they attacked the Turks. The leading ships were flying the flag of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Mass was celebrated and the rosary was recited daily on the ships heading into battle.

October 7, 1571, Pope Pius V was praying the Rosary, along with all the convents and monasteries, while the ships of the coalition of Christian countries routed the Turkish fleet in Greek waters and ended the Ottoman Empire’s attempt to destroy Christianity.

In the apparitions of Mary at Fatima, 1917, Mary repeated, “Pray the Rosary”, “Pray for peace”. What is the power of the Rosary? Let me illustrate.

When the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima there was total destruction for 1.5 kilometers around. A small house, only 8 buildings from the point of the explosion, remained intact.

It was the presbytery where 8 Jesuit fathers were living. None of them was affected by the bomb, and they emerged alive and in perfect health. The home was a simple everyday Japanese construction.

200 scientists examined these men who survived while thousands of living beings perished around them. The only difference was that the Rosary was recited every day in that house.

At the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia Father Hubert Schiffer gave public testimony about this miraculous event. At the time the seven other survivors were still living. (Internet source)

In 2004, Franciscan priest Father Abuna Nirwan faced an Islamic Terrorist’s knife. A young boy had already been executed and Father Abuna was next. A camera was recording the event for Al Jazeera.

Abuna, given a moment to pray, had in his possession a relic of a Dominican Sister who was later canonized. Abuna prayed to Sister Maria Alphonsine Danil Ghettas, “It can’t be by chance that I’m carrying you with me. If it is necessary that I die, take me…I am ready, but if not, I ask that no one else die.”

The terrorist grabbed Abuna’s head, gripped his shoulder, and lifted the blade, then froze. Moments passed. Suddenly he asked, “Who are you?” I answered, “A friar.”

“And why can’t I bring the knife down? Who are you?” Then he said, “Father, you and the others—go back to the car.” We went back to where the car was. (A Moment With Mary, Mary of Nazareth Association)

December 2014, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Nigeria had a vision of Jesus who handed him a sword. When he took it, the sword turned into a rosary. “Boko Haram will go. Boko Haram will go. Boko Haram will go,” Christ said.

What can I add to these seven illustrations? It is time to pray the Rosary. Pray for Peace.

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