by Ken Rolheiser
The rosary and the almost apparitions of Mary

Over the centuries, the mother of Jesus has been appearing in over 40 recognized sites and numerous other places all over the world. If you put a light on every apparition site on the globe it literally lights up the world. It amazes me that the conversion of sinners like us has not been more complete.

We recognize that saints receive a special calling in many of these apparitions and comfort ourselves with this knowledge. The truth is we are all called in a special way to participate in the work of salvation.

I remember as a child playing in the farm pasture, hiding in the gullies among the hills covered with club moss and sage, and wanting to be close to Mary. The nearest I came was to almost have an apparition. That perhaps represents many of us who do not experience supernatural manifestations and miracles.

The real challenge you and I face is not unlike the spiritual struggle Saints like Mother Theresa of Calcutta faced many years of her. Earlier she had enjoyed hearing the voice of God and feeling a daily closeness to Jesus who would call her “my own spouse” and “my little one”. She would respond by calling him “my own Jesus”.

As she worked in the slums of Calcutta, Mother Teresa experienced darkness and pain, as if Jesus was rejecting her. But she persevered through the spiritual dryness she felt. She was the cool cup of water for a world thirsty for love. She embraced the pain of Christ’s agony for souls, for us.

Let me share examples of the wonderful work of Mary a little closer to home. One intervention happened to a neighbor and family friend who was enduring lung cancer. He travelled to Cap de Madeleine in Quebec and prayed to Mary. 

“Either cure me or take me,” he prayed. He returned home to his farm. In mere days his health declined, he went to the hospital, received the sacraments of reconciliation, communion, and anointing of the sick and went to heaven. To me it was a miracle of grace.

We see another example of the wonderful work of Mary in the life of a convert to Catholicism Albert Little. Little says, “For all good Protestants, myself included, Mary is the ultimate stumbling block on a journey into full Catholic communion.

“For me, Mary was okay, but Marian devotions and rituals like the Rosary were wholly foreign and frightening,” Little writes. But Albert determined to learn more about the Rosary. This is what happened.

“I knew enough to know that the ‘Hail Mary’ was a biblically-based prayer that asked for Mary to pray for us and acknowledged her incredible position as the bearer of the Christ child,” Little writes.

The Rosary is a “Christ-centred practice in so much as Mary, the Mother of God, always points directly to Jesus… its meditations… like an incredible living Bible study. …there’s deep Bible study in the Rosary,” Little writes.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the lips and the lands where the words ‘Ave Maria’ are spoken….The doors of Divine mercy open not only at the push of my mother’s hand, but at her mere glance.” (from a daily on-line meditation - A moment with Mary November 6, 2018).

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