The 13th May... 100 years ago on this day Our Lady appeared to three little shepherds in Fatima; 36 years ago, in 1981, John Paul II was shot on the same day that I turned 1.
It is a day which is full of meaning for me, a day that speaks so strongly about life, its beauty and its fragility, death and eternal life.
“Behold, your Mother!” (Jn 19:27) Jesus said to John at the foot of the Cross. The gift of such a graceful mother was not exclusive to the disciple but in pronouncing these words to John, Jesus gave us his own and entrusted us to her.
When a baby is born his mother is the whole world, so much so that he hardly realises she is a different person. As the Christian child grows older and discover their unicity, the bond with the earthly mother is gently untied and a greater bond with the Heavenly Mother acquired.
Praying the Rosary should be at the heart of every household. It is a simple prayer that strengthen that motherly bond and ties us to heaven.
In this period running up to the 13th May when we celebrate the Centenary of the Fatima apparitions Netflix is proposing a series which gives 13 reasons why the main character chooses to commit suicide. I on the other hand, will give 13 reasons why we should pray the Rosary, reasons that will definitely bring light to our day and will give us and our family fullness of life.
Here are 13 Reasons why we should pray the rosary
- Because our Blessed Mother told us to!
How many times have you wished your children would do something just because you say so. To trust that we have the best for them at heart. That we don't ask them to do things arbitrarily but because we want the best for them and we want them to cooperate with us in doing what needs to be done for the whole family. Mary told the children at Fatima to pray the Rosary every day. What would be the best answer from us: why should I? Or OK, I will do my best! I know what I'd want to hear from my children.
2. Because it brings us to Christ
3. Because it brings the family together
Sometimes it seems that everything around us militates against the members of the family really coming together. School, work, technology, TV, mobiles, social media, computers. The family rosary can become a moment when all of that is put to one side, all the surrogate communication is left behind and the real business of communicating with God together takes place. It's not always easy but nothing that is worthwhile ever is!
4. Because It's a defence for the family
It may be repeated endlessly but it doesn't make it any less true: 'The family that prays together stays together.' The question is why? It's all about prioritisation. Jesus was a great management guru as well as all the rest, 'seek first the kingdom of God and all the rest will be given you as well'. Do you want your family to stay together? Then seek Jesus first without embarrassment, we strong-arm our children to do the things we consider important, homework, washing, chores but are we willing to place prayer at the top of that list?
5. Because in the Rosary we pass on the Faith to our children
Both of us are involved in teaching yet it's rare that we ever feel it necessary to add any explanation to the rosary. It's an eminently practical lesson. A Father leading the Rosary says more than a hundred discussions on what is prayer. A Mother kneeling with her beads shows where she gets the strength to carry on. An older brother praying out loud for help at school shows to whom we turn in our hour of need.
6. Because children learn meditative prayer from an early age
Think of your average children's cartoon. The colours are bright, the action is manic, the music is loud everything is screaming for your passive attention. What could be more different than the soothing, quiet rhythms of the rosary that call you out of your passivity to think of Jesus, of Mary, of the people for whom you are praying.
7. Because it forces us to come out of our selfishness
Bedtime prayers with children can quickly become a repetitive event. Children rattle off a list of friends and relations which barely changes from day to day. In our house each person can propose an intention at the beginning of each decade. We make sure that we think carefully to whom we wish to apply these powerful prayers. We make a small sacrifice of time and effort for the good of someone else.
8. Pray for Pope's intentions
9.You get to know your Heavenly Mother “Behold, your Mother!” (Jn 19:27)
10. Because you can learn to rest in prayer
A household with many children is an endlessly busy place. Every moment can be filled with something that needs doing. Sitting in one place for twenty minutes seems like a luxury we can't afford. Yet it's an important lesson. Pause for prayer and rest in the Lord.
11. Because it's effortless
Spontaneous prayers are all very well and the endlessly imaginative prayer sessions one gets in school and parish sessions might be good in small doses but sometimes we just need to sit at the feet of Mary with a prayer which has been handed on to us perfectly formed by the great Dominicans of the past, developed by Pope St John Paul II ready for us to simply offer to God. No effort, no imagination, no invention!
12. Because it's a physical prayer
We are physical as well as spiritual beings. Our body needs to be engaged in prayer too, not just our mind. The rosary is an eminently physical prayer, we can kneel, finger the beads, recite it antiphonally, look at an image.
13. Because we need help at the hour of our death
In a society where death is hidden and never mentioned in the rosary we speak of it over and over again. It is in the end our greatest fear and a prayer which does not shy away from helping us with what we fear most is surely worthy of regular recitation from now until the hour of our death!