Rosary Crusade Clarion
Devotional bulletin of the Rosary Crusade in Canada

October 2001 Issue #10

Devotion to the Rosary was restored by Christ's own command.

[After the practice of saying the rosary had fallen into disuse for many years, Blessed Alan de la Roche was commanded by Christ himself to revive it.] One day when he was saying Mass, our Lord, who wished to spur him on to preach the Holy Rosary, spoke to him in the Sacred Host: "How can you crucify Me again so soon?" "What did you say, Lord?" asked Blessed Alan, horrified. "You crucified Me once before by your sins," answered Jesus, "and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have My Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying Me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach My Mother's Rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this, you could teach many souls the right path and lead them away from sin - but you are not doing it and so you yourself are guilty of the sins they commit. "     

 -St. Louis de Montfort: The Secret of the Rosary.




October is the month of the Most Holy Rosary, a month in which we ought to be especially faithful to the fervent recitation of this heaven-given prayer. The rosary is a weapon, not as a physical object, but spiritual power capable of exercising a constraining force on Almighty God. St. John Climacus asserts that prayer is so powerful before God that it, as it were, constrains him to give us all the graces we ask. We do, indeed, ask for great things, and we firmly trust that God will not refuse to grant us an answer to the four-fold intention of this Rosary Crusade. Yet, these requests are most necessary for ourselves, and the whole Church, therefore our Lord will not refuse to grant them. It remains for us to ask, with sufficient fervor and perseverance.

Every month, this bulletin is meant to be an encouragement to be faithful to the prayer of the rosary. "Pray at all times in the Spirit; and therein be vigilant in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints," wrote St. Paul. This month, more than others, is a time to try to pray well. It will avail us little to pick up a rosary and run the beads through our fingers, and even mumble the words of the Our Father and Hail Mary, if we do not raise our minds and hearts to God. For this reason "mysteries" of our faith are joined to each decade. Let us fill our souls with faith, hope, and love, as we consider deeply the Annunciation, which is the apparition of the angel to our Lady, asking her to become the Mother of God, also the Crucifixion, which is Christ's death for the life of the world, and the Resurrection, which is our Saviour's victory over death.

United to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,
Emanuel Herkel
Fr. Herkel


Mary our Advocate

It is a truth of faith that, by His nature and office, Jesus Christ is our only Mediator with the eternal Father. "For there is one God," says the Apostle, "and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: who gave Himself a redemption for all” (I Tim. 2: 5,6).

Yes, by His nature and office, Jesus Christ is the one and only primary advocate of God and men, but this does not prevent us from having secondary advocates, advocates by intercession, such as the saints, and especially the Queen of all the saints. St. Thomas of Villanova says that, as Jesus is our Advocate with the divine Father, it is quite proper that Mary should be our advocate with the divine Son. Since we lack the necessary purity and holiness we are not fit to present ourselves directly to Jesus. For He is God, in all things equal to the Father, and equally worthy of reverence. Because He has condescended, in His infinite goodness and mercy, to become our intercessor, advocate, and mediator with His eternal Father, is no reason why we should have less reverence for His infinite majesty and holiness. We must agree, then, with St. Bernard, that we need an advocate with our Advocate, Jesus; and that the advocate who discharges this office in our behalf is Mary. There is no limit to her compassion for our miseries. And as she has constant access to the throne of her divine Son, she interposes her powerful intercession in our behalf. These are the reflections that we shall make today in honour of Mary and for the encouragement of her devoted clients. We shall consider that Mary is our merciful Advocate; that she is our powerful Advocate; that she is our efficacious Advocate.

Mary is our merciful advocate. Mary's compassion for us began as soon as she learned the history of the unhappy father from whom we have all descended. From that moment she tried, by her prayers and her desires, to hasten the coming of Him who was to free us from the slavery of Satan and the reign of death to give us the life and liberty of the children of God. With her eyes fixed on heaven night and day, she hoped and longed for the speedy fulfilment of the mystery of the redemption. When she subsequently became the Mother of God, and also our Mother, it would be difficult to understand the superabundant compassion that filled Mary's heart. She was not so much interested in the honours which she was to receive from her devote clients of every age and place, as she was in the sighs and groans and entreaties of those in distress of soul and body. With her eyes of mercy she continually tried to discover our miseries. How many sighs of anguish escape the hearts of the afflicted without the knowledge of anyone on earth! How many wounds remain hidden, either because the sufferer does not wish to reveal them, or because there is no one interested in them! How many burdens weigh heavily upon the poor children of Adam without being seen or observed! But if the world does not see or observe them, we must not forget that Mary sees them and tabes note of them. No, there is not sigh or a pain or a tear that remains unknown to Mary. She sees and knows our miseries, even better than we do ourselves when we say to her: "Turn, then, most gracious Advocate thine eyes of mercy toward us."

Mary is our powerful Advocate. We read in Holy Scripture how Moses, by the power of his prayers, stayed God's wrath against the stiff-necked people of Israel. The Lord, unable to resist his entreaties, said to him; "Let Me alone, that My wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them. ...But Moses besought the Lord his God. ...And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which He had spoken against His people" (Exod. 32; 10,11,14).

If Moses was able to stay God's wrath and appease His anger, what of the power of Mary's intercession? Her prayers are more powerful before the throne of God than those of all men on earth and of all the saints and angels of heaven. So great is Mary's power that her requests are always heard and granted. As soon as she appears before her divine Son, she obtains whatever she asks of Him. Could it possibly be otherwise? In order that one's intercession be efficacious, it is necessary that the one who intercedes be dear to the one with whom he intercedes. Since the question is one of obtaining not justice but grace and mercy, the dearer the intercessor is, the more powerful his intercession. Now in the eyes of God there is no creature so beautiful, so holy, and so lovable as Mary. And the power of her intercession is in proportion to her dearness to God. Happy are we, therefore, to have been given such an Advocate. "O happy day," says St. Thomas of Villanova, "on which such and so great an Advocate has been given to the world! So great an Advocate because she is most pure, because she is most acceptable, because she is most merciful!"

Intercession is rendered still more powerful when it is exercised by one who, besides being most dear, has the right to plead our cause. To such intercession, a refusal may be said to be impossible. Such is the mediation of Mary, for as our Co-Redeemer she has the right to intercede for us. Since she has had such a large part in the redemption, nothing that she asks can be denied her. She furnished the flesh and blood that formed Christ's sacred body; she nourished Him from her own substance; her nights and days were filled with solicitude for His safety and welfare; for His sake she endured trials and crosses, sorrows and sadness; and finally she suffered the most bitter agony at the foot of the cross. How, then, could Jesus refuse to grant the petitions of an Advocate who has so man claims on His love and gratitude? Hence we must conclude that Mary is our most powerful Advocate.

To say that Mary is our most efficacious Advocate, means that she obtains for us grace, and mercy, and all blessings from God. After destroying the world by the flood because of the sins of men, God caused the rainbow to appear in the heavens and said to Noah: "I will establish My covenant with you, and all flesh shall be no more destroyed with the water of a flood, neither shall there be henceforth a flood to waste the earth. This is the sign of the covenant that I give between Me and you, and to every living soul that is with you for perpetual generations. I will set My bow in the cloud and it shall be the sign of a covenant between Me and the earth" (Gen. 9: 11-13). Now, St. Antoninus says: "That rainbow is a beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She stands near the throne of God and when, because of men's sins, He is about to submerge the world in a deluge of scourges, like a rainbow of peace she appears in His presence and appeases His wrath." St. Bonaventure represents Mary in the pillar of cloud that God sent to the Israelites during their journey in the desert (Exod. 13: 21,22). As that cloud guided them, and protected them, and covered them from the burning rays of the sun, so does Mary guide us, and cover with her maternal mantle, and defend us against the rigours of God's justice.

The world will never know how often it has been saved from destruction by Mary's interces­sion. There is scarcely a country on earth, whose villages, towns, and cities do not recognize and testify by public monuments to the fact that they have been saved by Mary's intercession from some terrible scourge, plague, famine, earthquake, conflagration, flood, or some the many other disasters with which God punishes men's sins. Neither is there a Christian who in one way or another has not been the recipient of God's mercy through Mary's goodness. The world is growing older, but can we say that it advancing in virtue? Yet God's punishments are not so severe or so frequent as they were before Christ came on earth. What is the reason? Does it mean that the immutable God has changed? No, it means that now we have Mary for our Advocate, who interposes between God and us, and stays the hand of divine vengeance. Who indeed knows how many times she has been the means of saving each one of us from God's punishments? Who knows how often she has turned away the hand that was about to strike our home, our dear ones, ourselves, because of our sins? Who knows how often, without our knowing it, without our praying to her, without our loving her, she has thought of us, and pitied us, and prayed for us to her divine Son, and saved us from His just indignation? Yes, each of us can say to Mary with St. Augustine: "I have offended thee and thou hast defended me."

This great goodness of Mary should inspire us with the consoling hope of obtaining the salvation of our immortal souls. True, we have offended God in the past, and have many times deserved hell. But now we are resolved never to offend Him again, and with this resolution in our hearts we place ourselves in the hands of Mary. And Mary will clothe us in the merits of her divine Son, and thus vested she will present us to Him, that we may one day hear from His blessed lips the consoling words: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25: 34).


Let us conclude with one of St Alphonsus Liguori's beautiful prayers:

"O great Mother of God, I will say to thee with St. Bernard: 'Speak, O Lady, for thy Son hears thee; whatsoever thou wilt ask, thou shalt obtain.' Thy Son certainly hears thee, and will grant whatsoever thou shalt ask. Speak, then, O Advocate of men, in behalf of us, miserable sinners. Remember that it was for our benefit also that thou didst receive such great power, and such exalted dignity. A God has condescended to make Himself thy debtor, by taking from thee human existence, that thou might be able to dispense at pleasure, to miserable sinners, the riches of the divine mercy. We are thy servants, devoted in a special manner to thy service, and among them I also hope to be. We glory in living under thy protection. If thou dost confer benefits on all, even on those who neither know nor honour thee, and even on those who insult thee and blaspheme against thee, how much greater favours should we, who honour thee, love thee, and trust in thee, expect from thy benignity, which seeks after the miserable in order to relieve them!

"We are great sinners, but God has enriched thee with clemency and power greater than all our iniquities. Thou art able and willing to obtain salvation for us: and the more unworthy we are of it, the more we desire to hope for it, that we may glorify thee the more in heaven, when, through thy intercession, we may reach that land of bliss. O Mother of Mercy, we present to thee our souls, once washed and made beautiful in the blood of Jesus Christ, but afterwards defiled by sin! To thee we present them: attend to their sanctification. Obtain for us a true change of life; obtain for us the love of God, perseverance, and paradise. We ask great things of thee; but thou art able to obtain all of them for us. They do not exceed the love thou hast for God. It is enough to open thy mouth, and pray to thy Son: He refuses thee nothing. Pray, then, O Mary, pray for us: pray and thou shalt certainly be heard, and we shall be securely saved" (The Glories of Mary).

-from Discourses on our Lady, by Fr. O'Rafferty.