"I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners." We commonly think of Lourdes as a place of physical healing, and we cannot doubt that many individuals have been cured of serious illness through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, and recourse to the water for which the spot is famed. However, St. Bernadette's recalling the Blessed Virgin's command to pray for sinners reminds us that Lourdes is also a place of spiritual healing. Each day confessors at Lourdes greet penitents in every imaginable language, offering the consolation that results from conversion.
God's hand is clearly at work in the physical healings that take place at Lourdes, but these healings are signs of a deeper spiritual reality: the spiritual conversion that occurs whenever we have access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. One spiritual writer has said that the illnesses the gospel presents are symptoms of a deeper illness that afflicts the world, as a result of sin. Our First Parents closed their eyes for a moment in the Garden, and we've suffered the effects of blindness ever since. Jesus' healings in the gospel - and the healings granted the faithful at Lourdes - are a reminder that when we unite ourselves to Christ, as we do when we surrender to Mary's call to conversion, we join Him in pushing back the Kingdom of Darkness and ushering in His Kingdom of Light.
We are nearly finished with our reflections on the Capital Sins - for which we may be profoundly grateful. These reminders of our weakness are distressing to consider. We must be grateful, then, for the Good News of Lourdes, which reminds us of the power of God's grace, and the role we play as ministers of that grace when we take Mary's words to heart and pray for the conversion of sinners.
NEITHER GONE NOR FORGOTTEN
This year our beloved Fr. Paul Duffner will celebrate his one hundred second birthday. This is a remarkable event, although Fr. Paul rather modestly dismisses it. The former director of the Dominicans' Rosary apostolate remains faithful to the ministry he loved and nurtured for more than two decades. Each day he makes his way (with assistance) to the Rosary Center, where he continues to organize booklets and perform other small, but necessary tasks.
Fr. Reginald Martin, who followed Fr. Duffner, reports that he recently received the spiritual journal published by the Western Association of the Order of Malta, whose members he serves as a chaplain. "You may imagine," he said, "my delight to find a reflection on St. Joseph, written by none other than our Fr. Duffner." Fr. Duffner wrote
[the] intimacy of Joseph with the Divine Word made flesh was not only one of physical closeness. With the growth of the divine gifts of faith and love with which Divine Providence prepared him for this exalted mission, there was an intimacy of soul, a silent contemplation that filled his heart with adoration and thanksgiving and wonder at the mysterious ways of God.
He, whom Jesus obeyed on earth, still holds a marvelous power of intercession over the Heart of Jesus in heaven. He who watched over the Holy Family in Nazareth, now from heaven watches over Christian families who in faith and trust seek his assistance.
Mary invites our prayers in a special way during February, when we celebrate her memory as Our Lady of Lourdes. Her cherished spouse extends the same invitation a month later, when we celebrate his feast on March 19th.
BOOKS OLD AND NEW
Fr. Dwight Longenecker asks, "Are you disturbed by the state of our world?" Most of us will answer affirmatively, and news broadcasts fuel this dread. We see, hear and read the horrors of terrorism and war, crime, corruption, rage, violence, inequality, poverty, and attacks on human dignity at every level.
We are at war with evil; it's real, and it's personal. But we are not without assistance. Praying the Rosary for Spiritual Warfare is a champion to fight beside us, and this book teaches us to pray the Rosary in an entirely new way, battling with Mary as we pray the 20 mysteries.
Each mystery is aligned with a particular evil, helping us focus on ills from abortion, murder, and genocide, to materialism, disease, pollution, corruption, and abuse of the poor. Through Scripture, reflection, and ten positive goals to pray for in each of the mysteries, Fr. Longenecker provides a vision for how these demonic evils can be trampled down through prayer and action.
With Praying the Rosary for Spiritual Warfare, we answer St. Paul s battle cry: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the cunning schemes of the devil."
Thought you we too old for a coloring book? Think again. Coloring books open a path to beauty, and can lead to an experience of contemplative prayer. Pray the Rosary as you color. Let your mind focus on the mysteries as you create a unique visual prayer.
This fourth edition of a popular text has new material, including a chapter, "John Paul II: The Rosary, My Favorite Prayer." One readily understands why the Pope identified the Rosary as his "favorite prayer." Other Christians have made the same judgement. In fact, the very word "Rosary" provides a clue to its popularity. The word means, "A Garden of Roses," and the experience of praying the Rosary may be compared to a spiritual sojourn in a rose-garden. Over the centuries millions have found delight and wisdom in using it for prayer.
The book provides meditations on the 20 mysteries of the Rosary, and includes a compendium of papal teachings on the Rosary, and of Our Lady's call for the Rosary in her apparitions
This paperback book captures Saint John Paul II's vision of the Rosary as a contemplative prayer, and explains how the Rosary can lead to a springtime of the human spirit. Praying the Rosary following the method developed by John Paul II will help readers deepen their meditation and nourish a deeper spiritual life and quest for personal holiness.
The book shows how the Rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon in the battle against evil, and how praying the Rosary can help bring about a new Pentecost.
CHAMPIONS OF THE ROSARY has been published, at last. Fr. Donald Calloway's book explores the history of the Rosary and its "champions" who have promoted it over the centuries. Fr. Reginald Martin observed, "Champions of the Rosary is remarkably accessible, and the content in these pages will help all of us become champions of the rosary."
AN APPEAL TO OUR POSTAL PALS
Although the Post Office has reduced the postage for letters, the cost for mailing packages continues to increase. The Rosary Center sent more than 17,000 rosaries to our missionary friends in 2016, and more than 15,000 of these rosaries went to overseas addresses.
We depend upon you, our friends and benefactors for everything we do, and distributing rosaries to those longing to hear our Blessed Mother's Good News is an essential part of our ministry. We beg you to join us in this apostolate by making a special gift to our Postal Pal program. You will never know whom your kindness touches, but those who receive our rosaries will never forget you.
2 Novenas of Masses in honor of
The Rosary Center
PO Box 3617
Portland, OR 97208 USA