is Not Optional
by Father Patrick Perez
This is an edited transcript of Father Perez's speech on the Holy Rosary at the Fatima Center's Last Chance for World Peace Conference in Tuy, Spain in October 2006.
In true apparitions, Our Lady, or whoever is sent from Heaven, does not waste words and does not use them idly.
At Fatima, in the most relevant and urgent apparition of our times, Our Lady introduced Herself to the three shepherd children and She said “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” It was not for nothing that She chose these words. Why choose this title now? Of Our Lady’s one hundred and seventeen titles that She has had through the history of the Church, why introduce Herself now, in our modern age, as the Lady of the Rosary?
Simply put, each one of us, our families, our cities, states, our countries, our Church and in fact our whole world needs the Rosary now more than at any point in history. The Rosary is not just a devotion that we may take or leave. We have this from the words of the Mother of God Herself. To quote Sister Lucy (who wrote) “people must recite the Rosary every day.”
Our Lady repeated this in all the apparitions. In all the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 She said many things. But, above all, She said “every person must recite the Rosary every day.”
Now there are those who would disagree, but I happen to believe that when the Mother of God appears to you and tells you to do something, you really should do it; whether that be to pray the Rosary or consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
We Must Pray the Rosary
When the Mother of God gives us a command that comes from the Throne of God in Heaven, we are not at liberty to reject it. It becomes essential at that point. And Our Lady clearly indicated that we must pray the Rosary every day. This is a command. This is not peripheral. This is not something we can take or leave.
We do not have just a casual need either. It’s not that, well we can make it, but if we say the Rosary we’ll get a little more grace and this will help with something. No. We don’t just have a casual need of Our Lady’s Rosary, but an urgent, desperate need. She appeared to tell us just that. And to give us, Her children, hope in these last times.
This title reminds us as well that the Fifteen Promises She made for those who pray the Rosary are still in effect. And for those of you who don’t know, I can tell you what they are. (One of Father Gruner’s pamphlets reprints the Fifteen Promises that Our Lady made for those who will pray the Rosary.) And when you read these you realize you are in need of every one of these graces and could not do without them.
15 Promises for Praying the Most Holy Rosary
1) Whoever shall faithfully serve Me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
2) I promise My special protection and the greatest graces to all who shall recite the Rosary.
3) The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
(Actually, were that the only promise, we should pray it for that reason. Because what have we in our world today? We are surrounded by, wherever we are in the world, vice, sin and heresy.)
4) It will cause virtue and good works to flourish. It will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God. It will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5) The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6) Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death. If he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.
7) Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8) Those who are faithful in reciting the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces. At the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in Paradise.
9) I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10) The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11) You shall obtain all you ask of Me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12) All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in their necessities.
13) I have obtained from My Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
14) All who recite the Rosary are My sons, and brothers of My only Son, Jesus Christ.
15) Devotion to My Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
My friends, these promises are still in effect. Our Lady does not make promises that have an expiration date on them. These promises are not only still in effect but even more than ever. And how can I say more than ever? Because of something else that Sister Lucy let us know.
Today the Rosary is Even More Powerful
We already know the power of the Rosary, through history — Lepanto and Austria — and the many miracles throughout the history of the Church. And now in our times what has happened? Once again Sister Lucy said, “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times,” — interesting that Sister Lucy refers to the times in which we live as ‘these last times.’ — “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary ...”
A new efficacy, more power. If the Holy Rosary in days past was gun powder it is now a nuclear weapon, is what she is saying — new efficacy. She has given this efficacy:
“to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or, above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
My dear friends, those who are realistic know all too well that saving our souls is not easy. I am from the United States which was founded, if anything, as a Protestant country and so we are surrounded with Protestant principles. We have the false principle that pretty much everybody is going to Heaven. You don’t have to do anything in particular except make a vague act of faith at some point in your life. But those of us who know, are aware that salvation is difficult. The road is narrow.
|Father Patrick Perez|
We are in Greater Need
Even in 1917, the children were given a vision of hell, and souls were falling into hell like snowflakes fall in a snow-storm. And then we think, 1917, things were pretty good back then. Where have we come since 1917? If it was a snowstorm of souls falling into hell at that time what is it now? Several times worse, I guarantee. How can someone say that they wish to save their souls and at the same time refuse to pray the Rosary faithfully? This does not make any sense. I would say somebody who does not say the Rosary and says they want to go to Heaven is contradicting themselves, especially after Our Lady has told us we must pray the Rosary.
There is hope for us and that hope is Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. And the key to Her Heart is Her Holy Rosary. The Message of the Rosary is one of hope. Our Lady did not show the children the vision of hell to discourage them. It was to encourage them in the ways of truth and of virtue. To confirm them on the right path.
We Priests Must Pray the Rosary
I want to conclude with something from the writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort and this is found in his great work The Secret of the Rosary. It should be enormously encouraging to all of us. He says, “If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that in spite of the gravity of your sins you shall receive a never fading crown of glory. For even if you are now on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell ...” And my dear fellow priests and bishops, this applies to us in particular, because for those to whom more has been given more is expected. I realize every day that my foot may be on the brink there, maybe on the edge, because of my great responsibility that has come with my priesthood. So this applies, more to us than anyone.
Remember St. John Chrysostom said, “hell is paved with the skulls of bishops” and there’s a reason for that because the priests and bishops have such a responsibility. St. Louis de Montfort continues, “even if you are now on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil, sooner or later you will be converted. Heaven will amend your life and save your soul if you say the Rosary devoutly every day of your life.”
My dear friends, let us commit ourselves to the recitation of the Rosary. No matter what the day has been like. And there are days when we can’t get in the Fifteen Decades — there are simply days like that. But never let a day go by when we cannot find those few minutes to get the graces from Our Lady and from Our Lord by at least the Five Decades. If nothing else comes out of hearing this, it should be that renewed dedication to the power of the Rosary and to its indispensability as a means of grace in our modern times. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.