A Christian parent’s greatest concern, after God himself, is the spiritual well-being of his children. The spiritual state of our family and our children can be the cause of the most intense suffering of heart, the most severe anxiety, the greatest loss of sleep and peace for a mother or a father. It can also be, through God’s infinite mercy and grace, our greatest parental victory. It can be a victory with nothing less than eternal ramifications, with heavenly crowns for our children and for ourselves.
As Christian parents, therefore, it is appropriate to examine within the extraordinary context of eternal victory for our families or, tragically eternal loss, the strong paternal invitation of John Paul II to every Christian family to daily make time to pray the Family Rosary. Second only to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receiving the daily Bread of Angels, the praying of the Family Rosary is the greatest spiritual means of daily sanctification and protection for our families that Heaven places at our ready disposal.
In Rosarium Virginis Mariae, John Paul speaks of the two great crises threatening modern society: the crisis which threatens world peace and the crisis which threatens the modern family (cf. RVM, n. 6). The Holy Father speaks of the family as the primary cell of society which is “increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole.”
It would be naïve for any Christian family to consider themselves immune from the present attacks on family life that contemporary society is unleashing upon the domestic Church. Our families are all presently at risk from ubiquitous social dangers and influences, which include pornography, impurity, and immodesty in dress; drugs, alcoholism, and eating disorders; contraception, abortion, and cloning efforts; homosexual unions, gay adoptions, and child abuse; materialism, secularism, and expensive toys in the place of parental time; radical feminism, careerism, and the rejection of the traditional roles of the father as the head of the family and the mother as heart of the family. These attacks against our families constitute dangers both societal and Satanic at root.
Yes, the Adversary seeks to war directly on our Christian families, for he understands (ironically, sometimes more than we do) the power of the Christian family as the foundational cell of the Church and of the State, the fertile garden for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the domestic expression of the Mystical Body of Jesus that can so effectively sanctify its members unto life everlasting.
To point out Satan’s accentuated attack upon today’s Christian family is not a fear tactic, but a reality check. It should help us all prioritize afresh, and conclude with a new strength of parental resolve for the imperative of protecting our families through the Rosary, which many saints and mystics have called the ultimate spiritual weapon against the Devil.
It should also not surprise us that the prince of this world will try every possible means to distract and discourage the family from making its daily Rosary commitment, ranging from temptations leading to family squabbles just before the family prepares to pray, to whispered words into parents’ ears that “you simply haven’t time today in light of so busy a schedule.” For the Serpent knows well the awesome spiritual force of the Rosary, which is a celestially inspired garland of vocal prayer and meditation that so effectively protects our homes against his lies and attacks and, at the same time, is so dynamically efficacious for family healing, family reconciliation,and family sanctification — as well as for the Church’s sanctification as a whole.
Our Totus Tuus Pope tells us: “The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this (family) crisis so typical of our age” (RVM, n. 6).
In his extended teaching from Rosarium, the Vicar of Christ on earth does all within his persuasive means to get us to pray daily together as a family. He further responds to the objection that the Rosary is irrelevant for today’s youth with the positive and tender fatherly encouragement, “Why not try it?”: