Let's Switch Gears!
I was self-taught to drive as a teen in the early '80s on a stick shift car. Learning to drive a transmission car without adult supervision had unpleasant consequences for me-it is painful to recall the image of my dad's wrecked Peugeot 504 car, but that is a story for another day. One painful but vital lesson I learned about switching gears while driving a manual shift car is the timeliness of taking your foot off the clutch as you pedal on the accelerator. I burnt a couple of clutch pads because I failed to take my foot off the pedal as soon as I switch gears to a different level. We need to know the time to switch gears for smooth transmission and mobility of our spiritual life as it driving a stick shift car. A productive religious devotion and prayer life depend on making switches among abundant options as we fight spiritual battles. We fight spiritual battles with weapons of prayers.
It is time we switch gears of our spiritual weapon to the Rosary. As we face the challenges of our time, the Covid-19 pandemic, I want to suggest that we turn intentionally to Mary Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Dominic and St. Pio of Pietrelcina taught me many years ago that turning to Our Blessed Mother Mary and the prayer of the Rosary in time of dire straits is a holy thing to do. St. Padre Pio said it is unthinkable to think we can win life battles without the aid of our Lady and the Rosary: "Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother."
Bible supports this claim. "Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us" (Lk. 24:32). As Jesus opened the scriptures to two of his disciples on the way to Emmaus, I opened the scriptures to the marriage feast at Cana (Jn. 2:1-11) and Jesus' last words to his Mother and John at the foot of the Cross (Jn. 19:25-27). They speak to me of God willing to channel his graces to us through the prayers and motherly care of Mary. These are instances where Mary is called upon to intervene on our behalf to Jesus and Jesus, commending us to her maternal care, respectively.
I want to suggest we go to Mary specifically in May. Devotions to Mary in May started in Ancient Rome to commemorate the beginnings of floral blooms. It is part of the reasons our children crown Mary with flowers during the May crowning of Mary. As we switch to the time of spring, we turn to an intensification of our Marian devotions. I encourage you to meditate daily on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary; we honor Mary this way, and she will intercede on our behalf in these challenging times.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, my patron saint, said, "God wills that all his gifts should come to us through Mary." I believe so. Through Mary, God gave us his son and our savior Jesus Christ. Through the intercession of Mary, God wants to help us win our spiritual battles as we switch our prayer gears to Marian devotions in May. Please pray at least a chaplet of the Rosary daily throughout May. Pray for us, Holy Mary, Mother of God.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP