The world is caught up in fear following the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has already cost the ow of over a million people while infecting over 31 million people globally. COVID-19 has affected every facet of lives including the spiritual lives of Christians and for that matter Catholics, leaving many to wonder if the end is near.
The current situation has presented challenges to the New Evangelisation. It has moreover presented opportunities for Christians to draw closer to the Lord. One such opportunity is renewed devotion to God with the Holy Rosary in which we ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
How can the Holy Rosary play a role in the lives of Christians in these difficult times and how can it contribute to ensuring the word of God is preached with ever more favor?
The Challenge of Covid-19 to Believers
The current situation of the pandemic has seen a drastic decline in media reportage, as less prominence is given to COVID-19 in the news. Experts say the pandemic is far from over, therefore presenting a lethal prospect to many. Among the effects is the partial restriction on churches that have been eased recently.
In Ghana, Sunday masses are to be celebrated within a time limit of 2 hours per mass. Out of fear of being infected with the virus, many Christians are yet to fully resume church services. The solution, however, has become the use of social media and other digital platforms to stay in touch with fellow believers in sharing the Word of God.
The pandemic has made matters more challenging for believers. As Christians, a key element of the Christian life is abandoning oneself to do God’s will. Jesus said that, if any man desires to come after Him, he must take up his crosses to follow Him daily (Luke 9:23.) Also, in the Gospel of Mathew He says, Christians should be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect (Mathew 5:48).
Christians are called upon to go out and make disciples of all Nations (Mathew28:19). Therefore whether there is a pandemic or not, the command of the Lord still remains. Christians are to evangelize in season and out of season.
The Mother of Jesus in the life of Christians
As Christians, God has made provision for us in every way, so that we can be safe. Therefore we are not left as orphans. Christ did not only leave us HIS BODY and BLOOD, HIS WORD, HIS SPIRIT, and HIS WORKS, but he also added HIS Mother. Mary always points to her SON Jesus. In her humility, Mary NEVER draws attention to herself but always points to her son Jesus. That’s why we need to imitate her. It took the church 1,854 years to declare that Mary was conceived without original sin though Christians for centuries before then believed this truth and prayed accordingly.
It took the church extra 100 years in 1950 to declare that she was assumed into heaven, Body, and Soul. The Church has made these decrees behooves on any catholic to believe them as true. The decrees are not a mere set of some advice but are part of our creed.
Hence there is the need for believers to seek Mary’s intercession through devotion to the Rosary. The Rosary is a contemplative prayer in which we contemplate the face of Jesus with Mary. In it, we have a complete appreciation of Christ who is both Man and God.
So in the rosary, we contemplate our humanity completely united to divinity in Christ Our Lord. In this mingling, Christ enlightens us through the Blessed Virgin Mary so that we experience more fully His divinity. Owing to a lack of understanding of the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the lives of Christians, we stand the risk of presenting only a Spiritual Jesus.
It is not just a spiritual Jesus that saves us, it is the God-Man Jesus that saves us, for He is Truly God and Truly Man.
The Role of the Rosary in the New Evangelisation
Before COVID-19, data showed there were almost 40 million pilgrims annually to Marian shrines and centers around the world.
In Ghana popular Grottos (Marian Shrines) are in Buoho, Techiman, etc. Like other shrines, these have become very important places where millions are going in search of Christ and for his healing.
These then become avenues for new ways of propagating the good news. Very recently the Pope has added the Marian Shrines to the Dicastery for the New Evangelization.
The new evangelization calls for new ways of presenting the same good news with new strategies.
Mary herself was dynamic in evangelizing.
When she received the Holy Spirit, she went straight on outreach. She embarked on Praise and Worship by singing the Magnificat. She was the first announcer of the good news to even the unborn; the Baby in the womb of Elizabeth leaped for joy. She is the best intercessor as we see her obtaining Christ’s first miracle at the wedding at Cana.
As the best exorcist, she crushed the head of Satan. Being the best prophet after her Son, she prophesied that henceforth all generations would call her blessed.
So come to think of it, who else do we need to imitate in our quest for the new evangelization other than the Blessed Virgin Mary?
The Christian, therefore, may no longer walk about like an orphan in this Journey of faith. We have a mother who is alive. I believe it is because we neglect the mother that Christ is malformed and deformed in us. We need to get back to the path trodden by the early Church and the great Saints more than ever in this perilous and pandemic times that we live in.
According to Pope John Paul II, rosary devotions are among “the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation”. We should not make a mistake, God is all powerful. He can heal instantly, he could have let Christ descend from the sky, but He made Him come through the Woman. Therefore who are we to question the wisdom of God? We have to accept more docilely the Will of God. That will mean having a renewed devotion to God through the Most Holy Rosary and be able to embark on the new evangelization with renewed zeal.
Source: Emmanuel Wullingdool