The Seven Day Bible Rosary for Christmas

When St. John Paul II gave the five Luminous mysteries to the Church, he noted that they filled a gap that had previously existed between the end of the Joyful mysteries and the beginning of the Sorrowful mysteries. In other words, what the Lord did in his public ministry was not the subject of rosary meditations.

I am happy to say that my mind traveled the same track as the Pope’s. Back in the mid-Sixties, I had a stronger stomach for reading the Left, and I read the National Catholic Reporter, usually enjoying the “Roving Reporter” column. The writer typically asked a well-known Catholic a question of general interest, and I still remember one of those questions. “Do you pray the rosary?” The only reason I remember the question is the answer. “Oh no. I don’t want to bore God.”

Well, I thought, she’s confusing herself with God but she has a point. It wasn’t the first time I had heard the “boring” complaint, and the Pope also referred to it. So I gradually developed seven sets of mysteries, one for each day of the week, with a verse before each Hail Mary and a short meditation before each decade (95-105 words, very tough for wordy me).

It will fit in a man’s shirt pocket (3½ x 5½ inches) and in a woman’s purse. It’s only $5.00 with a huge discount on multiple copies (3 for $12 and 5 for $15), and I pay the postage. It’s a neat hospitality gift, and its size makes it a great stocking stuffer at this time of the year.

If interested, you can find out more and order it at https://johnkippley.com/the-seven-day-bible-rosary/ .

Regardless of how you and your family pray the rosary, please try to pray it every day and get others to do the same. Our Lady at Fatima told us to pray the rosary daily for world peace, the conversion of Russia, and for the conversion of sinners throughout the world. Russia has undergone tremendous conversion since our Lady asked us to pray for that intention, but it still has a long way to go. And if we are praying for world peace, it seems to me that it might also be good to pray specifically for the conversion of North America, Islam, the Jews, and peace in the Middle East.

Thanks for reading, and may God grant you a blessed Advent and Christmas.

John F. Kippley, December 7, 2014

 

 

Pray the rosary. Please

Tuesday, October 7, marks the 443rd anniversary of a key event that kept Europe from being dominated by Islam in the 16th century—-the Battle of Lepanto.  This was the last major naval battle fought with ships powered by oars; it was also the largest such battle since the battle of Actium in 31 BC.

March 7th is also the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. This is not a coincidence. Your life may well depend on understanding the connection and getting practical about it.

In 1571 the Ottoman Empire forces were on the warpath, determined to bring all of Europe under Islamic domination. Europe was divided because of the Protestant reformation as well as traditional national divisions and was not responding well to the challenge. Only Pope Pius V seemed to understand its gravity, and thus he mustered the support of enough of Catholic Europe to raise a navy.  On October 7 under the leadership of 26-year-old Don Juan of Austria, it met the larger Ottoman force in the Bay of Patras in Southern Greece, west of the port of Lepanto.  The Pope realized that the real battle was spiritual and did everything in his power to get everyone in Catholic Europe to pray the rosary for victory so that they could live in peace and not be under rule of Sharia law.

To roughly paraphrase Caesar, Islam came, the Pope saw, the people prayed, and the rosary conquered.

To learn more about this highly important historic event, do an internet search for Battle of Lepanto.   The Wikipedia account http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lepanto with all its references is somewhat tedious and difficult to read. A military history account is fairly short and a quick read at http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/navalbattles14011600/p/lepanto.htm. The account at http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7391 is very well written. The two I liked the best were http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-battle-that-saved-the-christian-west and http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/olislam.htm. I liked Christopher Check’s article at catholic.com because it gives an excellent explanation of the events leading up to Lepanto. I appreciated Fr. Ladis J. Cizik’s article at EWTN.com because it connects the links between Lepanto, Fatima—both the name and the events in Portugal in 1917, and our Lady’s plea for us to pray the rosary for “world peace, the conversion of Russia, and the conversion of sinners” throughout the world.

The stakes are high once again. A militant Islam is once again on the rise. The headlines feature Iraq and Syria with widespread murder of non-combatants and deliberately provocative beheadings, but the Islamist warfare has been going on for years in the Sudan and currently threatens the existence of the people of South Sudan. The kidnapping of over 200 adolescent girls by the Boko Haram has let us know of something that has been going on for years in Nigeria. If you think the things we read today are bad, wait till you read about the Islamic conquest of Cyprus leading up to Lepanto.

I suppose there are those who think that military force alone will quell the Islamic forces of terror today, but that is simply whistling in the dark. As it was in 1571, the battle is primarily spiritual as well as being physical. I am not belittling the use of military force; I agree with the saintly Pope Pius V that sometimes we need to resort to force.

But I also agree with Pope Pius V and many Popes since then that we have to pray the rosary. Our Lady of Fatima is reverenced by many Muslims. She has a place to play in the search for peace. It is just not at all smart to ignore her request at Fatima for us to pray the rosary every day for peace.

Somehow I get the impression that not a lot of younger people, say those born since 1980 and maybe even since 1960, pray the rosary consistently. If so, what does it take for them to take seriously Mary’s request that we pray the rosary daily for peace? If they think about it, they are the ones who will suffer the most if Islamic jihad continues to grow. So, if there are any of you younger folks who read this, please, please pray the rosary every day.

I know that some folks claim to be bored while praying the rosary. I admit the problem and have tried to make it less of a problem. In my little Seven Day Bible Rosary, you will find a different set of mysteries for each day of the week. You will find a scripture verse before each Hail Mary. There is also a short meditation before each mystery. I find it very helpful; sometimes when I am especially distracted or tired, it is my best bet for praying the rosary that day. For those interested in how the rosary developed historically, there is a short history at www.sevendaybiblerosary.com.

Please.  For the benefit of your family and for the benefit of our fellow Christians in other lands, and out of gratitude for our Lady’s visits to Fatima, please pray the rosary every day. It’s our Lady’s request.

John F. Kippley, October 3, 2014

Invalid Marriages, the Eucharist, and Romans 10:14-17, Part 2

“The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.”  To paraphrase, “If a man can’t get rid of his wife even for a very good reason, he’s better off not getting married.”

So, the difficult teaching comes directly from Jesus; it is not just a discipline of the Church.

The Church has recognized that in some or even many cases the vows of the spouses do not enact a true sacramental marriage because one party or the other was not fully competent to commit marriage.  That’s why the Church can examine a situation and issue a declaration of nullity — a statement that there was no true sacramental marriage from the very beginning.  Given the non-preaching and non-teaching of the reality as well as the “companionate marriage” propaganda of a sexually saturated culture, it is possible that today a great many “marriages” are invalid.  And perhaps there are certain aspects of the nullity process that can be improved.  But I am certain that the Holy Spirit is not going to allow the Church to teach that any marriage that breaks up was automatically null and void from its inception.

The truly pastoral approach needs to seek ways to ensure that couples who want to marry are properly prepared to commit marriage.  The teaching of St. Paul in Romans 10:14-17 is particularly apropos.  “But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without a preacher?  And how can men preach unless they are sent?”

Certainly that applies first and foremost to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, but it also applies to everything else including marriage — children, the demands of love, and permanence.  From the beginning couples have had a natural right to marry as Jesus makes clear.  The Canon Law of the Catholic Church makes it clear that Catholics have a right to have a Catholic priest or deacon witness their marriage.  Such a requirement does not, however, eliminate the need for couples to undergo a reasonable amount of preparation for the sacrament.  In fact, out of real love for the future spouses and their children, it is simply imperative for the Church to require and provide, well prior to marriage, adequate instruction about the demands of Christian love and commitment.

Remote preparation starts in the family, Sunday homilies, and proper catechesis.  It can be aided by something like my Seven Day Bible Rosary that has a decade devoted to the teaching of Jesus about the permanence of marriage.  Hearing or seeing these words on a weekly basis might help to engrave that reality into a person’s very being.  And certainly the right kind of natural baby spacing program can help the couple to realize the demands of self-giving love.  We have seen engaged or about-to-be-engaged couples break off the engagement when they realized that they were incompatible on this issue.  I remember one case where the young woman was back the next year with another fiancé, and they went on to have a happy marriage.

The bottom line is this:  Our cardinals, bishops, priests, and deacons need to realize that Romans 10:14-17 applies to preparation for marriage and act accordingly.  Conversion, not concession, is the answer.

 

The Poor and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The theme of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is “breaking the cycle of poverty.”  Unfortunately, its financial grants in the past have been directed almost exclusively towards those who are seeking to help the already poor, frequently by making them more politically active.  That doesn’t break the cycle.

There is a familiar saying about taxes and subsidies: what you tax you will get less of, and what you subsidize you will get more of.  I suspect that the latter applies also to the various ways to fight poverty.  For example, Aid to Dependent Children was and is envisioned as way to help needy children whose poverty is no fault of their own.  However, when a single mother has one surprise-pregnancy child and then another and then another…, the program becomes for some a subsidy for having children out-of-wedlock.

Judie Brown of the American Life League has recently written that in 2013 the CCHD made grants to “over 20 problematic grantees,” that is, organizations to which Catholic money should not be given.  On the good side, some previous grantees are no longer on the list, and the CCHD made one helpful step in the right direction—a $500,000 grant to the Birth Choice Health Clinic Network in California.  This is an anti-abortion association and, to its credit, it has a program on parenting.  However, even the grant to Birth Choice is still part of the overall problem of little or nothing being done to reduce the rate of new fornication-caused families.

The bottom line is that if the leadership of the Catholic Church in the USA wants to break the cycle of poverty in this country, it needs to focus on ways to stop the start of fornication-caused families.  Planned Parenthood and others have been trying for many years to address this issue with contraception and abortion, but that failed approach has served chiefly to increase the rate of fornication, out-of-wedlock pregnancies (OWP), abortions and out-of-wedlock births.  In 1965 the white OWP rate was 3% and the black OWP rate was 24%.  Enter government funded birth control.  Currently the white OWP rate is 24% and the black OWP rate is 70%.

The Catholic Church needs to use the CCHD and other vehicles to get across somehow or other the biblical idea that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act, and that it should be a renewal of the love and commitment the marriage covenant.  Then the Church will truly lead the way in breaking the cycle of poverty.

John Kippley, www.nfpandmore.org

P. S.  Allow me to share the following letter that brightened my day.  I have been giving free rosary booklets to prisoners, and some of them really appreciate it.

“I have been saying the Rosary every day since I was incarcerated in May of 2012.  It was the traditional [way] until September of this year when Ernie Pavlock had you send me the “Seven Day Bible Rosary.”  Now I pray it every day.

It has brought such freshness and insight to my life I would like to share it with my parents.  They are both 86 years old, and faithfully drive 130 miles every week to come visit me in prison, and while they drive over they always say the Rosary.

I would love to share the Seven Day Bible Rosary with them.  If you would please send a copy to them, I would be so appreciative and grateful.

Thanks very much.  Stan H.”   11/16/2013

The rosary will be sent.  For more information, click on Rosary at the top of the page.  If you know a prisoner who might like this, just send me his name, number, and address.  Bur first check with her or him; I don’t want to be accused of sending unsolicited religious materials and thus be banned from any particular prison.

If you want peace, Pray the Rosary

October 7 is the Feast of the Holy Rosary, and next Sunday, October 13, marks the 96th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun on that day in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal.  The miracle was witnessed by over 70,000 people and was well reported in the secular papers.

Part of Our Lady’s message at Fatima was to pray the rosary every day for World Peace, for the Conversion of Russia, and for the Conversion of Sinners all throughout the world.

Sometimes we are tempted to wonder if all that praying is having its desired effect as we look around and see continued conflict and increasing acceptance of immorality.  So it was with great joy that I read recently that President Vladimir Putin thinks that the introduction of Christianity to Russia in 988 A.D. is the best thing that ever happened to Russia.

In my opinion, that represents a very real conversion, the result of millions of rosaries.  It is certainly far from complete, but it represents a tremendous change from the Russia of 1917.  A recent article (see http://www.catholicscholars.org/FellowshipQuarterly) by a distinguished Catholic philosopher started with this sentence:  “The economist Yegor Gaidar, in his authoritative study, Russia: A Long View, has shown convincingly that ‘the Soviet Union of 1989, the Russia of 1992, and particularly the Russia of 2008 are different countries.’”

There remains much to be done.  There are still many Catholics who are not doing what Our Lady told us to do.  War is hell, and the price of avoiding it includes this small sacrifice.  This week, bracketed by these feasts, is a wonderful time to renew a commitment to pray the rosary daily for the Fatima intentions.

An old saying was transmitted for centuries in Latin:  Si vis pacem, para bellum.  If you want peace, prepare for war.  The new saying is this:  If you want peace, do what our Lady has told us to do—pray the rosary daily.

For those wanting an expanded version of the rosary with a bible verse before each Hail Mary, click on The Seven Day Bible Rosary at the top of this page,  Easily distracted people like myself find it helpful.

Further ideas on how to pray the Rosary

The following thoughts on praying the Rosary appear in the “Introduction” of The Seven Day Bible Rosary.  –John Kippley

VarietyNot only children but also some adults experience restlessness with the rosary, so you may find it helpful to introduce a certain amount of variety into your family rosary.  For example, one week you may want to read everything.  The next week you might omit the meditations.  Another week you may want to spend a few minutes discussing one mystery, read the verses for just that one mystery, and announce only the title, an intention, and a selected Bible verse for the others.

Announce the mystery, read at least one key Bible verse, and state the intention.  This combination will help to keep your mind and heart engaged.

Our Lady’s request. Start the rosary by specifically praying it in response to Mary’s request at Fatima.  For example:

“Dear Blessed Mother, we pray our rosary today for world peace, for the conversion of Russia and for the conversion of sinners throughout the world as at Fatima you asked us to pray.”

In the family rosary setting, that makes it clear to everyone why you are praying the rosary as a family: it is not your idea; it’s our Lady’s.

Prayer intentions. I suggest making several other intentions that are of universal importance—a stop to abortion and contraception, a rebirth of chastity, and authentic reform and renewal within the Church.  Perhaps you will want to pray also for other large-scale intentions such as the conversion of Islam, the conversion of the Jews, peace in the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East, the missionary work of the Church, the conversion of those who oppose the Church, and the conversion of the nation in which you live.  Then mention your special family intentions and invite each family member to join in—perhaps with at least one prayer of thanksgiving and one of petition.

Our Lady of Fatima never told us that we had to enjoy praying the rosary, and many people who do not really enjoy praying the rosary continue to do so simply because Our Lady told us that if we want peace, we must pray the rosary.  On the other hand, if various techniques can help you or me to pray the rosary with fewer distractions and greater devotion, then let us use them.

I hope that some parents will find this form of the rosary helpful in praying the family rosary with their children.  Perhaps the combination of a wider series of meditations, the scripture verses, and a variety of ways to pray The Seven Day Bible Rosary will prove helpful to children as well as to adults.

It’s also possible that weekly meditation on the importance of priests and their vocation to administer the sacraments and to preach the Word of the Lord may stimulate vocations.  Perhaps weekly reflection on the permanence of marriage may have beneficial long-term effects on Christian married couples.

I make no claim that this form of praying the rosary is “better” than the usual method.  I can say only that it provides more of the events in the life of our Lord for meditation and that some people find it helpful.

Praying the Rosary more fruitfully

Blessed John Paul II addressed the issues of praying the rosary more fruitfully and even the problem of boredom, and I am grateful to him for raising these issues.  In addition to giving us the Luminous Mysteries, he also offered a list of seven suggestions that are rarely quoted.  The purpose of these suggestions is to help individuals to engage their minds more concretely on the subject proposed for each decade.  What follows is an abbreviated version that appears in The Seven Day Bible Rosary with references to his document on the rosary.  Quotation marks indicate his words in the Apostolic Letter.

Introduction.  “In different parts of the Church, there are many ways to introduce the Rosary.  In some places, it is customary to begin with the opening words of Psalm 70, ‘O God, come to my assistance, O Lord, make haste to help me.’ …In other places the Rosary begins with the recitation of the Creed…”  (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n.37).

Announce each mystery.  “Announcing each mystery…is…to open up a scenario on which to focus our attention.” (n.29).

Use the Bible.  “In order to supply a Biblical foundation and greater depth to our meditation, it is helpful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the proclamation of a related Biblical passage, long or short, depending on the circumstances…  It is not a matter of recalling information but of allowing God to speak” (n.30).

Use silence.  “Listening and meditation are nourished by silence.  After the announcement of the mystery and proclamation of the word, it is fitting to pause and focus one’s attention for a suitable period of time on the mystery concerned, before moving into vocal prayer” (n.31).

Realize what you are saying when you pray the Our Father, the Hail Marys, and the Glory Be (n.32-34).

Make specific intentions for each mystery.  “…the contemplation of the mysteries could better express their full spiritual fruitfulness if an effort were made to conclude each mystery with a prayer for the fruits specific to that particular mystery” (n.35).  I think the same can be said about starting each mystery with such a prayer.

Understand the symbolism of the Rosary beads.  They “converge upon the Crucifix, which both opens and closes the unfolding sequence of prayer.  The life and prayer of believers is centered upon Christ” (n.36).

Conclusion.  The Holy Father suggests several prayers to conclude the Rosary.  “The Rosary is then ended with a prayer for the intentions of the Pope, as if to expand the vision of the one praying to embrace all the needs of the Church” (37).  He also suggests praying the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) and to pray that by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary we may come to “imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise” (n.35).

In future blogs I will show how The Seven Day Bible Rosary helps to achieve the objectives of these suggestions.   See also http://www.sevendaybiblerosary.com.

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality
Battle-Scarred: Justice Can Be Elusive
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach
The Seven Day Bible Rosary