Bloomington, IN. The work of bringing Christ and his teachings to the world is a battle with the devil. But Jesus has won the victory, crushing the head of the serpent (See Genesis 3:15). Steve and Mark went evangelizing on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon on the campus of Indiana University. It was the Feast of the Holy Rosary, which commemorates the victory of a combined Christian sea fleet over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. At that time, the whole of Christian Europe was praying the rosary for victory and the preservation of Christian society, and so it was quite appropriate for our evangelists, Steve and Mark, to offer free rosaries to the students as they walked by.
In the picture, we see Mark explaining to a fellow Christian how to pray the rosary. As she accepted one, Mark asked her if she knew how to pray it. She did not seem to know anything about the rosary, but was willing to listen to whatever he had to share. So Mark gave her a step-by-step explanation of what praying the rosary involves. He told her that the rosary is essentially a meditation the mysteries of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The ‘Hail Mary’ is a prayer derived from verses in the Gospel of Luke, and involves honoring Mary as the faithful disciple of Christ, asking her to pray for you, much like you might ask a friend to pray for you. The ‘Hail Mary’, together with the Lord’s Prayer and the ‘Glory Be’ (a prayer praising the Holy Trinity), and the other vocal prayers of the rosary, serve to help focus the mind to meditate on important events represented in the Bible, which are divided into the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. This person seemed interested, and payed close attention, but did not ask any questions. Mark encouraged her to try praying the rosary, and to visit the Catholic Newman Center on campus. She thanked him and went on her way.
Mark also met another student, who accepted a rosary in such a way as if to say, “Alright, let me humor you.” When asked, the student said, with confidence in his face, that he “used to be Catholic.” Mark told him that we have a couple generations of failed catechesis in the church, so that many Catholics have fallen away from the practice of the faith who do not understand what it is that they are rejecting. He continued to explain to him how the faith brings great meaning and fulfillment to life. As he was saying these things, the student’s look turned from one of confidence to one of vulnerability. As if struck dumb, he did not say a word – he did not respond, but only nodded slightly. Mark encouraged him to visit the Newman center, and gave him some materials to look at, before the student left to catch up with his friends. Mark reported, “That encounter in particular makes me think of the battle for God and for truth that goes on in some form in the hearts of everyone. We go around with a thin disguise of self-assurance to protect ourselves from the truth and goodness we have known in times past; all because it makes demands upon us, calling us to a higher, more difficult way of living.”
Praised be Jesus Christ! Street evangelization, like praying the rosary, is a great way to enter into the battle to support those who have given up on the fight, so that they can fight and conquer selfishness in themselves. … The conclusion is clear: pray the rosary daily, and join us!
The rosary is a wonderful weapon. In fact, I have recently taken up the daily rosary devotion to help my battle with impurity. Please keep me in your prayers.
Some day, soon.