The Even-Better Communications Device


The Son of God is… Jesus!

Is Jesus just kind of god-like, sort of divine? No, of course not. He is eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God. God and man.

Rosary PrayersGod the Son, Son of the Father. And also the Son of…the Virgin Mary! The Mother of God.

Now, when some of us older people were young, we used to stay in touch with our friends and loved ones by talking with them on the phone, which used to be attached to the wall in the house. We did not “text.” Our grandparents did text, when they were young. It was called sending a telegram.

Anyway, way before that even, the Mother of God gave us the perfect device for staying in touch with her and her divine Son. You can keep the device in your pocket, just like a fancy cellphone. This device is actually more lightweight. It never needs software upgrades. And you never need to charge it in a wall outlet or with a car charger.

The Holy Rosary is the most effective handheld communication device ever. And, speaking for myself anyway, I find it considerably easier to use than any phone.

Some people like to send like 50 or 53 texts per day. Fine.

But, meanwhile, let’s keep in touch with Our Lady and her Son by saying 53 Hail Marys, with six Our Fathers, six Glory Bes, and a Creed.

Onomatopœia: Battalogein

In praying, do not babble like the pagans. (Matthew 6:7)

Do not prattle. Do not prate. Do not babble. Do not vainly repeat. The heavenly Father has infinite patience. But don’t press your luck.

Rosary PrayersThe Greek word in the gospel here—which, apparently, arose from a Hebrew word for vanity—sounds just like what it means. When you pray, do not battalogesete. Logos, of course, means…word. Do not batta the Lord with words. “Babble” seems like the perfect English equivalent, since it has the same onomatopoeia to it.

Do not battalogesete the Lord. Because He knows what we need before we ask Him. He knows what we need much better than we do.

So: Before I ask Him to conform His will to mine, let me pray for the grace humbly to conform my will to His. Before I tell Him what I imagine the earth ought to be like, let me pray that it be more like His unimaginably wonderful heaven.

Before I tell Him what’s supposed to happen tomorrow, let me beg Him for what I need today. Before I tell Him how to change somebody else, let me pray for the grace to change myself for the better.

Now, people accuse us of violating the divine precept against battalogesete-ing the Lord by reciting the Holy Rosary. I, for one, can hardly imagine a more baseless, even ironic, charge.

Our Fathers, punctuated by begging our Lady ten times to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our deaths. Does not sound vain to me. Sounds pretty close to exactly what we should say.

So let’s let the experts and geniuses try to come up with some better way to pray. In the meantime, let’s keep praying daily for our bread and begging for mercy and Our Lady’s help as many times a day as we can manage.

No Sentimentality, But Sublime Sentiments

You will have to forgive me. Getting sentimental about Christmas has never been part of my repertoire. And this year, I will miss one of the three people with whom I have spent every one of the past 39 Christmases. My dear aunt is spending this Christmas in her newly sealed grave. Not to mention all the little ones from Connecticut who spend this Christmas that way, too.

mary-mSo sentimentality won’t work. Sorry. No yuletide chestnuts right now.

But: Can we find some sentiments that suit the holy Solemnity of the Nativity—sentiments that fit, year in and year out, in good times and bad, no matter how cold the outside world may seem?

Yes, we can. We can find joy that conquers every evil. We know right where to look for it. In the immaculate heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council explained that Mary offers to the Church our perfect model, our consummate example, the full flowering of all our efforts to believe, to hope, and to love like Christ. In Mary, we the Church see ourselves as we most want to be.

One phrase which the Vatican-II Fathers used to describe Mary takes on, I think, a special light at Christmastime. They refer to Mary as—above all others and uniquely—the “generous associate” of Christ.

Generous associate. Now, my dad was a lawyer. So the word “associate” makes me think of the name of the law firm he was in. Jones, Day, Reavis, Pogue, and Associates. Smart lawyers, savvy and streetwise. Brooks Brothers and BMWs—these “associates.”

Continue reading “No Sentimentality, But Sublime Sentiments”

Rosary vs. Evil Spirits

Our Lord’s words in today’s gospel reading illuminate the spiritual battle between the Holy Spirit of Christ and the Enemy.

The battle unfolds inside our souls. The evil spirits work for our destruction, mainly by tempting us to commit sins. The Holy Spirit and the good angels urge us to, and support us in, wisdom, prudence, justice, kindness, and truth.

We cannot control the actions of the good spirits or the bad ones. I cannot force a demon to stop tempting me, nor can I command an angel to come to my aid.

But to some extent we can control our dispositions to the influence which the spirits try to have on us. On the one hand, I can reduce the power the evil spirits have over me by cultivating good habits and by filling my mind with good things. On the other hand, I can pray and beg the Holy Spirit, the good angels, and the saints to help me resist temptation.

Reciting our Lady’s Rosary includes all of these helps for winning the battle. Regularly praying the Rosary fills our minds with the light of Christ’s mysteries; we begin to think about Christ and the saints habitually. Plus, in every Rosary we beg for help from heaven at least 58 times.

[Click HERE for Our Lady of the Rosary homily ’09.]

Telling Beads

Click here for beautiful rosary beads.


It would seem that our Catholic friends are given to a great deal of repetition in prayer. Some of the poor creatures say, “Hail, Mary!” as often and as fast as they can.

None of us prays the Holy Rosary with the attention that it deserves.


Isn’t it better to say the Our Father, the Sacred Name of Jesus, and the holy name of Mary many times? I mean, as opposed to not doing that?

…The Rosary is a bottomless mystery that can only be understood from within. The Holy Father’s words at St. Patrick’s Cathedral are especially applicable to the recitation of the Rosary:

Stained glass windows flood the interior [of the church] with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor.

Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself.

It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit.

Yesterday was the 59th anniversary of the foundation of the Missionaries of Charity!


October Teachings of Pope John Paul II

In the picture behind the blog title above, I am on my way down to kiss the ring of the late, beloved Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II was chosen to be the Successor of St. Peter in October. Over the course of 26 and a-half years as Pope, John Paul managed to do something memorable in just about every month of the year. But October was always special.

In October of 2002, Pope John Paul II declared a Year of the Rosary. He gave us the five Luminous Mysteries to add to our meditations. October is the month of the Rosary–the month to start saying the Rosary again, or to start saying it better. In the letter he wrote that October, the Holy Father pointed out that praying Our Lady’s Rosary leads us to Christ. Praying the Rosary helps us to participate more prayerfully in the Sacred Liturgy. The Rosary, properly understood, is ecumenical.

In other words, you simply cannot go wrong by saying the Rosary every day–or at least one decade of the Rosary every day. If you do not know all the mysteries or have forgotten the prayers for the Rosary, the Vatican has a nice Rosary webpage.

In October of 2004, just six months before he went to meet the Lord, Pope John Paul inaugurated a Year of the Holy Eucharist. He urged all of us to draw close to the Blessed Sacrament, especially by visiting the tabernacle and going to Adoration.

In his Encyclical on the Eucharist, the Pope had written that we need a new sense of wonder about the unfathomable mystery of the Real Presence. In his October 2004 letter, John Paul wrote: “The presence of Jesus in the tabernacle must be a kind of magnetic pole attracting…souls enamoured of him, ready to wait patiently to hear his voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of his heart.”

The First Friday of every month is the day dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. So, on the First Friday of October (or the First Saturday, dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), let us…
…enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus…
…which beats for us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar…
…by reciting Our Lady’s Rosary with devotion.