Today’s feast reminds us of the power of the Rosary and the value of prayer. It was established by St. Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto. Mary’s intercession was invoked through the praying of the Rosary by the faithful. The victory was attributed to her aide. The Rosary is a meditation on the life of Mary and a penetration into the mysteries of Christ. When we pray the Rosary we are following Mary’s example and are associating ourselves closely with the mysteries of salvation: the incarnation, passion and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God. To say the Rosary well requires recollection. Saying the prayers well and meditating on the events from the Gospels will nourish our interior life. The Rosary said well becomes for us a quarter of an hour’s meditation.
Lord, fill our hearts with your love, and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as man, so lead us through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Whether we are praying the Divine Office – the Opus Dei – or working in the kitchen among the “pots and pans”, we should regard our work, all work no matter how humble, as the work of God.
It is really the intention that is most important and what truly matters in any kind of work. To tend towards God before the act of doing the work and to give it to God, to abandon all to Him. Thus making our work an act of the will, an act of love.
God sees the intention.
“Well, come now, my daughters, don’t be sad when obedience draws you to involvement in exterior matters. Know that if it is in the kitchen, the Lord walks among the pots and pans helping you both interiorly and exteriorly.” (St. Teresa, The Book of Her Foundations, Chap. 5)
“You must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls.” (Rule of St. Albert)
Manual labor is strongly encouraged by the Rule of St. Albert. “You must…” strong words for this precept. “No idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls.” Here we have the motivation for this point in the Rule. For when we are unoccupied we are left open to the influences of the devil who comes to knock. The imagination and memory are his favorite playgrounds, if he can gain an entrance. Left alone with our thoughts, images and memories are created which will trouble us and stir up temptations.
It’s not that thinking is a bad thing. To think is a good thing. However, lest bad thoughts creep in, our thoughts must be general ones and should have God as their object. Consequently, when left to dream, living in the imagination can be dangerous! Thought is a dynamic force. It is the beginning of action; therefore, it can lead to sin, even serious sin!
It must be recalled that everything in the Carmelite Rule is directed towards contemplation. A soul that is contemplative truly loves God and gives God more glory than any other soul. The devil knows this and will make every effort to hinder a contemplative soul. He accomplishes this best by trying to trouble the soul by overburdening it and causing it disquiet within it.
The devil is so clever. He will do whatever he can to accomplish this disturbance within a soul even pushing it to idleness or to a work that overburdens it – excess or defect. Either way he will gain.
“In this respect you have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle, into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your leader you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, labouring and weary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give you, in our own selves, as an example you might imitate. For the charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that whoever is not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil. This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it.”(Rule of St. Albert)