By Father Ronan Murphy
Laszlo Toth, a Hungarian-born Australian geologist, became infamous worldwide back in May of 1972 when he attacked and severely damaged Michelangelo’s masterpiece “La Pietà.” This madman took a sledgehammer, and shouting out, “I am Jesus Christ risen from the dead!” attacked the statue with 15 blows, thus removing Mary’s arm at the elbow, knocking off a chunk of her nose, and chipping one of her eyelids. Today’s daily headlines are an indication that the Prince of Darkness is behind the relentless attack upon another Holy Masterpiece, but this one created by God — namely, the natural family.
From the beginning of time, God commissioned the indissoluble bond of man and wife to go forth and fi ll the world with off spring. But in contrast today, through the influence of Satan, the very opposite is taking place. Families unfortunately are falling apart through divorce; unnatural unions are being forced on society and children are an endangered species due to sterilization, contraception, and abortion.
At first, the restoration of “La Pietà” seemed impossible; the Blessed Mother’s left arm was severed and broken into three pieces along with shattered fingers. Her nose and eyelid were among the hundred pieces of marble lying on the ground. Yet, undaunted, a team of artisans began the work of restoration, and today rather miraculously, there are no signs of damage.
In the same spirit, work must begin on restoring the family to its original purpose and beauty defined by Catholic teaching and the example of families throughout her history, such as the saintly family of St. Therese of Lisieux. This is where the restoration must begin: All the pieces in the marriage or the family, whether broken or whole, must be put together in one cohesive and integral unit. Each member has a God-given place and the invisible glue that keeps them together is the prayer said in common, especially the Rosary.
“The family that prays together stays together,” Venerable Patrick Peyton said. Evidence demonstrates that without a daily family rosary a family is not likely to withstand the all-pervasive onslaughts of the devil. In the Book of Tobit, chapter 8, we’re told: “When the door was shut and they were alone, Tobias got up from the bed and said, ‘Wife, get up, let us pray that the Lord may
have mercy upon us.’ ” Prayer was his answer to protect his marriage from the evil one. Remember the infamous serial killer Ted
Bundy who confessed to over 30 murders.
Back in 1978, he killed two young women in a college sorority house before searching for other victims. He entered the room of his next victim who found him standing over her with a baseball bat. When she opened her hands, Bundy looked at the Rosary beads in them and some unexplainable force made him stop, drop his weapon and flee. This particular girl had promised her grandmother that she would pray the rosary every night in college for protection, and Bundy confessed that he had every intention of murdering her but he stated that some mysterious power had prevented him.
Yes, the Rosary protects the family unit and makes the demons impotent in their attacks against it. It cleanses the home of sin and adorns it with grace, uniting the family members in peace and harmony. One morning, St. Joseph Cafasso whilst walking the streets of Turin met a poor old hunchbacked woman who recited the Rosary as she walked. “Why in such a hurry, good lady?” asked the saint. “O Father, I pass to clean the streets.” “To clean the streets? What do you mean?” “Well, last night there was the carnival and the people committed many sins and now I am saying rosaries to cleanse this place of sin.”
Every time the family prays the Rosary together, they contemplate the face of Jesus Christ, the Truth in union with Mary; they
contemplate the truth about marriage and the family and obtain through the Rosary the grace to live it and avoid the errors, the grave evils that threaten it for their sanctification and salvation.
Through the family Rosary, we can restore the family to its original purpose and beauty, thus restoring the Church — the Family of God, which is made up of many Christian families — to its original purpose and beauty and thus restore society as a whole through healthy, natural families, to its original purpose and beauty.
The evil one may seem to be winning round after round, but the sucker punch that will eventually defeat him is that of the Holy Rosary.
Father Murphy is the Coordinator for Marian Devotions of the Diocese of Brooklyn.