Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"We will not leave you again..."

We entrust our miseries, the many streets of hate and blood, the thousands of ancient and new poverties and above all, our sins. To you we entrust ourselves, Mother of Mercy; grant us the forgiveness of God, help us to build a world according to your heart. O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that ties us to God, chain of love that makes us brothers and sisters, we will not leave you again. You will be in our hands a weapon of peace and forgiveness, star that guides our path.

This prayer was offered by Pope Francis when he visited Pompeii last year. Notice that half way through the prayer he addresses the rosary itself: "O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that ties us to God..." And then, "We will not leave you again." What could Pope Francis have been thinking of when he made that promise? 

Perhaps he had in mind the many who were devoted to the rosary as children but who left it as adults. Perhaps he was thinking of the 1960's and 70's when the rosary fell out of fashion. Or was he thinking of those who only wear the rosary as jewelry (or tattoo), or keep it hanging from the rear view mirror for good luck. Anyway, he then reaffirms the rosary's power as a weapon of peace and reconciliation - a guiding star along life's dark and dangerous path. 

The picture at the top of this post is of my own rosary which I made the first year of my priesthood almost 37 years ago. It has gone with me everywhere. My sixth grade teacher said, "Keep it in your left pocket, because a medieval knight wore his sword on the left side." I get it.

We're usually told that in praying the rosary we ought to focus our attention on the mysteries or even the words of the prayers themselves. But I'd suggest that the rosary can also serve as a tool for the expansion of our hearts, dedicating each Hail Mary for one particular name, problem or concern:

1. for the child waiting to be born and the newborns in NICU
2. for the children who live where the water is not potable
3. for the children sold into prostitution
4. for the children victimized by terrorists
5. for the children who are exhausted refugees
6. for the children who are out of school
7. for the children shown on the hunger commercial
8. for the children who are orphaned
9. for the children of war zones
10. for the children caught in violent homes

or again

1. for the children of my own family
2. for the child who is missing
3. for the children who are frightened
4. for the child who is bullied
5. for the children who are falling behind
6. for the child with special needs
7. for the child who is friendless
8. for the children in foster care
9. for the children of addicted parents
10. for the children failed by adults


  1. We wouldn't normally think of the rosary as a weapon, but I see the point in the analogy. Maybe if we did take the time to pray the rosary, and meditate on these new decades, it would make a difference in our own thoughts and overall well being. I admit that I don't take out my rosary beads very often. Mayne I will go find them and put them by my bed and use them tonight.

  2. After September 11 a bumper sticker appeared that read: "Angry? Need a weapon? Pray the Rosary" Even one decade, but slowly, mindfully and with care.

  3. Thanks for giving us your insights Fr. Stephen. I think that more people will use the Rosary if they could pray with feeling, giving each bead a thought.

  4. "Don't pray until you feel something," Archbishop Anthony Bloom said. It's pretty hard not to feel something when each bead connects with some deep human need.

  5. For our priests that they may guide us better and teach us these things to help us be better Christian. Such as how to pray and think about the things that matter. I take my family to Mass weekly. Why does it take a blog to teach me about my real faith feelings?

  6. For priests to be spiritual teachers and guides. We pray to the Lord.

  7. I am always delighted to hear about the rosary. It is one of the most powerful prayers we have. If Mary herself tells you to say the rosary, you might want to do it. I like the idea of giving each bead a name.

  8. I feel used to feel badly for the Rosary that hangs from the rear view mirror, that most likely never gets used in the intended way. But in more recent times I realize that I should be thankful that the driver at least believes in God and the Blessed Mother enough to keep them close as a symbol of their faith. Maybe they will look at them in a time of frustration and find solace. The rosary can work in many ways.

  9. I love the idea of keeping the rosary in your left pocket, Father. Yes, it's a weapon against all the evil we can encounter via media or personally in our lives. I pick up my rosary pretty much on a daily basis. I can be sitting and just feel the need to hold the beads and pray, even if it's not my total focus. What would we do without Mary? It's so comforting to know she hears our prayers. I hold my rosary at night before I go to sleep. Someone in my prayer group said its like holding Mary's hand when we hold the rosary. I love the analogy.

  10. The Dutch bishops wrote: Even to hold the rosary is a prayer.

  11. Even if I don't pray the whole Rosary, I carry it in my purse. It reminds me to say a few prayers and to be thankful for the presence of God in my life. Great post Father. I will be back to explore your site further.

  12. I cannot thank you enough for having this site. I have not been a practicing Catholic for years, but retained the deep spiritual lessons I learned growing up in parochial schools. Being taught by nuns and priests established a solid foundation for my own spiritual growth throughout life. Now, I find myself strengthened by not only facing challenges in life regarding my direction, but spiritual challenges, too, because I am growing in leaps and bounds, but it's a little scary! I am grateful for this site. Thank you for providing a solid foundation that helped me in childhood and now, is helping me focus on my life purpose.