Photo of the rosary that was blessed by Pope Francis and given to my wife Heidi by our late colleague Melo Acuña as his ‘pasalubong’ from his trip to Rome.
If I had an army to say the Rosary, I could conquer the world.
— Blessed Pope Pius IX
WE’RE into the month of the Holy Rosary and amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; the Church has once again enjoined Catholics to remember praying the rosary. Actually, this year we are celebrating the second rosary month since the onset of the pandemic that has seemingly been described as a seemingly infinite plague.
The Holy Rosary is a heart-warming consolation in these tough times, even as hundreds of millions of the Catholic faithful are praying it all over the world. After all, an integral part of the Catholic faith is the conviction that the fastest way to Jesus is through Mary.
Recognized as a world-renowned authority on the Mother of Jesus, the University of Dayton’s Father Johann Roten viewed the rose as a symbol of the rosary—with its rosebuds representing the Child Jesus. And he adds that the half-bloomed blossoms as a characterization of Christ’s passion, while the fully bloomed flowers signify Christ’s triumph over death. Called the Mystical Rose, Mary is believed to have enjoyed the blessings that accompany the roses.
And as the pandemic continues to claim the lives of millions across the globe, in exasperation, people ask: Until when shall we wait? Will this misery ever come to an end?
During this global health catastrophe, we see on the one hand the best of people, especially of health workers who, despite the risks, are giving the utmost sacrifice of their lives trying to save precious lives. Hurdling the difficult test of adherence to the Hippocratic oath is unprecedented. On the other hand, we sadly see the worst in people, especially the human rights violators who ironically allow themselves to be instruments of violence and death at this time when saving lives is of paramount value.
And in both aspects, we see a lot of our politicians who are now going crazy with the election fever starting with their filing of certificates of candidacy and jockeying for positions in the hearts of the voting population.
Not only do we need immunity to the virus but also immunity to the fear of death
As the pandemic continues to victimize the whole of humanity, faith in God is a powerful weapon for believers. In our predominantly Catholic nation, Filipinos commemorate the month of the rosary in creative ways. During the pandemic, the rosary serves as a source of hope and solace for families. We can only be grateful that this pandemic brings family members together to pray. These prayers were not always possible during normal times.
Like Jesus being lashed in the scourging at the pillar, the Filipino people are victimized by pandemic-related human rights violations in the form of arrests, torture, killings, enforced disappearances, and detention, exacerbated by dire poverty, joblessness, malnutrition, and natural disasters—and most of all corruption. These are analogous to the thorns, which represent the excruciating pain of our people.
But what is in store for our country? Next year in May, we will hold our national elections and this will be an opportune time for our electorate to chart the destiny of our country whose 500 years of Christianity we are commemorating this year. Yet our history is marred by corruption, violence, and untold violations of the right to life.
Definitely, a genuine voters’ education, with a historical perspective elucidating the vicious cycle of vote-buying, vote-selling, political dynasties, and corruption, will go a long way toward empowering the people in making a difference in our country’s future.
Realistically, though, the expressions of the joyful and glorious mysteries are translucent or, worse still, opaque. (ai/mtvn)