Importance of the Family Rosary?

A Personal Reflection by Fr. Hugh Thwaites, s.j.

The main task of a mother is to get all her family to heaven. That is her God given role, and God will be offering her all the graces she will need to bring it about. Ordinarily, she should be the spiritual leader in the home, setting a high standard herself, and by her prayers and example trying to make to home completely Christian.

When the Holy Father was in France once, having a session with young people, they asked him about having women priests. He replied that it was only men who could be priests, because that was the way God had arranged it. But he went on to say that the charism of spiritual leadership belonged to women. "Think of our Blessed Lady", he said.

So although the father is head of the family, just as St Joseph was head of the Holy Family, nevertheless the mother is, as it were, the priest in the home.

Now it seems to me that without having the Rosary said daily in the home, all the mother's efforts to sanctify the home and pass the faith on to the children are doomed to disappointment.

All the time I was looking after overseas students, about 14 years, I used to go visiting them almost every day. I spent countless hours going round looking them up, and trying to help them spiritually. Many of them were married and had their families with them. But I remember how many of these, even after years of my visiting them, were no better at the end than when I first met them. In fact, perhaps they were worse, in that they had turned a deaf ear to all I'd told them. And I came to the conclusion that unless I could get a family to start saying the Rosary every day in the home I was carrying water in a bucket with holes in the bottom. I was almost wasting my time - and theirs too, because they would be thinking they were doing all right, simply because they saw the priest often, whereas really the house of their piety had no foundations and would be blown over by the first gust.

Why is the Family Rosary so important?

First, because Our Lady has asked for it. God sees what we do. If we show by our behaviour that we set little store by His Mother's urgent requests, does this really mean nothing to Him? Our faith is a gift. To pass it on to others is a gift. We really need to beg from God these gifts on which our salvation depends. If we don't do what His Mother asks of us, why should we expect God to do what we ask of Him?

Secondly, saying the Rosary in the home helps lay the foundations of a sound faith. From the Annunciation, through the Passion, to the Resurrection and Pentecost, with little explanations added to the mysteries over the years, the children learn the elements of our faith. And since Our Lady comes into all of it, they will be to some extent protected from the creeping Protestantism that is blighting the faith of so many.

Thirdly, "the family that prays together stays together". And why should this be so? I can think of two reasons.

Saying the Rosary in the home will help the children keep to the sacraments through their years of adolescence. Keeping close to Our Lord will keep them close to their parents. The fourth commandment follows the first three. Breaking the commandments has a knock-on effect. Like dominoes pushing the next one down. So once the first three have gone, the fourth does not long survive. But if the first three stand firm, so will the fourth.

Another reason, I think, is this. From what some possessed people have said and from what some of the saints have said, it seems certain that demons are very much afraid of the Rosary; it really burns them up. So if it is said every day in a home, after a time the demons have to go. It's like ridding a house of mice. Mouse traps are not enough. You need a cat. And for getting demons out of a house, the daily Rosary is the only sure way I know. In a world which is a spiritual desert, a Christian home should be an oasis of God's grace. And a home where the Rosary is part of the daily routine is indeed that. Such a home has an extraordinary charm. There are no demons there, whereas in the world outside they are everywhere. We're not meant to live with demons. We're meant to live with the holy angels in the presence of God and His Mother. So the children of such a family find in their home an atmosphere full of delight; it is one where grace prevails and God is at home. It's this that keeps them coming back. They find in their home a divine atmosphere they do not find outside.

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Last updated on August 1, 1996