Rosary Crusade Sermon

Here is the text of the sermon I gave yesterday at the London Oratory for the Rosary Crusade of Reparation.

The Triumph of Mary Immaculate

Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array? (Song 6.10)

At the visitation, St Elizabeth and the pre-born John the Baptist rejoiced in the presence of Jesus Christ, then an embryo of a few days. St Elizabeth also showed respect to our Lady: “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?” Our Blessed Mother’s immediate response was to use this prayer as a direct channel for the praise of God. “My soul magnifies the Lord...”

She is ever the same. She is a most sure route to our Blessed Lord “To Jesus through Mary” is the unfailing path of our prayers. If we think of the miracle of the sun, and the 70,000 people there including atheists, freemasons and communists, awed by her power with God, we should have a great confidence and trust in the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, the Mediatrix of all graces.

She can accomplishes the seemingly impossible. We might think, for example, that is is impossible to bring our Muslim brothers and sisters to Christ, so strong is their devotion to Islam. We should, in this connection, remember the advice of the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen, whom we may piously hope will be raised to the altars if it is God’s will, said,
“Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Muslims will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In any apologetic endeavour, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Muslims have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realisation that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims the rest of the way to her Divine Son. She is forever a traitor" in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her Divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.”
The difference now, of course is that we are all missionaries and the mission territory is our own country.

Sadly, in our Church, we can see that the spiritual battle to which St Paul urges us, is in many places not being fought. The truth with which we should gird our loins, has been exchanged for “values clarification”; instead of the shield of faith, we have the ragged flag of human opinion which will not “quench the flaming darts of the evil one” but give them fuel; the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit have become the baseball cap of earthly comfort and the walking stick of the spiritually infirm.

I have been told before, and I expect some of you have, that we should not be frightened of change.

No, my dear people, we should not be frightened of change. We must labour unceasingly to bring about change. We must change from being a Church where the confessionals are empty to a Church where the balm of divine mercy is sought and received regularly. We must change from being a Church where the prophetic teaching of Humanae Vitae is glossed over in silence to a Church where the sanctity of life and the truth of Christian marriage are known, recognised and lived. We must change from a Church where the sacred liturgy is reduced to a shabby form of entertainment to a Church where the solemn and reverent conduct of the rites takes us out of ourselves and into the realm of the divine.

And let us pray indeed that our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict will indeed use his supreme apostolic authority to grant that freedom which will inaugurate a genuine renewal of liturgical life in the Church.

We must work with determination, confident in the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, to fill our Churches, Confessionals and Seminaries, to baptise the children of generous couples whose began their “partnership” at the altar, and to create the problem of increasing the number of Masses rather than the doleful fatalism of planning for a Church with fewer priests.

Most of all, my dear people, as we know only too well, we must ourselves change by making use of the abundant grace God and the powerful prayers of Our Lady of Fatima. Let there be no compromise in our lives with the spirit of the world in which we pass but a few short years. May Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart summon us early in the morning to begin the day with that humble prayer that pierces the clouds. May she triumph in us to overcome every temptation to sin. May the love with which she received our Blessed Lord draw us to him in the Mass – daily if we possibly can. May her gentle and compassionate heart lead us to the confessional to draw on that undeserved balm of forgiveness for our sins.

Here today, in a short time, we will kneel and bow down in adoration before the greatest gift of God to man, the real and substantial presence of the Word of God made flesh, coming to be with us, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed sacrament. “To Jesus through Mary!” Her Immaculate Heart will triumph in us if we have the courage to consecrate ourselves to her with our whole being. United with her, we will be able to draw from the Blessed Sacrament all the graces that our Lord wishes to give us today.

Our Lady wishes to triumph again in England which was once her dowry and known throughout the world as a place of signal devotion to her. For that triumph, she needs us to be saints. We must be satisfied with nothing less. Let us ask her, here and now, today, to help us set out determinedly on that path of holiness and never to give up the struggle, never to flinch in the fight, never to rest in carrying the cross, never to seek any comfort other than that of loving her for the sake of her Son.

Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us!

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