People like to organize rosaries and novenas for the Pope, or Mother Angelica, or sick people, or for “causes,” but you never hear calls for prayer for the conversions of specific people.
When conversions happen, we’re happy (Mary’s currently reading Abby Johnson’s _UnPlanned_), but we seem to doubt God’s power to do it when it comes to the challenge of hoping for it.
I’ve said it since 9/11: wouldn’t it be great if Osama bin Ladin (assuming he’s still alive) suddenly announced his conversion to Catholicism?
Or Barack Obama?
Or Fred Phelps?
Or whomever is currently president of Planned Parenthood?
Fred Phelps certainly doesn’t have much time left–the guy’s 72ish. It would be an amazing triumph for God to have that bastion of Satanic hate and misguided Fundamentalism suddenly soften his hardened heart and cross the Tiber.
We really need to start unleashing the power of the Rosary on the world. It’s been 94 years since Fatima, folks, and we still haven’t done it.
This year will be the 440th Annivesary of Lepanto. Think about what would have happened if the Catholics of Europe had kept it up past Oct. 7, 1571! Imagine if the Pope had called for a Rosary every day from everyone, for a different cause.
Back when I was in high school, I read a book on the power of the Rosary and the role of Mary. I forget its title or who wrote it. It had a chapter each on Judaism, Protestantism, Islam, and other religions and how the Blessed Virgin could be used both in prayer and in apologetics to convert each of those groups. The book also talked of the power of the Rosary, and it pointed out how lax Catholics are about our obligation to bring others to the Church.
It pointed out how simple it would be to convert the whole world to Catholicism if each and every Catholic took his or her faith seriously.
I’ve said it before about elections, and even more about conversions: look at how many Catholics there are. If even a significant fraction of us took our faith seriously, we could change the world. Only 24 percent of people who claim to be Catholic go to Mass weekly. Only 10%–if that–of those who attend Mass weekly go to Confession regularly. Much less engage in any serious form of daily prayer such as the Rosary or the Office or daily Mass or reading the Bible.
I used to feel rather alone in the world. Now, I’m surrounded by all sorts of wonderful Catholics on the Internet, in my Carmelite group, etc., but then I stick my feet slightly out of my comfort zone, and am reminded how superficially most people treat their faith and how badly catechized most people are.
And that’s not just because of Vatican II. After all, like I say, we should have achieved this centuries ago.
Judas was an Apostle. The bulk of St. Paul’s letters address all the corruption that was already rampant in the early church. We don’t read the passages at Mass where Paul is denouncing Christians for engaging in incestuous relationships and stuff. . . . Yet, at the same time, those early Christians were amazing. Even if the early Saints were as rare among the Christians of their times as today’s saints, back then you had Christians who said, “Hey! Let’s get ourselves arrested so we can be martyred and get to Heaven quickly!” You had martyrs who actually guided their executioners’ hands, cracked jokes from the scaffold or sang hymns of praise while being eaten alive.
Today, it’s “We don’t want to be martyrs because we have responsibilities” or “Being a martyr means you’re causing someone else to commit murder, so that’s wrong.” Even worse, it’s “We need to preserve our lives in this world” and “We don’t want to cause people embarrassment” or “We don’t want to lose money.”
Yet if every Catholic made a serious effort at both prayer and study, and if every Catholic made a serious effort at helping other people to the faith, and if every Catholic brought at least one person into the Church per year. . . . Imagine.
The book I’m talking about took it further: 3 converts a year per Catholic, and the world would be converted in 3 years. It’s that simple.
So, why not start with prayer. We’re supposed to be fishers of men, and the more “big fish” we bring in, the more “small ones” will get caught in the net as well. So let’s make a serious effort to pray specifically for the conversions of Westboro Baptist Church and its “pastor” Fred Phelps, and for the conversion of Osama bin Ladin and his al Qaeda people.
Remember: Jesus said to St. Faustina that, if a person in a state of grace prayed the following prayer sincerely for a person, that person would make it to Heaven, even if only by a deathbed conversion:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”