A Prayer for Tomorrow
By Cliff Garvey
Pope Francis once said: “We owe so much to the Blessed Mother! She has been present at every moment in the history of salvation and in her, we see a firm witness to hope. She is the Mother of Hope and she sustains us in times of darkness, difficult, discouragement, and defeat. May Mary, our hope, help us to make of our lives a pleasing offering to the Heavenly Father, and a joyful gift to our brothers and sisters, in a way that always looks forward to tomorrow.”
Each time that I visit with my friends in the Legion of Mary, I see the Holy Father’s words in action. Although members of the Legion are few in number, they are firm in purpose; they are firm witnesses to hope. Although members of the Legion walk together into some of the saddest corners of our world, they make of themselves a joyful gift to everyone they meet. Although many members of the Legion are aging, they are always forging ahead; they are always looking forward to tomorrow.
Maybe it’s the miracle of Christian disciples going out, two by two, as the scriptures command, to give witness to the Gospel in word and deed, week after week, year after year, decade after decade. This is a miracle! It should fill us with great hope and joy! Maybe it’s the miracle of an old friend, who can still get around, going with another old friend, who can no longer get around, to the hospital, nursing home, or memory care unit to pray with yet another old friend who is alone now but still filled with faith, hope, and love. This, too, is a miracle! It should fill us with great hope and joy! Maybe it’s the miracle of our brothers and sisters in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and memory care units rising to the occasion, recalling the good old days, remembering their prayers, and turning together to the Lord and to the Blessed Mother. This is also a miracle! It should fill us with great hope and joy!
Even though the internet is not always a reliable source for truthful news and information, there are websites that offer opportunities for people like us to share our experiences with prayer. I recently read a series of blog posts with titles like these: Car accident survived! Better grades in school! My husband’s conversion! My mother’s recovery! Delivered from temptation! Healed from an eating disorder! Saved from migraine headaches! Engaged to the love of my life! Going back to Church! Prayers answered: School is cancelled! Each of these posts credits a miracle, however small, to praying the Holy Rosary.
We believe in the power of the Rosary because of testimonies like these; because of our personal and communal experiences; and because the efficacy of the Rosary stands the test of time. Pope Francis says: “The Rosary lays before our eyes the beauty of a simple contemplative prayer that is accessible to everyone, great and small…It is the prayer of simple people and saints…It is the prayer of my heart.” Why do we pray the Rosary? Because it works.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known. It is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the high education of others. It is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadows of this world, and open on the substance of the next.” Archbishop Sheen then said what we know to be truest of all. He said: “The power of the Rosary is beyond description.”
True enough. But how does it work? Pope Francis has an answer. He says: “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That is how prayer works.” When we pray the Rosary: We are hungry. Mary prays for us; and we are fed. We are sick. Mary prays for us; and we are comforted. We are divided. Mary prays for us; and we are united in solidarity. We swear too much. Mary prays for us; and we find some peace in our lives. We are sinful. Mary prays for us; and we are led to penance and reconciliation. When we pray, the Blessed Mother responds. This is how the Rosary works. It just works!
These days, many things are not working so well. Our government is divided and dysfunctional. Millions of people are sick. Millions of people are uninsured. Millions of people are unemployed. And our leaders are hiding in their corners, preaching to the choir. Nothing gets done. In a similar way, our Church is wounded by decades of deceit and division. On social media, people who describe themselves as “faithful” use the scriptures and the teachings and traditions of the Church as weapons in a long culture war that has point and has made no progress. Even some bishops use the crozier, symbol of their role as shepherds, to browbeat and divid the faithful when they should be bringing us together, showing us the way, guiding us as a chosen people on the path to heaven, and searching love for even one lost lamb.
Everything seems bent, broken, almost beyond repair — but not to my friends in the Legion of Mary. They are all about tomorrow. Who will we visit? When do we leave? Who is driving? Where will we meet? Where will we go to pray the Rosary? A home visit? A nursing home? A memory care unit? An assisted living center? Do you have the prayer cards? Do you have the parish newsletters? Don’t forget the Rosary beads! See you tomorrow! These are the hopeful ones. These are the faithful ones. These are the little holy ones. These are the everyday saints who live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church through their prayers, their firm witness, their joyful gift, and their hope for tomorrow.
Whenever we pray the Rosary, it may seem like we are looking back by meditating again and again on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous mysteries in the Life of Christ. And indeed, we are looking back. At the same time, though, when we pray the Rosary, we are looking ahead by asking the Blessed Mother again and again to pray for us, to help us take the next step, to help us grow closer to Jesus. When we pray the Rosary, we are asking Mary to lead us to Jesus, who is our savior, our salvation, and our eternal hope — for tomorrow. Why do we pray the Rosary? Because it works. How does it work? We pray. Mary Responds. She leads us to Jesus. Why does it work? It’s about faith. It’s about love. It’s about hope. It’s about today. And it’s about tomorrow.
Pope Francis writes: “Mother, help our faith! Open our ears to hear God’s word and recognize his voice and call. Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to journey forward from our own land to receive his promise. Help us to be touched by his love, so that we may touch him in faith. Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially during times of trial, beneath the shadow of the Cross. Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One. Remind us that we who believe are never alone. Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, so that He may be the light for our path.”
Now more than ever, let us pray for better and brighter days. Let us give firm witness to the Gospel in all that we think, say, and do. Let us make this one life that we are blessed to live a joyful gift to God, to our families and friends, to our community, to our country, and to the Church. Let us look to tomorrow with hope. Give praise. Give thanks. Ask the Blessed Mother to pray for you. Ask her to pray for us. Ask her to pray for our battered and broken world. Ask her to pray — for tomorrow.
full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us, sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us! Our Lady of Hope, pray for us! Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
About the Author & Presenter
Cliff Garvey is co-founder of the Assisi Project. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Saint John Seminary College, and the Catholic University of America. Cliff is an experienced spiritual director, retreat leader, writer, and university lecturer. He also serves as Associate Minister of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in Massachusetts where his ministry focuses on adult faith formation.
Thank you for listening to the Living Rosary, Day 4: A Prayer for Tomorrow. This audio recording is produced by the Assisi Project, Inc. For more information about the Assisi Project and our programs and ministries for adults of all ages and backgrounds, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. May the Lord give you peace!
The Living Rosary Virtual Retreat
- The Living Rosary: Introduction
- The Living Rosary – Day 1: A Journey Begins
- The Living Rosary – Day 2: A Journey Continues
- The Living Rosary – Day 3: A Prayer for Hope
- The Living Rosary – Day 4: A Prayer for Tomorrow
- The Living Rosary – Day 5: A Prayer for Joy
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- Watch & Pray: The Sorrowful Mysteries
- Watch & Pray: The Glorious Mysteries
- Watch & Pray: The Luminous Mysteries
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- Assisi Project Podcast: Mary, Mother of All Peoples (Part 2)
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Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers throughout the world. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization. All are welcome to support our ministry via PayPal or AmazonSmile (links below); or by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. For more information about the Assisi Project and our upcoming opportunities for formation, prayer, and pilgrimage, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!
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