The approach of the liturgical memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque confirms me in my belief that the humble repetition of the Rosary very effectively softens even the most hardened heart and wears away the sinner’s resistance to the love of Christ.
There are situations in which a direct break with habitual sin is—or at least seems to be—beyond the strength of the one entrenched in it. This is especially true of sins that are bound up with patterns of addictive behaviour.
At times, a soul struggling with habitual sin so focuses on the sin and on the near occasions of sin that a kind of spiritual exhaustion occurs, sending one into depression and fits of self–loathing. What is the solution?
Curious as it may seem, the solution often is to ignore the sin and to preserve a certain “contrite equanimity,” even after repeated falls while, at the same time, persevering in the humble prayer of supplication that is the Rosary. One begins, after a time, to look more at the Mysteries than at one’s own miseries. Almost imperceptibly, the ugliness of habitual sin recedes before the beauty of the All–Pure Mother of God.
Little by little, the Rosary pulverizes every resistance to the love of Christ and to the power of His grace. In this way, the Rosary opens the soul to the merciful love of the Sacred Heart. For many a sinner the Rosary has been the beginning of sanctity.
Of course, if a sinner refuses to pray—if he refuses even to make the attempt to pray, albeit by saying the words and going through the motions—he is lost. For most of us poor sinners, salvation hinges on our obedience to the word of Christ, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Lk 11:9).
Liberation from habitual sin does not, as a rule, happen overnight. (Although it can and sometimes does!) More often than not it happens “organically” as one discovers the joy that prayer gives and begins to pray more and more. Ceaseless prayer is incompatible with grave sin.
How many times has a complete conversion to the love of Christ begun with the acceptance of a rosary! “Just carry it in your pocket, friend. I will pray for you.” Soon the “friend” finds himself fingering the beads. He murmurs one or two Hail Marys; then ten, then twenty. After a while he finds himself saying the Rosary . . . and one day, he is astonished to hear himself say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” A new life begins.
The triumph of the merciful love of the Sacred Heart in the most shattered lives and in the most desperate situations can begin with Mary’s sweet and humble prayer. Say the Rosary. The rest will take care of itself.