Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Combat Rosary

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

World War One Rosary 
World War One Combat Rosary

As hard as it might be to believe today, during the Great War the United States government produced and issued special "combat" rosaries for the spiritual welfare of Catholic soldiers. These rosaries were made to withstand the rugged reality of life in the trenches. Made of brass, washed in silver, and blued to darken the metal (to prevent them from making the soldiers easy targets) these rosaries were made to last. Instead of a traditional chain, the combat rosary featured a significantly stronger "pull chain" from which they are sometimes named.

Combat Rosary
Close up of the Crucifix

This rosary has an incredibly strong, rugged, masculine feel. It's definitely not your grandmother's rosary! While some companies, notably Church Militant, produce replicas of this fine rosary, I was lucky enough to receive an original 1916 military issue "combat rosary" as a gift recently from my father. I carry it in my pocket as my "daily rosary" to serve as a reminder that we (you and I dear reader) are engaged in a war much deadlier than even the height of the Great War, for we wage war, not against the powers of this world, but against "Satan and all his evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls" (St. Michael defend us!). We fight not against flesh and blood, but against those who would not seek to destroy the body, but to have our very souls cast into Hell.

What are we to do in a struggle with such a ferocious enemy? Fight with, and for, Christ. How can we do this? Through the Sacraments of the Church and through prayers and pious devotions (sacramentals), first among which is the Holy Rosary.

Endless are the saints and pontiffs who have exhorted Catholics to take up the Rosary. Here are a few quotes from Saint Josemaria Escriva on this most powerful of prayers:

opus dei founder
St. Josemaria Escrica,  pray for us!

The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you will be amazed at the results.
  - from The Way

For those who use their intelligence and their study as a weapon, the Rosary is most effective.
- from Furrow

You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it.
- from Furrow

the Holy Rosary... is a wonderful devotion which I will never tire of recommending to Christians everywhere.
- from Friends of God

So, friends, arm yourself with a combat rosary, or any rosary, and PRAY THE ROSARY!

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