Sister Lucy's Letter to Father Umberto Pasquale (1970-11-26)
Most Reverend Father,
I was very pleased to learn of your new apostolate. I believe that therein lies the fruit of a great inspiration which, it seems to me, addresses what our age needs most. The decadence of the world is without any doubt the consequence of the lack of the spirit of prayer. Foreseeing this disorientation, the Blessed Virgin recommended the recitation of the Rosary with such insistence. It is because the Rosary is, after the Holy Mass, most apt for preserving and increasing faith in souls, that the devil has unleashed against it the war we are experiencing. And we can see, alas, the lamentable ruins he has caused.
So we must work tirelessly to establish and increase the spirit of prayer, since it is prayer that brings us closer to God. It is in this encounter that God grants His graces, that He gives us light and strength to conquer temptations and difficulties, and that many problems for which we cannot find the solution are resolved.
As the number of people who go to Mass and are nourished on the Eucharistic Bread every day is, alas, so small, the prayer of the Rosary has become indispensable for souls. For, if they do not say the Rosary, what prayer will they say? And, without prayer, who will be saved?
But even for those who go to Mass every day, the daily recitation of the Rosary is essential if we are to keep Faith, Hope and Charity. The Rosary is the foundation of the Sacred Liturgy because it reminds souls of the principal mysteries of our Redemption.
The Rosary first brings us into contact with the Most Holy Trinity. For we begin it by saying: «O God, come to my aid! O Lord, make haste to help me! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.» Then, we recite the Gloria after each decade of Ave’s in praise of the Most Holy Trinity. Was it not the Father who inspired this praise in those Angels He sent to sing near His newly-born Son made man? I believe that this is why we may call the Rosary a Trinitarian prayer even more than a Marian prayer. After the Gloria, we recite the Pater, a prayer that is addressed to the Father and which Jesus taught us: it is simply an act of praise and supplication addressed to God. And Jesus Christ never told us that, with the passing of time, it would age and that we would have to find a different one. He said: «You should pray thus: “Our Father who art in Heaven.”» (Mt 6:9-13)
The Ave Maria is also a prayer addressed to God, and in it we find the first revelation He made to men of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
The Angel sent by the Lord to announce to Mary the Incarnation of the Word, salutes Her with words dictated by the Father: «Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with Thee.» That is to say: «Thou art the Temple wherein God resides.» And the Angel added: «The Holy Spirit shall come upon Thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow Thee. Therefore the Holy One to be born of Thee shall be called the Son of God.» (Lk 1:28-35)
We have here the first living Temple in which the Holy Trinity dwells, and the first revelation of this mystery to men: the Father overshadows Her; the Holy Spirit descends upon Her; and the Son of God is made man within Her. In this manner, Mary was the first living Tabernacle wherein the Father enclosed His Son, the Word made flesh; Her Immaculate Heart was the first Monstrance to receive Him; in Her Immaculate Heart and in Her veins coursed the first blood of God made man; the bosom and arms of this Virgin formed the first Altar on which God presented His Son for our adoration: it is here that the Angels, the shepherds and the magi adored Him.
If we see in the Ave Maria all the beauty of its real meaning, it will truly be for us more than a simple Marian prayer, it will be a Trinitarian and Eucharistic prayer. I do not know whether one can find prayers more sublime, appropriate and agreeable to God, to recite in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
But let us consider the rest of this prayer. The sacred text tells us: «Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she cried out with a loud voice, and said: “Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb.”» (Lk 1:41-42) It is therefore the Holy Spirit who dictated these words to us through the mouth of Elizabeth. This salutation is itself an act of praise addressed to God: «Thou art blessed among women because the Fruit of Thy womb is blessed.» Even the supplication that Holy Church has added, surely moved by the Holy Spirit, is addressed to God: «Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.»
Everything is directed towards God, due to Mary’s union with God: «Because Thou art the Mother of God, the living Temple of God, the living Tabernacle of the Word made flesh, pray for us poor sinners.»
Our Protestant brothers come to a halt at the words of Saint Paul where he says: «There is one Mediator with the Father.» They take no account of the fact that this same Apostle recognises that it is useful for people to pray for one another. And is Mary, the Mother of God, not supposed to be able to pray for us?
We must defend souls against the errors that would lead them astray from the right path. For myself, I can only help you with my poor, humble prayers and sacrifices; but as for you, Father Umberto, you have before you a much more extended field of action to develop your apostolate. And we must not rest nor, as Our Lord says, allow the sons of darkness to be more astute than the sons of light.
Here, in Portugal, the young people have begun to organise a campaign of prayer with the Rosary, to re-establish the practice of this devotion in souls and in families, in groups or individually, among the different populations.
To this end, they recruit the greatest number of families possible to commit to saying the Rosary every day. Sometimes, as on Sundays and feast days, they form groups and set off along the roads, saying the Rosary in a loud voice and singing hymns, until they reach the church or chapel chosen to end their prayer. If they have a priest with them, they finish with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament or the Holy Mass; otherwise with a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. If the Blessed Sacrament is not available, they finish off with an act of praise to the Blessed Virgin.
These young people have found the public full of enthusiasm. I believe that, at present, this is the best apostolate for preserving and increasing the faith.
In Argentina there has recently been founded a secular institute, the Association of Our Lady of Fatima, whose aim is to promote this apostolate. They gather in the street and say the Rosary with the people; large crowds, it is said. They also go and say it in the hospitals and in the prisons. It is reported that they all pray with an incredible fervour. The bishops are so pleased with all this that the Holy See has allowed their foundresses to come and speak to me about it.
I tell you these things so that you may see the fruits the Rosary can produce. I believe that with the means God has put into your hands, you can do as much and even more. The Rosary is the most powerful weapon for defending us on the battlefield.
I pray for you, that the Lord may grant you sufficient length of life, sufficient strength and courage to bring this apostolate to a successful conclusion.
Ever grateful, and in union of prayer.
P.S. What I have related to you is also aimed at preserving the faith of God’s people in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. That is why they finish the recitation of the Rosary in a church with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, with Mass, or simply, if no priest is present, with a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.