A good example from Blessed Bartolo Longo:
In our last post, we examined Blessed Bartolo Longo’s good example of praying the Rosary daily and deeply. Longo also generously shared the Rosary with others to such an exemplary degree that St. John Paul the Great called him “a true apostle of the Rosary” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 8). While Longo never had children of his own, we can reasonably infer from his actions that he would have certainly taught them how to effectively pray the Rosary.
Blessed Bartolo Longo received Catholic schooling in primary and secondary grades growing up, but as a young college student studying law at the University of Naples, he was drawn further and further away from his faith. A lively anti-Catholic movement on campus influenced Bartolo tremendously and resulted in his involvement in the occult and then his “ordination” as a satanic priest.
As you can imagine, the fruits were very bad and Bartolo experienced severe depression, paranoia, and ultimately a mental breakdown. In the midst of this, he heard the voice of his deceased father urging him to “Return to God! Return to God!” Also at this time, an old friend encouraged Bartolo to speak with a faithful and highly educated Dominican priest, Fr. Alberto Radente. Fr. Alberto enlisted the help of many prayer intercessors, taught Bartolo how to pray the Rosary, and eventually helped him to be reconciled to the Catholic Church.
Bartolo continued to struggle with the temporal consequences of his past sins, and one evening he experienced the following, in his own words:
“As I pondered over my condition, I experienced a deep sense of despair and almost committed suicide. Then I heard an echo in my ear of the voice of Friar Alberto repeating the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary: ‘If you seek salvation, promulgate the rosary. This is Mary’s own promise.’ These words illumined my soul. I went on my knees. ‘If it is true. I will not leave this valley until I have propagated your rosary.’”
On October 7, 1871, the three hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, Bartolo Longo was enrolled in the third order of St. Dominic with the name Brother Rosary. Blessed Bartolo Longo would go on to share the Rosary most generously as a means to help people draw closer to Jesus through Mary.
While Bartolo never had children of his own, we do have his remarks as a young man that point to his desire for children and what his intention would be for raising them:
“…to start a truly Catholic family and, through marriage, to provide the Church with new sons and daughters and God with new worshippers.”
With this end in mind, along with Bartolo’s record as a true apostle of the Rosary, it is no stretch to infer that he would have taught his children how to effectively pray the Rosary.
How will I apply this? (The Challenge):
Step 1: I will begin by prayerfully reading Rosarium Virginis Mariae 41-42 on the Rosary as a prayer for the family.
Step 2: I will set aside 10 minutes daily, for the next two weeks, to invest in seeking the best way to share the Rosary with my family. Since my children are quite young, seeking an age-appropriate presentation is key.
Step 3: I will write down a plan for teaching my children how to effectively pray the Rosary.
Step 4: I will follow through by implementing the plan, noticing the results, and adjusting my method accordingly.
Some possible results:
- I may better see how teaching is a truly great way to learn – further stoking my motivation to teach great skills to my children.
- I may more effectively pray the Rosary myself – increasing the fruits of prayer in my own life.
- I may end up with an excellent strategy for teaching children how to effectively pray the Rosary – allowing me to provide a great help to other parents.