You guys, Satan hates Our Lady.
Last Saturday, I finished a 54-day Rosary Novena. That is all grace because, believe me, I am not a natural Rosarier. When I wrote that How to Pray the Rosary When You’re Really Bad At It, I wasn’t empathising with anyone or remembering how things used to be. No, I was just really bad at praying the Rosary.
But I had this intention and I knew it needed prayer, serious prayer. When a friend suggested the Officially Impossible Rosary Novena (as I like to think of it), I knew I had to do it. As you may know, a 54-day Rosary Novena is praying the Rosary every day for 54 day. The first 27 days are three novenas (a novena is a nine day period of prayer) of petition. The second 27 days are three more novenas but in thanksgiving.
Minutes after I made the decision, I also knew it was the right one.
Satan went troppo.
Immediately, my mind was filled with doubts and accusations. “What a stupid idea, you’ll never be able to do that, you idiot. And even if you do, what do you expect? You’ll just end disappointed.” But it got worse. Satan whispered, “Mary doesn’t care about you. Why would she? She’s the all-pure Queen of Heaven and Earth, and you? Well, we know what you are…”
“Everything she’s not.”
Satan really does hate Our Lady. She is our mother and the devil, the father of lies, can’t stand that truth. He will do anything to put a wedge between us and her maternal gentleness. He hates the Rosary because it’s her prayer and because it’s all about meditating on the life of Christ. And He really hates Jesus.
I found the first three novenas surprisingly manageable. I had to make an effort to pray all five decades each day, of course, but surprisingly (see above re: my worryingly high novena fail rate), it was not the impossible task I thought it would be.
The last three novenas, however, were another story. These three novenas are prayed in thanksgiving. Whether your prayers seem to have been answered or not, you still offer your Rosary in thanksgiving. Every day, at the beginning of the Rosary, I prayed,
O Holy Queen, Dispenser of God’s graces. and Mother of all who invoke thee! thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my thanksgiving; from thy bounty thou hast given me the favour I so earnestly and trustingly sought. I despaired not of what I asked of thee, and thou hast truly shown thyself my Mother.
This is when God really starting testing my faith.
When we pray the Rosary, we are seeking to become more like Jesus through Mary’s prayers and her example. She is the first and perfect Christian — the one who loves Jesus Christ with all her heart, mind, soul and strength. This means following Our Lady in her faith as well. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and she said Yes to the Lord and to bearing the Saviour of the World, she couldn’t see the results. “The angel left her.” (Luke 1:38) Then it was just Mary, sitting there alone, pregnant with the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. She had to trust God’s word to her: “Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
In the same way, God was asking me to trust Him. I couldn’t see the results of my prayers. From a worldly perspective, I couldn’t see anything. But my Maker was calling to my heart, Trust Me, daughter. Trust Me to know what’s best and to deliver to you every grace, every gift I have planned for you. Trust My goodness. Trust My timing. Trust Me.
You see, I find it easy to pray “earnestly”. I find it much more difficult to pray “earnestly and trustingly.” But if the Lord, through our Lady’s prayers, has pressed anything into my heart these past fifty-four days, it is this: the will of God is good, pleasing, and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
His will is good because He desires my true good above all. What He has planned is far better than whatever plots or machinations I’ve dreamt up. His will is pleasing because it’s only in His will that I find my joy. His will is perfect because it doesn’t need any improvements or suggestions. The Most High ain’t making this up as He goes along. His perfect will is to bring me to perfection in love. What more could I ever want than to be perfectly loved by and perfectly loving the God who is Love?
The most important thing I prayed during this whole novena might have been that short line from Our Father: “Your will be done.” Not mine, Lord, never my will. We both knows what happens when I try that way. No, Your will be done because, Lord, I surrender and I trust You.
I still haven’t received my request. It could be a while before I do and it may look very different from what I imagine. Right now, by God’s grace, I’m okay with that.
I know that my Blessed Mother is right beside me, praying for me and with me. I know that Jesus is before me, leading me gently with such love.
And I know that Satan is kicking and screaming somewhere in the depths of hell because, thanks to a 54-Day Rosary Novena, this girl is surrendering her heart more and more to the Lord God. With our Lady, terror of demons, I pray serviam.
Jesus, I trust in You.