“This month of October, during the Synod on Young People, helping young people discover the depth of the Rosary can be a beautiful opportunity.” For Father Frederic Fornos, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and of the Youth Eucharistic Movement, “the Pope’s request to world faithful to pray the Rosary every day in the month of October can occasion the rediscovery of the power of prayer.
Why has the Pope felt the need to make this request to faithful across the globe?
In the past years and months we experienced difficult situations inside the Church, which include cases of sexual abuse, abuse of power and conscience by members of the clergy, consecrated persons and lay faithful, coupled by internal divisions. As a result,
Church mission is ever more difficult and is being discredited.
Pope Francis has said that the devil, that always aims to divide us from God and among ourselves, is behind all this. We tend to forget it. We have internalized spiritual struggle at individual level, to the point of confining it to the level of personal psychological disorders, while we forgot “the mortal enemy of our human nature” (Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola n° 136) and its impact on individuals and at community level.
What is the guise of evil?
In Christian tradition evil is represented in different ways, as “Satanás”, the Hebrew word for “enemy”, or “Diábolos” in Greek, the one who divides or sows discord. In Biblical and spiritual tradition he is also referred to as the “seducer of the world”, the “maker of deceit” or “Lucipher” that comes in the deceptive guise of a seemingly good angel of light, while he is master in inducing deceit. In chapter 5 of the exhortation “Gaudete et exsultate“, the Pope says: “We will not admit the existence of the devil if we insist on regarding life by empirical standards alone, without a supernatural understanding (…)Hence, we should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea (…).He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities.”
Have people stopped praying?
They have. I think it’s a problem of our world and the fact that we devote little time to prayer, and do so hastily, without going deeper, heart to heart with the Lord, in the meditation of His Word, is a problem of Church mission. But this month of October Pope Francis is asking us to pray intensely, for, as he said in his homily in Santa Marta:
“Prayer is the weapon against the Great Accuser (…). Only prayer can defeat him.”
That’s why the Holy Father is asking us to pray to the Holy Virgin, “to protect ourselves under the cloak of the Holy Mother of God”, pronouncing the invocation Under Your Protection and with a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel.
Does prayer still hold value for young people?
It does for some. Others are yet to discover its depth. The Rosary, the contemplation of Christ with Mary, helps us have a deeper insight into the Gospel. Given the context in which we receive the Holy Father’s request to pray for the Church, this prayer helps us remain close to the Holy Virgin, who was present at the foot of the Cross. Sometimes, when faced with many difficulties, we are exposed to the temptation to escape from our problems. Mary helps us remain below the Cross, with her Son, in His Passion.
This month of October, during the Synod on Young People, helping young people discover the depth of the Rosary can be a beautiful opportunity.
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus used to say that the the Rosary is a long chain that links heaven and earth. One end of it is in our hands and the other end is in the hands of the Holy Virgin.
Who should teach people how to pray? Many families have stopped praying, and parishes…
People are not taught to pray because we don’t pray, or we pray very little. When young people see their parents or family members pray, they are transmitted this breath of the Heart. But if they never see an adult pray, or seek moments of silence, contemplation, it is difficult for them to find the way leading to prayer. There are parishes that occasionally hold prayer formation seminars.
It’s very important to know our spiritual Catholic tradition.
It’s an immense treasure that helps us in our spiritual struggles, without overlooking the Eastern Christian tradition..
Is the month of October a special time for prayer?
In fact October is a Marian month, with the feast of the Holy Rosary of the Virgin Mary, celebrated October 7. This month of October is all the more special with the Synod of Bishops on Young People, faith and discernment. We must pray the Holy Rosary for the Church every day, as Pope Francis has requested of us for this month, with a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for Church unity and for her mission in the world.