First thing I did when my son said he would need surgery was to ask my best friend, the prayerful one, for prayers. Her answer shocked me. “Two thousand Hail Marys,” she promised.
The 2,000 Hail Marys devotion goes back to 1933. It was started by a Salesian seminarian in Barcelona, Spain, and is anchored on the Virgin Mother’s intercession, as good as a warranty, that “any grace will be granted.” Thus did my son undergo the delicate and relatively rare procedure and come through with flying colors. Of course, the scope of the prayers included blessing the skills of his surgeons and their team.
My friend’s long chains of Hail Marys are prayed every first Saturday in their church in Vinzons, Camarines Norte, or in any designated home. Yes, her rosary is unusually long.
When I read about Pope Francis’ rosary marathon May 1-31 to ask for Blessed Mother’s help in stopping the pandemic, the 2,000 Hail Marys for my son immediately came to mind. The power of prayer is not to be underestimated or underrated. To my simple mind, if the war being waged by the world today is against an unseen enemy, it will take an unseen power to vanquish it. “Look not upon the sins of your church, but on the faith of your people.”
The Pope’s rosary marathon is live-streamed every day on the FB page of Vatican News at 1600GMT from shrines across the world, including Fatima, Portugal; Lourdes, France; and Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. , where an image of our own Lady of Good Voyage of Antipolo is enshrined. In the Philippines, our participating shrine is none other than Antipolo.
Praying alone is good, praying in a group is better. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” By Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s mathematical assumptions – he was a physicist as much as a metaphysicist – if you gather 7,000 people in one place, the goal of their meditation becomes more easily attainable and achievable. No need to split hairs, really, as meditation is a form of prayer. To quote a meditator who was a devout Catholic, “Prayer is talking to God, meditation is waiting to hear God.”
In God’s time we wait.