by Fr. Michael Doyle – All Saints, Newport
During the Rite of Ordination of a Deacon, the bishop hands the Book of the Gospels to the newly ordained Deacon and exhorts him to “… practice what you preach”. The parishioners of All Saints in Newport will no doubt have counted the number of times I have preached about getting to the very heart (the core) of the matter in prayer and the purity of intention that is asked of us all. At those moments I often leave the Lectern thinking “practice what you preach Doyle”.
In the past 24 hours I have had yet another reminder how being sincere in prayer, opening our hearts to the Lord with the innocence of a child, has some rather awesome effects. And it is something I would like to share.
I look after two of the four primary schools within the All Saints parish. I try to visit them regularly and support them as best I can. So October being the month of the Holy Rosary I wanted to do something special. I had flown to Rome for the first anniversary of my priesthood ordination and was determined to bring back rosaries for all the children in both schools. ‘Mission Impossible’ you say? Not really. Thanks to the generosity of the All Saints Praesidium and Cardiff Curia of the Legion of Mary, I had enough money to buy not only the 400 rosaries I needed, but also 400 leaflets on how to pray the rosary – for children! October came, I delivered the gifts to the schools, we blessed them during assembly and that was it as far as I was concerned … it was now down to the teachers.
Roll forward to 16th November. I am on the telephone with the head of one of the schools. During the conversation she says “Oh Father, by the way, I just wanted say how much the children enjoyed the rosary during October. In fact, a parent approached me and told me a story ….”. I was blown away by the story, so I have to share it with you; it goes something like this:
During the recent half term break, one boy was with his family and his mother noticed that he kept his back to his parents, as he did not want them to see what he was up to. When challenged, he turned around and his mother saw the child was holding a set of beads. When she asked him what it was and where he got it from, he told his mother it was a rosary and that he got it ‘in school’. She immediately thought he had taken it from another child, but he explained “No … Fr Mike gave everyone in the school one”. She was surprised and he went back to praying on the beads.
On his return to school, his mother verified the story with the headteacher. She then went on to tell the school that the family had been going through a rough time. She hadn’t understood how he had been staying so strong through it all; but now she believes it was all down to the power of the rosary, and she is grateful he has something to turn to for support.
Moral of the story?
Don’t underestimate the power of the rosary! And always remember the words of Jesus when you approach prayer “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:2-4). Purity of intention … there is so much we can learn from our children!