The rosary may be the most revered and widely practiced form of spirituality in the Catholic Church outside the sacraments. For centuries in every culture, country and parish it is prayed all the time. Our Lady of Fatima emphasized strongly, “pray the rosary.” The whole Fatima phenomenon has been elevated to a high level of worldwide importance as an Apostolate. Pope John Paul further endorsed Fatima by consecrating the world (and Russia) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A few years later, communism in that country crumbled, not the first victory in history for the rosary! No doubt Mary is our Mother, and the rosary is a powerful prayer and also a good means to grow spiritually.
However, I’m a bit confused by our Lord’s apparitions to St. Faustina only about a few decades after Fatima. He was very clear about wanting people to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and also instructed her to have the picture made. Interestingly, Pope John Paul is also interwoven with this story from early on, being bishop when St. Faustina’s cause was presented and such. He was an advocate of “Divine Mercy” and he promoted the chaplet (which had been suppressed earlier in the century) and elevated Faustina to Sainthood. He also instituted a new feast, Divine Mercy Sunday.
So, in the 20th century we have 2 seemingly (from human eyes) unrelated events, one involving the Mother of God in a most dramatic fashion (miracle of the sun, visions of hell, little children, etc) that promoted the rosary (and even stressed this more later, to Sr. Lucia with the introduction of the First Saturday Devotions in 1925). And the other actually involving divine intervention in Poland.
So, which is “better” to pray, the rosary or DMC? Does it matter? Is teh DMC the “new rosary”? Or are we supposed to say both, and how often?
Why would our Lord have all these revelations going on over this specific prayer to one woman, when Our Lady already created a worldwide furor by her appearance a very short time before? I know we can only speculate, but it seems strange.
I asked a priest once, if I had to choose, should I say the DMC or the rosary? Without hesitation, he gave the traditional Catholic answer you would expect: the rosary. But is not a prayer literally dictated by Our Lord Himself superior to any other, even the rosary?
I realize I am not asking a clear, specific question, but looking at two Church-endorsed (even encouraged) apparitions and trying to understand the connection between the two. What should be our attitudes toward these prayers in this perspective?
Any thoughts or ideas or insights…? Thanks!