ROSARY MEDITATIONS FOR SPIRITUAL BATTLE Fr. Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of Rome, has recalled that one of his colleagues heard the Devil say during an exorcism: “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.”5
The following Rosary meditations are designed to enhance the effect of those prayers by a consideration of each mystery in light of our spiritual warfare.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Our Lady
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb and shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father . . . and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:30–33). The first Eve believed the lies of the Serpent, and so began the battle with our ancient Enemy for the eternal destiny of her children (see Gen 3:1–7). But Our Blessed Lady, the new Eve, believed God’s word, announced by the angel Gabriel. By faith she conceived the Son of God, who crushed the Serpent’s head and won a kingdom that will never end. Have I too placed my faith in that King? Have I committed myself to do battle for His kingdom?
The Visitation of Our Lady to Elizabeth
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . . because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. . . . He has shown might with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly” (Lk 1:46–47, 49, 51–52). God created the angelic hosts and gave them heavenly thrones of power and authority to administer creation for Him. But the angel Lucifer and his allies imagined in their wicked pride that they could rebel against God and take His place (see Is 14:12–15). When Our Lady met Elizabeth, she praised God’s saving power, who scattered the proud demons, cast them down to hell from their thrones, and raised up instead the redeemed of the lowly human race, so that we might reign with Him. Have I joined our Blessed Mother in that song of praise? Do I share her confidence in God’s triumph over evil?
The Nativity of Our Lord
For this reason the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the Devil (1 Jn 3:8). Heaven’s strategy to overthrow Satan’s kingdom was brilliant in its humility: The glorious Son of God came to earth quietly, not in a king’s palace or a grand temple, not adorned in gold and purple, but born to an obscure peasant girl, wrapped in makeshift clothes, laid in a dusty manger. In his immense pride, the Devil was taken by surprise: He could not understand, he could not anticipate, that God would humble Himself this way for the sake of a weak and wayward human race (see 1 Cor 1:26). Does my pride make me vulnerable to Satan’s snares? Or do I imitate Our Lord’s humility, so that I too can confound the Enemy?
The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And your own soul a sword shall pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34–35). When Our Lady and St. Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, the aged Simeon warned them of the great spiritual conflict that had begun. In the fierce warfare between the Dawn from on High and the rulers of darkness (see Lk 1:78; Eph 6:12), many would rise and many would fall; and the mother of our Champion would herself bear unspeakable wounds in union with His agony on the field of battle. When I am wounded in battle, do I join my suffering to that of our Blessed Mother and her Son? Do I recognize that only by God’s grace can I be numbered among those who rise, rather than those who fall?
The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
And not finding Him, they returned to Jerusalem in search of Him. And it came to pass after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. . . And He said to them, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Lk 2:45–46, 49). Even at such a young age, Jesus knew who He was and what business He was about. He understood and embraced the mission His Father had given Him. Am I aware of the battle that rages around me (see Eph 6:10–21)? How can I fight at Our Lord’s side and share in His victory unless I too know my place in His army, recognize my mission, and follow His commands?
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony in the Garden
And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven to strengthen Him. And falling into an agony He prayed all the more earnestly. And His sweat became like drops of blood running down upon the ground. And rising from prayer He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation” (Lk 22:43–46). In the hour of His greatest trial, Our Lord was no doubt tempted by the Devil to turn away from the cup of horror that He must drink. He prayed earnestly, and His Father answered those prayers through the ministry of an angel sent to strengthen Him. Meanwhile, the disciples had allowed their deep sorrow to numb them; having failed to pray that they would not enter into temptation, they would soon succumb to it, abandoning their Master to His murderers. Do I seek the powerful assistance of the angels and saints when I must wage war against the Enemy’s temptations and other assaults? Do I ever allow sorrow, fear, or doubt to paralyze me so that I falter in prayer?
The Scourging at the Pillar
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed. . . . Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul to death (Is 53:5, 12). How sharp is the grief of realizing that Our Lord was scourged because of my sins! And yet how sweet is the consolation of knowing that by His stripes, my sins are forgiven, my soul is healed, and my spiritual Adversary is overthrown. The meek Lamb of God who poured out His soul to death has become the conquering Lion of Judah who divides the spoil with the strong (see Rv 5:5–10). Am I faithful to seek God’s mercy often through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (see Jas 5:16) so that, through Christ’s stripes, I can be healed? Do I make a sincere confession and practice heartfelt penance to strengthen my will against the snares of the Tempter?
The Crowning With Thorns
And I saw heaven standing open; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and with justice He judges and wages war. And His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems. . . . He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood . . . And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rv 19:11–12, 16). The crown of thorns placed in mockery upon Our Lord’s head is now transformed: The Lamb who was slain comes as a conquering Warrior King, wearing glorious diadems on His head, with His robe dipped in the precious Blood whose irresistible power crushes the demon host. All authority in heaven and on earth is now His, and every knee must bow, every tongue confess that He is King of kings and Lord of lords (see Phil 2:10–11). Do I find courage to persevere daily in the strength of this divine Warrior, my King? Do I hope in His promise that those who share His triumph will one day exchange their own thorny crowns for glorious crowns of righteousness (see 2 Tim 4:8)?
The Carrying of the Cross
But as for me, God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal 6:14). The spiritual battle is waged not just against the Devil but also against “the passions of the flesh, which wage war against [the] soul” (1 Pt 2:11), and the false attractions of the world, which we must fight to overcome (see 1 Jn 5:4–5). To combat these enemies, Our Lord calls us to deny ourselves and take up our own cross—a share in His cross—in order to follow Him (see Mt 16:28). Through daily, sacrificial self-denial, the flesh and the world become dead to us, and we to them. Do I make self-denying sacrifices, seeking the detachment that will allow me to triumph over the flesh and the world? Do I see my sufferings as splinters of Christ’s cross, to be born with patience and hope?
Because children have blood and flesh in common, so He in the same way has shared in these, so that through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is, the Devil; and might deliver them who, throughout their life, were kept in servitude by fear of death (Heb 2:14–15). Fear of losing someone or something we love can enslave us, weakening our will to choose what is right. So fear of death is the greatest bondage of all, because death poses as the loss of all we hold dear. But on the Cross, God Himself has tasted death on our behalf, mastering it and overcoming the Enemy through whom death first entered the world. Death has lost its power over us, because we know that beyond death lies life everlasting for those who are in Christ. Can I face the Devil without fear because I know that his weapon of death has lost its sting (see 1 Cor 15:55)? Do I firmly believe that all those who share in Christ’s death will also share in His resurrection (see Rom 6:5)?
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection of Our Lord
Christ has risen from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . . For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made to live. But each in his own turn, Christ as first-fruits, then those who are Christ’s, who have believed, at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He does away with all sovereignty, authority, and power. For He must reign until “He has put all things under His feet” (1 Cor 15:20, 22–25). If Christ had not been raised from the dead, our faith would be futile (see 1 Cor 15:17). The Devil, wielding death as his weapon, would have won the battle for our redemption, and all would be lost. But Christ has indeed been raised, and the head of the ancient Serpent was crushed by the stone that rolled away from the empty tomb. That morning saw the dawn of a new creation, in which every power opposed to God will at last be vanquished, and the One who triumphed over the grave will reign forever. When the world all around me appears to be still in the grip of the Evil One, do I hold fast to the hope that his days are numbered? When the Devil reminds me of my past, do I remind him of his future?
The Ascension of Our Lord
Thus it says, “Ascending on high, He led away captives; He gave gifts to men.”. . . He who descended, He it is who ascended also above all the heavens, that He might fill all things (Eph 4:8, 10). The ascension of Our Lord was the return of the King of Glory to His eternal throne. As heaven’s gates were thrown open to receive Him, He brought in His train His vanquished demonic foes in chains. Like the victorious kings of old, Christ made a spectacle for all the subjects of His kingdom to watch, for through the Cross He had disarmed the demonic principalities and powers, and made a public example of them (see Col 2:15). If Christ is now triumphantly seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven, where He intercedes for us, am I confident of His powerful intercession for me? Am I certain that in Him, I am more than a conqueror, and nothing—not even demonic angels, principalities, and powers—can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (see Rom 8:34, 37–39)?
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
And I send forth upon you the promise of My Father. But wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high (Lk 24:49). Who descended at Pentecost to clothe the disciples with power? It was the same Holy Spirit of God who had broken the Israelites’ bondage and delivered them from death when He parted the Red Sea and overwhelmed Pharaoh’s chariots; the Spirit who had come upon the warrior judges of old to defeat the enemies of God’s people, and had come upon young David to vanquish Goliath; the Spirit by whose power Our Lady had conceived the Savior, and by whose power the Savior had been raised from the dead. Do I try to fight this fierce spiritual war on my own? Or do I rely on the Holy Spirit’s unlimited power to overcome my foes, because He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world (see 1 Jn 4:4)?
The Assumption of Our Lady
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, so that when she had brought forth he might devour her son. And she brought forth a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God. . . . And the dragon was angered at the woman, and went away to wage war with the rest of her offspring (Rv 12:4–6, 17). In the Book of Revelation, the great panorama of our spiritual battlefield unfolds, displaying the age-old enmity between the Serpent and the Woman. Our Blessed Lady, clothed with the sun (see Rv 12:1), enters the fray by giving birth to the Warrior King. The Dragon, that ancient Serpent, seeks to swallow her Son in the tomb, but He breaks free from the bonds of death and ascends to His heavenly throne. His mother, too, escapes the Devil’s grasp; her body defies death’s corruption, and with her soul is assumed into heaven to join her Son. If I remain in Christ, my mortal body will also put on immortality and be clothed with the radiance of heaven (see 1 Cor 15:53–55; Dan 12:2–3). But while the Dragon still makes war with me here on earth, am I making that body a weapon of righteousness? Or am I yielding it to my spiritual enemies to use against me (see Rom 6:12–14)?
The Crowning of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven
He who overcomes, I will permit him to sit with Me upon My throne; as I also have overcome and have sat with My Father on His throne (Rv 3:21). The King of the universe, having returned to His throne in heaven, welcomed Our Lady there as His Queen Mother. Full of grace, she had conquered the ancient Serpent, and so He fulfilled His promise to crown her with a share in His unfading glory (see 1 Pt 5:4), and to seat her at His side on His throne. Yet even though her place there is unrivaled, far above the angels and other saints, she waits to welcome all her children to their own abundant share in her Son’s glory and authority. Do I turn with trust to the Queen of Heaven to intercede for me and assist me, the Queen of the angels who continually come to my aid? Do I recognize that even now, because I am in Christ, I am seated with Him in heavenly places, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion (see Eph 1:16–22, 2:5–6)?
After the prayers of this final decade, conclude with these additional prayers: Hail, Holy Queen . . . St. Michael, the Archangel . . . Angel of God, my guardian dear . . . And this final acclamation: Christ conquers! Christ reigns! Christ rules!
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare . TAN Books. Kindle Edition.