If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;Psalm 7:12-13
he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
We’ve talked about the history of our spiritual warfare, the warlike strengths that will get us through, and our strategies when engaging in a battle. Now, we’ll talk about our primary weapon in this battle, the Rosary.
The Rosary, Weapon of War
The Rosary has been described as our best weapon in Spiritual Warfare. We ask Mary–she who pondered everything in her heart–to help us meditate on the life of Christ. The Rosary drives the demons back, as though we brandished a sword in the midst of a host of angels. But how?
To answer this question, I will focus on the Hail Mary. It is the heart of the Rosary, and it gives us insight into this weapon’s power to preserve peace and joy against the Enemy’s attack.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee!”Luke 1:28
The first part of the prayer is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel. It recalls the announcement of the Incarnation, the coming of the Savior of mankind, the Prince of Peace. Here is the beginning of Satan’s defeat. In this moment, Mary’s response, her trusting “Yes”, undoes Satan’s refusal to serve.
By her humble acceptance of God’s plan, Mary paves the way for the peace required for each of us to enter Paradise. Every time we speak the angel’s words, we bring ourselves to that moment of quiet peace. And the devil is reminded of his complete failure to understand the ways of God.
“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!”Luke 1:42
This second line of the Hail Mary is the greeting from the mouth of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Why does she say this? Because her unborn son has made his first announcement; the one who would live and die to proclaim the coming of the world’s salvation has leaped with joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting (Luke 1:44).
From that day on, all generations have called Mary blessed (Luke 1:48). Every time we speak this line of the prayer, we recall the first announcement of joy and fulfill the prophecy of Mary’s Magnificat. The Good News of our freedom from evil continues to spread; the Word of God will not be contained.
Mary, Crusher of Satan’s Head
“Who is this that looks forth like the dawn,Song of Solomon 6:10
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
terrible as an army with banners?”
In his book True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort speaks of Mary as the perfect defense against the enemy. “Could anyone surrounded by a well-ordered army of, say, a hundred thousand men fear his enemies?” (210) Mary is the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of Angels.
Finally, he explains why Mary is such a powerful ally in our fight against our oldest enemy. “Satan, being so proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and punished by a lowly and humble servant of God, for her humility humiliates him more than the power of God.” (52)
Thus, the first two lines of the Hail Mary recall the beautiful greetings of Mary in Scriptures. Our repeated greetings throughout the Rosary call her powerful, loving attention to us. We ask for her prayers now and at the climax of our Spiritual Warfare, the hour of our death.
At the same time, we fight off Satan by reminding him of his worst failures, each time at the hands of the Lord’s little handmaiden. We ask her to bring us peace, joy, and confidence in our warfare. We hope that she will use us to fill up the void left by the devil and his angels by making us into more little soldiers to utterly defeat the devil’s malice in our world.