Praying The Holy Rosary – benefits, importance in my life
In 1999 I was sent, together with another Indian priest, Fr. Joseph John Manjadiyil, from Rome to the Philippines by our then Abbot General Rev.Fr. Andrea Pantaloni osb, to begin a monastery of our Congregation in Cebu, up on the invitation of Archbishop Cardinal Vidal of Cebu. When we came here we had no friends, no language, no influence, no land and no home to live in. My only help was a Rosary bought from Fatima. And it worked miracles in my life.
And during the early pioneering years, life was hard in every sense of the word. And it had a telling effect on my health. On February 14, 2005 I had a massive heart attack with a long hospitalization in intensive care. Again on November 20, 2007 I underwent a bypass surgery in a well known Hospital in Cebu. Apparently everything went well. But six days after my surgery, a new nurse, by mistake, gave me the wrong medicine and I went into a coma and clinically died.
This is what I remember about my encounter with death. I felt I was seated in the lap of an ancient being almost like being seated in an easy chair. I felt very comfortable and I did not feel any fear. There were two friendly beings on my both sides, who to me, seemed like life-long companions. I did not see them clearly, but I could very well feel their presence. Slowly we lifted from the earth and went high. I remember seeing mountains and rivers far below. We were going very fast and straight forward. It was all a pleasant experience. Soon I could see far in the horizon a bright light ahead of me similar to the sky at dawn. When we were almost near the border of this glowing land of light, something suddenly stopped my onward journey. Instantly I knew that it was the statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
I did not see the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But I knew that it was she, because I could recognize the semi globular base of the statue, in front of which I used to pray the Rosary daily. In an instant I saw that I was entangled in a net. I tried my best to shake and break and get out of it. I was like a little insect caught in a spiderâ€™s web. The more I tried, the more I got entangled. Then I saw this net was made of Rosaries. There were all kinds of Rosaries, gold and silver, big and small, white and black, wooden and plastic and hundreds and hundreds of them. I could not move my hand or leg, I was so badly entangled. I did not know that at that very moment hundreds and hundreds of people were praying the Rosary for me all over the world.
In my struggle to break free, I did not notice when my unearthly companions disappeared. Suddenly I opened my eyes, and I saw that I was caught in a web of all kinds of tubes and pipes and medical equipments in the intensive care unit of the hospital. Two nurses were holding my hands strongly that I may not throw off the various kinds of medical gadgets attached all over my body! I was back to life again. And of course, I had a long hospitalization after that, and a longer recovery period.
I had known the power of the Rosary from my early childhood. After becoming a priest I always had a Rosary around my neck. When I was asked by my superiors to go to the Philippines I was happy. I knew that this is the only Catholic country in Asia with a very deep Marian devotion. From the first day of our arrival in the Philippines, we used to recite the Holy Rosary daily together with the local people.
Finally, some generous benefactors built a Rosary Center next to our monastery. This Rosary Center has twenty life-size paintings of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. This Center is dedicated to Our Lady of Manaoag of the Holy Rosary. Hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims now come here daily to pray the Holy Rosary here, and with many reported miracles.
Previously too in my priestly life, I had experienced the power of the Holy Rosary in moments of danger. In October 1992, I was riding a bicycle through a remote village, some 40 Km from Ranchi city in North India, on a Vocation promotion campaign. As I was going down a steep road in a very isolated area, suddenly a group of young robbers encircled me and stopped my cycle. They had wooden clubs in their hands. From their look I knew that they would beat me to death any moment. Looking around, I saw also other bicycles and a charcoal truck that were destroyed in looting.
One hefty fellow, who seemed to be the leader, pulled open my shirt to see whether I had any gold chain on my neck. I had a brown Rosary on my neck. As soon as the man saw the Rosary, it was as though he got a shock and took off his hand instantly. They murmured something in their tribal language and in a second they disappeared into the jungle, leaving me still trembling in the middle of a lonely forest road.
In 1997, one day I took the monastery jeep to go to the city. On the way it started to rain and so I decided to return. As I reversed, I could not see behind me well due to the tall grass, and before I could realize what was happening, the jeep fell into a twenty feet deep pit. When the rescuers took me out of the jeep I regained consciousness and mysteriously the Rosary on my neck was entangled on the steering wheel, as though I was tied to it.
Why the Rosary was not broken, I do not understand even to this day! Some hundred odd laborers working on the neighboring farm came running to help, and within a few minutes they pushed and pulled and brought the jeep back to the road again. There was not even a scratch on me or on the jeep!
My intention to write these experiences of mine is to help you also to grow in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by praying the Holy Rosary.
God may be glorified in everything. And may the Holy Mother of God help you.
– – – written by Fr. Thomas Thekkumthottam OSB