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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
There was a young man in a town in Italy who, from his earliest years, had embraced devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He often recited the rosary in her honor, and even joined the Confraternity of the Rosary. This holy devotion earned him a multitude of graces. But as he grew in age, he unfortunately ceased to grow in piety and virtue. Little by little he became lax, followed the corrupt customs of the world, and was no longer concerned about his salvation. Nevertheless, he continued to recite the rosary often, because of a habit he had acquired in childhood. Suddenly struck down by a fatal illness, he found himself reduced to the last extremity when he least expected it, and then, under what horrible aspect did he not see his sins rise up before him! He was appalled and began to despair of his salvation. He seemed to see the demons waiting for him in the most hideous forms, to drag him into the eternal abyss. Far from thinking of invoking God and His divine Mother, he cursed the hour in which he had been born and the graces he had received from heaven.
But, oh prodigy! the Mother of mercy whom he had not invoked, remembered his former devotion to Her. She appeared to him, put the demons to flight, and consoled him with a maternal kindness. The sick man heard Her say to Jesus: “It is true, My Son, that this poor sinner has offended You; it is true that his iniquities have earned him hell; but yet remember that, in spite of the unfortunate state of sin in which he found himself, he did not cease to recite My Rosary. I trust that this young man will change his life, that he will do penance for his sins; only deign to grant him the time necessary for this purpose.”
At these words Mary remained silent, and Jesus declared that She was heard. The young man recovered and lived with edification until death, under the auspices of his august Protectress, who had rescued him from the flames of hell.
Oh, how precious a heritage parents leave to their children when they teach them to recite the rosary from an early age! Is this not, in a way, bequeathing to them the key to heaven, since it gives them the means of obtaining the graces necessary for their perseverance in the good? And if they become unfaithful, all is not hopeless; if they preserve some remnant of devotion to Mary, it is permissible to hope that this tender Mother will remember their early years.