Whilst praying the Rosary this morning, I had an unexpected insight.
I had been reading an article on the Israeli self-defense system Krav Maga and a phrase had stayed with me that a ‘well-trained practitioner of Krav Maga is basically a walking human weapon” My insight was that praying the Rosary was our equivalent in the realm of the spiritual life.
Many of the traditional martial arts are primarily defensive; derived from a philosophy or observations in nature and tend to take many years to master; it becomes a way of life. They also tend to be quite precise and elegant in movement. Transplanting them to western culture it becomes competitive with tournaments and grades and so on.
Krav Maga on the other hand was developed out of necessity by a Jewish chap in Slovakia to protect their communities from fascist anti-Semitic thugs who attacked them in the run-up to the second world war. It is the ‘blunt force trauma’ of martial arts, which has only one objective- to neutralize an attack (with multiple attackers in mind) and render them unable to continue. It is easily learned and improved with practice.
Within the church we do have our own experts in the martial arts of prayer; like the desert fathers who spent their whole lives in fasting and contemplation and today’s monks and religious sisters whose life of prayer is derived from that and continue to hold the world together by their intercession and holiness and inflict great violence on the enemy.
For the ordinary man in the street though, we have the Rosary, our means to weaponise our prayer life, to neutralize the attacks of the evil one on our own lives on a daily basis. The reality is that we are all in this fight, like it or not, acknowledge it or not, and to protect ourselves and our families is essential. Particularly for men; the heads of families need to enter into this. Let your sons see you praying the Rosary so they will learn it too and become “well trained practitioners, walking weapons.”