Today as I was praying the Holy Rosary I began to see why this simple devotion is so powerful.

I began to see how the Holy Rosary might heal our common sickness and bring healing to the whole world.

To understand how the healing works we first have to understand the sickness.

I call the sickness “the mother wound.” Each one of us comes into the world programmed to need and expect total and unconditional love. That’s the way we’re made. That is how we are wired. We have love-hunger. We need to be embraced in a love that is total, perfect and complete.

Even from our conception in the womb this is the love we crave and the embrace we need. Ideally therefore, the child is conceived within the warmth, love, security and divine grace of a pure, sacramental marriage. Husband and wife meet in the marital embrace and by God’s grace a child’s first moment sparks into life.

Then for nine months the child is nurtured in the mother’s womb. This should be a time of experiencing mother’s love beyond words. The mother should feel confident, happy and blessed to be pregnant. She should focus attention and care on the child growing in her womb. This should be nine months of rest and growth, nurturing and maturing in love.

The child is born and instantly he attaches to the mother’s breast and gazes at her and she on the child as the nourishment of food joins with the nurture of love and total, unconditional acceptance.

Very nice. Unfortunately this is not always what happens. Instead the child may be conceived in a drunken or drug-induced moment, through fornication or even through violence and rape. Consequently the child’s first moment of life is within the context of violence, rape or addiction. The nine months of gestation may be months in which the mother is filled with fear, loathes the pregnancy, tries to end it through abortion and is repulsed by the child within and rejects the child. This might be followed by further rejection, no breast feeding, neglecting the infant and ignoring its cries. The childhood may be full of further hatred, violence, abuse, fear and rejection.

Other societal pressures intervene. Women are taught that a child is a burden. They harden themselves against children through the use of contraception and abortion. They turn away from infant care —consigning their infants to day care because of harsh economic realities or if they are professional women they put the child into day care for the sake of their careers.

I am convinced that these problems and more — all of which are extremely complicated — have led to a breakdown of mothering in our society. And where there is a breakdown of mothering there is a famine of mother’s love and a deep “mother wound” in the hearts of many individuals — so much so that it now exists on a societal and global epidemic level.

So what happens when a child does not have a full and complete mother’s love? They have problems understanding what love really is. They never got the basics of that life experience and don’t know how to love. They don’t know how to relate to others. When it comes to learning how to love it is like a person trying to learn how to read Shakespeare without knowing the alphabet first.

Consequently, on a huge scale in our society, people don’t know how to love in a deep, pure and realistic way. Instead they dabble around in love trying to learn by trial and error. When things go wrong in love they go wrong sexually. Thus there is huge confusion about marriage, huge confusion about sexuality, huge confusion about gender roles, huge confusion about what a man is and what a woman is. Just look around and you will see it everywhere — young men who don’t know how to date girls, young women who have become predatory and promiscuous, young men and women who declare themselves to be homosexual or transgender, men and women who sleep together, marry, divorce, re-marry and divorce again, an epidemic of masturbation, pornography, prostitution, human trafficking and more.

Why is this? 

Because people have not learned the alphabet of love. With the breakdown of the family has come the dissolution of the mother’s love, and with the dissolution of mother’s love has come the inability to love and be loved in a natural, mature and joyful way.

So we are left with perversion.

Stay with me here, because it is all connected. Where does sexual perversion and confusion lead?

It leads to violence. It leads to the violence of sado-masochism. Why do people become sexually excited by being hurt or hurting other people? Because they are so confused in love that somewhere along the way they have learned that love is equated with violence. Maybe they were abused both sexually and physically in the home. The logic is simple — “Daddy beat me and abused me sexually. Daddies are supposed to be the ones who love us. Therefore beating and sexual abuse must be what love is all about.” See?

Sexual perversion eventually leads to violence. Why? Because ask yourself, “What happens when a person isn’t loved?”

Their capacity for love is replace by fear and fear leads to hatred of any threat and hatred of any threat causes the person to become violent.

Love dies and hatred and violence takes its place.

All that to say this: Here is how the Holy Rosary could heal the world:

The Rosary opens our hearts and minds to the perfect mother’s love. If the mother love is what is missing, the Holy Rosary replaces that in our lives. As we pray the Rosary, the grace and mercy of God seeps into our lives bit by bit. As we pray the joyful mysteries, Mary’s perfect mother love seeps in and fills up the gaps in our own experience of mother love. Was our mother abusive, neglectful, sick, angry or simply incapable of giving all the love we needed? Mary’s love experienced through the Holy Rosary can help to supplement and fill in for the love that is missing.

So it is as simple as praying the rosary. We pray the Rosary for ourselves, but we can also pray it for others and for the whole world. We can pray down Mary’s mother love for our family members, our parish, our community, our world.

If I am right that the missing component is the mother’s perfect love, then the Rosary can help to bring healing and reconciliation to this gaping wound in our lives.

If you would like to learn more about the practicality of this prayer you can read my book Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing.

But you needn’t do that.

Just promise to pray your Rosary every day — for your own healing and the healing of the whole world.