Our Lady of the Rosary, the Indispensable Prayer
How many times have you spent time with someone and suddenly realized that what seemed to be a few moments was in fact hours? The time speaking was just too delightful and the surprise when looking at a clock or watch attests that there, for that moment you’ve even escaped time — transcended it. I have debated over the years whether that could be a taste of Heaven, where there is no time. It makes sense for that feeling, when being with someone causes even time to fade away. I think nearly everyone has experienced this at least once. If you haven’t, then I hope you do. But, why is it when we think of saying a rosary, people nearly always focus on time?
I have gone through phases of life when I carry my rosary, but for some reason wouldn’t say it, instead carrying it with me, and the thought would always occur, it’s too much time. The image to the right came from an author who titled the photo, “My rosary beads, I haven’t used them in a while.” I think it is part of human nature to know that even though it is simple, it is spending time. The reward, however, is that that time is very well spent in Heaven!
Over the years I have grown to love the Rosary. There really is no richer devotion that is so well suited to any state of life, in nearly any circumstance, wherever you are that at the same time offers such rich meditation, rich results, and well, so many miracles, signal graces, and just powerful results. Seriously!
That’s not merely my opinion, though. Even though I experience it, the Church has long recognized this powerhouse of the spiritual life! Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Explains Father Hardon on the origin of this feast:
The Feast of the Holy Rosary was instituted by the Dominican Pope St. Pius V. As a member of the Order of Preachers, he had inherited a great devotion to the Holy Rosary from St. Dominic. He knew that it was devotion to the Rosary that saved the Church in Western Europe in the thirteenth century from the plague of Albigensianism. This was the heresy that claimed two gods, good and evil: a good god created a world of the spirit, and an evil god the material world, including the human body, which is under the control of the wicked deity. Albigensianism was overcome, in large measure, by the preaching of the Dominicans and their promotion of the Rosary.
Pope St. Pius V saw that the Muslims were bent on taking over the Western world. So he urged the faithful to beg Our Lady of the Rosary to spare Christian Europe from being overtaken by Islam. In 1571, the Christian forces won the historic battle of Lepanto against the overwhelming Muslim navies. The Holy Father saw this as a miraculous intervention by the Blessed Virgin. He therefore instituted the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.
We’ve discussed Lepanto here many times. But, check out Fr. Hardon’s next whammy!
The Muslims of 1571 sought to destroy the heart of Christianity.
Continuing with Fr. Hardon’s explanation of the feast:
In order to appreciate the significance of the Battle of Lepanto, we must realize why the Muslims wanted to take over Europe. They saw Europe as a stronghold of Christianity. They saw Europe as a stronghold of idolatry. They saw Europe as an enemy that must be conquered as the will of Allah. They saw Europe as an enemy, which their sacred Koran told them to either convert from its idolatry or destroy. They saw Europe as a grand opportunity to convert people to Islam and therefore away from the idolatry of Christianity.
Why did (and do) Muslims think that Christians were (and are) idolaters? Because Christians believe that Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus, but the Mother of God. Muslims do not believe that the Son of Mary is the Son of God. Because, in Islam, Isa (Jesus) is the Ibn Mariam (Son of Mary) but is not the Ibn Allah (Son of God).
It was the Christians’ faith in Mary as the Mother of God, expressed by their ardent recitation of the Rosary, which saved Christian Europe from being taken over by the non-Christian Muslims.
Hmmm. Seems like an appropriate remedy today, doesn’t it? And have no doubts in Mary’s long held pedigree as the Triumphant Leader and Victorious Leader. Aside from that issue, today, of Christians being destroyed in their homes and churches, even priests, there is more here. The rosary is a principal devotion of the Church — it is also highly prized by saints for its incredible power.
Explains my trusty old catechism, on the origin of the Rosary itself:
The hermits of the first centuries, who could not read the psalter, used to recite one Our Father and one Hail Mary in the place of every psalm; and in order to note the number they had said, they made use of small stones, or of seeds strung on a cord. St. Dominic was the first who made the custom general of substituting one hundred and fifty Hail Marys for the one hundred and fifty psalms; hence the rosary used to be called the Psalter of Mary. When, about the year 1200, the heresies of the Albigenses wrought great mischief in the south of France and the north of Italy, St. Dominic was commissioned by the Pope to preach in refutation of their erroneous tenets. His efforts availed little, and he besought the aid of the Mother of God. She appeared to him, and bade him make use of the rosary as a weapon against her enemies. He accordingly introduced it everywhere, and before long it had effected the conversion of more than a hundred thousand heretics. The use of the Rosary soon spread throughout Christendom, and it became a most popular devotion.
It is a method of prayer at once simple and sublime; the prayers are so easy that a child can repeat them, and the mysteries are so profound that they supply a subject for meditation to the most learned theologians. It is a prayer of contemplation as well as a prayer of supplication, for it places before the mind the principal truths of the faith. The Rosary is a compendium of the Gospels; a complete and practical manual of instruction wherein the chief points of Christian doctrine are presented under the guise of prayer. By meditation on the events of Our Lord’s life faith and charity are in creased; from the example of our divine Redeemer we learn to be humble, gentle, obedient; we are incited to imitate the virtues which the mysteries teach, to strive after what they promise us. Moreover the union of vocal and mental prayer makes the Rosary easy, pleasant, and profitable. As a method of prayer it is unrivaled; the longer and more devoutly it is practised, the more one appreciates its excellence and becomes convinced of its supernatural origin.
It is useful, too. As I said above, it is POWERFUL. But don’t take my word on it, read instead this digest of praises:
The Rosary is a most useful devotion, for by it we obtain great graces and sure help in time of trouble; many indulgences are besides attached to it. The Rosary is a very treasury of graces.
Many sinners owe their conversion to it. It possesses marvelous power to banish sin and restore the transgressor to a state of grace. By it the just grow in virtue. All the saints who have lived subsequently to the institution of the Rosary have been assiduous in its use, and this may have contributed largely to their sanctification. Several holy bishops and servants of God are known to have pledged themselves by vow to recite it daily; St. Charles Borromeo, despite the numerous and pressing duties of his position, recited it every day with the seminarists and the members of his household.
Blessed Clement Hofbauer was accustomed to say the Rosary while passing through the streets of Vienna, and rarely did he recite it in vain for the conversion of a sinner. It is recorded of several distinguished officers and victorious commanders that they never engaged in battle without first saying the Rosary, and to this they attributed their military successes.
The Rosary has been called “the thermometer of Christianity,” for the reason that where it is diligently recited faith is ardent, and good works are manifest; and where it is neglected religion is at a low ebb. In seasons of general calamity, miraculous aid has been granted to Christendom by means of the Rosary; this was especially the case in wars with the Turks, the victory of Lepanto (1571), the deliverance of Vienna (1683), the victory of Belgrade were all owing to the power of the Rosary.
It was said that the beads of the chaplet did more execution than the bullets of the soldiers. [!]
It was in thanksgiving for these victories that the Holy See instituted the feast of the Holy Rosary on the first Sunday in October. Pope Sixtus IV. declared that many dangers which threatened the world are averted, and the wrath of God is appeased by the prayers of the Rosary.
Our Holy Father Leo XIII. says that, as in St. Dominic’s time the Rosary proved a sure remedy for the evils of the age, so it may now effect much towards the amelioration of the ills that afflict society. Every one who recites the Rosary must feel its supernatural power; there is no prayer which affords more consolation in affliction, more tranquillity to the troubled breast. It soothes in sorrow, it imparts the peace spoken of in the Gospel. Another proof of its excellence is the hatred and contempt wherewith unbelievers regard it. The devil incites them to decry what is a fruitful source of grace to the Christian, and by which souls are wrested from his grasp.
The Rosary has been richly indulgenced by the Holy See, and the recital of it strongly urged upon the faithful. An indulgence of a hundred days may be gained for every Pater and Ave, if five consecutive decades be said, on a properly indulgenced rosary. Our Holy Father Leo XIII. ha[d] decreed that every day during the month of October, the Rosary, together with the litany of Loretto, be said in church either during the parish Mass, or in the afternoon, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. For every time of assisting at this devotion seven years and seven quarantines are granted. Pope Pius IX. bequeathed, as a legacy to the faithful, this admonition: “Let the Rosary, this simple, beautiful method of prayer, enriched with many indulgences, be habitually recited of an evening in every household. These are my last words to you; the memorial I leave behind me.”
Again he said: “In the whole of the Vatican there is no greater treasure than the Rosary.”
That last part about the devotion urged by Pope Leo XIII has obviously been abrogated or ignored in most of America, and one has to wonder to what extent the troubles today are due this misfeasance.
Again and again, in all the major apparitions of Mary, it has been her that has brought the rosary as our prayer: Lourdes, St. Dominic, Fatima, and on and on!
Father Hardon brings up this very fact, starting with an observation by Pope:
Pope Benedict XV is outstanding for advocating the apostolate of the Rosary. He says that, “The Rosary is the perfect prayer.” It recognizes Mary as the Mother of God who wants nothing more than for those who have strayed from her Son to return to His embrace. The Rosary invokes Mary as the Mediatrix of all graces, including the graces of conversion.
It was not coincidental that when Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, she was fingering the beads of the Rosary and invited Bernadette to join her. The year was 1858, when France and other countries of Western Europe had become victims of the anti-Christian virus of the French Revolution.
It is also not coincidental that the Basilica at Lourdes is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. The countless miracles of healing that have taken place at Lourdes in the past century and a half are only external witnesses to the deeper wonders of spiritual healing through the recitation of Mary’s Rosary.
The same is true of Our Lady’s message at Fatima. During her apparitions to the three peasant children, she told them to tell the faithful to do penance and pray the Rosary. Otherwise the world would be chastised for its sins. She also told the children that when we recite the Rosary, we should add between the decades what has now become a standard practice in the Catholic Church. We are to pray, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell, and bring all souls to heaven, especially those who most need Your Mercy.”
Sanctification of Believers. The apostolate of the Rosary is also directed to the sanctification of the mass of believing Christians. If there is one truth of faith taught by the Second Vatican Council it is the fact that we are called not only to salvation, by escaping hell, but to sanctification by our imitation of Jesus Christ.
What about you? Have you said your rosary today? Want to be like an angel?
Is it the time? Don’t worry about that. Spend those few fleeting moments in Heaven with your Mother, her Son, and the angels. In such a simple way, reciting the rosary is like the angels, explains my old catechism:
The Rosary is well pleasing to God, because of its humility, and because it is an imitation of the unceasing song of praise sung by the angels.
The Rosary is the prayer of the humble, for in it well-known truths are simply stated and constantly repeated. The proud despise it, but God, Who looks down on the low things (Ps. cxii. 6), approves it. It is an imitation of the angel’s song: we read in Holy Scripture that the angelic choirs cry to one another: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts; all the earth is full of His glory” (Is. vi. 3). And when we recite the Rosary, we praise the Mother of God in a similar manner. It is beyond a doubt that this form of prayer is most acceptable to the Mother of God, for when she appeared at Lourdes she had a rosary in her hand. Pope Pius IX unhesitatingly asserts that it is her gift to men, and she loves no other prayer as well.
Father Hardon ardently insisted that the rosary was a vehicle of miracles. MIRACLES. It’s easy to see why, given that you spend time with her — let her melt that time away with a taste of Heaven.
He urged an apostleship of prayer. Read this exhortation from Fr. Hardon:
All that I have said was not only an exhortation to say the Rosary. Absolutely not! I am pleading with you to become apostles of the Rosary. Promote the Rosary. Urge the Rosary. Teach the Rosary. Shall I say, advertise the Rosary. It is through the Rosary that we can bring countless souls back to Christ from whom they have strayed. It is through the Rosary that we can make them lovers of Christ through the mediation of His Mother, the Mother of Miracles since the marriage feast at Cana even to the dawn of eternity.
I’m urging you as well: Say your rosary, and encourage everyone you know to do so, too!
First Photo by MoHotta18
Photo by Lawrence OP
Photo by Lawrence OP
This article, Our Lady of the Rosary, the Indispensable Prayer is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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