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St. Louis de Montfort, in his Secret of the Rosary, recounts the story of the establishment of the Confraternity of the Rosary in Cologne. There, the venerable Fr. James Sprenger had been trying to establish the confraternity, but he met opposition from local priests.
St. Bonaventure says in his “Psalter” that whoever neglects our Lady will die in his sins. What, then, must be the punishment in store for those who turn people away from devotion to her?
While St. Dominic was preaching the Rosary in Carcassone, a heretic made fun of his miracles and the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, and this prevented other heretics from being converted. As a punishment God allowed fifteen thousand devils to enter the man’s body.
His parents took him to Father Dominic to be delivered from the evil spirits. He started to pray and he begged everyone who was there to say the Rosary out loud with him, and at each Hail Mary our Lady drove a hundred devils out of the man, and they came out in the form of red-hot coals.
After he had been delivered, he abjured his former errors, was converted and joined the Rosary Confraternity. Several of his associates did the same, having been greatly moved by his punishment and by the power of the Rosary.
The venerable Fr. James Sprenger and the religious of his order were zealously working to re-establish devotion to the Rosary and its Confraternity in the city of Cologne. Unfortunately, two priests who were famous for their preaching ability were jealous of the great influence they were exerting through preaching the Rosary. These two Fathers spoke against this devotion whenever they had a chance, and as they were very eloquent and had a great reputation, they persuaded many people not to join the Confraternity.
One of them, the better to achieve his wicked end, wrote a special sermon against the Rosary and planned to give it the following Sunday. But when the time came for the sermon he did not appear and, after a certain amount of waiting, someone went to fetch him. He was found to be dead, and he had evidently died without anyone to help him.
After persuading himself that this death was due to natural causes, the other priest decided to carry out his friend’s plan and give a similar sermon on another day, hoping to put an end to the Confraternity of the Rosary. However, when the day came for him to preach and it was time to give the sermon, God punished him by striking him down with paralysis which deprived him of the use of his limbs and of his power of speech.
At last he admitted his fault and that of his friend and in his heart he silently besought our Lady to help him. He promised that if only she would cure him, he would preach the Rosary with as much zeal as that with which he had formerly fought against it. For this end he implored her to restore his health and his speech, which she did, and finding himself instantaneously cured he rose up like another Saul, a persecutor turned defender of the holy Rosary. He publicly acknowledged his former error and ever afterwards preached the wonders of the Rosary with great zeal and eloquence.
BENEFITS CONFERRED ON THOSE DEVOTED TO THE ROSARY
To encourage you still more in this devotion practiced by so many holy people, I should like to add that the Rosary recited with the meditation of the mysteries brings about the following marvelous results:
- It gradually brings us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ;
- It purifies our souls from sin;
- It gives us victory over all our enemies;
- It makes the practice of virtue easy;
- It sets us on fire with the love of our Lord;
- It enriches us with graces and merits; and,
- It supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow-men, and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces from God.
Blessed Alan de la Roche, who was so deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin, had many revelations from her, and we know that he confirmed the truth of these revelations by a solemn oath. Three of them stand out with special emphasis: the first, that if people fail to say the Hail Mary, which has saved the world, out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is an indication that they will probably be condemned to eternal punishment.
The second truth is that those who love this divine salutation bear the very special stamp of predestination.
The third is that those to whom God has given this favour of loving our Lady and of serving her out of love must take very great care to continue to love and serve her until the time when she shall have had them placed in heaven by her Son in the degree of glory which they have earned (Blessed Alan)
Heretics, all of whom are children of the devil and who clearly bear the sign of God’s reprobation, have a horror of the Hail Mary. They still say the Our Father, but never the Hail Mary; they would rather carry a poisonous snake about them than a rosary.
WHAT IS IN IT FOR YOU TO SAY YOUR ROSARY?
Dear reader, if you practice and preach this devotion, you will learn more, by your own experience, than from spiritual books, and you will have the happiness of being rewarded by our Lady in accordance with the promises she made to St. Dominic, to Blessed Alan de la Roche, and to those who encourage this devotion which is so dear to her. For the Rosary teaches people about the virtues of Jesus and Mary, and leads them to mental prayer, to the imitation of Jesus Christ, to the frequentation of the sacraments, the practice of genuine virtue and of all kinds of good works. It also helps us to gain many wonderful indulgences, which people are unaware of because those who preach this devotion hardly ever mention them and content themselves with giving a popular sermon on the Rosary which very often produces admiration but not instruction.
St. Louis de Montfort tells us that he says, in company with Blessed Alan de la Roche, that the Rosary is a source and a store-house of countless blessings. The Rosary provides these benefits:
- Sinners obtain pardon;
- Those who thirst are refreshed;
- Those who are fettered are set free;
- Those who weep find joy;
- Those who are tempted find peace;
- Those in need find help;
- Religious are reformed;
- The ignorant are instructed;
- The living learn to resist spiritual decline; and,
- The dead have their pains eased by suffrages.
Our Lady once said to Blessed Alan, “I want those who are devoted to my Rosary to have my Son’s grace and blessing during their lifetime, at death and after their death. I want them to be freed from all slavery so that they will be like kings, with crowns on their heads, sceptres in their hands and to reign in eternal glory. Amen.
This article, The Peril of Opposing the Rosary and the Glories of Saying it Daily BFP016 is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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