0

The visionary and seer, Sr. Lucia of Fatima, provided the world with profound and inspired Rosary meditations in her book, “Calls” from the Message of Fatima. We begin this week by presenting her meditations on the Joyful Mysteries. – Ed.

Having seen that the prayer of the Rosary is the one which God has recommended most for all of us in general, both by means of the Church’s Magisterium and through the Message which He sent to us by Our Lady, we will now look at the mysteries of our Redemption which this prayer leads us to recall and contemplate in each decade.

For the majority of Christians who live in the corrupt atmosphere of the world, it is almost pointless to talk about mental prayer. Hence, what is most suitable for them is vocal prayer, in common or in private: the liturgical prayer of the Holy Mass and the recitation of the Rosary.

In the Rosary, we find all the riches of God’s truths, or rather, the revelation of God to men. From the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which God revealed to us in the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, to the mystery of the Word made man, his life, passion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is also present in his Church, in the Sacraments, in the tabernacle where He remains in the consecrated hosts, and in our brothers and sisters who form, with us, his Mystical Body, of which we are all living and functioning members.

This is the faith, which we imbibe in prayer, and it is prayer which sustains and increases our faith. As we pray the mysteries of the Rosary, we receive the light of truth and the strength of grace in order to accept willingly, and co-operate in, the redemptive work of Christ.

First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

In the first decade, we recall the annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary:

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin… and the virgins name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:26-35).

In this passage, God reveals to us how the incarnation of the Word took place; He speaks to us of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, that is one God in three distinct Persons: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

God also reveals to us the virginity and immaculate purity of Mary: God did not choose just any woman to be the Mother of His Son who, of course, could not assume a nature stained by sin. Therefore, He made Mary immaculate from the first instant of her life, the moment of her conception; and she remained always a virgin, because the Son of God could not be confused with any other, according to his human nature, which would happen if another child were born of the same Mother.

The Angel told Mary that she was full of grace: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” If Mary had not been full of grace and all holy, the Angel could not have said to her that she was full of grace, because she would have some stain of sin in her. “The Lord is with you”—said the Angel—because Mary belongs totally to God and exists totally for God. To think that Jesus shared his Mother with us! He gave us Mary to be our Mother in the spiritual order of grace. What a great gift God has given us!

And the Angel continued: “Mary, do not be afraid: you have won God’s favor.” Yes, she had caught God’s attention because she was a virgin, pure and spotless, and, therefore, was chosen to be the first human temple inhabited by the Most Holy Trinity. Through the merits of the Word made flesh, from whom we receive pardon and grace, we also, if we are fortunate enough to possess the gift of faith and to live a good life, are living temples of the adorable Trinity, which dwells in us according to the sacred texts: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you” (Jn 14:15-17). And St. Paul draws our attention to the same truth: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are. Let no one deceive himself” (1 Co 3:16-18).

Jesus Christ and the Apostle tell us here that we are living temples of God and that we must keep our temple pure, because we are God’s dwelling-place, and also in order that God’s life may grow in us and may give us immortality.

Ave Maria!

Second Joyful Mystery: The visit of Our Lady to St. Elizabeth

In the second decade, we recall Our Lady’s visit to her cousin, St. Elizabeth. In the first mystery, we left the Angel talking to Mary and adding afterwards:

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

In those days Mary arose and went in haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?… And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:36-45).

This meeting of Our Lady and her cousin St. Elizabeth shows us Mary’s great faith and deep humility. This is obvious at once in her answer to the Angel, when he announced that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God. She does not feel herself exalted, or raised to a higher level. She believes the Angel’s words; she recognizes her lowliness before God and offers herself to serve Him as a slave: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

And, thinking always of God’s mercy, Mary answers her cousin: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (Lk 1:46-48).

The Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth intone here the most beautiful canticle of praise to God. Their lips are moved by the Holy Spirit. But, after all, was not Mary the living temple of the adorable Trinity!

Ave Maria!

Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus Christ

In the third decade of the Rosary, we recall the birth of Jesus Christ, God made man. He is the masterpiece of love! God who comes down from heaven to earth, to save his poor creatures.

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51)—He would say later, in the synagogue at Capernaum. Yes, He came from heaven; He became man, assuming the humble condition of a creature! He who is God, co-eternal with the Father, equal to the Father in power, wisdom and love! He is born as man, but He is eternal like God! A mystery which the Apostle St. John describes thus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (Jn 1:1.14).

He came into the world as a man and manifested Himself as Light. Light, which shines in the darkness: present among us, today as then, but now his humanity is veiled. He is present in his word and in his works, in the Eucharist and in the Sacraments, in the Church and in the person of each of our brothers and sisters. He says: “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). Those who follow Christ will find in Him light and life.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them (Lk 2:1-20).

As St. Luke says here, the shepherds came and heard what was said to them, they believed and praised God. In the same way, we, too, must renew our faith in the revelation which God gives us here; we must believe and say, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” And, like Our Lady, we must keep all these truths in our hearts, with faith, hope and love.

Ave Maria!

Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

In the fourth decade of the Rosary, we call to mind the presentation of Jesus in the temple. St. Luke describes this event in the life of Christ in the following terms:

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord), “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord” (Lk 2:21-23).

Circumcision, prescribed by God in the Old Law, was replaced by Baptism, of which it was a figure, and which Jesus Christ was to institute later as a Sacrament, to wipe out the stain of original sin in us, to make us members of his Mystical Body and sharers in the graces of his redemptive work.

The example of fidelity in the observance of God’s Law which Our Lady gives us here should move us to follow the same road of fidelity to God and his Church.

Fulfilling this commandment to present her first-born in the Temple to be offered to the Lord, Mary is, at the same time, carrying out the mission entrusted to her by God, that of Co-redemptrix of the human race. Mary knows the Sacred Scriptures and, through them, she knows that her Son is destined to be a victim of expiation for the sins of men and a sacrifice of praise offered to God.

Reflect on what Isaiah prophesied about this:

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin (Is 53:1-10).

Mary knows that this prophecy is to be fulfilled in the person of her Son; she knows that He has been sent by God to carry out the work of our redemption. And far from wanting to save Him from such pain and suffering, she takes Him in her pure arms, brings Him to the temple with her virginal hands and places Him on the altar so that the priest may offer Him to the eternal Father as an expiatory victim and a sacrifice of praise.

Here, Mary does not simply offer her Son, she offers herself with Christ, because Jesus had received his body and blood from her; thus she offers herself in and with Christ to God, Co-redemptrix, with Christ, of humanity.

In this mystery of the presentation of Jesus, the pure hands of Mary are the first paten on which God placed the first host; and, from this paten, the priest on duty in the temple of Jerusalem took it, to place it on the altar and offer it to the Father as something which is owed to Him and an offering with which He is well pleased. Here we have a figure; later will come the real Mass, when the sacrifice of expiation will be consummated on Calvary; Jesus, by His own hands, will offer Himself to the Father for men, under the consecrated species of bread and wine, saying to the priests of the New Covenant: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19), that is, offer My sacrifice to the Father so that it will be renewed on the altar for the salvation of the world. Because “This is my body which is given for you…. This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:19.20).

Ave Maria!

Fifth Joyful Mystery: The prayer of Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem

In the fifth decade of the Rosary, we recall the journey of Jesus Christ to the temple in Jerusalem, to take part in the communal prayer of the people of God. St. Luke describes this event in Our Lord’s life thus:

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;… and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:41-49).

The Holy Family here gives us a great example of Christian life. Neither distance nor lack of transport deters them from journeying to the temple in Jerusalem to join their prayer to that offered to God by his people. The Jerusalem temple reminds us of the places of worship which, today, for us, are our Churches where we too should go, all together, to offer to God our prayer and praise.

In the answer He gave his mother, Jesus Christ tells us that the temple is the house of God: “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” For us, the Churches are our Father’s house and so we must enter them with faith, with respect and with love.

We go to our Father’s house, so that, there, united around the same table, we can be fed by the same bread: the bread of the Eucharist, the bread of the word of God. Like Jesus Christ, we must listen there to the word of God, which is spoken to us by his ministers, as it was formerly imparted to the people of God by the doctors of the law.

Today, we are the successors of that people; we who, happily, have received Baptism and, with it, the gift of faith, members, now, of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church.

Ave Maria!

This article is an excerpt from Sr. Lucia’s “Calls” from the Message of Fatima, Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, Fatima, distributed by Ravengate Press.

Continue Reading

Why Pray the Rosary?, Part l

Published on December 6, 2011 by in Mariology

0

Continue Reading

Why Pray the Rosary?, Part ll

Published on December 5, 2011 by in Mariology

0

Continue Reading

0

During the thousand years that the Temple of Jerusalem had been built there had been kept within its walls many very solemn feasts, but there never had been one so holy and solemn as was that whereon the most precious Virgin offered herself to God, and was presented by her parents to the Divine Majesty.

The principal subject of this solemnity, the mystery of Mary’s Presentation, is very great and marvelous.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

During her visitations at Kibeho, the Holy Virgin revealed that this Rosary of the Seven Sorrows possesses immense spiritual power for those who say it sincerely. She promised that when prayed with an open and repentant heart, this Rosary would win us the Lord’s forgiveness for our sins and free souls from guilt and remorse. She also promised over time, this Rosary would develop within us a deep understanding of why we sin, and that knowledge would give us the wisdom and strength to change or remove any internal flaws, weaknesses of character, or personality faults causing unhappiness and keeping us from enjoying the joyous life God intended for us to live.

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows contains all the power you need to change your life for the better, obtain peace and happiness, realize your full potential, fulfill all your dreams, and grow closer to God’s light.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, international author and speaker
on the apparitions of Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda

[…]

Continue Reading

0

We are already on the threshold of the month of October, which, with the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, inspires us to rediscover this traditional prayer, so simple yet so profound.

The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ, seeing him—we may say—with the eyes of Mary. For this reason, it is a prayer that drawing upon the core of the Gospel is in full accord with the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council and very much in keeping with the direction I gave in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte: the Church has to launch out “into the deep” in the new millennium beginning with the contemplation of the face of Christ.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

It is not so much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred and fifty that are badly said. Most Catholics say the Rosary, the whole fifteen mysteries or five of them anyway or, at least a few decades. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? It must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy.

To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin. This we know because all our theology teaches us that good works and prayers are only dead works if they are they are done in a state of mortal sin. Therefore they can neither be pleasing to God nor help us gain eternal life. This is why Ecclesiastes says: “Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner” (Eccl. 15:9). Praise of God and the salutation of the angel and the very Prayer of Jesus Christ are not pleasing to God when they are said by unrepentant sinners. Our Lord said: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mark 7:6). It is as though He was saying: “Those who join My Confraternity and say their Rosary every day (even perhaps the fifteen decades), but without being sorry for their sins offer Me Up service only and their hearts are far from Me.”

I have just said that to say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace “or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin;” first of all, because, if it were true that God only heard the prayers of those in a state of grace it would follow that people in a state of mortal sin should not pray at all. This is an erroneous teaching which has been condemned by Holy Mother Church, because of course sinners need to pray far more than good people do. Were this horrible doctrine true it would then be useless and futile to tell a sinner to say all, or even part of his Rosary, because it would never help him.

Secondly, because if they join one of Our Lady’s confraternities and recite the Rosary or some other prayer, but without having the slightest intention of giving up sin, they join the ranks of her false devotees. These presumptuous and impenitent devotees, hiding under her mantle, wearing the scapular and with rosary in hand, cry out: “Blessed Virgin, good Mother—Hail, Mary!…” And yet at the same time, by their sins, they are crucifying Our Lord Jesus Christ and tearing His flesh anew. It is a great tragedy, but from the very ranks of Our Lady’s most holy Confraternities souls are falling into the fires of hell

We earnestly beg everyone to say the Holy Rosary: the just that they may persevere and grow in God’s grace; the sinners that they may rise from their sins. But God forbid that we should ever encourage a sinner to think that Our Lady will protect him with Her mantle if he continues to love sin, for then it will only turn into a mantle of damnation which will hide his sins from the public eye. The Rosary, which is a cure for all our ills, would then be turned into deadly poison. “A corruption of what is best is worst.”

The learned Cardinal Hugues says: “One should really be as pure as an angel to approach the Blessed Virgin and to say the Angelic Salutation.” One day Our Lady appeared to an immoral man who used to always say his Rosary every day. She showed him a bowl of beautiful fruit, but the bowl itself was covered with filth. The man was horrified to see this, and Our Lady said: “This is the way you are honoring me! You are giving me beautiful roses in a filthy bowl. Do you think I can accept presents of this kind?”

With Attention

In order to pray well, it is not enough to give expression to our petitions by means of that most excellent of all prayers, the Rosary, but we must also pray with real concentration for God listens more to the voice of the heart than that of the mouth. To be guilty of willful distractions during prayer would show a great lack of respect and reverence; it would make our Rosaries fruitless and would make us guilty of sin.

How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves do not pay attention to what we are saying? How can we expect Him to be pleased if, while in the presence of His tremendous Majesty, we give in to distractions just as children run after butterflies? People who do this forfeit Almighty God’s blessings which are then changed into curses because they have been praying disrespectfully. “Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully” (Jeremias 28:10).

Of course, you cannot possibly say your Rosary without having a few involuntary distractions and it is hard to say even one Hail Mary without your imagination troubling you a little (for our imagination is, alas, never still). The one thing you can do, however, is to say your Rosary without giving in to distractions deliberately and you can take all sorts of precautions to lessen involuntary distractions and to control your imagination.

With this in mind put yourself in the presence of God and imagine that Almighty God and His Blessed Mother are watching you and that your guardian Angel is standing at your right hand, taking your Hail Marys, if they are well said, and using them like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary. But remember that at your left hand lurks the devil ready to pounce upon every Hail Mary that comes his way and to write it down in his deadly notebook. And be sure that he will snatch every single one of your Hail Marys that you have not said attentively, devoutly and with reverence.

Above all, do not forget to offer up each decade in honor of one of the mysteries and while you are saying it try to form a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in connection with this mystery.

The life of Blessed Hermann (of the Premonstratensian Fathers) tells us that at one time when he used to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly while meditating upon the mysteries Our Lady used to appear to him resplendent in breathtaking majesty and beauty. But as time went on his fervor cooled and he fell into the way of saying his Rosary hurriedly and without giving it his full attention. Then one day Our Lady appeared to him again—only this time she was far from beautiful and her face was furrowed and drawn with sadness. Blessed Hermann was appalled at the change in her, and then Our Lady explained:

“This is how I look to you, Hermann, because in your soul this is how you are treating me; as a woman to be despised and of no importance. Why do you no longer greet me with respect and attention meditating on my mysteries and praising my privileges.”

Fighting Distractions

When the rosary is well said it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and it is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer. But it is also the hardest prayer to say well and to persevere in, owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words.

When we say the Little Office of Our Lady, or the Seven Penitential Psalms, or any prayers other than the Rosary, the variety of words and expressions keeps us alert, prevents our imagination from wandering, and so makes it easier for us to say them well. On the contrary, because of the constant repetition of the same Our Father and Hail Mary in the same unvarying form, it is difficult, while saying the Rosary, not to become wearied and inclined to sleep or to turn to other prayers that are more refreshing and less tedious. This goes to show that one needs much greater devotion to persevere in saying the Holy Rosary than in saying any other prayer, even the Psalms of David

Our imagination, which is hardly still a minute, makes our task harder and then of course there is the devil who never tires of trying to distract us and keep us from praying. To what ends does not the evil one go against us while we are engaged in saying our Rosary against him.

Being human, we easily become tired and slipshod—but the devil makes these difficulties worse when we are saying the Rosary. Before we even begin he makes us feel bored, distracted or exhausted—and when we have started praying he oppresses us from all sides. And when, after much difficulty and many distractions, we have finished, he whispers to us: “What you have just said is worthless. It’s useless for you to say the Rosary. You had better get on with other things. It’s only a waste of time to pray without paying attention to what you’re saying; half an hour’s meditation or some spiritual reading would be much better. Tomorrow when you’re not feeling so sluggish you’ll pray better, don’t finish your Rosary until tomorrow.” By tricks of this kind the devil gets us to give up the Rosary altogether or else hardly say it at all, and we keep putting it off or else change to some other devotion.

Dear Rosary Confraternity members, do not listen to the devil, but be of good heart even if your imagination has been bothering you throughout your Rosary, filling your mind with all kinds of distracting thoughts—as long as you really tried hard to get rid of them as soon as they came. Always remember that the best Rosary is the one with the most merit, and there is more merit in praying when it is hard than when it is easy. Prayer is all the harder when it is (naturally speaking) distasteful to the soul and is filled with those annoying little ants and flies running about in your imagination, against your will, and scarcely allowing you the time to enjoy a little peace and appreciate the beauty of what you are saying.

Even if you have to fight distractions all through your whole Rosary be sure to fight well, arms in hand: that is to say, do not stop saying your Rosary even if it is hard to say and you have absolutely no sensible devotion. It is a terrible battle, I know, but one that is profitable to the faithful soul. If you put down your arms, that is, if you give up the Rosary, you will be admitting defeat and then, having won, the devil will leave you alone.

But at the Day of Judgment he will taunt you because of your faithlessness and lack of courage. “He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater” (1 Luke 16:10). He who fights even the smallest distractions faithfully when he says even the very smallest prayer he will also be faithful in great things. We can be absolutely certain of this because the Holy Spirit has told us so.

So all of you, servants and handmaids of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who have made up your minds to say the Rosary every day, be of good heart. Do not let the flies (it is thus that I call the distractions that make war on you during prayer) make you cowardly abandon the company of Jesus and Mary, in whose holy presence you always are when saying the Rosary. In what follows I shall give you suggestions for getting rid of distractions.

A Good Method

When you have asked the Holy Spirit to help you pray well, put yourself for a moment in the presence of God…

Before beginning a decade, pause for a moment or two—depending upon how much time you have—and contemplate the mystery that you are about to honor in that decade. Always be sure to ask of Almighty God, by this mystery and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, one of the virtues that shines forth most in this mystery or one of which you stand in particular need.

Take great care to avoid the two pitfalls that most people fall into during the Rosary. The first is the danger of not asking for any graces at all, so that if some people were asked their Rosary intention they would not know what to say. So, whenever you say your Rosary, be sure to ask for some special grace. Ask God’s help in cultivating one of the great Christian virtues or in overcoming one of your sins.

The second big fault a lot of people make when saying the Holy Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over as quickly as possible! This is because so many of us look upon the Rosary as a burden which is always heavier when we have not said it—especially if it is weighing on our conscience because we have promised to say it regularly or have been told to say it as a penance more or less against our will. It is really pathetic to see how most people say the Holy Rosary—they say it astonishingly fast and mumble so that the words are not properly pronounced at all. We could not possibly expect anyone, even the most unimportant person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was a compliment and yet we expect Jesus and Mary to be pleased with it! Small wonder then that the most sacred prayers of our holy religion seem to bear no fruit, and that, after saying thousands of Rosaries, we are still no better than we were before! Dear Confraternity members, I beg of you to temper the speed which comes all too easily to you and pause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary. I have placed a cross at each pause, as you will see:

Our Father Who art in Heaven, + hallowed be Thy name, + Thy kingdom come, + Thy will be done + on earth as it is in Heaven. + Give us this day + our daily bread + and forgive us our trespasses + as we forgive those who trespass against us, + and lead us not into temptation + but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, + the Lord is with Thee, + blessed art thou among women + and blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. +

Holy Mary, Mother of God, + pray for us sinners, now + and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At first, you may find it difficult to make these pauses because of your bad habit of saying prayers in a hurry; but a decade that you say recollectedly in this way will be worth more than thousands of Rosaries said all in a rush—without any pauses or reflection.


 

Blessed Alan de la Roche and other writers (including Saint Robert Bellarmine) tell the story of how a good confessor advised three of his penitents, who happened to be sisters, to say the Rosary every day without fail for a whole year. This was so that they might make beautiful robes of glory for Our Lady out of their Rosaries. This was a secret that the priest had received from Heaven.

So the three sisters said the Rosary faithfully for a year and on the Feast of the Purification the Blessed Virgin appeared to them at night when they had retired. Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes were with her and she was wearing beautiful robes that shone and all over them “Hail Mary, full of grace” was blazoned in letters of gold. The Blessed Mother came to the eldest sister and said “I salute you, my daughter, because you saluted me so often and beautifully. I want to thank you for the beautiful robes that you have made me.” The two virgin saints who were with Our Lady thanked her too and then all three of them vanished

An hour later Our Lady and the same two saints appeared to them again, but this time she was wearing green which had no gold lettering and did not gleam. She went up to the second sister and thanked her for the robes she had made Her by saying her Rosary. Since this sister had seen Our Lady appear to the eldest much more magnificently dressed she asked Her the reason for the change. The Blessed Mother answered: “Your sister made Me more beautiful clothes because she has been saying her Rosary better than you.”

About an hour after this she appeared to the youngest of the sisters wearing tattered and dirty rags. “My daughter” she said “I want to thank you for these clothes that you have made Me.” The young girl was covered with shame and she called out: “Oh, my Queen, how could I have dressed you so badly! I beg you to forgive me. Please grant me a little more time to make you beautiful robes by saying my Rosary better.” Our Lady and the two saints vanished, leaving the girl heartbroken. She told her confessor everything that had happened and he urged her to say her Rosary for another year and to say it more devoutly than ever.

At the end of this second year on the very same day of the Purification, Our Lady, clothed in a magnificent robe and attended by Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes, wearing crowns, appeared to them again in the evening. She said to them: “My daughters, I have come to tell you that you have earned heaven at last—and you will all have the great joy of going there tomorrow.” The three of them cried: “Our hearts are all ready, dearest Queen; our hearts are all ready.” Then the vision faded. That same night they became ill and so sent for their confessor who brought them the Last Sacraments and they thanked him for the holy practice that he had taught them. After Compline Our Lady appeared with a multitude of virgins and had the three sisters clothed in white gowns. While angels were singing “Come, spouses of Jesus Christ, receive the crowns which have been prepared for you for all eternity,” they departed from this life.

Some very deep truths can be learned from this story:

1. How important it is to have a good director who will counsel holy practices, especially that of the Most Holy Rosary;

2. How important it is to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly;

3. How kind and merciful the Blessed Mother is to those who are sorry for the past and are firmly resolved to do it better;

4. And finally, how generous she is in rewarding us in life, death and eternity, for the little services that we render Her faithfully.

With Reverence

I would like to add that the Rosary ought to be said reverently —that is to say it ought to be said, as far as possible, kneeling, with the hands joined and clasping the Rosary. However, if people are ill they can of course say it in bed or if they are traveling it can be said on foot—and if infirmity prevents people kneeling it can be said seated or standing. The Rosary can even be said at work, if people’s daily duties keep them at their jobs, because the work of one’s hands is not by any means always incompatible with vocal prayer. Of course, since the soul has its limitations and can only do so much, when we are concentrating on manual work we cannot give our undivided attention to things of the spirit, such as prayer. But when we cannot do otherwise this kind of prayer is not without value in Our Lady’s eyes and she rewards our good will more than our external actions.

I advise you to divide up your Rosary into three parts and say each group of mysteries (five decades) at a different time of day. This is much better than saying the whole fifteen all at once.

If you cannot find the time to say a third part of the Rosary all at one time, say it gradually, a decade here and there. I am sure you can manage this; so that, in spite of your work and the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole before going to bed.

Saint Francis de Sales sets us a very good example of faith in this respect: once when he was quite exhausted from the visits of the day and remembered, towards midnight, that he had left a few decades of his Rosary unsaid, he would not go to bed until he had finished them on his knees, not-withstanding all the efforts of his secretary who saw he was tired and begged him to let the rest of his prayers go until the next day.

And do let me remind you just once more to copy the faithfulness, reverence and devotion of the holy friar who is mentioned in the Chronicles of Saint Francis and who always said his Rosary very devoutly and reverently before dinner.

This article was excerpted from St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Secret of the Rosary, Montfort Publications, 1991, Part II.

Continue Reading

0

Dear ministers of the Most High, you my fellow priests who preach the truth of God and who teach the gospel to all nations… I beg of you to beware of thinking of the Rosary as something of little importance—as do ignorant people and even several great but proud scholars. Far from being insignificant, the Rosary is a priceless treasure which is inspired by God.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

“Dear Children! You have helped me along by your prayers to realize my plans. Keep on praying that my plan may be completely realized. I request the families of the parish to pray the Family Rosary. Thank you for having responded to my call” (Our Lady of Medjugorje, September 27, 1984).

The call to pray the Rosary is the principal form of prayer requested by the Blessed Mother, not only in the message of Medjugorje but in the overall Marian message to the modern world. I want to discuss this favored Marian prayer under three categories. First of all, I will discuss briefly the Rosary in this general Marian call to the modern world. Secondly, I will discuss a little bit of the origins, the history, and the nature of the Rosary. What is this prayer of the Rosary that Our Lady has called us to so regularly? Thirdly, and most importantly for our purposes, I want to show how these two come together in the crucial Marian call to pray the Family Rosary. This is especially true in reading some of the recent interviews of the visionaries. They present the Rosary, especially the family praying of the Rosary, right after the general call to prayer and fasting as the most efficacious means of repelling Satan and of nurturing spiritual growth. It is absolutely fundamental.

[…]

Continue Reading

Fifteen Promises

Published on October 7, 2011 by in Marian Devotion

0

One Tuesday night, a woman called our home begging for prayers. She is a grandmother of a Hispanic family who live in a lower income region of a large American city. The woman’s voice sounded urgent and deeply troubled.

 

“My granddaughter ran away from home and has been missing since Saturday evening. She has been listed by the police as a runaway minor, and we have no idea where she is.” The woman’s granddaughter is fifteen years old, from a broken family, and has been exposed to serious moral improprieties by the parent that she lives with. The girl has recently been removed from Catholic school and placed into public school, where hanging out with the wrong crowd and missing classes have become the norms rather than the exceptions.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

Praying the Rosary has the power to change the course of human history. It has indeed done so on several occasions.

The renowned Battle of Lepanto is one obvious manifestation of the extraordinary power of this Marian prayer. In 1571, Pope St. Pius V called upon Western Christendom to pray the Rosary for victory over the significantly stronger naval fleet of the Muslim Turks, and specifically requested the Rosary confraternities to intensify their Rosary prayer in preparation for the October 7 naval battle. The sailors of the Christian fleet were likewise armed with the weapon of the Rosary.

It is said that while the battle raged, St. Pius V was granted a heavenly vision and exclaimed: “Victoria, Victoria!” The Christian fleet had delivered a deadly blow to the Turkish navy, the Church and the West were saved from Islamic invasion, and the feast of “Our Lady of the Rosary” was liturgically instituted. The October 7 feast, beyond a memorial of thanksgiving, should also remind the Church of the power of the Rosary in regards to our present time of monumental difficulties.

A more recent example was the dramatic standoff in 1986 between the Philippines Army under the command of the dictator Marcos and the two million Filipino faithful who were armed with Rosaries in downtown Manila. With tanks and gunmen having received the order to open fire on the crowd who were together praying the Rosary, Our Lady of the Rosary interceded.

Jaime Cardinal Sin, Cardinal Primate of the Philippines at the time, relayed the testimony given by a number of soldiers of what had actually taken place. A large-scale silhouette of a woman dressed in white appeared between the military and the people. Upon seeing the silhouette, not a single member of the military obeyed the order to open fire upon the crowd. This Marian miracle eventually led to the fleeing of the corrupt Marcos government on February 25, 1986, and to the establishment of democratic government in the Philippines.

The month of October also calls to mind the inspirational guidance of Pope Leo XIII, popularly known as the “Pope of the Rosary.” He was also particularly responsible for designating October as the “Rosary Month.” In one of his numerous encyclicals on the Rosary, he wrote:

 

 

To this heavenly mother, we have offered the flowers of the month of May; to her we would also have fruit-bearing October dedicated with a particularly tender devotion. It is fitting that both parts of the year should be consecrated to her… (Augustissimae Virginis, September 12, 1897).

 

October is the month to return to a more devout praying of the Rosary. It is the month to become more generous in our quantity of Rosary prayer. It is the month to make a Rosary examination of conscience.

Have I lost a past fervor for praying the Rosary? Could I offer more Rosaries than I currently do for the present state of the family, the Church and the world? Does my family daily pray the Rosary together? Am I praying my Rosary from the heart, meditating on the Gospel mysteries of my own salvation and the salvation of the entire world, and contemplating the “face of Christ” through the eyes and the heart of Mary?

Throughout the Rosary month, Mother of All Peoples will offer great papal excerpts, classical mariological excerpts, as well as contemporary commentaries that testify to the power and the imperative of daily praying this most efficacious Marian prayer. John Paul II has called us to pray especially for the intentions of world peace and family peace in his 2003 apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae.
The imperative for heavenly assistance from the Lady of the Rosary and the Mother of All Peoples for our present world situation is, I believe, well beyond the perils facing the Church and the West during the times of the Battle of Lepanto. For the contemporary approaching evils constitute attacks both on world peace ad extra and upon the nature of family, faith and morals, and even the most basic precepts of the natural law ad intra: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, homosexual marriages, the Aids epidemic, contraception, abortifacients, pornography, child prostitution, child abuse and neglect, and now, in the Netherlands, the legal killing of children under 12 years of age through euthanasia laws.

We need to change the present course of human history. We need to pray the Rosary.

Continue Reading

The Power of the Family Rosary

Published on October 7, 2011 by in Papal Excerpts

0

The Rosary is… and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and it certainly brought them closer together. It is important not to lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families, continuing to use the Rosary.

In my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I encouraged the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours by the lay faithful in the ordinary life of parish communities and Christian groups; (1) I now wish to do the same for the Rosary. These two paths of Christian contemplation are not mutually exclusive; they complement one another. I would therefore ask those who devote themselves to the pastoral care of families to recommend heartily the recitation of the Rosary.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

Ever since Saint Dominic established the devotion to the Holy Rosary up until the time when Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established it in 1460 it has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. This is because it has the same number of Angelic Salutations as there are psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David. Since simple and uneducated people are not able to say the Psalms of David the Rosary is held to be just as fruitful for them as David’s Psalter is for others.

But the Rosary can be considered to be even more valuable than the latter for three reasons:

[…]

Continue Reading

0

A Diabolical Possession

When St. Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone (1) an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. St. Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that more than 12,000 had come to hear him preach. The devils who were in possession of this wretched man were forced to answer St. Dominic’s questions in spite of themselves.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

The Blessed Virgin Mary promised to Saint Dominic and to all who follow her urgings that “Whatever you ask in the Rosary will be granted.” These are the fifteen promises she imparted to Saint Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche, granted to all Christians who faithfully recite the Rosary. All that remains for us is to pray and to respond to the great graces she gives to us. –Assistant Ed.

1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.

6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenititude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.

10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.

11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.

12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

 

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

 

Continue Reading

0

Having looked at the events in the life of Jesus, which are recalled in the first part of the Rosary, we now pass on to the second part, the five Sorrowful Mysteries.
[…]

Continue Reading

Pray the Rosary!

Published on October 13, 2010 by in Marian Devotion

0

Predestinate souls, you who are of God, cut yourselves adrift from those who are damning themselves by their impious lives, laziness and lack of devotion—and, without delay, recite often your Rosary, with faith, with humility, with confidence and with perseverance.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, told us to follow His example and to pray always—because of our endless need of prayer, the darkness of our minds, our ignorance and weakness and because of the strength and number of our enemies. Anyone who really gives heed to this Our Master’s commandment will surely not be satisfied with saying the Rosary once a year (as the Perpetual Members do) or once a week (like the Ordinary Members) but will say it every day (as a member of the Daily Rosary) and will never fail in this—even though the only obligation he has is that of saving his own soul.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

A Diabolical Possession

When St. Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone (1) an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. St. Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that more than 12,000 had come to hear him preach. The devils who were in possession of this wretched man were forced to answer St. Dominic’s questions in spite of themselves.

They said that:

 

1. There were 15,000 of them in the body of this poor man, because he had attacked the 15 mysteries of the rosary;

2. They went on to testify that by preaching the Rosary he (Dominic) put fear and horror into the very depths of hell and that he was the man they hated most throughout the whole world, because of the souls which he snatched from them through devotion to the Holy Rosary;

3. They then revealed several other things.

 

St. Dominic put his rosary around the Albigensian’s neck and asked the devils to tell him who, of all the saints in heaven, was the one they feared the most, and who should therefore be the most loved and revered by men. At this they let out such unearthly screams that most of the people fell to the ground, faint from fear. Then, using all their cunning, so as not to answer, the devils wept and wailed in such a pitiful way that many of the people wept also, out of purely natural pity. The devils spoke through the mouth of the Albigensian, pleading in a heartrending voice:

 

Dominic, Dominic, have mercy on us—we promise you that we will never hurt you. You have always had compassion for sinners and those in distress; have pity on us, for we are in grievous straits. We are suffering so very much already, so why do you delight in heightening our pains? Can’t you be satisfied with our suffering without adding to it? Have pity on us! Have pity on us!

 

St. Dominic was not one whit moved by the pathos of these wretched spirits and told them that he would not let them alone until they had answered his question. Then they said they would whisper the answer in such a way that only St. Dominic would be able to hear. The latter firmly insisted upon their answering clearly and out loud. Then the devils kept quiet and refused to say another word, completely disregarding St. Dominic’s orders—so he knelt down and prayed thus to Our Lady: “Oh, all powerful and wonderful Virgin Mary, I implore you by the power of the Most Holy Rosary, order these enemies of the human race to answer me (9).

No sooner had he made this prayer than a glowing flame leaped out of the ears, nostrils and mouth of the Albigensian. Everyone shook with fear, but the fire did not hurt anyone. Then the devils cried:

 

Dominic, we beseech you, by the passion of Jesus Christ and by the merits of His Holy Mother and of all the saints, let us leave the body of this man without speaking further—for the angels will answer your question whenever you wish. After all, are we not liars? So why should you want to believe us? Please don’t torture us any more; have pity on us.

 

“Woe unto you wretched spirits, who do not deserve to be heard,” St. Dominic said, and kneeling down he prayed to Our Lady:

 

Oh most worthy Mother of Wisdom, I am praying for the people assembled here who have already learned how to say the Angelic Salutation properly. Please, I beg of you, force your enemies to proclaim the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this, here and now, before the multitude.

 

St. Dominic had hardly finished this prayer when he saw the Blessed Virgin near at hand, surrounded by a multitude of angels. She struck the possessed man with a golden rod that she held and said: “Answer my servant Dominic at once.” (Remember, the people neither saw nor heard Our Lady, but only St. Dominic.) Then the devils started screaming:

 

Oh you who are our enemy, our downfall and our destruction, why have you come from heaven just to torture us so grievously? O Advocate of sinners, you who snatch them from the very jaws of hell, you who are the very sure path to heaven, must we, in spite of ourselves, tell the whole truth and confess before everyone who it is who is the cause of our shame and our ruin? Oh woe unto us, princes of darkness:

Then listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is all-powerful and she can save her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual.

We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us: one single sigh that she offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires and aspirations of all the saints.

We fear her more than all the other saints in heaven together and we have no success with her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon her when they are at the hour of death and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards are saved by her intercession.

Oh if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called her) had not pitted her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this; and we would have seen to it that all the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder.

Now that we are forced to speak we must also tell you this: nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because she obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.

 

Then St. Dominic had them all say the Rosary very slowly and with great devotion, and a wonderful thing happened: at each Hail Mary that he and the people said together a large group of devils issued forth from the wretched man’s body under the guise of red-hot coals.

When the devils had all been expelled and the heretic was at last entirely free of them, Our Lady (who was still invisible) gave her blessing to the assembled company, and they were filled with joy because of this.

A large number of heretics were converted because of this miracle and joined the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.

 

Simon de Montfort, Alan de Lanvallay and Othere

It is almost impossible to do real credit to the victories that Count Simon de Montfort Won against the Albigensians under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary. These victories are so famous that the world has never seen anything to match them. One day he defeated 10,000 heretics with a force of 500 men and on another occasion he overcame 3,000 with only 30 men. Finally, with 800 horsemen and 1,000 infantrymen he completely put to rout the army of the King of Aragon which was 100,000 strong, and this with the loss on his side of only one horseman and eight soldiers!

Our Lady also protected Alan de Lanvallay, a Breton Knight, from great perils. He too was fighting for the Faith against the Albigensians. One day when he found himself surrounded by enemies on all sides Our Lady let fall 150 rocks upon his enemies and he was delivered from their hands. Another day when his ship foundered and was about to sink, the Blessed Mother caused 150 small hills to appear miraculously above the water and by means of them they reached Brittany in safety.

He built a monastery at Dinan for the religious of St. Dominic, in thanksgiving to Our Lady for all the miracles that she had worked on his behalf in answer to his daily Rosary. Having become a religious himself he died a holy death at Orleans.

Othere was also a Breton soldier, from Vaucouleurs, and he often put whole companies of heretics or robbers to flight unaided, wearing his Rosary on his arm or carrying it on the hilt of his sword. Once when he had beaten them his enemies admitted that they had seen his sword gleam and that another time they had noticed a shield on his arm which had pictures of Our Lord and Our Lady and the saints upon it. This shield made him invisible and gave him the strength to attack well.

Another time he defeated 20,000 heretics with only 10 companies and without losing a single man. This so impressed the general of the heretics’ army that he came to see Othere afterwards, abjured his heresy and declared publicly that he had seen him surrounded by flaming swords during the battle.

 

Cardinal Pierre

Bl. Alan de la Roche says that a certain Cardinal Pierre, whose titular Church was that of St. Mary-beyond-the-Tiber, was a great friend of St. Dominic’s and had learned from him a deep devotion to the Most Holy Rosary. This resulted in his loving it so much that he never ceased singing its praises and encouraging everyone he met to embrace it

Eventually he was sent as Legate to the Holy Land to the Christians who were fighting the Saracens. So successfully did he convince the Christian army of the power of the Rosary that they started saying it one and all to storm heaven for help in a battle in which they knew they would be pitifully outnumbered. This resulted in victory for them, and 3,000 Christians triumphed over an enemy of 100,000.

As we have seen, the devils have an overwhelming fear of the Rosary. St. Bernard says that the Angelic Salutation puts them to flight and makes all hell tremble.

Bl. Alan says that he has seen several people delivered from Satan’s bondage after taking up the Holy Rosary, even though they had previously sold themselves to him in body and soul by renouncing their Baptismal Vows and their allegiance to Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

Freed from Satan

In 1578 a woman in Anvers had given herself to the devil and had signed the contract with her own blood. Shortly afterwards she was stricken with sincere remorse and had an intense desire to make amends for this terrible deed. So she sought out a kind and wise confessor who advised her to go to Father Henry, one of the Fathers of the Dominican Friary, who was Director of the Rosary Confraternity in that town, to ask him to enroll her in it and hear her confession.

Accordingly she went to ask for him but met, not Father Henry, but the devil disguised as a Dominican Father. The latter scolded her pitilessly and said that she could never hope to receive Almighty God’s grace again as long as she lived, and that there was in which she could regain possession of her contract. This grieved her greatly but she did not quite lose hope of God’s mercy and sought out Father Henry once more, only to find the devil a second time, and to meet with a second rebuff.


She came back for the third time and then at last, by Divine Providence, she found Father Henry, in person—the priest whom she had been looking for—and he treated her with very great kindness, urging her to throw herself upon the mercy of Almighty God and to make a good confession. He then received her into the Confraternity and told her to say the Rosary frequently.

One day while Father Henry was saying mass for her Our Lady forced the devil to give back the contract which she had signed. In this way she was delivered from the devil by the authority of Mary and by her devotion to the Most Holy Rosary.

 

A Monastery Reformed

A nobleman who had several daughters entered one of them in a lax monastery were the nuns were very proud and thought of nothing else but worldly pleasures. The nuns’ confessor, on the other hand, was a zealous priest and had a great love for the Holy Rosary. Wishing to guide this nun into a better way of life he ordered her to say the Rosary every day in honor of the Blessed Virgin while meditating on the life, Passion and glory of Jesus Christ

She joyously undertook to say the Rosary and little by little she grew to have a repugnance for the wayward habits of her sisters in religion. She developed a love for silence and prayer and this in spite of the fact that the others despised and ridiculed her and called her a fanatic.

It was at this time that a holy priest, who was making the visitation of the convent, had a strange vision while he was making his meditation: he saw a nun in her room, rapt in prayer, kneeling in front of a Lady of breathless beauty who was surrounded by angels. The latter had flaming spears with which they repelled a crowd of devils who wanted to come in. These evil spirits then fled to the other nuns’ rooms under the guise of vile animals.

By this vision the priest became aware of the lamentable state the monastery was in and he was so upset that he thought he might almost die of grief. He immediately sent for the young religious and exhorted her to persevere.

As he pondered on the value of the Rosary, he decided to try to reform the sisters by means of it. He bought a supply of beautiful rosaries and gave one to each nun, imploring them to say the Rosary every day, even going so far as to promise them that, if they would only say it faithfully, he would not try to force them to alter their lives. Wonderful and strange as it may seem the nuns agreed to this pact and were glad to be given the rosaries and promised to say them.

Little by little they began to give up their empty and worldly pursuits, letting silence and recollection come into their lives. In less than a year they all asked that the monastery be reformed.

So the Holy Rosary worked more changes in their hearts than the priest could have worked by exhorting and commanding them.

 

A Bishop’s Devotion

A Spanish countess, who had been taught the Holy Rosary by St. Dominic, used to say it faithfully every day with the result that she was making wonderful strides in her spiritual life. Since her one and only thought was how she might attain to perfection she asked a Bishop who was a renowned preacher for some practices that would help her become perfect

The Bishop told her that, before he could give her any counsels, she would have to let him know the state of her soul and also what her religious exercises were. She answered that her most important exercise was the Holy Rosary which she said every day meditating on the Joyous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, and that her soul was greatly helped by so doing.

The Bishop was overjoyed to hear her explain what priceless lessons the mysteries contain. “I have been a doctor of theology for 20 years,” he exclaimed “and I have read many excellent books on various devotional practices. But never before have I come across one better than this—for it is of the essence of Christianity and is a devotion which cannot but bear fruit I shall follow your example, and from now on I shall preach the Rosary.”

The Bishop’s preaching met with great success, for in almost no time his diocese changed for the better. There was a notable decline in immorality and worldliness of all kinds as well as in gambling. There were several striking instances of people being brought back to the Faith, or sinners making restitution for their crimes and of others sincerely resolving to give up lives of vice. Religious fervor and Christian charity began to flourish. These changes were all the more remarkable because this Bishop had been striving to reform his diocese for some time but with hardly any results.

To better inculcate devotion of the Rosary, the Bishop also wore a beautiful rosary at his side and always showed it to the congregation when he preached. He used to say:

“My dear brethren in Jesus Christ, I am a doctor of theology and a doctor of canon as well as civil law, but I say to you, as your Bishop, that I take more pride in wearing Our Lady’s Rosary than in any of my episcopal regalia or academic robes.”

 

Parish Transformed

A Danish priest used to love to tell how the very same improvement that the Spanish Bishop noticed in his diocese had occurred in his own parish. He always told his story with great rejoicing of soul because it gave such glory to Almighty God. He said:

 

I had preached as compellingly as I could, touching on many aspects of our Holy Faith, and using every argument I could possibly think of to get the people to amend their way of life. But in spite of all my efforts they went unconcernedly about their way as before; and it was then that I decided to preach the Holy Rosary.

I told my congregations how precious it is and I taught them how to say it. I kept on preaching the Holy Rosary and the devotion took root in the parish. Six months later I was overjoyed to see that people had really changed for the better. How true it is that this God-given prayer has divine power— the power to touch our hearts and to fill them with horror of sin and the love of virtue!

 

One day Our Lady said to Bl. Alan:

 

Just as Almighty God chose the Angelic Salutation to bring about the Incarnation of His Word and the Redemption of mankind, in the same way those who want to bring about moral reforms and who want people reborn in Jesus Christ must honor me and greet me with the same salutation. I am the channel by which God came to men, and so, next to my Son Jesus Christ, it is through me that men must obtain grace and virtue.

 

I, who write this, have learned from my own experience that the Rosary has the power to convert even the most hardened hearts. I have known people who have gone to missions and who have heard sermons on the most terrifying subjects without being in the least moved; and yet, after they had, on my advice, started to say the Rosary every day they eventually became converted and gave themselves completely to God. When I have gone back again to visit parishes where I have given missions I have seen a tremendous difference in them; in those parishes where people had given up the Rosary they had generally fallen back into their sinful ways again, whereas in places where the Rosary was said faithfully I found the people were persevering hi the grace of God and were advancing each day in virtue.

 

Admirable Effects

Bl. Alan de la Roche, Father Jean Dumont, Father Thomas, the chronicles of St. Dominic and other writers who have seen these things with their own eyes speak of the marvelous conversions that are brought about by the Holy Rosary. Great sinners—both men and women—have been converted after 20, 30 or even 40 years of sin and unspeakable vice, because they persevered in saying the Holy Rosary. And these have been people who, beforehand, had been deaf to all pleading! I shall not tell you about those wonderful conversions here because I do not want to make this book too long. And I am not even going to refer to those which I have seen with my very own eyes: there are several reasons why I would rather not talk about them (2).

Dear reader, I promise you that if you practice this devotion and help to spread it you will learn more from the Rosary than from any spiritual book. And what is more, you will have the happiness of being rewarded by Our Lady in accordance with the promises that she made to St. Dominic, to Bl. Alan de la Roche and to all those Who practice and encourage this devotion which is so dear to her. For the Holy Rosary teaches people about the virtues of Jesus and Mary, and leads them to mental prayer and to imitate Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It teaches them to approach the Sacraments often, to genuinely strive after Christian virtues and to do all kinds of good works, as well as interesting them in the many wonderful indulgences which can be gained through the Rosary.

People ore often quite unaware of how rich the Rosary is in indulgences. This is because many priests, when preaching on the Rosary, hardly ever mention indulgences and give rather a flowery and popular sermon which excites admiration but scarcely teaches anything.

Be that as it may I shall say no more than to assure you, in the words of Bl. Alan de la Roche, that the Holy Rosary is the root and the storehouse of countless blessings. For through the Holy Rosary:

 

1. Sinners are forgiven;
2. Souls that thirst are refreshed;
3. Those who are fettered have their bonds broken;
4. Those who weep find happiness;
5. Those who are tempted find peace;
6. The poor find help;
7. Religious are reformed;
8. Those who are ignorant are instructed;
9. The living learn to overcome pride;
10. The dead (the Holy Souls) have their pains eased by suffrages.

 

 

One day Our Lady said to Bl. Alan:

 

I want people who have a devotion to my Rosary to have my Son’s grace and blessing during their lifetime and at their death, and after their death I want them to be freed from all slavery so that they will be like kings wearing crowns and with scepters in their hands and enjoying eternal glory.

 

Amen. So be it.

This article was excerpted from The Secret of the Rosary, Montfort Publications, 1999.

 

Notes

 

(1) This incident is referred to by St. Louis in his “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary” when he explains that those who love Our Lady are not lost Cf. paragraph 42. M.B.

 

(2) This an example of St. Louis’ humility! It is more than probable that he himself had extraordinary favors and most likely witnessed miracles—but these he seems reluctant to discuss, MB.

Continue Reading

0

Sinner. Satanist. Social worker. Saint. A strange progression taken by Blessed Bartolo Longo. On February 11, 1841, a sweet tempered physician’s wife of Latiano, Italy, gave birth to a son whom she named Bartolo. Devoted to Our Lord and His Mother, she taught all her children to pray the Rosary daily and to visit and care for the poor while Dr. Longo instilled in them a love of music and beauty. Bartolo would later describe himself as “a lively and impertinent imp, sometimes rather a rascal.” The priests who educated him found Bartolo to be highly intelligent, cordial, and accommodating although prone to a fiery temper.

When Bartolo was ten, his mother died. Slowly Bartolo began to drift away from his faith. Eventually he studied law from a private tutor, then attended the University of Naples to complete his education. It wasn’t the same University of Naples where St. Thomas Aquinas taught, but a dangerous place for Bartolo’s young mind. Searching for meaning in life, Bartolo became enmeshed in the political movements and spiritism so popular with college students at that time in Italy. Deeply involved with a satanic sect, Bartolo aspired to the satanic priesthood, so he entered upon a long preparation of studies, fastings, and mortifications. On the night of his ordination by a satanic bishop, the walls of the “church” shook with thunder while blasphemous, disembodied shrieks knifed the air. Bartolo fainted with fright and for a while afterwards was deeply tormented and physically ill. Despite this depression and nervousness, he exercised his satanic priesthood by preaching, officiating at satanic rites, and publicly ridiculing Catholicism and everyone and everything connected with it.

During these bleak years, the Longo family was besieging heaven for their wayward member. One day Bartolo seemed to hear the voice of his dead father begging him to return to God. Troubled, he paid a visit to one of his friends from Latiano, Professor Vincenzo Pepe, who was living and teaching near Naples. Shocked by Bartolo’s appearance, Pepe exclaimed, “Do you want to die in an insane asylum and be damned forever?” When Bartolo admitted his mental confusion, Pepe took him under his wing. He introduced the troubled young man to many holy people who gave him support and counsel. One of these was a well-educated Dominican priest, Alberto Radente, who gave Bartolo a detailed course in the Catholic faith which included the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. After much study, prayer, and a lengthy confession, Bartolo was again admitted to the sacraments. On the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1871, he was professed into the Third Order of St. Dominic and given the name of Brother Rosary in recognition of his favorite daily prayer.

[…]

Continue Reading

October 13, 2010

Published on October 13, 2010 by in Uncategorized

0

{wavremote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/TriumphRadio/2010/THE%20TRIUMPH%2010-13.wav{/wavremote}

Continue Reading

0

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries having Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Greeting and Apostolic Benediction.

1. At the coming of the month of October, dedicated and consecrated as it is to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, we recall with satisfaction the instant exhortations which in preceding years We addressed to you, venerable brethren, desiring, as We did, that the faithful, urged by your authority and by your zeal, should redouble their piety towards the august Mother of God, the mighty helper of Christians, and should pray to her throughout the month, invoking her by that most holy rite of the Rosary which the Church, especially in the passage of difficult times, has ever used for the accomplishment of all desires.

[…]

Continue Reading

Our Lady of the Rosary

Published on October 2, 2010 by in General Mariology

0

The historic and memorable happenings of October 7, 1571, the first Sunday of the month, gave rise to the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Western world faced total disaster and ruin from the Turks whose powerful fleet had already mastered the greater part of the Mediterranean and was actually threatening Italy. St. Pius V and other Christian leaders, convinced that only supernatural help could now ward off the oncoming invasion, turned their eyes heavenwards and begged their heavenly Mother to intercede on their behalf. The saintly Pontiff also asked that the Confraternities of the Holy Rosary intensify their devotion on this October 7 and celebrate it with an even greater solemnity.

It was on this day, indeed, that the allied Christian naval power encountered the confident Turkish fleet in the Gulf of Lepanto. It is said that while the all-important battle raged, Pius V, favored with a heavenly vision, exclaimed: “Victoria, Victoria!” The enemy fleet, in truth, suffered a deadly blow which broke the backbone of the Turkish power. It was not the Pope’s privilege to celebrate the anniversary of this momentous grace of God. His days had come to an end, but not before his proclamation of March 17, 1572, to the effect that in public thanksgiving to Mary and in deep appreciation for her protection, a special commemoration be given to her on October 7 under the title of Our Lady of Victory.

Gregory XIII, his successor, altered this title to Our Lady of the Rosary, and on April 1, 1573, decreed that the new feast be kept on the first Sunday of October, authorizing its celebration in those churches which possessed an altar under that invocation. One hundred years later, at the request of Mary Anne, Queen of Spain, this feast was extended to all of Spain, and shortly after, to numerous dioceses of Italy and other countries. On October 3, 1716, as a public acknowledgment for the victory gained by Prince Eugene of Savoy over the Turks in Hungary on August 5 under the protection of Our Lady of the Snow, Clement XI promulgated a document, prepared by his predecessor Innocent XI, extending the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary to the universal Church. Leo XIII elevated the feast to the rank of double of the second class. Finally, Pius X, in his Motu proprio of October 23, 1913, assigned the feast to October 7. (1)

The Late Fr. Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., was a world-renowned authority on Mariology and the founder of The Mariological Society of America. This article was excerpted from Mariology, Bruce, 1961, Vol. 3.

Notes

(1) Cf. E. Campana, Maria nel culto cattolico, Torino, 1933, Vol. I, pp. 407-413.

Continue Reading

0

Introduction

1. The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simplae yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.” (1)

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. (2) It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

{mp3remote}http://www.fifthmariandogma.com/images/stories/audio/the_triumph/triumph02032010.mp3{/mp3remote}

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

Pope Benedict XVI gave the following homily in the square outside the Pontifical Shrine of

Pompeii on Sunday, October 19, 2008. We present here his reflections on Pompeii, Our Lady and the Rosary, and her apostle Bl. Bartolo Longo. In addition, we have included a petition prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii.
Asst. Ed
.

Following in the footsteps of the Servant of God John Paul II, today I have come on pilgrimage to Pompeii to venerate the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary, together with you. I have come in particular to entrust to the Mother of God, in whose womb the Word was made flesh, the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which is under way at the Vatican on the theme of the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. My Visit also coincides with World Mission Sunday; contemplating in Mary she who accepted within her the Word of God and gave him to the world, we shall pray at this Mass for all those in the Church who spend their energy in the service of proclaiming the Gospel to all the nations. Thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for your welcome! I embrace you all with fatherly affection, and I am grateful to you for the prayers you raise ceaselessly to Heaven for the Successor of Peter and for the needs of the universal Church.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

John Paul II and the Family Rosary

Published on October 10, 2009 by in Papal Excerpts

0

Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae 

 Prayer for peace and for the family

6. A number of historical circumstances also make a revival of the Rosary quite timely. First of all, the need to implore from God the gift of peace. The Rosary has many times been proposed by my predecessors and myself as a prayer for peace. At the start of a millennium which began with the terrifying attacks of 11 September 2001, a millennium which witnesses every day innumerous parts of the world fresh scenes of bloodshed and violence, to rediscover the Rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who “is our peace,” since he made “the two of us one, and broke down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). Consequently, one cannot recite the Rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace, especially in the land of Jesus, still so sorely afflicted and so close to the heart of every Christian. 

A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another critical contemporary issue: the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.

Continue Reading

In Rosary Prayer With Mary

Published on October 10, 2009 by in Papal Excerpts

0

Superiore Anno
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII
on the Recitation of the Rosary

To All Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops,
and Bishops of the Catholic World in the Grace and Communion of the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Last year, as each of you is aware, We decreed by an Encyclical Letter that, to win the help of Heaven for the Church in her trials, the great Mother of God should be honored by the means of the most holy Rosary during the whole of the month of October. In this We followed both Our own impulse and the example of Our predecessors, who in times of difficulty were wont to have recourse with increased fervour to the Blessed Virgin, and to seek her aid with special prayers. That wish of Ours has been complied with, with such a willingness and unanimity that it is more than ever apparent how real is the religion and how great is the fervour of the Christian peoples, and how great is the trust everywhere placed in the heavenly patronage of the Virgin Mary.

Read more: In Rosary Prayer With Mary

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

{mp3remote}http://www.fifthmariandogma.com/images/stories/audio/the_triumph/triumph10072009.mp3{/mp3remote}

Continue Reading

0

Continue Reading

0

Continue Reading

Pray the Family Rosary!

Published on May 19, 2009 by in Mariology

0

Continue Reading

0

Continue Reading

0

Continue Reading

Introduction to the Rosary

Published on May 19, 2009 by in Mariology

0

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

Introductory Prayer

I unite with all the saints in heaven, with all the saints in Heaven, with all the just on earth and with all the faithful here present. I unite with Thee, O my Jesus, in order to praise worthily Thy holy Mother and to praise Thee in her and through her. I renounce all the distractions I may have during this Rosary, which I wish to say with modesty, attention and devotion, just as if it were to be the last of my life.

We offer Thee, O most Holy Trinity, this Creed in honor of all the mysteries of our Faith; this Our Father and these three Hail Marys in honor of the unity of Thy Essence and the Trinity of Thy Persons. We ask of Thee a lively faith, a firm hope and an ardent charity. Amen.

Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, three Hail Marys, Glory Be …

[…]

Continue Reading

0
{mp3remote}http://www.fifthmariandogma.com/images/stories/audio/the_triumph/the_triumph_04-29-2009.mp3{/mp3remote}

Continue Reading

0

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Continue Reading

0

The following article is an excerpt from a chapter in the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. The book is now available from Queenship Publications. To obtain a copy, visit queenship.org. Visit books.google.com and search on "Mariology: A Guide" to view the book in its entirety, or simply click here.
Asst. Ed
.

Introduction

Veneration of the Mother of the Lord, which is an integral part of Christian worship, is manifested in an eminent manner in the celebration of the Church’s liturgy, but also by means of other forms of devotion, which are valuable auxiliary practices that harmonize with the liturgy but without becoming confused with it. These are precisely the other forms of Marian devotion—most specifically those of the Rosary and the scapular—which will be dealt with in the present chapter, but not without having first carefully laid the doctrinal foundation, that is to say the profound roots of all authentic veneration of Mary, liturgical or not, in Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. The liturgy, which is the "summit and source of the Church’s life" (SC 10), according to the teaching of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, "does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church" (SC 9) and consequently "the spiritual life is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy" (SC 12). Such truths are particularly reflected in the Marian dimension of the Christian life and in the various modes of expression of the piety of the faithful towards the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is why chapter 8 of the Constitution Lumen Gentium not only admonishes "all the sons of the Church that the cultus, especially the liturgical cultus, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered" (LG 67) (1), but also "that the practices and exercises of devotion towards her, recommended by the teaching authority of the Church in the course of the centuries be highly esteemed" (LG 67). By the same token, the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002) exhorts

all the faithful—sacred ministers, religious and laity—to develop a personal and community devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the use of approved and recommended pious exercises. Liturgical worship, notwithstanding its objective and irreplaceable importance, its exemplary efficacy and normative character, does not in fact exhaust all the expressive possibilities of the People of God for devotion to the Holy Mother of God (2).


[…]

Continue Reading

0

The rosary is made up of two things: mental prayer and vocal prayer. In the Holy Rosary mental prayer is none other than meditation of the chief mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Vocal prayer consists in saying fifteen decades of the Hail Mary, each decade headed by an Our Father, while at the same time meditating on and contemplating the fifteen principal virtues which Jesus and Mary practiced in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

[…]

Continue Reading

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Part II

Published on October 18, 2008 by in Papal Excerpts

0

The first part of Saint John Paul II’s Rosarium Virginis Mariae appeared in the previous Mother of All Peoples Bi-Monthly Issue.

CHAPTER II – MYSTERIES OF CHRIST—MYSTERIES OF HIS MOTHER

The Rosary, "a compendium of the Gospel"

18. The only way to approach the contemplation of Christ’s face is by listening in the Spirit to the Father’s voice, since "no one knows the Son except the Father" (Mt 11:27). In the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus responded to Peter’s confession of faith by indicating the source of that clear intuition of his identity: "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Mt 16:17). What is needed, then, is a revelation from above. In order to receive that revelation, attentive listening is indispensable: "Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of that mystery" (27).

The Rosary is one of the traditional paths of Christian prayer directed to the contemplation of Christ’s face. Pope Paul VI described it in these words: "As a Gospel prayer, centered on the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation, the Rosary is a prayer with a clearly Christological orientation. Its most characteristic element, in fact, the litany-like succession of Hail Marys, becomes in itself an unceasing praise of Christ, who is the ultimate object both of the Angel’s announcement and of the greeting of the Mother of John the Baptist: ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb’ (Lk 1:42). We would go further and say that the succession of Hail Marys constitutes the warp on which is woven the contemplation of the mysteries. The Jesus that each Hail Mary recalls is the same Jesus whom the succession of mysteries proposes to us now as the Son of God, now as the Son of the Virgin" (28).

[…]

Continue Reading

0

The First Saturday

The First Joyful Mystery – The Annunciation of the Lord (Lk 1:26-55)

Meditation

1. At last the heavens open and He whom the Prophets call the just one, the desired of the Patriarchs, the expectation of the nations, the one sent from God, descends into the world. The weeks of Daniel are accomplished, the prophecies of Jacob are fulfilled, for the scepter of Judah has already passed into the hands of Herod, a foreign king. A maiden, remaining a virgin, is to bring forth to the world a Man, who is the Son of the Most High.

My soul, do you understand what this means: the Word is made man? … O the endless goodness and mercy of the Lord! This God thus loved you so much as to wish his only begotten Son to humble himself taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:7)?

[…]

Continue Reading

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Part I

Published on October 4, 2008 by in Papal Excerpts

0

1. The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to "set out into the deep" (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, "the way, and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6), "the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn" (1).

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium (2). It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. 

[…]

Continue Reading

0

Only mental blindness or prodigious ignorance of the things of God could lead us to doubt that the devotion of the Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin came from heaven and was inspired by God. It is approved and practiced by the universal Church; it contains the holiest prayers anyone could possibly say, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Creed, and it is a most excellent means of honoring the first mystery of the life of Jesus, the greatest wonder God ever accomplished on earth, the miracle of the Incarnation of the Son of God in the most holy Virgin Mary. This incomparable wonder and admirable mystery, which perpetually enraptures all heaven and there adored without interruption, should be adored just as incessantly on earth, because it transpired on earth for the benefit of the dwellers of the earth, and because the Church Militant is bound to follow and imitate the Church Triumphant in heaven….

[…]

Continue Reading

0

Pope Benedict XVI gave the following catechesis on the Rosary at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome on May 3, 2008.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the conclusion of this moment of Marian prayer, I would like to address my cordial greeting to all of you and thank you for your participation. In particular I greet Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archpriest of this stupendous Basilica of St. Mary Major. In Rome this is the Marian temple par excellence, in which the people of the City venerate the icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani with great affection. I gladly welcomed the invitation addressed to me to lead the Holy Rosary on the First Saturday of the month of May, according to the beautiful tradition that I have had since my childhood. In fact, in my generation’s experience, the evenings of May evoke sweet memories linked to the vespertine gatherings to honor the Blessed Mother. Indeed, how is it possible to forget praying the Rosary in the parish or rather in the courtyards of the houses and in the country lanes?

Today, together we confirm that the Holy Rosary is not a pious practice banished to the past, like prayers of other times thought of with nostalgia. Instead, the Rosary is experiencing a new Springtime. Without a doubt, this is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother, Mary. In the current world, so dispersive, this prayer helps to put Christ at the center, as the Virgin did, who meditated within all that was said about her Son, and also what he did and said. When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ’s mission are traced. With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the center of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory. May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can “water” society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God. The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, it brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the center of each “Hail Mary.”

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank God who has allowed us to live such a beautiful hour this evening, and in the following evenings of this Marian month, even if we will be far away, each in their own family and community, may we, just the same, feel close and united in prayer. Especially in these days that prepare us for the Solemnity of Pentecost, let us remain united with Mary, invoking for the Church a renewed effusion of the Holy Spirit. As at the origins, Mary Most Holy helps the faithful of every Christian community to form one heart and soul. I entrust to you the most urgent intentions of my ministry, the needs of the Church, the grave problems of humanity: peace in the world, unity among Christians, dialogue between all cultures. And thinking of Rome and Italy, I invite you to pray for the pastoral goals of the Diocese, and for the united development of this beloved Country. To the new Mayor of Rome, Honorable Gianni Alemanno, who I see present here, I address the wish of a fruitful service for the good of the city’s entire community. To all of you gathered here and to those who are linked to us by radio and television, in particular the sick and the infirm, I gladly impart the Apostolic Blessing.

This translation may be found on the official Vatican Web site and was published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Continue Reading

0

There are several ways of saying the Holy Rosary, but that which gives Almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the Rosary publicly in two groups.

Almighty God is very pleased to have people gathered together in prayer; the angels and the blessed unite to praise Him unceasingly. The just on earth in several communities join in communal prayer night and day. Our Blessed Lord expressly recommended common prayer to His apostles and disciples and promised that whenever two or three were gathered together in His name He would be there in the midst of them (Cf. Mt. 18:20).

What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst! And the only thing we have to do to get Him to come is to say the Rosary in a group. This is why the early Christians often gathered together to pray in spite of all the Roman Emperor’s persecutions and the fact that assemblies were forbidden. They preferred to risk the danger of death rather than to miss their gatherings, at which Our Lord was present.

This way of praying is of the greatest benefit to our souls because: […]

Continue Reading

0

Saint Augustine says quite emphatically that there is no spiritual exercise more fruitful or more useful to our salvation than continually turning our thoughts to the sufferings of Our Savior.

Blessed Albert the Great, who had Saint Thomas Aquinas as his disciple, learned in a revelation that by simply thinking of or meditating on the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Christian gains more merit than if he had fasted on bread and water every Friday for a whole year, or had beaten himself with his discipline once a week until the blood flowed, or had recited the whole Book of Psalms every day. If this is so, then how great must be the merit that we can gain by the Holy Rosary which commemorates the whole life and passion of Our Savior! […]

Continue Reading

0

How can we practically involve our children in family prayer? What are ways that we can teach them the beauty of communing with Jesus in prayer, even though homework needs to be completed, dishes washed, pajamas put on little ones, and we may even want to reserve a few moments of peace and quiet for ourselves after a busy day? In my last article dealing with the Family Rosary (see article “The Family Rosary” in the Marian Devotion section) I identified the need for parents to make the call of the family Rosary heard, knowing the result will at times be met with resistance and indifference. For the encouragement of parents, I reminded the reader that the suffering encountered in family prayer is redemptive, and that its application in the home ensures that spiritual goods soak into the little hearts and minds of their children, even if parents feel their efforts are not making a great deal of difference.

In this article I want to offer a variety of ideas to parents of a practical nature for engaging our children in prayer, so that they approach prayer with a sense of expectancy. This is not to say that I am imparting approaches that are always a success with my family; rather, it is advice and insight I too am trying to implement daily within our home. The success is found at the finish line, not during the race itself. […]

Continue Reading

0

1. Ever since We were raised, by the design of Divine Providence, to the supreme Chair of Peter, We have never ceased, in the face of approaching evils, to entrust to the most powerful protection of the Mother of God the destiny of the human family, and, to this end, as you know, We have from time to time written letters of exhortation.

2. You know, Venerable Brethren, with what zeal and with what spontaneous and unanimous approval the Christian people everywhere have answered Our invitation. It has been magnificently testified many times by the great demonstration of faith and love towards the august Queen of Heaven, and above all, by that manifestation of universal joy which, last year, Our eyes had the pleasure to behold, when, in St. Peter’s Square, surrounded by an immense multitude of the faithful, We solemnly proclaimed the Assumption into Heaven of the Virgin Mary, body and soul.

3. The recollection of these things comes back pleasantly to Us and encourages Us to trust firmly in Divine Mercy. However, at present, We do not lack reasons for profound sorrow which torment and sadden Our paternal heart. […]

Continue Reading

Praying the Rosary for Peace

Published on October 13, 2006 by in Papal Excerpts

0

The recurrence of the month of October provides Us with an occasion for inviting the entire Christian people once more to the practice of a form of prayer which is rightly dear to Catholic piety, and which has lost none of its importance amid the difficulties of the present day. We are speaking of the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Misunderstandings Prevalent

The intention which We would propose this year to all Our sons and daughters, since it seems to Us more serious and urgent than ever, is that of peace among men and between peoples. Despite some progress and some legitimate hopes, murderous conflicts are continuing, new points of tension are appearing, and even Christians, who appeal to the same Gospel of love, are seen to be in opposition to one another. Within the Church itself, misunderstandings arise between brothers who mutually accuse and condemn each other. Hence it is more urgent than ever to work and pray for peace. […]

Continue Reading

0

Today, on the first of May, we observe Labor Day. We Christians place the celebration under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker. We observe such an important day with initiatives that tend to emphasize the importance and value of the work by which the human person, transforming nature and adapting it to his needs, realizes himself as a human being.

The Lord’s invitation to subdue the earth (cf. Gen 2:28), that we find at the beginning of the history of salvation, holds a definitive and contemporary importance. Creation is a gift that God entrusts to the human being so that by carefully cultivating and safeguarding it, it can supply his needs. From our work comes the “daily bread” that we pray for in the Our Father.

One can say that through his work the human person becomes more human. This is why industriousness is a virtue. For industriousness effectively to permit the person to become more human, it must always be joined with the social disposition of work. Only in this way will we protect the inalienable dignity of the person and the human and social value of the work that is done. To the watchful protection of St. Joseph the Worker we entrust those who belong to the great family of work in every place in the world.

Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a longstanding tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a “Marian” month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!

May it really be a month of intense prayer with Mary! This is the wish I wholeheartedly formulate for each of you, Brothers and Sisters, recommending to you once again the daily prayer of the Rosary. It is a simple and repetitive prayer but very profitable for drawing us into the mysteries of Christ and of his and our Mother. It is also a way of praying that the Church knows is pleasing to Our Lady. We are invited to make use of it, especially in the more difficult moments of our earthly pilgrimage.

Beginning the month of Mary, I invite all of you to join with me in praying for workers, especially those who experience difficulties in the workplace. We also need to intensify our confident and unceasing prayer for peace in the Holy Land where we hope that the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, who are so dear to me, will come to live in security and serenity. May the intercession of Our Lady and of St. Joseph, her Spouse and the Guardian of the Redeemer, obtain it for us…

– Excerpted from May 1, 2002 General Audience.

Continue Reading

Mysteries of the Rosary

Published on October 8, 2005 by in Papal Excerpts

0

Joyful Mysteries

Annunciation of the Angel to Mary

This is the brightest point which links Heaven and earth; the greatest event of the centuries. The Son of God, the Word of the Father, by Whom all was made that was made in the order of creation, took on human nature to become the Redeemer and Savior of mankind and of the whole human race.

Mary Immaculate, the most beautiful and fragrant flower of creation, at the voice of the Angel accepts the honor of divine maternity which, with her “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” was fulfilled in her at that moment. And we all, as brothers redeemed in Christ, become her sons. She is the Mother of God and our Mother.

Oh, the sublimeness and tenderness of this first mystery! Reflecting on it, it is our chief and constant duty to thank the Lord who deigned to save us, becoming man, and, as man became our brother, associating us in the filial adoration of His own Mother.

The intention of the prayer in the contemplation of this picture is, in addition to the daily habit of thanksgiving, the study and the sincere effort to acquire that humility, purity and great charity of which the Blessed Virgin gives Us such an amiable example.

Mary’s Visit to Her Cousin Elizabeth

What tenderness and what gentleness there was in that three-month visit of Mary to her beloved cousin! Both are custodians of an imminent maternity, but for the Virgin Mother it is to be the most sacred maternity that it is possible to imagine on earth.

What sweetness of harmony in those two intertwining hymns; from one, “Blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:42), and from the other, “He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid … henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).

This vision of Ain-Karim on the hill of Hebron illuminates with a heavenly light, at the same time very human, the relations of good families brought up in the ancient school of the Rosary recited each evening in the home among the members of the family.

This is done in all parts of the world, where men are called by the lofty inspiration of the priesthood, or where one is called by missionary charity or the apostolate or even by lawful motives of different natures, such as work, military service, study, teaching and the like.

What a beautiful coming together this is in which, during the recitation of the ten Hail Marys of this mystery, so many souls are united by the bond of blood, by domestic bonds, by all those things which sanctify and strengthen the sentiments of love among those closest to one another; parents and children, brothers, relatives, neighbors, fellow nationals, united in an act which supports and illuminates universal charity; the practice of which is the joy and honor of life.

Birth of Jesus in the Stable of Bethlehem

At the proper time, according to the laws of the assumed human nature, the Word of God made man emerges from the holy tabernacle which is the immaculate bosom of Mary.

He appears for the first time to the world in a manger used for feeding hay to animals. Silence, poverty, simplicity and innocence fill the scene.

The voices of angels are heard in the heavens announcing the peace which the newborn Infant brings into the world. The first to adore Him are Mary, His mother, and Joseph, His foster father. Then come the humble shepherds, called down from the hills by angelic voices. Later a caravan of illustrious men will come, led from afar by a star, and they will offer precious gifts full of significance.

Through it all, everything in that night of Bethlehem assumes a language of universality.

In this third mystery, which compels every knee to bend before the cradle, some like to see the smiling eyes of the Divine Infant in the act of beholding all the people of the earth passing before Him one after the other as in a procession.

He identifies them: Jews, Greeks, Chinese, Africans, all people from every region of the universe, from every age of history, past, present and future.

Others prefer, instead, during the recitation of the ten Hail Marys of this mystery of the birth of Jesus, to recommend to Him the countless numbers of children of the human race who have been born into the world in the past twenty-four hours of the day and night.

All of these children, baptized or not, belong to Jesus of Bethlehem and to the continuation of His reign of light and peace.

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

While still in His mother’s arms, the life of Jesus unfolds to the meeting of the two Testaments. He is light and revelation to the nations, the splendor of the chosen people. St. Joseph must be present and also participate in the rite of offering prescribed by the law.

This episode is perpetuated in the Church. As we recite the Hail Marys of this decade, it is beautiful to observe the joyful hopes of the perennial reflowering of the promises of priests, of men and women who cooperate in great numbers in the Kingdom of God.

Here also are the young students of the seminaries of religious houses, of mission students’ hostels and of the Catholic universities, those other young plants of a future lay apostolate, whose growth in numbers, in spite of the difficulties and setbacks of the present hour, harassed even by persecutions in many nations, never ceases to be a comforting sight which evokes words of admiration and joy.

Jesus Is Found Again Among the Doctors of the Temple

Jesus is now twelve years old. Mary and Joseph accompany Him to Jerusalem for the ritual prayer of that age. Suddenly He disappears from the sight of His loving and vigilant parents. There is great anxiety in the three-day search.

He is found in the temple reasoning with the doctors about the law. How significant are the words of St. Luke who describes Him so clearly! They found Him sitting in the midst of the doctors “listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46).

That meeting place of the doctors constituted everything in those times: knowledge, wisdom and practical directives in the light of the Old Testament.

In every age, this is the duty of human intelligence: to gather together the voices of the centuries, to transmit good doctrine humbly to make way for the vision of scientific investigation about the future.

Christ is found everywhere in the midst of men, and that is His proper place: “You call me Master. .. and you say well, for so I am” (John 13:13).

This fifth decade of Hail Marys of the joyful mysteries is a special prayer for the benefit of all those who are called to the service of truth and charity, in research, in teaching and in the diffusion of the new audio-visual techniques.

All of them are urged to imitate Jesus: scientists, professors, teachers, journalists—and particularly journalists, who have the characteristic duty to do honor always to good doctrine in its purity without the counterfeit of fantasy.

Sorrowful Mysteries

Jesus at Gethsemane

The mind, moved with emotion, turns to the image of the Savior in the hour of supreme abandonment. “And His sweat became as drops of blood running down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).

This expresses the intimate suffering of the mind, the extreme bitterness of solitude, the failing of the broken body. The agony is caused by the imminence of that which Jesus sees most clearly: the impending Passion.

The scene at Gethsemane encourages the exertion of the will to accept suffering: “Not my will but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42).

These are heart-rending words which teach one how to suffer, and they give the last touch to the acquisition of the most distinct merits. But they are also of real and interior comforts for all souls who suffer the most acute and mysterious pains.

In this light, what nuances of confidence and tenderness does the invocation of Mary acquire, who underwent this burning sorrow in union with her Son!

The intention of prayer is raised in devout reference to the Pope, seen in his universal responsibility, the object of pressing concerns which he keeps in his heart, but which he entrusts however to the ceaseless assistance promised by Christ to His Vicar.

The intention of this decade invokes furthermore strength and consolation for those who suffer with Christ, for those who are troubled and afflicted.

The Scourging at the Pillar

This mystery arouses memory of the ruthless torture of the beating of the immaculate and innocent limbs of Jesus.

The human being is composed of body and soul. The body suffers the most humiliating temptations. There is, then, in this mystery a call to that salutary penance which can encompass and protect the true welfare of man in his totality as a corporal and spiritual being.

A great lesson for everyone is drawn from this. We are not called to a bloody martyrdom, but to the constant and daily discipline of suffering. Along this path one arrives at an ever more perfect likeness to Jesus Christ and to a participation in His merits.

The sorrowful Mother sees Him thus scourged. How many mothers would like to have the joy of seeing their children, and to see them pass through the disciplines of education and instruction to a wholesome life. Sometimes, instead, they must weep at seeing the collapse of all their hopes and toil.

The intention here, then, will be to ask the Lord for the gifts of purity of habits in the family and in society, but especially in the souls of youth who are the most exposed to the seductions of the senses, and to ask at the same time for strength of character, for fidelity to good resolutions made and to lessons received.

The Crowning with Thorns

This is the mystery whose contemplation is better suited to those who carry the burden of grave responsibility in the care of souls and in the direction of society. It is therefore the mystery for the Popes, the Bishops and pastors, the mystery for governors, legislators and magistrates. The crown which is placed upon their heads carries a halo of dignity and distinction. It is also a crown that weighs heavily and pierces with thorns and annoyances.

Wherever there is authority, the cross cannot be wanting. Sometimes it comes in the form of misunderstanding, contempt, indifference or loneliness. Another application brings to mind the grave responsibilities of those who have received the most talents and are bound to make them bear fruit in the constant exercise of their faculties and intelligence. The service of intellect, of being a light and a guide to others, which is the duty required of those who are more gifted, must be borne with patience, rejecting temptations of pride, of egotism and of that dissension which destroys. The prayer in this decade, then, is for the leaders of men who belong to the religious and civil orders, and also those who bear the responsibilities of the pen, of thoughts and of artistic creation.

The Way of the Cross

Human life is a long, continuous and burdensome pilgrimage, down the rock-strewn hill on the path indicated for everyone.

In this mystery Christ represents the human race. Woe to Us, if there were not a cross for each one of us. Without it, man would be tempted by egotism, hedonism, insensibility, and he would succumb.

The fruit which comes from the contemplation of Jesus on Calvary is that of embracing and kissing the cross, carrying it with generosity and joy, according to the words of The Imitation of Christ: “In the cross there is protection from one’s enemies and the effusion of a heavenly sweetness.” (1)

There is likewise in this mystery an extension of the prayer to the Sorrowful Mother who followed Jesus with a spirit of participation in His merits and in His sorrows.

The intention (of the mystery) opens one’s eyes to the immense vision of the afflicted: the orphans, the aged, the sick, the prisoners, the weak, the exiles, asking for all strength and consolation which hope alone gives: “Hail O Cross, the only hope.” (2)

The Death of Jesus on the Cross

Vita et Mors, life and death, represent two precious and orienting points of the sacrifice of Christ.

From the smile of Bethlehem, which wishes to show itself to all men at their first look upon earth, to the last breath, which contains in itself all the sorrows to sanctify them, all the sins to cancel them.

And Mary is near the Cross, as she was near the Babe of Bethlehem.

We pray to her, this pious Mother, that she herself may pray for us, “nunc et in hora mortis nostrae” (now and in the hour of our death).

Here is also included the great mystery of obstinate sinners, of unbelievers, of those who did not receive and will not receive the light of the Gospel, who are unable to take heed of the Blood shed also for them by the Son of God.

And the prayer expands into a sigh of saddened reparation, into a horizon of missionary fullness, because the Most Precious Blood, shed for all men, gives to all salvation and conversion: “Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life.”

Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection of the Lord

It is the mystery of death dominated and overcome; from death to the splendors of victory and of glory.

It marks the greatest triumph of the Holy Catholic Church over the adversities and persecutions of past history and those of the future.

“Christ triumphs, reigns, rules.” It is well to remember that the first apparition of the Risen Christ was to the pious women who were close to His life and His sufferings even at Calvary.

In these splendors the gaze of the faith contemplates, united to the Risen Jesus, the most dear souls, those with whom we have enjoyed the closeness and with whom we have shared the pains. Thus in the light of the Resurrection of Jesus there comes alive the remembrance of our dead! They are recalled and blessed in the sacrifice of the Risen Lord.

It is not for naught, that the oriental liturgy concludes the funeral rite with an Alleluia for all the dead. For them we invoke the light of the eternal tabernacle, while the mind thinks also of the resurrection which awaits our mortal remains: “and I expect the resurrection of the dead.”

Wait and hope in the very sweet promise, the sure pledge of which is given to us by the resurrection of Jesus.

The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven

In this picture we contemplate the consummation of the promises of Jesus. It is His answer to our longing for Heaven. The final return to the Father, from whom He came into the world, is a certainty for all of us, to whom He promised a place on high: “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

This mystery is offered to us above all as a light and guide for souls in preparation for the vocation of each person. It contains the spiritual movement which leads to sanctification, the desire for constant ascensions which prepare the soul for the “mature measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).

And united in this effort for perfection are priests, men and women religious, men and women missionaries, very distinguished laymen, souls who wish to be the good fragrance of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 2:15), and who live already in relation to heavenly life.

The teaching of this decade is an exhortation not to allow ourselves to be held back by that which weighs us down but to abandon ourselves to the Lord who bears us on high.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

The Apostles gathered together around Mary in the Cenacle to receive the last gift of Christ, His Spirit, the Comforter and Advocate.

With the descent and diffusion of the Holy Spirit, the heirs of Christ, still filled with fear and anxiety, receive the seal of Catholicity, which spreads beyond all boundaries.

The Holy Spirit continues (to pour forth) effusions on His Church every day; the centuries and the nations belong to Him. His triumphs are not always evident from without, but they are in fact rich in surprise and wonder.

The special intention embraces the beginning and preparation of the Ecumenical Council, which is entrusted to the working of heavenly grace, and which intends to be in the world “like a new Pentecost.” (3)

May the Paraclete pour upon it the fullness of His gifts.

The Most Blessed Mary Assumed into Heaven

The sweet image of Mary shines and radiates in supreme exaltation. How beautiful is the sleep of Mary, as seen by the Christians of the East. She lies in the peaceful sleep of death with Jesus at her side, and He holds the soul of the Virgin close to His breast like a child, to indicate the miracle of immediate resurrection and glorification.

It is a reason for comfort and confidence in the days of sorrow for those privileged souls—and we can all be privileged souls—whom God prepares in silence for the highest triumphs.

The mystery of the Assumption keeps us familiar with the thought of our death, in the light of peaceful abandonment in the Lord, Whom we like to hope will be close to us at the time of our agony to gather our immortal soul into His hands.

The Coronation of Mary Above All the Choirs of Angels and Saints

Behold the synthesis of the whole Rosary, which closes the great vision, opened by the herald angel. A single flux of life runs through the individual mysteries and reminds us of the eternal plan of God for our salvation: the beginning hidden, the conclusion in the splendor of Heaven.

The meditation applies to ourselves, to our vocation to become associated one day with the angels and the saints, the mysterious and comforting reality which sanctifying grace anticipates in this life.

Oh! What joy! Oh! What glory! We are “citizens with saints and members of God’s household, built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

The intention prays for final perseverance and for peace on earth which opens the gates of blessed eternity.

These beautiful meditations from Blessed John XXIII were excerpted from 17 Papal Documents on the Rosary, St. Paul Editions, 1980.

Notes

(1) Book II, ch. XII, 2.

(2) Hymn ad Vesp. Dom 1, Passionis.

(3) Prayer for the Ecumenical Council: cf. A.A.S. LI. (1959) p. 832.

Continue Reading

0

It is a solemn custom of the faithful during the month of October to weave the prayers of the Rosary into mystical garlands for the Mother of Christ. Following in the footsteps of Our predecessors, We heartily approve this, and We call upon all the sons of the church to offer special devotions to the Most Blessed Virgin this year. For the danger of a more serious and extensive calamity hangs over the human family and has increased, especially in parts of eastern Asia where a bloody and hard-fought war is raging. So We feel most urgently that We must once again do what We can to safeguard peace. We are also disturbed by what We know to be going on in other areas, such as the growing nuclear armaments race, the senseless nationalism, the racism, the obsession for revolution, the separations imposed upon citizens, the nefarious plots, the slaughter of innocent people. All of these can furnish material for the greatest calamity.

A Special Task from God

2. Like Our immediate predecessors, We seem to have received a special task from God in His providence to work patiently and constantly to preserve and strengthen peace. This task, as is evident, arises from the fact that We have been entrusted with the governing of the whole Church, which, as a “sign lifted up to the nations,” (1) does not serve political ends but rather must bring the truth and grace of Jesus Christ, its divine Founder, to mankind. […]

Continue Reading

The Rosary, My Favorite Prayer

Published on October 1, 2005 by in Papal Excerpts

0

…I wish to draw your attention to the rosary. In fact, throughout the whole Church, October is the month dedicated to the rosary.

The rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and in its depth. In this prayer we repeat many times the words that the Virgin Mary heard from the Archangel, and from her kinswoman Elizabeth. The whole Church joins in these words. It can be said that the rosary is, in a certain way, a prayer-commentary on the last chapter of the Constitution Lumen gentium of Vatican II, a chapter which deals with the wonderful presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church.

[…]

Continue Reading

Praying the Rosary for Unity

Published on October 30, 2004 by in Papal Excerpts

0

Adiutricem Populi

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

The mightiest helper of the Christian people, and the most merciful, is the Virgin Mother of God. How fitting it is to accord her honors ever increasing in splendor, and call upon her aid with a confidence daily growing more ardent. The abundant blessings, infinitely varied and constantly multiplying, which flow from her all over the whole world for the common benefit of mankind, add fresh motives for invoking and honoring her.

Catholic Devotedness to Mary

2. For such magnanimous favors, Catholics on their part have not failed to return to her the tender devotion of grateful hearts; because, if ever there was a time when love and veneration of the Blessed Virgin were awakened to new life and inflaming every class of society, it is in these days so bitterly anti-religious. The clearest evidence of this fact lies in the sodalities which have everywhere been restored and multiplied under her patronage; in the magnificent temples erected to her august name; in the pilgrimages undertaken by throngs of devout souls to her most venerated shrines; in the congresses whose deliberations are devoted to the increase of her glory; in other things of a like nature which are praiseworthy in themselves and augur well for the future. […]

Continue Reading

0

We must say a few words about the different ways of praying the Rosary, for it has a simple form but its substance is wide and deep. This combination makes praying it easy and difficult at the same time: easy for a person with a vivid imagination and an open heart, capable of arresting the picture with the flow of words and identifying his own existence in the holy figures; difficult for him who has bartered his inner contemplative faculties for the multiformity of modern life.

So if a person belonging to the second order wishes to pray the Rosary, he must be prepared to grapple with some difficulty. He must practice, and learn gradually what comes naturally to others. Above all, he has to subdue his repugnance to repetition, for this is an essential part of the Rosary. The quiet rhythm of the same words is its form. […]

Continue Reading

0

Excerpt From: Fausto Appetente Die

Encyclical of Pope Benedict XV on St. Dominic

Loving the Blessed Virgin as a Mother, confiding chiefly in her patronage, Dominic started his battle for the Faith. The Albigenses, among other dogmas, attacked both the Divine maternity and the virginity of Mary. He, attacked by them with every insult, defending to the utmost of his strength the sanctity of these dogmas, he invoked the help of the Virgin Mother herself, frequently using these words: “Make me worthy to praise thee, Sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies.”

How pleased was the Heavenly Queen with her pious servant may be easily gathered from this, that she used his ministry to teach the Most Holy Rosary to the Church, the Spouse of her Son… […]

Continue Reading

The Rosary: A Social Remedy

Published on October 23, 2004 by in Papal Excerpts

0

Laetitiae Sanctae

Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII
Commending Devotion to the Rosary

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries, having Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Greeting and Apostolic Benediction.

The sacred joy which it has been given to Us to feel in attaining the fiftieth anniversary of Our Episcopal Consecration has been deepened by the knowledge that it was shared by the people of the whole Catholic world, and that as a father in the midst of his children We have been consoled by the touching testimonies of their loyalty and love. We gratefully accept it and record it as a fresh proof of God’s special providence, and one which is markedly full of bounty to Ourselves, and of blessing to the Church.

2. At the same time We love to offer Our thanks for this signal benefit to the august Mother of God, whose powerful intercession We feel to have been exercised in Our behalf. For hers is the loving kindness which, during the length of years and the vicissitudes of life, has never failed Us, and which day by day seems to draw nearer to Us than ever, filling Our soul with gladness, and strengthening Us with a confidence of which the surety is higher than the things of time. It is as if the voice of the heavenly Queen made itself heard to Us, at one moment graciously consoling Us in the midst of trials; at another guiding Us by her counsel in directing the great work of the salvation of souls; at another, urging Us to admonish the Christian people to advance in piety and in the practice of every virtue. For Us it is once more a joy as well as a duty to respond to her inspirations. Amongst the happy results which have already rewarded Our exhortations which were due to her prompting, We have to reckon the remarkable impulse given to the Devotion of the Most Holy Rosary. […]

Continue Reading

0

CHAPTER III

“FOR ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST”

The Rosary, a way of assimilating the mystery

26. Meditation on the mysteries of Christ is proposed in the Rosary by means of a method designed to assist in their assimilation. It is a method based on repetition. This applies above all to the Hail Mary, repeated ten times in each mystery. If this repetition is considered superficially, there could be a temptation to see the Rosary as a dry and boring exercise. It is quite another thing, however, when the Rosary is thought of as an outpouring of that love which tirelessly returns to the person loved with expressions similar in their content but ever fresh in terms of the feeling pervading them.

In Christ, God has truly assumed a “heart of flesh.” Not only does God have a divine heart, rich in mercy and in forgiveness, but also a human heart, capable of all the stirrings of affection. If we needed evidence for this from the Gospel, we could easily find it in the touching dialogue between Christ and Peter after the Resurrection: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Three times this question is put to Peter, and three times he gives the reply: “Lord, you know that I love you” (cf. Jn 21:15-17). Over and above the specific meaning of this passage, so important for Peter’s mission, none can fail to recognize the beauty of this triple repetition, in which the insistent request and the corresponding reply are expressed in terms familiar from the universal experience of human love. To understand the Rosary, one has to enter into the psychological dynamic proper to love. […]

Continue Reading

0

CHAPTER II

MYSTERIES OF CHRIST—MYSTERIES OF HIS MOTHER

The Rosary, “a compendium of the Gospel”

18. The only way to approach the contemplation of Christ’s face is by listening in the Spirit to the Father’s voice, since “no one knows the Son except the Father” (Mt 11:27). In the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus responded to Peter’s confession of faith by indicating the source of that clear intuition of his identity: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). What is needed, then, is a revelation from above. In order to receive that revelation, attentive listening is indispensable: “Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of that mystery.” (27) […]

Continue Reading

0

GRATA RECORDATIO

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII ON THE ROSARY: PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH, MISSIONS, INTERNATIONAL AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS

To the Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

Among the pleasant recollections of Our younger days are the Encyclicals which Pope Leo XIII used to write to the whole Catholic world as the month of October drew near, in order to urge the faithful to devout recitation of Mary’s rosary during that month in particular. (1)

2. These Encyclicals had varied contents, but they were all very wise, vibrant with fresh inspiration, and directly relevant to the practice of the Christian life. In strong and persuasive terms they exhorted Catholics to pray to God in a spirit of faith through the intercession of Mary, His Virgin Mother, by reciting the holy rosary. For the rosary is a very commendable form of prayer and meditation. In saying it we weave a mystic garland of Ave Maria’s, Pater Noster’s, and Gloria Patri’s. And as we recite these vocal prayers, we meditate upon the principal mysteries of our religion; the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and the Redemption of the human race are proposed, one event after another, for our consideration. […]

Continue Reading

0

SUPREMI APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON
DEVOTION OF THE ROSARY

To all the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic World in the Grace and Communion of the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and the Apostolic Benediction.

The supreme Apostolic office which we discharge and the exceedingly difficult condition of these times, daily warn and almost compel Us to watch carefully over the integrity of the Church, the more that the calamities from which she suffers are greater. While, therefore, we endeavor in every way to preserve the rights of the Church and to obviate or repel present or contingent dangers, We constantly seek for help from Heaven—the sole means of effecting anything—that our labors and our care may obtain their wished for object. We deem that there could be no surer and more efficacious means to this end than by religion and piety to obtain the favor of the great Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the guardian of our peace and the minister to us of heavenly grace, who is placed on the highest summit of power and glory in Heaven, in order that she may bestow the help of her patronage on men who through so many labors and dangers are striving to reach that eternal city. […]

Continue Reading

0

CHAPTER I

CONTEMPLATING CHRIST WITH MARY

A face radiant as the sun

9. “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Mt 17:2). The Gospel scene of Christ’s transfiguration, in which the three Apostles Peter, James and John appear entranced by the beauty of the Redeemer, can be seen as an icon of Christian contemplation. To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ’s face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul’s words can then be applied to us: “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). […]

Continue Reading

The Venerable Beads

Published on October 9, 2004 by in Marian Devotion

0

Let Me Count the Ways

Down through the millennia, Christians have expressed their love for the Blessed Virgin in many different ways. The early Christians made pilgrimages to the sites associated with her life. The Eastern churches influenced by Byzantium composed long “akathist” hymns in her honor. The Ethiopians developed a rich tradition of liturgical prayer to Mary. The Egyptians appear first in the documentary record with the prayer Sub Tuum Praesidium. The West, in turn, produced the “Hail, Holy Queen,” the Memorare, and many litanies. Both East and West have amassed a stunning heritage of Marian art—predominantly icons in the East, and both sculpture and paintings in the West.

Without a doubt, though, the Church’s most popular and beloved expression of Marian devotion is the Rosary. It’s my favorite expression too. […]

Continue Reading

The Rosary Month

Published on October 2, 2004 by in Marian Devotion

0

Praying the Rosary has the power to change the course of human history. It has indeed done so on several occasions.

The renowned Battle of Lepanto is one obvious manifestation of the extraordinary power of this Marian prayer. In 1571, Pope St. Pius V called upon Western Christendom to pray the Rosary for victory over the significantly stronger naval fleet of the Muslim Turks, and specifically requested the Rosary confraternities to intensify their Rosary prayer in preparation for the October 7 naval battle. The sailors of the Christian fleet were likewise armed with the weapon of the Rosary. […]

Continue Reading

0

Introduction

1. The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.” (1)

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. (2) It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. […]

Continue Reading

0

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries having Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Greeting and Apostolic Benediction.

1. At the coming of the month of October, dedicated and consecrated as it is to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, we recall with satisfaction the instant exhortations which in preceding years We addressed to you, venerable brethren, desiring, as We did, that the faithful, urged by your authority and by your zeal, should redouble their piety towards the august Mother of God, the mighty helper of Christians, and should pray to her throughout the month, invoking her by that most holy rite of the Rosary which the Church, especially in the passage of difficult times, has ever used for the accomplishment of all desires. […]

Continue Reading