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….
Hence, you cannot too often utter words so holy and so pleasing to the Son of God, so prized and honored by His glorious Mother, words which should be so cherished and highly revered among you. The Son of God delights in these words because He is well pleased that His most noble Mother should be hailed and honored, because all honor given to her returns again to Him and everything done for her is done for Him, even more than anything done for the least of His little ones. Then, too, these sacred words recall to mind the first mystery of His life, the mystery of His exceeding great love for His father and for us. They are most dear to and most honored by His Blessed Mother because they brought her the greatest and most sublime message of all time. These words should be highly valued and loved because they tell of the coming of One so eagerly awaited, so desired and prayed for on earth for five thousand years, die Redeemer descending to earth to deliver mankind from die tyranny of Satan and of sin, to reconcile man with God and to effect in each soul such great and marvelous things for love of men.
For these reasons the practice of reciting the Rosary, composed of repetitions of this holy and angelical salutation, is most holy, most pleasing to God and to the Mother of God, and it ought to be the customary practice of all true Christians.
I am very much afraid of those who shall be overtaken by death without this symbol, which is one of the characteristics of the servants and children of the Mother of God, may easily be disowned by her, and consequently rejected by her Son, as unworthy to share in the mercies of the Son or the favors of the Mother. But it is not enough simply to own and carry a rosary. The main thing is to say it well. And here is the way to do so.
First kiss the cross of your rosary and make the sign of the Cross with it in honor of and in union with the exceeding great love of the Son of God when He kissed and took upon His shoulders the burden of the Cross, thereby accepting and prizing in union with His love, all the crosses, trials and afflictions He may send you in your whole life. After that, say the Credo on the Cross.
In reciting the Creed, that apostolic summary of our faith, we must give ourselves to Jesus in union with the exceedingly ardent love with which He died for us and with the love of all the holy martyrs who died for Him. We must, I repeat, in union with that same love, offer ourselves to Him to die and shed our blood a thousand were it possible, for His pure love, for the glory of His mysteries, and in preference to the slightest deviation from the faith of His Church: So also, we must surrender ourselves to Him to be filled with a great love and devotion for all the mysteries of His life and of His Church that He may implant and glorify them in us according to His holy will.
With the recitation of the Our Father and the three Hail Marys introducing the first decade, we should annihilate ourselves at the feet of the Son of God and His holy Mother, considering ourselves most unworthy to appear before them or to think of them, or to have them think of us. And we should give ourselves to Jesus, imploring Him to annihilate us Himself, and to take up His abode in us, that He Himself may honor His most blessed Mother on our behalf, for He alone can give her fitting honor. Each one of us must also unite himself to His zeal, love and devotion for her. Then we should offer our prayer to the Blessed Virgin, in union with the devotion, love, humility and purity of her Dear Son and in union with all the devout prayers and all the glory and praise, past, present and future, ever addressed to her Son and herself.
This should be offered for the accomplishment of their heavenly design, especially on behalf of ourselves.
After that, as each decade of the Rosary is said, we should offer it to the Son and the Mother, in honor of one or another of their most eminent virtues, never separating Jesus from Mary or Mary from Jesus….
Now, as you say each decade:
1. You should meditate on each of these virtues of Jesus and Mary, considering their eminent sanctity and with what perfection they practiced each virtue throughout their lifetime in thought, word and action.
2. You should consider yourself and see how far removed you are from this virtue, and how little you resemble your Father and Mother (that is, Jesus and Mary) in this. Then, you should profoundly humble yourself on this account and beg them to forgive you, to make reparation for your failures and to offer to the Eternal Father all the honor accorded Him by their practice of this virtue, in satisfaction for the faults you have committed against it.
3. Offer yourself to Jesus and to His holy Mother with an earnest resolution to attend with more care to the practice of this virtue in future, imploring the Divine Son, by His absolute power and the inviolate Mother by her prayers and merits, to destroy in your soul all that can possibly prevent you from making this progress, and to establish the reign of this virtue for His pure glory.
St. John Eudes, Kingdom of Jesus, Part III, Chapter XXXVI. St. John Eudes is a spiritual father of the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a contemplative community of lay and religious dedicated to serving the Hearts of Jesus and Mary through Eucharistic Adoration, contemplation, and corporal works of mercy. For more information on the order, visit www.heartsofjesusandmary.org.