Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Holy Life

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast day – October 07

Pope St. Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of  Christians over the Turks at Lepanto — a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716. The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus' life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as unhistorical, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form — with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light to this devotion.

The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus — his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glorys remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.

“[The rosary] sets forth the mystery of Christ in the very way in which it is seen by St. Paul in the celebrated ‘hymn’ of the Epistle to the Philippians — kenosis [self-emptying], death and exaltation (2:6-11).... By its nature the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as grasped by the heart of her who was closer to the Lord than all others” (Paul VI, Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 45, 47). (

When the heresy of the Albigensians was growing in the district of Toulouse and striking deeper roots day by day, St. Dominic, who had just laid the foundations of the Order of Preachers, threw himself whole-heartedly into the task of destroying this heresy. That he might be the better able to overcome it, he implored with earnest prayers the aid of the Blessed Virgin. She instructed Dominic to preach the Rosary to the people as a unique safeguard against heresy and vice, and he carried out this commission with wonderful ardour of soul and with great success. From that time, then, St. Dominic began to promulgate and promote this method of praying. And the fact that he was its founder and originator has from time to time been stated in papal encyclicals.

From this salutary practice countless fruits have flowed to Christendom. Among these, we should especially mention the victory over the powerful tyranny of the Turks won at the battle of Lepanto by St. Pius V and the Christian princes he had aroused. For, as this victory was won on the very day on which the sodalities of the most holy Rosary throughout the world had been offering their accustomed supplications and carrying out the prescribed prayers, it was rightly attributed to these prayers. Gregory XIII testified to this fact when he decreed that for such a unique benefit thanks should always be offered everywhere throughout the world to the Blessed Virgin under the title of the Rosary. Other Popes have granted almost innumerable indulgences to the recitation of the Rosary and to Rosary societies.

Clement XI, noting the circumstances of the equally famous victory of Charles VI, the emperor-elect, over the innumerable forces of the Turks in Hungary in the year 1716, held that this victory was to be attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The victory occurred on the feast of the Dedication of Our Lady of the Snows; and, at almost the time of the battle, the confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary was offering a public and solemn supplication in the city of Rome, with a great crowd of people pouring out fervent prayers to God with great devotion for the overthrow of the Turks and humbly imploring the powerful aid of the Virgin Mother of God to help the Christians. Looking also with the eyes of faith at the raising of the Turks' siege of the island of Corcyra shortly afterwards, he held that this victory too must be ascribed to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin. To keep alive, therefore, the memory of these great benefits and to assure a perpetual thanksgiving for them, Clement extended the feast of the Most Holy Rosary to the universal Church. Benedict XIII decreed that all these things be written into the Roman Breviary. Leo XIII in repeated encyclicals strongly urged all the faithful throughout the world to recite the Rosary especially during the month of October, raised the rank of the feast, and added to the Litany of Loretto the invocation "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary." He also granted a special Office to be recited by the universal Church on this feast. The Popes over the last century have repeatedly stressed the great importance of devotion to Mary through the Rosary.


Sources for this article were taken from:  The Saint of the day:


O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary may be for me each day, in the midst of my manifold duties, a bond of unity in my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet refreshment, an encouragement to walk joyfully along the path of duty. Grant, above all, O Virgin Mary, that the study of thy twenty mysteries may form in my soul, little by little, a luminous atmosphere, pure, strengthening, and fragrant, which may penetrate my understanding, my will, my heart, my memory, my imagination, my whole being. So shall I acquire the habit of praying while I work, without the aid of formal prayers, by interior acts of admiration and of supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this of thee, O Queen of the Holy Rosary, through Saint Dominic, thy son of predilection, the renowned preacher of thy mysteries, and the faithful imitator of thy virtues.


Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary – Pray for us


You may also want to see: A Holy Life - How to pray the Rosary
                                             A Holy Life - Prayer to Our Lady of La Naval

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