The Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass in Latin and English
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sacratissimi Rosarii Beatæ Mariæ Virginis
Blessing of Rosaries
Rosary and Litany of Loreto
Leaflet (MS Word)
The Battle of Lepanto, H. Letter, National Maritime
To commend His grace to us, and to destroy human wisdom, God was
pleased to take flesh of a woman who was a virgin, and so to restore
by like, to cure a contrary by a contrary, to draw out the poisonous
thorn, and most effectively to blot out the decree of sin.
Eve was a thorn; Mary is a rose. Eve was a thorn in her wounding;
Mary a rose in the sweetening of the affections of all. Eve was a
thorn fastening death upon all; Mary is a rose giving the heritage
of salvation back to all. Mary was a white rose by reason of her
virginity, a red rose by reason of her charity; white in her body,
red in her soul; white in cultivating virtue, red in treading down
vice; white in purifying affection, red in mortifying the flesh;
white in loving God, red in having compassion on her neighbor.
Today is the feast of our Lady of the
Rosary, a feast that has been celebrated in the Church for nearly 450 years.
Its primary purpose was to celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary as the protectress
of Christendom from the heathen. Ever since about the year 700, Catholic Europe
had been threatened by the invasion of Moslems—followers of Mohammed, who
refused to accept the divinity of our Lord and who rejected the existence of the
Trinity altogether. In general, they invaded Europe from the south. Their
religion originated in Arabia, and they quickly seized the Holy Land. They
came through North Africa to Spain and France; they came also through Sicily
and threatened Italy; they came through the Balkans and modern day Yugoslavia,
almost into the city of Vienna.
Christian armies were quick to respond;
men and materials were always given generously—but the defense of Christendom
never came easily. Often, the Christians were divided, or even fighting on two
fronts. In the 700s there were barbarian tribes raiding from the north. Around
1000, the Eastern Empire split with the Western Empire, making defense of the
holy Land more difficult. Spain had always been a divided nation, and endured
perhaps 800 years in occupation. By the 16th and 17th centuries, Western
Christendom had split among Catholics and Protestants.
But whenever history records a decisive
battle to repel the invaders, it usually records that the people united in
prayer to the Blessed Virgin, implored her intercession, and credited her with
the supervision of their victory. The particular victory (at Lepanto)
commemorated was fought to clear the Mediterranean coast of Saracen pirates that
were preying on Christian ships, stealing their cargoes, enslaving their crews,
and forcing their conversion to false religion. So, on Sunday, October 7th,
1571, Admiral Don Juan of Austria won a decisive naval victory over the
invaders. But he won it while much of the Catholic world united with Pope Saint
Pius V in reciting Mary's Rosary. And when the battle was concluded, Pope Pius
knew immediately of the success of the our Lady's navy, even though couriers
would not arrive in Rome with the news until days later.
So, this feast was instituted, (at first
called Our Lady of Victories) to be celebrated on that day every year; either
the first Sunday of October, or in some places on October 7th; to remind us that
Mary always will be the primary protectress of the Christian world.
And, this reminder ought to be more than
a mere passing notice, like Washington's birthday or Labor Day. It ought to
elicit action on our part, because, certainly, things are no better in our day.
We still have strife between peoples, and nations, and people of different
belief, or no belief at all. And, if anything, Christendom seems to be losing
ground—particularly to those of no belief—for their lack of belief has entered
into our own nation, our own community, our churches, and into most of our own
families. Our own streets are not safe, and we have those in authority
committing (and urging the commission of) crimes against the basic moral fiber
So this feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
ought to be a day that reminds us to work and pray throughout the year for the
restoration of Christian principles in our lives, and in the lives of those
But, it has one other, more personal
aspect. An aspect that is grounded in the very nature of the Rosary itself, for
in praying the Rosary we are meditating on the lives of Jesus and Mary, coming
to know the events surrounding our very own salvation. So this feast day ought
to be one that reminds us also to work and pray throughout the year to become
closer and closer to Jesus and Mary. Other than through the Sacraments, there
is probably no better way to approach them than to pray the Rosary.
So this then is the feast of Our Lady of
the Rosary—our Lady of Victories over the anti-Christian forces in the world
around us. So pray for Christendom; pray for the Church, pray for the nation,
pray for our parish; but above all pray for yourselves “that by meditating on
the mysteries of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you may imitate what
they contain, and obtain what they promise”: life everlasting, Amen.
Eve was a thorn;
Mary is a rose.