Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Our Lady of the Rosary—4 October AD 2015
(19th Sunday after Pentecost)

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 Museum, Greenwich/London.

    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.[1]

    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 of civilization.

    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 around us.

    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.


[*]  Picture of the Battle of Lepanto from the Wikipedia Commons

[1]   Sermon of Saint Bernard. Matins of the Fease, Lesson vii






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