Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Our Lady of the Rosary—4 October AD 2020
Ave Maria!



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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)

Sunday, 7 October 1571
The Battle of Lepanto (H. Letter, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich/London)
A victory attributed to the Blessed Virgin and Catholics praying the Rosary


Today we celebrate the patronal feast of our parish, Our Lady of the Rosary.  The feast goes back about 450 years to a time when Catholics and Protestants were fighting amongst one another, leaving Europe more or less open to invasion by the Moslem forces from Turkey and North Africa.  Specifically, Pope Saint Pius V instituted the feast after Christian naval forces defeated the Turks in the battle of Lepanto on Sunday, October 7th, 1571.  The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin—Our Lady of Victories—and to the numerous people reciting her Rosary for relief from the invasion.  Another battle, in Hungary in 1716, was similarly attributed to her intercession and to her Rosary.  Over the years various Popes raised the rank of the feast, extended it to the entire Church, and urged Catholics everywhere to adopt the devotion of the Rosary.

The Rosary itself, of course, is much more ancient.  It has its beginnings in the monks of the desert who used pebbles to count the recitation of the psalms or other prayers.  Stringing the pebbles together was an early refinement.  But it took until the early 13th century—a time like our own, when many people were falling away from the Catholic Faith—and the efforts of Saint Dominic and his Order of Preachers—for the Rosary to be spread as a devotion of the common people.  Under our Lady's guidance, Saint Dominic preached the use of the Rosary as a means of instilling piety in those lay people who could not read the Psalms that were chanted by priests, monks, and nuns.

The Rosary resembles the Office chanted by religious in several ways.  It begins and ends with the opening prayers of the Office.  Ten Hail Marys followed by the Glory be to the Father are recited as though they were the verses of a Psalm.  Each decade of ten Hail Marys is recited after an “antiphon,” a brief indication of the meditation appropriate to the decade.  The Rosary, like the night prayers of the Office, ends with the prayer Hail Holy Queen.

The Office contains a great deal more material for meditation, but the Rosary has some advantages that make it attractive for priests as well as lay people:  Most Americans can read, but not everyone owns the books needed for the Office.  And reading is not always possible, even for those with a book.  But the Rosary can be carried and said anywhere and everywhere, in the dark; or while traveling, even on foot or on a horse; it can even be prayed underwater.  That means that we can take a lot of the more frustrating times in our daily lives and turn them into prayer: on the highway, or on the line at the supermarket, or perhaps while cutting the grass.

That's not a bad idea, by the way, particularly for people who think that they have no time for prayer.  All of us have those intervals during the day when we are waiting for something to happen.  If you add them up you will find that you have time to pray five or ten decades each day.  And there is the added benefit that such times spent in prayer pass a whole lot more smoothly than if you were to simply grit your teeth over the frustration of being made to wait.

In a way, the Rosary is better training for meditation than any book could ever be.  The Rosary is not just reciting certain prayers over and over—the vocal prayer is just a routine that ought to be going on somewhere in the back of your mind.  More central to the Rosary are the mysteries.  (“Mysteries” might be better translated as “meditations.”)  The 15 decades are simply 15 events in the lives of our Lord and Lady.  What we are trying to do is to imagine ourselves as being witnesses to those events—maybe even taking part in them.  We are trying to understand the significance of these events in the work of our salvation.  We might even expand our praying of the Rosary to include some events that are not numbered among the usual 15;  the Immaculate Conception, the Baptism of Jesus, or the Last Supper, for example.

In meditating properly, it helps to have a knowledge of these events.  The Bible is the best source, of course, but there are other books written just for this purpose.  Such reading requires a little bit of effort on our part, but then almost anything that is worthwhile takes time and effort.  Prayer ought to be more than just a “filler” for that “dead time” at the grocery store.  We ought to set apart  particular times for our daily prayer as well.

Today is the first Sunday in October, the month dedicated by the Church to Our Lady's Rosary.  If you are not already praying her Rosary this is a good time to begin.  Look around and find your Rosary, and put it in your purse or your pocket.  It doesn't do any good in the drawer, behind the socks.  Spend a little time in reviewing the 15 meditations so you don't have to read them each time.  Get out your Bible and read what it has to say about each of the events.  Mentally lay out your schedule, both in terms of time you can devote exclusively to prayer, and in terms of those “dead times” that you know will occur each day.

Most people that pray the Rosary say 5 or 15 decades a day.  But let me ask you to offer a gift to our Lady: Even if you are in the habit of never saying the Rosary, you can get started by saying 1 decade a day.  If you do just that little bit every day, you'll say 73 Rosaries a year—one for each year of her life here on earth.  And I'll bet you'll start finding time for more.

In any event, please pray the Rosary.  We live in unfaithful times—worse than anything Saint Dominic could have imagined.  Prayer and penance in general, and our Lady's Rosary in particular are needed not just for the salvation of souls, but for the salvation of civilization as well.  Please pray the Rosary!


Dei via est íntegra


Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
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