One-page Summary of the homily on rosary devotion: (The Feast of Our Lady ofF the Rosary (Oct 7th)
Importance: The word Rosary means “Crown of Roses,” and each prayer in the Rosary is considered a flower presented to Mary. It is called the “Breviary of the common people” and the “Psalms of the Illiterate.” The prayers we repeat are Biblical and hence “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary. The prayer “Our Father” was taught by Jesus himself. The “Hail Mary” is also rooted in the Scriptures. Its first half echoes the words of the Archangel Gabriel and those of Elizabeth, both addressed to Mary. The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father” — ancient in its wording, surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation. The various events in the lives of Jesus and Mary on which we meditate during the Rosary are expressions of the Paschal Mystery, that is, the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus, in which Mary shared.
History: Prayer using beads is as old as mankind. The Hindus in India used to recite the thousand names of their gods and goddesses and their “mantra” prayers using multi-bead strings, and their sages wear such strings around the neck, constantly rolling the beads in prayer. The Jews used bead-strings to repeat the Psalms, the Laws of Moses and the memorized sayings of the prophets. The Muslims use strings with a hundred beads for their prayer. In the ninth century, the Christian monks who recited the 150 psalms instructed the illiterate common people to recite the Our Father 150 times. It was in the eleventh century that the Europeans added the Hail Mary to the Our Father. According to a legend, in 1214, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic Guzman and instructed him to pray the bead-string in a new form as an effective antidote against the Albigensian heresy. The Rosary devotion attained its name and present form by 1500 A.D. An additional boost to the Rosary devotion was given in 1917, on the thirteenth of May, when our Blessed Mother, in her sixth apparition to the three shepherd children, demanded, “Say the Rosary every day… Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners… I’m Our Lady of the Rosary.” The “Fatima prayer” “O, my Jesus” was added in the twentieth century. Pope John Paul II enriched the Rosary by adding the “Luminous Mysteries” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae)
How to pray the Rosary: The ideal is to recite at least five decades of the rosary (and if possible, the entire twenty), with one’s whole family daily. We need to say the Rosary slowly enough to make its recitation devout and reverent. We are to reflect for a minute or two on the mystery, and then concentrate on the meaning of the prayers as we say them, to avoid distractions. Besides saying the rosary with others in the family before bedtime, let us make it a habit of reciting the rosary during our journey to the workplace and during our exercises. (LP)
Oct 7: THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY (2018)
The feast in memorial of a rosary miracle: The first major Rosary miracle, and one of the most impressive, is the one that occurred at the Battle of Lepanto. This historic battle took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting at Lepanto, on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The defeat was attributed to the effect rosaries recited by the soldiers and their respective countrymen for the sole purpose of preventing the Muslim army invading Europe and destroying Christianity as they did in the Byzantine Empire. The Turks had nearly three times more troops. The winds were against the Christians and the conditions were poor. But after the rosary recitals by the soldiers ended, the winds aided the Christians who gained a colossal victory against the Turks. This was one of the greatest naval upsets in history from which the Turks never fully recovered and their threat in the Mediterranean Sea ended. Following this victory, Pope Pius V established the Feast of Our Lady of Victories on October 7th. The name was later changed to its present form – the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. 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. Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716 and it is celebrated on the 7th of October, observing October as the month of the rosary.
Importance: The word Rosary means “crown of roses” or “garland of roses” in medieval Latin, and each prayer in the Rosary is considered a flower presented to Mary. In the opening pages of his spiritual classic, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis Marie de Montfort describes the Rosary as “a veritable school of Christian life” because of its beauty, power and value. It is a humble, a practical and a powerful means of contemplation, and a great source of blessing for those who pray and for the whole world. It is called the “Breviary of the common people” and the “Psalms of the Illiterate.” The prayers we repeat are Biblical and, hence, “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary. As we are saying the Rosary, we are, in fact, in contact with two of the most basic prayers in our Christian tradition: the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father), and the Angelic Salutation (the Hail Mary). The first is fully rooted in the Scriptures, taught by Jesus Himself. The second is largely rooted in the Scriptures, its first half echoing the words of the Archangel Gabriel and of Elizabeth as each addressed Mary. The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father” — ancient in its wording — surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation.
The Rosary is described as a compendium of the life of Jesus and Mary and a summary of the liturgical year. During the recitation of the Rosary, we meditate on the saving mysteries of our Lord’s life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother. Journeying through the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary, we bring to mind our Lord’s Incarnation, His public ministry, His passion and death, and His Resurrection from the dead. The various events in the lives of Jesus and Mary on which we meditate during the Rosary are expressions of the one basic and foundational mystery of the Christian faith: the Paschal Mystery, that is, the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus in which Mary shared. Hence, by praying the Rosary, we come to live out the Paschal Mystery in our lives, thereby becoming authentic disciples of Jesus, people who really follow in his footsteps, dying with him so as to rise with him. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, the exemplar of faith, who leads all believers to her Son. Hence, we as modern-day Catholic Christians need to pray the Rosary and live the Rosary.
History: Prayer using beads is as old as mankind. The Hindus in India used to recite the thousand names of their gods and goddesses and their “mantra” prayers using multi-bead strings and their sages wear such bead-strings around their necks, constantly rolling the beads in prayer. The Jews used beads to repeat the Psalms, the Laws of Moses and the memorized sayings of the prophets. The Muslims use bead-strings with a hundred beads for their prayer. In the ninth century, the Christian monks who recited the 150 psalms instructed the illiterate common people to recite the “Our Father” 150 times using beads. These strings of beads became known as Paternosters, the Latin for “Our Father.” It was in the eleventh century that the Europeans added “Hail Mary” to “Our Father.” According to legend, in 1214, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic Guzman and instructed him to pray with the bead-string in a new form as an effective antidote against the Albigensian heresy. At least a dozen Popes have mentioned St. Dominic’s connection with the Rosary in various Papal pronouncements, sanctioning his role as at least a “pious belief.” But in 1922, Dom Louis Gougaud stated, “The various elements which enter into the composition of that Catholic devotion commonly called the Rosary are the product of a long and gradual development which began before St. Dominic’s time, which continued without his having any share in it, and which only attained its final shape several centuries after his death.” Historians agree that St. Dominic preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the Faith. Dominic of Prussia, a Carthusian monk, in 1409 popularized the practice setting 50 phrases about the lives of Jesus and Mary with 50 Hail Marys. Henry Kalkar (d. 1408), another Carthusian monk, divided the 150 Hail Marys into groups of 10, with each group marked by an Our Father. The structure of the five-decade Rosary based on the three sets of mysteries — Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious – was later introduced. The Rosary devotion had attained its present form and gotten its name the rosarium (“rose garden”), by AD 1500. An additional boost to the Rosary devotion was given in 1917, on the thirteenth of May, when our Blessed Mother, in her sixth apparition to the three children at Fatima, demanded, “Say the Rosary every day… Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners… I’m Our Lady of the Rosary.” She advised them to say the Rosary rightly, daily and devoutly for a holier life and world peace. The “Fatima prayer” “O, my Jesus” was added in the twentieth century. Pope John Paul II enriched the Rosary by adding the “Luminous Mysteries” in 2002. Fr. Roche and Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. (died in 1992), were mainly responsible for the widespread practice of this devotion in modern times.
Devotion encouraged by the Popes: Pope Pius V instituted the Feast of the Queen of the Rosary in the sixteenth century, in thanksgiving for the Lepanto victory. The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Turkish forces of Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece , thus preventing the Islamic invasion of Europe. This famous naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto was attributed to the help of the Holy Mother of God whose aid was invoked through the intensive, united, joint force of praying the Rosary at that critical time. Pope Leo XIII in 1891 declared October as the month of the Rosary. For Pope Pius VII the Rosary was “an antidote against the evils of the day.” “It is the sure means of God’s blessings to families” (Pius XII). “Recite the Rosary devoutly; you will have peace in your families” (Pius X). In his Mirabilis Cultus, Pope Paul VI reminded us that we are praying “Bible-based prayers” in the Rosary. Pope John Paul II described the Rosary as “looking into the mysteries of Christ’s life through the eyes of Mary.” In his Apostolic letter on the rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope John Paul II emphasized that this prayer is meant to focus our attention on Jesus Christ: Although the repeated Hail Mary is addressed directly to Mary, it is to Jesus that the act of love is ultimately directed (RVM 26).
A favorite prayer of eminent Catholics: Blessed Mother Teresa was always seen reciting the Rosary. Daniel O’Connor, the “Father of the Nation” of Ireland recited the Rosary in his private room before each session of the parliament, and it is no wonder that Ireland is called “The Land of the Rosary.” The famous proponent of the Rosary, Fr. Peyton, challenges us: “Set apart ten minutes for Rosary at home, you will make your home a heaven of peace.” The great scientist, William Ampere, in his old age inspired and converted Frederick Osanam (the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society), by his daily recital of the Rosary at a grotto. The last words of Louis Pasteur to his nurse before his death far away from his home were: “Tell my wife that I died reciting the Rosary.”
What about repetitions of Hail Marys? Is it not this the kind of repetitious prayer Jesus condemned—a superficial, mechanical way of praying to God, characteristic of pagans -while true prayer is talking to God and listening to Him? The answer is no. Jesus taught a prayer: “Our Father,” and he intended that we repeat it. In the garden of Gethsemane, he said the same prayer three times (Matt. 26:44). In the Old Testament, parts of Psalm 118 are structured around the repeated phrase “His steadfast love endures forever,” and the book of Daniel presents the three men in the fiery furnace constantly repeating the phrase “Sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever” (Dan. 3:52–88). In the New Testament, the book of Revelation describes how the very worship of God in heaven includes words of holy praise that are repeated without end. The four living creatures, gathered around God’s throne, “never cease to sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev. 4:8). Although trying to manipulate God by vain repetition is always wrong, proper repetitious prayer is very Biblical and pleasing to God.
How to pray the Rosary: The ideal is to have the whole family recite at least five decades of the Rosary daily. We need to say the Rosary slowly enough to make its recitation devout and reverent. We are to reflect for a minute on the mystery and then concentrate on the meaning of the prayers as we say them to avoid distractions. Besides saying the Rosary with others in the family before bedtime, let us make a habit of reciting the Rosary during our journey to the workplace and during our exercises. If we do so, we shall experience for ourselves the truth of these words: “Meditating on the mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.” Amen. Fr. Tony. Supplement to XXVIII Sunday “Scriptural Homilies”)
Reasons why the rosary should be prayed often, even daily (http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/rosary/#ixzz2gWmOWe8r
- “Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary” (Pope Pius IX).
- “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world” (Our Lady of Fátima).
- “There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessings upon the family . . . than the daily recitation of the Rosary” (Pope Pius XII).
- “We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times” (Pope Pius XII).
- “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary” (Bishop Hugh Doyle).
- “The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world” (Pope John XXIII).
- “The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel” (Pope Paul VI quoting Pope Pius XII).
- “Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary . . . can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [i.e. the Mass] and can also become a continuing echo thereof” (Pope Paul VI).
- “My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fátima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God” (Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fátima).
- “How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening” (Pope John Paul II).
- Pope John Paul II has called the Rosary his “favorite prayer,” after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
- Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance…”the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God.” L-13
Additional notes: 1) Pope Leo XIII personally started the practice of devoting October to the Rosary devotion. In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.
2) The Family Rosary Crusade organized and directed by Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., sought to revive the practice of families reciting the Rosary daily within their homes. The Crusade has the encouragement and support of Pope Pius XII and it is succeeding admirably in realizing the desire of the Pope that no family would allow a day to pass without the recitation of the Rosary
3) Is rosary a “vain repetition” condemned by Jesus? The Rosary is contemplative prayer, designed to encourage meditation on fundamental elements of the life of Jesus and his Mother. Keating summarizes: If Catholics merely recite the prayers, whether vocally or silently, they’re missing the whole point of the Rosary. It isn’t just a recitation of prayers, but a recitation borne on meditation of the life of Christ and his mother. Critics, not knowing about the meditation part, say the Rosary seems boring, uselessly repetitious, and meaningless. Their criticism carries weight if you reduce the Rosary to such a formula. It is the meditation on the mysteries that gives the Rosary its power and its staying power. Jesus himself… prayed the third time” (Mt 26:44, “So, he… prayed for the third time, saying the same words.” Also Lk 11:5-13 on persistence in prayer). –
People sometimes complain that the repetition in the Rosary is ‘boring’. Did you know that this type of repetition is a style of prayer called meditation and it is meant to focus one’s attention on the words of the phrase and tune out everything else? The words of the Hail Mary are oddly comforting and as you focus on repeating them, they bring stillness to the mind and the spirit. The words of the Hail Mary are directly from scripture when we witness Gabriel greet Mary at the Annunciation. So, in this case, repetition is a good thing. As you repeat the prayer, greeting Mary literally becomes part of you. Educators know that repetition schools the mind in a way that nothing else can accomplish. So this type of repetitive prayer is healing in more ways than one. In addition, the twenty meditations of the Rosary are all straight from scripture. They are events that trace Jesus life and as we recall each we are really looking through Mary’s eyes. Of course the Our Father and the Glory Be are prayers that Jesus himself taught. There is not one shred of the Rosary that is not directed toward bringing us closer to Jesus with the able assistance of his Mother. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called the Rosary the perfect prayer because in addition to engaging the mind and the spirit, our fingers touch the beads and we are engaged in a physical way also. See more at: http://www.sfacatholic.net/index.cfm?load=page&page=329#sthash.05FcpHrG.dpuf. Jews repeated the psalms in their prayer. We repeat “responsorial psalm” in the Mass.
A very helpful version of the Rosary is The Scriptural Rosary. Also, very useful is to meditate on the sorrowful mysteries and how they help us to “love our wife (husband) as Jesus loved the Church” (Eph. 5:21,25). – See more at: http://www.sfacatholic.net/index.cfm?load=page&page=329#sthash.05FcpHrG.dpuf (October, 2018)LP
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B (No. 52b) by Fr. Tony: firstname.lastname@example.org