Praying the Rosary
By Barbara Kralis
©Barbara Kralis 2004
The medical and scientific communities have recently proclaimed what Catholics have known for centuries – reciting the Rosary is good for you.
However, the medical experts missed the raison d’être for the origin of the Rosary when they hypothesized it was developed by man to give those praying a sense of well-being as a result of their slowed cardiovascular rhythms.
Not quite, O men of modern science; but, nice try.
In truth, Heaven was the originator of the Rosary. The Blessed Virgin, in the 13th century, gave the Rosary to St. Dominic. Because belief of this Sacred Tradition requires faith, it is much easier to reason that man, for health reasons, devised the Rosary.
The above modern hypothesis is not entirely in the wrong, for there are a great number of benefits (graces) received by reciting the Rosary, both of the body and of the soul.
Praying the Rosary does bring us peace when prayed well and it consequently does slow down the cardiovascular rhythms of our body. More importantly, it gives us a more perfect knowledge of Christ. How does it do this?
The Rosary is ‘a Christocentric prayer. It has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety.
The Rosary is the perfect compliment to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It sustains and echoes our sacramental life. The Rosary is a ‘path to contemplation’ — a path that Pope John Paul II said he follows daily, realizing each day’s work within the mysteries of the Rosary.
Moreover, the Rosary purifies our souls, gives us victory over our enemies, allows us to practice virtue, sends us graces and merits, and allows us to help pay our debts against our temporal punishment.
The Rosary is also a prayer for peace in our families and in our world. What better time than in this era to pray the family Rosary, as Fr. Patrick Peyton instructed. He said, "The family that prays together, stays together."
Pope Leo XIII, often called "the Pope of the Rosary," strived to maintain the tradition of this prayer, which he asserted was a strong spiritual weapon against evil.
Our world owes a great debt of gratitude, perhaps more than our human minds can understand, to the holy St. Dominic. It is impossible to talk about the Rosary without significant mention of St. Dominic. Sacred Tradition and thirteen recent Popes tell us that Mary first revealed the Rosary devotion to St. Dominic.
Having received a vision of the Blessed Mother, Dominic began to spread the prayer of the Rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, a neo-Manichaean group of fanatical heretics. Albigenses believed that everything material was evil and everything spiritual was good. St. Dominic used the Rosary to convert the heretical Albigensians.
The Rosary was most strongly supported by the tradition of the Dominican Order. Pope Leo XIII affirmed over and over the Dominican origin of the Rosary and in a letter to the Bishop of Carcassone (1889), he accepts the tradition of Prouille, France, as the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic, revealing the devotion to the Rosary.
Pope Alexander VI in 1495, addressed St. Dominic as "the renowned preacher long ago of the Confraternity of the Rosary, and through his merits, the whole world was preserved from universal ruin."
During an interview that Pope John Paul II gave in Germany during 1980 he held up his Rosary and said:
"This is the remedy that should be used in the struggle against evil. Pray the Rosary daily."
Mindful of the action of Pope Pius V in the Battle of Lepanto, Pope John Paul II, said in his Angelus address of October 1983:
"It is not a question now of asking for great victories, as at Lepanto and Vienna, rather it is a question of asking Mary to provide us with valorous fighters against the spirit of error and evil, with ...
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