"Good and devout souls, who walk in the light of the Holy Spirit: I do not think that you will mind my giving you this little mystical rose tree which comes straight from heaven and which is to be planted in the garden of your soul" -- St. Louis De Montfort
GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of The Rosary, established by St. Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto in October of 1571. The battle took place on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, ending in less than a day with the decisive defeat of the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire, which dealt a fatal blow to Muslim domination of the Mediterranean.
The victory at Lepanto is considered to be one of the greatest in naval history, since the Christians easily defeated an army reported to be about three times larger in number. The quick and pronounced victory by the Holy League was attributed to the help of the Mother of God whose intercession was invoked by the soldiers through the praying of the Rosary for three hours, during which time the wind shifted in their favor.
Today, the entire month of October is dedicated to praying the Rosary, a mental and vocal prayer of great depth in which Christians are drawn into the healing and regenerative mysteries of Christ's life, just as the Virgin Mary unceasingly directs all the faithful toward her Son: the Savior of humankind. It is no exaggeration to say that, if we desire to know Jesus Christ, we ought to diligently and with love seek to know the Mother of God whose holy womb nourished and protected the infant Jesus, and whose entire life was and is lived in complete union with her Son's divine purpose.
Blessed John Paul II tells us: "The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at the heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. . . . Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer" (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Introduction).
The word rosary means "crown of roses." St. Louis De Montfort professes the Rosary to be a "priceless treasure which is inspired by God," and the "mystical rose tree of Jesus and Mary in life, death, and eternity." He tells us that reciting the Rosary produces spiritual roses which will "never wilt or die, and they will be just as exquisite thousands of years from now as they are today" (The Secret Of The Rosary 9, 13).
St. Louis De Montfort teaches that the Rosary is principally and in substance composed of the Prayer of Christ (The Our Father) and the Angelic Salutation (The Hail Mary; see Lk. 1:26 ff.). Therefore, in a sense, the Rosary dates to that pivotal day when the angel Gabriel greeted Mary with the words: "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you" (Lk. 1:28). The Rosary thus becomes the "first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful" (The Secret Of The Rosary 17).
However, it was in the year 1214 that the Catholic Church received the Rosary in its present form, when it was given to St. Dominic from our Blessed Mother to be used as a powerful instrument of conversion in order to turn the hearts of the Albigensians back to God.
From that day forward, then as now, the Rosary has been embraced by the Catholic faithful the world over as a prayer of great power, from which graces of repentance, conversion, love of truth, and inexplicable joy flow forth from the infinite wellspring of Trinitarian Love. For those of the faithful who seek to advance in the spiritual life, it is through praying the Rosary that the indispensable graces necessary for such a sublime journey are received.
Also, the Rosary is widely known to be an antidote against the diabolical poisons of Satan. In his encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio, Pope Leo XIII taught that the Rosary is an effective spiritual weapon against the evils of an ill society. Observing that there have been many "exceedingly great favors obtained" through the ages by the Christian peoples' devotion to the Rosary, he tells us: "We desire that that same devotion [to the Rosary] should be offered by the whole Catholic world with the greatest earnestness to the Blessed Virgin, that by her intercession her Divine Son may be appeased and softened in the evils which afflict us" (Introduction).
Those "evils which afflict us" in contemporary society are legion: we are daily confronted with numerous intrinsic and grave evils: the intentional killing of thousands of unborn children through abortion; the destruction of multitudes of embryonic children through IVF and embryonic stem-cell experimentation; and the continued widespread use of contraceptives in an attempt to destroy the procreative potential that should exist in each intimate union of man and wife.
As if these are not enough, we must deal with the numerous and increasing attacks on the indispensable institution of marriage; a militant relativism which seeks to annihilate -- albeit futilely -- the truth; and powerful secularists whose intent is to force the privatization of religion, relegating public worship to closet ritual and evangelization to imposed silence. It is no exaggeration to say that society itself is threatened.
The words of Pope Leo XIII, in which he exhorts the faithful's devotion to the Rosary, echo those of Our Lady of The Rosary, when, at Fatima in 1917, she appeared to Lucia and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, as the Lady "more brilliant than the sun." On that day, the Virgin Mary announced to the entire world in union with her Son:
"I am the Lady of the Rosary. I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and to ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for he is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day."
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at catholicpathways.com
By Tony Magliano
Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the single most destructive weapon ever unleashed upon human beings and the environment - the atomic bomb - was dropped by an American B-29 bomber on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida broke his silence after his recent moral failure admission and stepping down from his post. Billy Graham's grandson wrote an open letter to his supporters and friends, ... continue reading
By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Christians all over the world are suffering from increasing prejudice and persecution. It is no secret that Islamic extremism and repressive governments are trying hard to perpetuate the oppression of Christianity. Pope Francis has been moved to warn of "a form of ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
Jesus Christ's miraculous multiplication of the loaves shows that he offers "fullness of life for hungry man," Pope Francis said Sunday. He encouraged everyone to offer what little they have to God so that God can multiply their gifts and good deeds. Vatican ... continue reading
By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Wearing your best outfit or putting on a little makeup in preparation for Church isn't too looked down upon. A leading Christian writer shared with Crosswalk.com what she has realized over years of church participation. Although she loves beautiful clothes and make-up, ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading
By J. Matt Barber
So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
With no end in sight, "donor fatigue" is setting in for those trying to help Middle Eastern Christians fleeing ISIS. There appears to be no solutions, only increasing refugees and more need. The refugees' situation is only getting worse. Refugees now realize ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Legal battle over the issue of a giant cross standing over a veterans' memorial has been a long and tedious fight, but an agreement may now put it all to rest, keeping the monument on the land. Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed legal ... continue reading
By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
The lips on a painted image of the Virgin Mary, on display at the St. Charbels Church in New South Wales, Australia, were reportedly witnessed moving along with the reading of the Lord's Prayer. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The video featuring the Virgin ... continue reading