Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
Picture the scene of the Annunciation. God proposes the mystery of the Incarnation which He will accomplish in the Virgin Mary--but not until she has given her consent. The accomplishment of the mystery is held in suspense awaiting the free acceptance of Mary. At this moment Mary represents all of us in her own person; it is as if God is waiting for the response of the humanity to which He longs to unite Himself. What a solemn moment this is! For upon this moment depends the decision of the most vital mystery of Christianity.
But see how Mary gives her answer. Full of faith and confidence in the heavenly message and entirely submissive to the Divine Will, the Virgin Mary replies in a spirit of complete and absolute abandonment: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word." This "Fiat" is Mary's consent to the Divine Plan of Redemption. It is like an echo of the "Fiat" of the creation of the world. But this is a new world, a world infinitely superior, a world of grace, which God will cause to arise in consequence of Mary's consent, for at that moment the Divine Word, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, becomes Man in Mary: "And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us."
And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
See how the Holy Spirit greets the Virgin Mary through the mouth of Elizabeth: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoke to thee by the Lord."
Blessed indeed, for by this faith in the word of God the Virgin Mary became the Mother of Christ.
What finite creature has ever received honor such as this from the Infinite Being?
Mary gives all the glory to the Lord for the marvelous things which are accomplished in her. From the moment of the Incarnation the Virgin Mother sings in her heart a canticle full of love and gratitude.
In the presence of her cousin Elizabeth she allows the most profound sentiments of her heart to break forth in song; she intones the "Magnificat" which, in the course of centuries, her children will repeat with her to praise God for having chosen her among all women:
"My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid... Because He Who is mighty has done great things for me And holy is His name."
And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Virgin Mary sees in the Infant that she has given to the world, a child in appearance like all other children, the very Son of God. Mary's soul was filled with an immense faith which welled up in her and surpassed the faith of all the just men of the Old Testament; this is why she recognized her God in her own Son.
This faith manifests itself externally by an act of adoration. From her very first glance at Jesus, the Virgin prostrated herself interiorly in a spirit of adoration so profound that we can never fathom its depth.
In the heart of Mary are joined in perfect harmony a creature's adoration of her God and a Mother's love for her only Son.
How inconceivably great the joy in the soul of Jesus must have been as He experienced this boundless love of His Mother! Between these two souls took place ceaseless exchanges of love which brought them into ever closer unity. O wonderful exchange: to Mary Jesus gives the greatest gifts and graces, and to Jesus Mary gives her fullest cooperation: after the union of the Divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity and the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the Incarnation, no more glorious or more profound union can be conceived than the union between Jesus and Mary.
And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons...
On the day of the Presentation God received infinitely more glory than He had hitherto received in the temple from all the sacrifices and all the holocausts of the Old Testament. On this day it is His own Son Jesus Who is offered to Him, and Who offers to the Father the infinite homage of adoration, thanksgiving, expiation and supplication.
This is indeed a gift worthy of God.
And it is from the hands of the Virgin, full of grace, that this offering, so pleasing to God, is received. Mary's faith is perfect. Filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, she has a clear understanding of the value of the offering which she is making to God at this moment; by His inspirations the Holy Spirit brings her soul into harmony with the interior dispositions of the heart of her Divine Son.
Just as Mary had given her consent in the name of all humanity when the angel announced to her the mystery of the Incarnation, so also on this day Mary offers Jesus to the Father in the name of the whole human race. For she knows that her Son is "the King of Glory, the new light enkindled before the dawn, the Master of life and death."
Finding in the
Temple: Luke 2:46-47
And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.
"How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" This is the answer that Jesus gave to His Mother when, after three days' search she had the joy of finding Him in the Temple.
These are the first words coming from the lips of the Word Incarnate to be recorded in the Gospel.
In these words Jesus sums up His whole person, His whole life, His whole mission. They reveal His Divine Sonship; they testify to His supernatural mission. Christ's whole life will only be a clarifying and magnificent exposition of the meaning of these words.
St. Luke goes on to tell us that Mary "did not understand the word that He spoke." But even if Mary did not grasp the full significance of these words, she did not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. This is why she submitted in silence to that Divine Will which had demanded such a sacrifice of her love.
"Mary kept these words of Jesus carefully in her heart." She kept them in her heart, for there was the tabernacle in which she adored the mystery concealed in the words of he Son, waiting until the full light of understanding would be granted her.
Agony in the
Garden: Matthew 26:36-39
Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me. And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
It is for the love of His Father above all else that Jesus willed to undergo His Passion.
Behold Jesus Christ in His agony. For three long hours weariness, grief, fear and anguish sweep in upon His soul like a torrent; the pressure of this interior agony is so immense that blood bursts forth from His sacred veins. What an abyss of suffering is reached in this agony! And what does Jesus say to His Father? "Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me." Can it be that Jesus no longer accepts the Will of His Father? Oh! certainly He does. But this prayer is the cry of the sensitive emotions of poor human nature, crushed by ignominy and suffering. Now is Jesus truly a "Man of Sorrows." Our Savior feels the terrible weight of His agony bearing down upon His shoulders. He wants us to realize this; that is why He utters such a prayer.
But listen to what He immediately adds: "Nevertheless, Father, not My will but Thine be done." Here is the triumph of love. Because He loves His Father, He places the Will of His Father above everything else and accepts every possible suffering in order to redeem us.
the Pillar: Matthew 27:25-26
And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children. Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified
Christ substituted Himself voluntarily for us as a sacrificial victim without blemish in order to pay our debt, and, by the expiation and the satisfaction which He made for us, to restore the Divine life to us. This was the mission which Christ came to fulfill, the course which He had to run. "God has placed upon Him"--a man like unto ourselves, of the race of Adam, but entirely just and innocent and without sin--"the iniquity of us all."
Since Christ has become, so to speak, a sharer in our nature and taken upon Himself the debt of our sin, He has merited for us a share in His justice and holiness. In the forceful words of St. Paul, God, "by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin-offering, has condemned sin in the flesh." And with an impact still more stunning, the Apostle writes: "For our sakes He (God) made Him (Christ) to be sin who knew nothing of sin." How startling this expression is: "made Him to be sin"! The Apostle does not say "sinner," but--what is still more striking--"sin"!
Let us never forget that "we have been redeemed at great price by the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Thorns: Matthew 27:28-29
And stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews.
Christ Jesus becomes an object of derision and insults at the hands of the temple servants. Behold Him, the all-powerful God, struck by sharp blows; His adorable face, the joy of the saints, is covered with spittle; a crown of thorns is forced down upon His head; a purple robe is placed upon His shoulders as a mock of derision; a reed is thrust into His hand; the servants genuflect insolently before Him in mockery. What an abyss of ignominy! What humiliation and disgrace for One before Whom the angels tremble!
The cowardly Roman governor imagines that the hatred of the Jews will be satisfied by the sight of Christ in this pitiful state. He shows Him to the crowd: "Ecce Homo--Behold the Man!"
Let us contemplate our Divine Master at this moment, plunged into the abyss of suffering and ignominy, and let us realize that the Father also presents Him to us and says to us: "Behold My Son, the splendor of My glory--but bruised for the sins of My people."
Cross: John 19:12-18
And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar. Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst.
Let us meditate upon Jesus Christ on the way to Calvary laden with His cross. He falls under the weight of this burden. To expiate sin, He wills to experience in His own flesh the oppression of sin. Fearing that Jesus will not reach the place of crucifixion alive, the Jews force Simon of Cyrene to help Christ to carry His cross, and Jesus accepts this assistance.
In this Simon represents all of us. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we should all help Jesus to carry His Cross. This is the one sure sign that we belong to Christ--if we carry our cross with Him.
But while Jesus carried His cross, He merited for us the strength to bear our trials with generosity. He has placed in His cross a sweetness which makes ours bearable, for when we carry our cross it is really His that we receive. For Christ unites with His own the sufferings, sorrows, pains and burdens which we accept with love from His hand, and by this union He gives them an inestimable value, and they become a source of great merit for us.
It is above all His love for His Father which impels Christ to accept the sufferings of His Passion, but it is also the love which He bears us.
Death: Luke 23:45-46
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.
At the Last Supper, when the hour had come to complete His oblation of self, what did Christ say to His Apostles who were gathered around Him? "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And this is the love, surpassing all loves, which Jesus shows us; for, as St. Paul says, "It is for us all that He is delivered up." What greater proof of love could He have given us? None.
Hence the Apostle declares without ceasing that "because He loved us, Christ delivered Himself up for us," and "because of the love He bears for me, He gave Himself up for me."
"Delivered," "given"--to what extent? Even to the death on the cross!
What enhances this love immeasurably is the sovereign liberty with which Christ delivered Himself up: "He offered Himself because He willed it." These words tell us how spontaneously Jesus accepted His Passion. This freedom with which Jesus delivered Himself up to death for us is one of the aspects of His sacrifice which touch our human hearts most profoundly.
of Our Lord: Matthew 28:5-6
And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid.
On the day of His Resurrection Jesus Christ left in the tomb the shroud which is the symbol of our infirmities, our weaknesses, our imperfections. Christ comes from the tomb triumphant--completely free of earthly limitation; He is animated with a life that is intense and perfect, and which vibrates in every fibre of His being. In Him everything that is mortal has been absorbed by His glorified life.
Here is the first element of the sanctity represented in the risen Christ: the elimination of everything that is corruptible, everything that is earthly and created; freedom from all defects, all infirmities, all capacity for suffering.
But there is also another element of sanctity: union with God, self- oblation and consecration to God. Only in heaven shall we be able to understand how completely Jesus lived for His Father during these blessed days. The life of the risen Christ became an infinite source of glory for His Father. Not a single effect of His sufferings was left in Him, for now everything in Him shone with brilliance and beauty and possessed strength and life; every atom of His being sang an unceasing canticle of praise. His holy humanity offered itself in a new manner to the glory of the Father.
Heaven: Luke 24:50-51
And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven.
Our Lord said to His Apostles before He departed from them: "If you loved Me, you would indeed rejoice that I am going to the Father." To us also Christ repeats these words. If we love Him, we shall rejoice in His glorification; we shall rejoice with Him that, after completing His course on earth, He ascends to the right hand of His Father, there to be exalted above all the heavens in infinite glory.
But Jesus goes only to precede us; He does not separate Himself from us, nor does He separate us from Himself. If He enters into His glorious kingdom, it is to prepare a place for us there. He promises to return one day to take us with Him so that, as He says, where He is we also may be. True, we are already there in the glory and happiness of Christ, by our title as His heirs; but we shall one day be there in reality. Has not Christ asked this of His Father? "Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me."
Let us then say to Christ Jesus: "Draw us into Your triumphal march, O glorious and all-powerful Conqueror! Make us live in heaven by faith and hope and love. Help us to detach ourselves from the fleeting things of earth in order that we may seek the true and lasting goods of heaven!"
And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.
The Holy Spirit appeared under the form of tongues of fire in order to fill the Apostles with truth and to prepare them to bear witness to Jesus. He also come to fill their hearts with love.
He is the Person of Love in the life of God. He is also like a breath, an aspiration of infinite Love, from which we draw the breath of life.
On the day of Pentecost the Divine Spirit communicated such an abundance of life to the whole Church that to symbolize it "there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they (the Apostles) were sitting."
But it is also for us that the Holy Spirit has come, for the group in the Cenacle represented the whole Church. The Holy Spirit came to remain with the Church forever. This is the promise of Jesus Himself. He dwells in the Church permanently and unfailingly, performing in it without ceasing, His action of life-giving and sanctification. He establishes the Church infallibly in the truth. It is He Who makes the Church blossom forth with a marvelous supernatural fruitfulness, for He brings to life and full fruition in Virgins, Martyrs, Confessors, those heroic virtues which are one of the marks of true sanctity.
Mary: Hebrews 11:5
By faith Henoch was translated, that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.
If Christ Jesus wishes us to love all the members of His Mystical Body, should we not love above all others her who gave Him the very nature by which He became our Head, the same nature which He uses to communicate His grace to us? We cannot doubt but that the love which we show to his Mother is extremely pleasing to Christ.
We shall manifest our love by extolling the sublime privileges which Jesus has bestowed on His Mother, among which the Assumption is one of the most glorious. If we wish to please our Lord very much, we shall admire the wonderful gifts with which He has lovingly adorned the soul of His Mother. He wishes that we should sing the praises of the Virgin, who was chosen among all women to give the Savior to the world.
"Yes, we shall sing your praises, for you alone have delighted the heart of your God. May you be blessed, for you have believed the word of God, and in you the eternal promises have been fulfilled."
Mary: Apocalypse 11:19-12:1
And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars...
What is the purpose of all the mysteries of Christ? To be the pattern of our supernatural life, the means of our sanctification, the source of all our holiness. To create an eternal and glorious society of brethren who will be like unto Him. For this reason Christ, the new Adam, has associated with Himself Mary, as the new Eve. But she is, much more than Eve, "the Mother of all the living," the Mother of those who live in the grace of her Son.
And since here below Mary was associated so intimately with all the mysteries of our salvation, at her Assumption into heaven Jesus crowned her not only with glory but also with power; He has placed His Mother on His right hand and has given her the power, in virtue of her unique title of Mother of God, to distribute the treasures of eternal life.
Let us then, full of confidence, pray with the Church: "Show yourself a Mother: Mother of Jesus, by your complete faith in Him, our Mother, by your mercy towards us; ask Christ, Who was born of you, to give us life; and Who willed to be your Son, to receive our prayers through you."
BACK TO PRAYER LINE
Text courtesy of APOLOGIA
History of the Rosary
The 150 Davidic Psalms
(the Psalter of David) have always been prayed by Old Testament Israel , Jews,
and Christians for personal prayer, communal prayer, lamentations, praise,
thanksgiving, and, in the case of Christians, to demonstrate the fulfillment of
They came to form a large part of the Divine Office sung at the various canonical hours by religious. Lay people who didn't have copies of Scripture or the Breviary and lay people and religious who were illiterate would substitute 150 Pater Nosters (Our Fathers) or Aves (Hail Marys) in place of the 150 Psalms they could not read.
The prayers were originally counted by transferring pebbles from one bag to another, but soon enough Christians began to tie a rope with knots on which to count. This evolved further into using beads or pieces of wood in place of the knots, and this soon came to be called the "Psalter of the Laity." Around the end of the first millennium, Rosaries contained the present five decades (sets of ten beads), with the Ave beads shaped like white lilies for the purity of the Virgin, and the Pater beads shaped like red roses for the wounds and Passion of Christ.
St. Dominic de Guzman popularized the Marian Psalter in the form we have it today (150 Aves with a Pater after each 10) when Our Lady encouraged him to pray it that way in response to the Albigensian heresy. So associated with the Rosary is St. Dominic that the Rosary is often called the "Dominican Rosary."
Our Lady also appeared to the children at Fatima and asked that the Rosary be prayed daily, including the "Fatima Prayer," as part of what must be done in order to prevent Russia from spreading its errors throughout the world (the other things being the faithful wearing of the Brown Scapular, the First Five Saturdays Devotion, acts of reparation and sacrifice, and the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Bishops in union with him. This last has not been done).
The Rosary, thus, has always been a weapon against heresy and trouble; in fact, the 7 October 1571 victory of Christendom over Islamic warriors at the Battle of Lepanto -- the first naval victory against the infidels -- was attributed directly to the Rosaries prayed by the faithful.
While non-Catholics see the Rosary as a mindless chant, what they don't understand is that the Rosary is a meditation on the lives of Mary and Jesus. Each decade (each set of 10 Ave beads in the circular part of the Rosary beads) represents a single Mystery in their lives, and as the prayers are prayed, we contemplate that particular Mystery. There are 3 sets of 5 Mysteries -- the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries.
One set of Mysteries is traditionally prayed on different days of the week, and one who prays a single set (i.e., 50 Aves) can be said to have "prayed the Rosary," but, literally, a complete Psalter consists of all 15 Mysteries (150 Aves, going around the beads three times). The typical way of Rosary-praying -- i.e., praying a third of a Rosary -- is more accurately, but uncommonly, called praying a "chaplet." (Note that there are many, many different kinds of chaplets -- some to Jesus, some to the Holy Ghost, some to Mary and the other Saints, etc. -- each with different arrangements of prayers and many having their own style of beads). Like the Mass, what you take emotionally from the Rosary is what you bring to it, but in any case, emotional highs aren't the point of prayer. Prayer is for the glory of God.
The Confraternity of the Rosary
The word Rosary comes from the Latin word Rosarium, which signifies two things: a place planted with roses, and a crown of roses. So then, according to the first meaning, the Rosary is a spiritual garden, stocked with flowers of devotion and virtue; and, according to the second it is a crown of mystic roses, woven by devout souls to grace the brow of our heavenly Queen.
The devotion of the Holy Rosary is also known as the Psalter of Mary. The Psalter of David, of which the greater part of the Divine Office of the Church is composed, is made up of one hundred and fifty Psalms in praise of God; so the Rosary is composed of one hundred and fifty Hail Marys in praise of the Holy Virgin. Moreover, like the Psalms of David, the Rosary is an abridgement of the Gospel. Like them, its principal object of contemplation is the person of Our Lord, and it constantly recalls to mind the divine mysteries of our Redemption. On account of these points of likeness it is sometimes called the Psalter of Mary.
However, The Rosary is the common name for this devotion; in German , Rosenkrantz, a crown of roses. A crown, not of material flowers, but of mystical roses. These roses are the Hail Marys. These roses are the Hail Marys. This beautiful rose, the Ave Maria, first bloomed in heaven, and an angel brought it down and transplanted it on earth. It was the Archangel Gabriel, when he saluted our blessed lady with the words, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women."
The rose, on account of its superior beauty, is called the queen of flowers; so the Ave Maria is the most beautiful prayer with which we can honor the Queen of heaven. We read that when St. Mechtilde was ardently desiring to greet the Blessed Virgin with the most sublime salutation possible, she saw, in a vision, Our Lady bearing on her heart the angelic salutation, written in letters of gold, and saying to her: " No salutation can surpass this, nor can any be so sweet in y ears as that wherewith God, the everlasting Father greeted me." As the rose pleases the eye and delights us with its fragrance, even so nothing can please the heart of our Blessed Mother more than this heavenly salutation, and no perfume can be so sweet to her as the words of the eternal father, spoken to her through the angel.
Whence comes this superiority of the angelic salutation? It arises, first, from the dignity of the person who pronounced it for the first time. It was not addressed to Mary by a man, but by an angel; and not, as Saint Bernard says, by any inferior angel, but by one of the greatest of the heavenly spirits, the Archangel Gabriele. Now the least word of one of the heavenly citizens far surpasses in grace and power the most beautiful discourse of men; and especially this word, since it was spoken by the messenger of God. Secondly, the perfection of the Hail Mary arises from this also, that it contains the most complete statement, in the fewest words possible, of the glories of the Virgin Mother. Let us see how this is.
First, the angel affirms that in Mary there is complete abundance of all graces. She is full of grace. The Greek word, in the original of Saint Luke's Gospel, conveys the idea of completeness, fullness.* This can not be aid of any other mere creature. Angels and men have only received grace in part and, as it were, drop by drop. But the Holy Virgin has received a plentitude of grace which is in Christ- which, however, in Him, as God, is infinite. Among the abundance of these graces is the primal grace of the Immaculate Conception.
Secondly, the angel declares a most profound and intimate relationship between God and Mary. "The Lord is with Thee;" that is , with thee as with no other creature, We must form our judgment, however imperfectly, of the relations of Mary with God by her title and quality of Mother Mary is the Mother of God. In the Council of Ephesus, the Third Ecumenical Council of the Church, the right of Mary to that blessed title was defined. No person has ever been borne before, or ever will bear again, any such title; as the Church in her Divine Office sings, "O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was there any like unto thee, not shall there be here after!" Mary is the predestined Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the holy Ghost. Angels and men are but the servants of God, and even in the farthest stretch of the divine mercy and grace they become His sons by adoption only. But Mary, possessing more fully than any this adoption of sons, was besides chosen and became His Mother- not by adoption, by by nature , though in the supernatural order.
Thirdly, the angel announces in Mary a special benediction which is a source of immense glory, and of perennial joy to her and to all mankind: "Blessed art thou among women." This benediction consist in her virginal Motherhood, and her fruitful Virginity. This is the wonder of wonders. The angels are virginal natures, but these mighty and blessed spirits have not the gift of fecundity; women become mothers, but they lose the crown of virginity. Mary alone is Virgin and Mother at once ; and thus the most blessed and glorified of the creatures of God.
These three prerogatives, the plentitude of Grace the divine Maternity, and the perpetual Virginity , contain in themselves the most exalted praise that can be given to Mary. And from the Hail Mary, that is from these three benedictions delivered by angelic lips, is drawn the subject-matter of all the praises of men and angels for all eternity.
But the Rosary is also a series of meditations, as well as a form of vocal prayer; and the subjects of these meditations are the mysteries of Our Lord's life and of Blessed Virgin's in connection with His. (1) These meditations give the soul a knowledge of the most important truths of faith. (2) They teach us the way of all the Christian virtues. (3) They are capable, in the highest degree, of inflaming us with the holy love of God.
First, the Rosary teaches us the principal truths of faith, by giving us a very perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great Object of the Christian faith. He who knows Him knows all truth. Now, His life presents three principal phases: He became incarnate, He suffered, He rose from the dead; and these are the subjects of the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. Each of these phases of His life is divided into five mysteries, and these form as many distinct, striking, and instructive pictures upon which the mind may fix itself, and the affections be exercised, while the tongue repeats the heavenly words of the Ave Maria; and the whole forms a marvelous abridgement of the life of our blessed Lord and His most holy Mother. It is , in fact, compendium of the Holy Gospels. Its order and method assist and satisfy the mind, while the dramatic progress of the mysteries fixes the attention and rouse the imagination of the most ordinary intelligence.
Secondly, the Rosary teaches the way to all the Christian virtues , for it presents to our contemplation two perfect models: Jesus, our beloved Lord and Savior, by the imitation of Whom alone will we be recognized by the Father as His adopted sons, and the most blessed Virgin Mary, the most perfect imitator of Jesus, and the most perfect of mere creatures. Thus the five Joyful Mysteries, by placing these two blessed Models before our eyes, teach us (1) humility, (2) brotherly love, (3) detachment from the world, (4) purity and self-sacrifice, and (5) obedience; the fundamental virtues of the Christian life. The five Sorrowful mysteries inspire us with (1) compunction of heart, (2) the spirit of penance, (3) contempt of the judgments of the world, (4) patience, and (5) universal renunciation; virtues which grow within us as we advance to the interior life. In the five Glorious mysteries, which teach us the virtues of the perfect man, we find the example of (1) a life transformed, (2) a life all spiritual, (3) a life all heavenly and divine and guided in all things by the Holy Spirit, (4) the foretaste, even in this life, of a blessed immortality, and (5) the consummation of a holy life, namely, the Beatific Vision in the light of glory. The mind is brought in this manner through the three paths of the spiritual life- the purgative, illuminative and unitive ways- by frequent repetition and study, and finally to the eternal crown of glory which is the blessed end. Thus it is evident that the Rosary is eminently fitted to teach us the Christians virtues, if we practice it thoughtfully and understandingly.
Finally, the devotion of the Rosary is calculated to inflame us with the holy love of God, by bringing to our view the many advances our dear Lord has made in order to gain our hearts. And in truth could be possible to contemplate the many works of Our Lord for our salvation without being very strongly drawn to love Him? The Joyful mysteries draw us to His love; the Child Jesus kindles its first sparks . His wounds and tears and bitter death feed and increase this love in the Dolorous Mysteries. there, as St. Paul says, " The charity of Christ presseth us... and Christ died for all, that they also who live may not live to themselves, but unto Him Who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. v. 14, 15). The Glorious Mysteries accomplish this divine effect. They consummate the holy fire which has been enkindled in the soul, and permit her to live for God only.
If we consider these truths well, we will not need arguments and persuasions to make us fervent in the practice of this devotion. A Christian who earnestly desires to nourish in his soul the truths of our holy Faith, to adorn it with the Christian virtues, and to be set on fire with divine love, will embrace with joy the devotion of the most Holy Rosary, and will be faithful in its practice.
The following indulgences may be gained every day by any one who is a member of the Rosary Confraternity, and uses beads blessed by a Dominican or by one having faculties from the Dominican Master General (This summary was prepared from the official list of Pope Leo XIII by Father Massi, S.J.)
1) An indulgence of 100 days for every Our Father and Hail Mary, which makes 5,500 days in all (100 x 55=5,500)*
2) Besides for pronouncing devoutly the holy name of Jesus in each Hail Mary, the Rosarian gains 5 years and 5 quarantines, that is to say, 1,825 +200, or 2,025 days of indulgence (1,825 + 200 = 2,025), which, multiplied again by the number of Hail Marys, viz., 50, makes 101,250 days of indulgence (2,025 x 50= 101,250), (Pius IX., Decr. S.C. Indulgence April 14, 1856); so that he gains in each pair of beads 5,500 days for reciting it ; 101,250 for pronouncing devoutly the holy name, in all 106,750 days.
3) There is another indulgence of 5 years and 5 quarantines, common also to all the faithful, that is, 2,025 days (1,825 + 200= 2,025), each time for saying a third part of the Rosary (see Roccolta, 194 Edit. 1898), which added to the above of 106,750, makes 108, 775 (2,025 + 106,750= 108,775).*
(* The indulgence marked with an asterisk are common to all the faithful)
4) Again, an indulgence of 300 days for saying a third part of the Rosary granted by pope Leo XIII., April 29, 1899, makes in all the sum of 109,075 (300+ 108,775 = 109,075). All these indulgences are gained by saying a single pair of beads.
5) Moreover a person enrolled in the Rosary Confraternity, and carrying with him, even without saying them, a pair of beads blessed by a Dominican, or by an authorized priest gains 100 years and 100 quarantines of indulgence daily (Pope Pius X., July 31, 1906), which makes 36,500 +4,000=40,500) which added to the above quantity, makes the total of 149,575=4409 years and 310 days of indulgence, which every one may gain in ten or fifteen minutes.
The only condition for a Rosarian is to say every week the whole Rosary of fifteen decades which can be said in three days; so that, by saying a third part of the rosary every day, one complies with this condition
6) Pope Pius X, June 12, 1907, granted the following privilege, namely, that one and the same recitation the Crozier and the Dominican indulgence can be gained, provided the rosary has received both blessings.
SUMMARY OF INDULGENCES OF DOMINICAN BEADS
According to this concession a Rosarian may gain by saying a single pair of beads the sum of 177,075, that is, 149,575, the Dominican indulgence, +27,5400 of the Crozier (149,575 + 27,500 =177,075=485 years, 50 days of indulgence).
|For Saying the beads (Rosary)||5,500 days|
|For pronouncing devoutly the holy name of Jesus||101,250 days|
|For saying a third part of the Rosary each time||2,025 days|
|Again for a third pat of the Rosary||300 days|
|For carrying the Rosary beads||40,500 days|
|Sub-Total (409 years and 310 days of indulgence)||149,575 days|
|Plus Crozier indulgence||27,500|
|Total (485 years and 50 days of indulgence)||177,075 days|
Benefits of joining the
Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary
The Confraternity of the Holy Rosary is an association whose members say the 15 mysteries of the Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious) once every week. The Confraternity was founded by St. Dominic early in the 13th century after Our Lady herself gave him the Rosary and inspired him to found the Confraternity in her honor. It was revived by Blessed Alan de la Roche in the 15th century. The first and foremost of many associations officially approved by the Church, the Rosary Confraternity has traditionally been the most widespread and richly endowed with indulgences and privileges.
All can, of course, pray the Rosary and will not fail to find it most excellent in itself and most fruitful in its blessings, but by entering the Confraternity which bears its name, they can reap these additional advantages:
It obtains the special protection of the
Blessed Virgin, since it was erected by her inspiration and in her honor.
Its members, in immense numbers around the
world, share in the benefits of another's prayers and good works.
The members also share in the prayers and
merits of the members of the Order of Preachers, the Order of St. Dominic,
with which they are affiliated.
Numerous plenary and partial indulgences have
been granted to the Confraternity.
The traditional Mass is offered in Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel every First Saturday of the month for members of the Confraternity.
For hundreds of years until the Second Vatican Council, the Rosary Confraternity literally embraced the world. But today, unknown to the average Catholic, it needs to be revived yet again, particularly since in the last century Our Lady of Fatima called upon all to pray the Rosary "always". Without this sword of the spirit, the world is perishing in its sins. The Rosary Confraternity must today become a Rosary Army!
"Never will anyone who prays his rosary every day will be led astray.
This is a statement I would gladly sign with my blood."- St. Louis de Montfort
If you are interested or would like to join the Rosary Confraternity you can contact:
Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart Rectory
Sacred Heart Gift and Book Shop
Postal Mail will be accepted at:
321 South Broadway
Lawrence, MA 01843
General Information: ThirdOrderofPenanceofStDominic@yahoo.com
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary may be for me each day, in the midst of my mankind duties, a bond of unity in my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet refreshment, an encouragement to walk joyfully along the path of duty. Grant above all, O virgin Mary, that the study of thy fifteen mysteries may form in my soul little by little, a luminous atmosphere, pure strengthened and fragrant, which may penetrate my understanding, my will, my heart, my memory, my imagination, my whole being. So shall I acquire the habit of praying while I work, without the aid of formal prayers, by interior acts of admiration and of supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this of thee, O queen of the Holy Rosary, through Saint Dominic, thy son of predilection, the renowned preacher of thy mysteries, and the faithful imitator of thy virtues. Amen.
(An indulgence of 300 days, once a day.- Pope Pius X., March 15, 1907)
"Benefits of joining the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary" text courtesy of rosarychapel.net