Obedience, the Forgotten Virtue

Among the many things to love about the rosary, is the way the various mysteries interconnect and thereby reinforce and enrich each other. In general, the Joyful Mysteries emphasize the virtue of obedience. This obedience is reinforced by the Sorrowful Mysteries. Mary’s “Be it done unto me according to thy word”, in the Annunciation is echoed by Christ’s, “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.” in the Agony in the Garden. And then the Glorious Mysteries reveal the joyful glory of our heavenly reward, which is eternal!

St. Augustine tells us, “And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Apology, Book II, Chapter XII).

Regarding obedience, St. John Bosco was given a horrible vision of Hell in which his guide told him that the most serious sin causing people to be damned in Hell is the sin of disobedience. He explained that while pride is the root of sin, its practical application is disobedience, in other words, prideful disobedience causes the most people to fall from grace and be doomed to Hell. And so  between St. Augustine and St. John Bosco, we see that a key to disobedience is the refusal of faith. Had Eve accepted the virtue of faith offered to her, she would not have disobeyed. There is a lesson here for disobedient prelates, but I digress…

St. John tells us in his First Epistle, Chapter Two, “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” Now, it has always been the teaching of the Church, from the earliest times that the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience counteract these sins.

Although these counsels are vowed by those in the consecrated life, we of the lay faithful are urged to practice them according to our state. The lust of the flesh can thereby be counteracted by modesty and faithfulness to one’s spouse, the lust of the eyes, that is greed and consumerism can be counteracted by moderation, humility and self-denial such as fasting and abstaining. But it is with our obedience, which defeats pride, that we progress the best, no matter our state in life. The very best teacher of obedience is Mary, Our Mother.

As we pray the rosary, meditate on her obedience as shown in her humble acceptance of God’s will at the Annunciation. Her generous obedience enabled the Incarnation, which in turn made possible Our Savior’s obedience even unto death on a cross, that we may be freed from sin. Mary’s obedient visit to Elizabeth allowed the Christ Child to sanctify St. John the Baptist while he was yet within his mother’s womb. The Visitation shows that obedient love of God, allowing ourselves to be filled with His love, totally surrendering our wills to Him, overflows naturally to service to our neighbor.

The Nativity exemplifies the obedience of the Holy Family; by obeying the civil law to go to Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary also fulfilled the prophecy that Jesus would be born there. The Holy Family’s poverty models for us humble obedience manifesting itself as abject poverty, which gives room to God Our Father to provide for our true needs. In these dark times, people spend so much time and effort trying to provide for their family’s needs without Our Father’s help, they are too exhausted to have time for Him at all.

In the Presentation, we consider how Jesus, the Son of the Father, all pure, all perfect, yet accepted circumcision and the first shedding of His Precious Blood in obedience to the Mosaic Law. And in the last Joyful Mystery, we see how Jesus, after reminding Mary and Joseph that He “must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2, 49), returned to Nazareth with them and “was subject to them.” (Luke 2, 51).

Obedience is not exactly in fashion these days, but that is precisely why it is so necessary for us, in our spiritual battle, to cultivate it. During this Lent, keep in mind that our obedience is an excellent way to offer sacrifice to Our Lord Jesus Christ for His hierarchy’s disobedience. In these times of confusion, when Church leaders do not teach clearly, we have our Queen’s assurance that she will lead us safely home to her dear Son. Now this assurance from Our Blessed Mother is predicated on our obedience to her commands. This life is but a brief span, eternity is our true home and humble obedience to Mary’s requests is our safest, surest path there.

So there you have it! Pray the Rosary, confound the devil!

NOTE: This post belongs to evensong at Return to Fatima.  I am not in any way associated with the person who takes my articles without permission.

~ evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Angel’s Message — A Closer Look

In 2000, the Vatican advised Catholics that Fatima’s message was relegated to the past. However, at Fatima on May 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed that, “we would be mistaken to think that the prophetic mission of Fatima is complete“.  And yet, the misinformation campaign from the Vatican continues to bear fruit in the widespread apathy to the true penitential message of Fatima. Any faithful Catholic who has been paying attention to the unfolding crisis of the faith under Pope Francis, can clearly see that the current papacy is not in any way obedient to the message of the Mother of God at Fatima and the Church does not seem to be able to pull out of this self-destructive mode without Divine assistance. Perhaps it is wise to revisit the message of the Angel of Fatima

At Fatima, in 1917, Our Savior Jesus Christ sent us His own Holy Mother as His emissary to urge us to turn from sin, repent and renew our spiritual battle in prayer and reparation. But did you know that the year before, in Summer of 1916,   St. Michael the Archangel, God’s own great warrior, who vanquished Satan and his minions into the eternal fires of hell, appeared to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta? Fatima scholars believe that St. Michael was preparing the little shepherds to receive Our Lady’s revelations.

The Angel of Fatima
“Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.
Make reparation for their crimes and console Our Lord

What did the Angel say? After identifying himself as the Angel of Peace, he taught the children to pray. Now, you may well ask, if the Angel was the great warrior Angel of God, St. Michael the Archangel, why did he identify himself as the Angel of Peace? Because as St. Michael knows, peace will only result when Satan is vanquished. In this, our final battle, our greatest spiritual armaments are prayer and sacrifice. In fact, the very essence of the Catholic Faith, the epitome of Catholicity is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which unites the most perfect and acceptable prayer with the most perfect and unblemished sacrifice.

After assuring the children at that first visit that “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications”, the Angel left them, only to return in a few months. At the time, the children were relaxing in the shade of a fig tree beside a well. The Angel reappeared chiding them, “What are you doing? Pray, pray a great deal! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you! Offer unceasingly to the Most High prayers and sacrifices!”

Lucia then asked the Angel how they were to sacrifice themselves. “Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended; and of supplication for the conversion of sinners….Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings that the Lord may send you.”

Reminiscing later, Sister Lucia remarked that the words of the Angel enlightened them to Who God is, how God wants us to love Him and how much He values our sacrifices and rewards them with conversion of sinners. From that time on, the children occupied themselves increasingly in praying to God as the Angel had taught them and making use of the opportunities for sacrifice that presented themselves, moment by moment in their daily lives.

That Autumn, the Angel appeared in the most remarkable of his apparitions thus far. He held a chalice in his hand, over which was suspended a Host, from which drops of Precious Blood fell into the chalice. Leaving the Sacred Host and Chalice suspended in the air, the Angel then prostrated himself on the ground before it, repeating the following prayer:

Continue reading “The Angel’s Message — A Closer Look”

The Queen of Heaven’s Gift to Us

The Rosary is the second best gift that the Queen of Heaven has given to her children. The first best gift is of course, Our Savior Jesus Christ! I just discovered the loveliest article on the rosary that I have read since reading St. Louis de Montfort himself. Michael Matt over at the Remnant Newspaper republished a classic article by Solange Hertz, written many years ago and I present it here in its entirety. It is long, but you will see it is perhaps the most perfect exposition of the value and necessity for this essential devotion in these troubled times.

Update: This wonderful essay by Solange Hertz is also available in a collection of Mrs. Hertz’ essays, “The Thought of Their Heart, on devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Holy Rosary”, available as a Kindle Edition.

THE HOLY ROSARY: Ultimate Liturgy

By Solange Hertz

The Rosary Is Her Gift To Us…Not Even the Pope Can Change That

(Fundamental Reasons Why So Many Faithful Catholics Never Embraced the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary)

There is no mention whatever of the Rosary in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Not even in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, whose final chapter deals exclusively with our Lady ’s role in the Church. A vague reference in Article 67 to “practices and exercises of devotion towards her” might be assumed to include it, but according to Bishop Rendeiro of Coïmbra, the Bishops who wished to add to the text “the Rosary with meditation on the Mysteries of the life of Christ and the Blessed Virgin” were voted down. Apparently the Council deemed it best to follow the recommendations of the Theological Commission and make no mention of particular devotions, for fear of encouraging manifestations of piety beyond what they termed “the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine.” [1]

Fr. Avery Dulles, who wrote an interesting introduction to this decree for one of its English translations, says that “a separate document on the Blessed Virgin was contemplated, and was presented in draft form by the Theological Commission at the first session in 1962. But the Fathers saw a danger in treating Mariology too much in isolation. . .” The decree reads, “This Synod earnestly exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word that in treating of the unique dignity of the Mother of God, they carefully and equally avoid the falsity of exaggeration on the one hand and the excess of narrow- mindedness on the other.”

Not for them the beloved adage of the saints, “De Maria numquam satis!” They were solicitous to “painstakingly guard against any word or deed which could lead separated brethren or anyone else into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church.” They would only concede that the Church “has endorsed many forms of piety toward the Mother of God,” forms which “have varied according to the circumstances of time and place and have reflected the diversity of native characteristics and temperament among the faithful.”

There are certainly many devotions of this kind throughout the Catholic world, but it would be impossible to locate the Rosary among them, for this unique prayer has never been tied to any time, place or people, nor did it arise from any particular human culture. Like all true liturgy, it had no earthly origin. Saints have believed that our Lord himself proposed it to the Apostles.

In point of fact the Rosary began at the foot of the Cross along with Sacred Heart devotion. When Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic with instructions to propagate the Rosary, she did so for the same reason that our Lord would one day appear to St. Margaret Mary. In neither case was anything new proposed to the faithful, who were merely being recalled to practices known in the Church from the beginning, but which they were in imminent danger of forgetting.

One of the strongest indications of the Rosary’s supernatural character is its ability to withstand human manipulation. Amid the diabolic disorientation unleashed by the “Spirit of Vatican II,” it was only natural to expect that those who believe worship should conform to the times rather than the wishes of the Holy Ghost would lay hands on the Rosary as they had on the liturgy. The repetitive character of the prayer was deemed particularly unsuited to the mature modern mentality. By God’s grace and our Lady’s protection, however, so far every attempt to create a New Rosary has come to naught.

Like the traditional Mass, the traditional Rosary has been suppressed, denigrated and ignored, but never entirely eliminated. Even adaptations like the “Scriptural Rosary” still being promoted has never become really popular. As it became increasingly evident to the Rosary’s devotees that to tamper with it was to tamper with God’s work, the only strategy left to the innovators was to disregard it as much as possible.

A movement to omit the Angelic Salutation from the Hail Mary and say the second part only was indignantly repudiated by the late Bishop Venancio of Fatima and finally scotched in 1973 by an international Blue Army seminar meeting in India. In its closing session Archbishop Dominic Athaide of Agra was unanimously supported in a motion to petition the Pope to retain the Hail Mary in its entirety. The following year, however, the Concilium of the Legion of Mary was prevailed upon to instruct its chapters to experiment in updating the Rosary. Strongly suggested was the reduction of each five decades of the Rosary to four.

This involved combining some of the traditional mysteries into one and adding two extra sets of Mysteries: the “Hopeful,” in which figured among other novelties the first prophecy of Jeremias on the Redemption and the birth and espousals of Our Lady; and some “Mysteries of Oblation” highlighting the Flight into Egypt and the three days’ loss of Jesus. A complete Rosary, which traditionally contains 3 sets of Mysteries, would therefore have 5 sets, requiring 200 Hail Marys instead of the usual 150, with each set requiring only 40 Hail Marys instead of 50. What a master ploy on the part of the enemy had it succeeded! Overnight every Rosary in existence would have been obsolete!

All the while conceding that the Rosary’s major components, the Angelic Salutation and the Our Father, figure prominently in the Gospels, its adversaries are wont to deny its authenticity by pointing out that the Rosary itself is nowhere mentioned in Scripture. These cavilers are perhaps best refuted by St. Basil’s famous sermon on “Sacred Tradition as Divine Guide:”

“Of the beliefs and public doctrines entrusted to the care of the Church, there are some which are based on Scriptural teaching, others which we have received handed down in mystery by the tradition of the Apostles ; and in relation to the true religion they both have the same force. Nor is there anyone will contradict them ; no one certainly who has the least acquaintance with the established laws of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject the unwritten practices of the Church as being without great importance, we would unknowingly inflict mortal wounds on the Gospel. . . .

 “For example . . . who is it that has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the Cross those who place their trust in Jesus Christ our Lord? . . . The words of the invocation at the Consecration of the Eucharistic Bread and the Chalice of Blessing, which of the saints has left them to us in writing? For we are not content with the words both the Gospel and the Apostles have recorded, but have added some others, both before these and after them, as having great significance to the mystery, and which we have received from unwritten tradition.”

Zealous demythologizers laboring to dismiss the revelation of the Rosary to St. Dominic as pious legend rest their case largely on the absence of any mention of his actually saying the Rosary in contemporary documents. But then, neither do we possess a single one of his sermons, although he founded the Order of Preachers! Leo XIII, the “Pope of the Rosary,” who wrote no less than eleven encyclicals and an apostolic letter on the subject, unequivocally upheld the authenticity of the tradition. In 1891 he declared in Octobri mense that it was by the express “command and counsel” of the heavenly Queen“that the devotion was begun and spread abroad by the Holy Patriarch Dominic as a most powerful weapon against the enemies of the Faith in an epoch not unlike our own, and indeed of great danger to our holy religion.”

Actually Leo XIII was only reaffirming doctrine already defined by Pope St. Pius V. Incredible as it may seem, the vast majority of Catholics are unaware that this same Pope who canonized the Mass for all time in the famous bull Quo primum in 1570 had first canonized the Rosary the year before in the bull Consueverunt. Ratifying the tradition relating to St. Dominic and officially entrusting the propagation of the Rosary to his spiritual sons, the document defines once and for all the form in which the Rosary is to be prayed:

“. . . respiciens modum facilem, et omnibus pervium, ac modum pium orandi   et precandi Deum, Rosarium seu Psalterium eiusdem B. MARIAE VIRGINIS nuncupatum , quo eadem Beatissima Virgo Salutatione Angelica centies et quinquagesies ad numerum Davidici Psalterii repetita, et Oratione Dominica ad quamlibet decimam cum certis meditationibus totam eiusdem D. N. Jesu Christi vitam demonstrantibus interposita, etc.”

As with the Mass, St. Pius did not concoct or change anything. He merely stated with the full authority of his office what the proper form of the Rosary is, giving obedient testimony to the work of the Holy Ghost, principal author of genuine liturgy. Far from suggesting possible variations or innovations, the Holy See was at pains even then to proscribe spurious forms of the Rosary, as can be seen in its condemnation of the “ Seraphic” Rosary and others like that of the Blessed Trinity and of St. Anne. A new Mass was promulgated by Paul VI after Vatican II, but no Pope has yet presumed to promulgate a new Rosary.

Editor’s Note: This article appeared in The Remnant many years ago. Since its first appearance, an aged Pope John Paul II was coerced to do the unthinkable: He changed the Rosary, exactly as the alleged Freemason, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, had lobbied (in vain) Pope Paul VI to do thirty years earlier. Pope John Paul established the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary as an option in his 2002 Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae not long before his death and while suffering greatly the effects of the disease that would ultimately take his life. Fealty to Our Lady, fidelity to her Rosary and even loyalty to a very ill Pope (who was manipulated)—has prevented us here at The Remnant from ever embracing the Luminous Mysteries. We have never used this optional set of mysteries and we never will. We encourage our readers to do the same. …Michael J. Matt

 Its basic form remains what St Pius V laid down in the passage just quoted: 150 Hail Marys in groups of ten with an Our Father in between, joined to meditation on certain mysteries of the life of our Lord.

After Consueverunt, all variations were consistently discouraged, mostly by promoting the canonically approved form and indulgencing it ever more heavily. As in the case of the Mass, however, venerable customs of long standing were scrupulously respected. For instance, whereas Latins are accustomed to announce the proper mystery at the beginning of each decade, it had become usual in Teutonic countries to repeat it with each Hail Mary after “thy womb, Jesus.” This practice was retained and allowed in those areas and persists to this day. Be it noted also that indulgences (which, incidentally, are attached to the beads and not to the chain or the string) have never been granted to any unapproved variations,   “scriptural” or otherwise. Special permission was required to add the Fatima petition, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins . . . ”   to the end of each decade.

Modernist opinion to the contrary, the Rosary is no sentimental paraliturgical practice developed by Christian folk over the centuries to keep children, little old ladies and ignorant peasants occupied with a devotion suited to their limited capacities. Whoever would consider it insufficiently “Christological” to rank with the major ecclesiastical devotions need only be reminded that the Hail Mary was the first Christian prayer. Given to the world before the Lord’s Prayer, it contained the latter in embryo much as our Lady bore our Lord. As official announcement of His arrival, the climax of the Hail Mary is not praise of His Mother, but praise of “the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” Before the close of the thirteenth century the Holy Ghost had inspired the Church to add the Holy Name to the Salutation, thus making the focus on Christ explicit and unmistakable.

Although men contributed to the Rosary’s development, it was not put together by men. Under divine impulsion it grew from the Archangel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary as a living plant from seed. No prayer is so firmly rooted in Apostolic tradition as the Rosary. The Breton Dominican Bl. Alain de la Roche, who after two centuries would revitalize St. Dominic’s work, is said to have learned in prayer that the first promoter of the practice was St. Bartholomew. Perpetuated among the Desert Fathers, it was not unknown to St. Augustine, St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Francis, St. Lutgard, St. Christina and many early saints.

The meditations on the fifteen principal mysteries of salvation which accompany the prayers are no modern accretions, but among the Rosary’s most ancient elements. They could not have sprung from the Rosary, for they engendered it. All those who had a hand in forging its mysteries – from Mary and Joseph through St. John the Baptist, Zachary, Elizabeth, on past the ox and ass at Bethlehem to the thief on the cross, Mary Magdalene at Christ’s tomb and those first Christians in the Cenacle at Pentecost – were architects of the Rosary. Piece by piece they put it together by their faith and suffering, and all are present to the soul who contemplates their extraordinary achievement.

Rooted in the injunction to “pray without ceasing” which binds all men, the Rosary provides a method for keeping the whole person – mind, mouth and hands – occupied with God. To call it perfect liturgy is no mere figure of speech, but sober fact.   Designed as it was by the Queen of heaven to facilitate prayer for those unable to recite the Divine Office, its 150 Hail Marys were first said in lieu of the 150 Davidic Psalms recited by the monks. What better substitute for meditation on the old Psalms than meditation on the very Mysteries they prefigured? On occasion the joyful, sorrowful or glorious Mysteries were enjoined as substitutes for the official Psalter when for any reason this could not be said.

So well was the Rosary’s liturgical character understood, that for a long time its recitation actually began with the prayer Aperies as does the Office. Even today it ends with the “Hail Holy Queen,” which is the ancient hymn Salve Regina sung at the Office’s close. Whereas the great Office is the Opus Dei, the work of God, the Rosary may be rightly called the Opusculum Dei, God’s little work, or at least the Opusculum Mariae, the little work of our Lady.   In his encyclical on the Rosary Pope Pius XII does not scruple to refer to it as a “rite” to be “performed.”[2]

Its preparation, both natural and supernatural, was long and careful. Counters for keeping track of prayers date from earliest antiquity and are common to many false religions, as witness those “rosaries” which St. Francis Xavier was surprised to find Japanese Buddhists using and the “worry beads” currently used by Moslems. In themselves such devices have no religious significance beyond mute testimony to original sin, which has so weakened human powers of concentration as to render them necessary. It is only through the goodness of our heavenly Mother that the Rosary has become a sacramental. Perhaps she set the Hail Marys in decades so that in emergencies baptized fingers and toes could serve.

Following a practice known in Old Testament times, early monks used knotted string, beads or small pebbles to keep track of the Psalms. Judging from evidence found in contemporary pictures, statuary, poems and hymns, these first counters were not regularly divided into sets of ten, but rather arrayed in fifties or multiples of fifty. Because Our Fathers were sometimes substituted for the Psalms when necessity demanded, they became known as “Paternoster beads.” Thus after St. Dominic’s time, when the Angelic Salutation and meditation on the principal mysteries of the Faith were substituted, it was only natural to refer to the Rosary as “Our Lady’s Paternoster,” or “Our Lady’s Psalter” as did St. Pius V in his bull.

It was St. Dominic’s great privilege, at our Lady’s behest, to raise the systematic repetition of the Angelic Salutation to the level of official prayer. Beginning by inserting it into the Office of Our Lady for clerics, he substituted it for the Office among tertiaries and the laity, and recommended praying sets of fifties to the faithful in general. Inasmuch as these early Hail Marys were probably said on Paternoster beads, the two prayers certainly became joined in various combinations early on, but the Rosary we are familiar with did not take shape until the second half of the fifteenth century.

In his biography of St. Catherine of Siena, Bl. Raymond of Capua relates that when St. Dominic organized his tertiaries into the Militia of Jesus Christ, “The holy founder imposed on them a certain number of Paternosters and Avemarias, which they prayed instead of the canonical hours when they did not attend the Divine Office.” Seven Paters for each of the seven Hours of the day and seven Aves for each Hour of Our Lady’s Office were their only prayers of obligation, so that when St. Dominic’s friend Pope Gregory IX officially approved the order, he automatically conferred formal recognition on the Rosary. Those forty-nine Aves recited by the Militia were therefore the first of the millions of “rose garlands” which the Church would offer liturgically to Mary until now. [3]

Prepared from eternity for its apocalyptic mission, the Rosary from its first appearance on earth seemed always to keep pace with surges of evil. Our Lady had appeared to St. Dominic at the very dawn of that awful spiritual cataclysm so bedecked in natural grace and glamor that we still refer to it as the Renaissance. This “rebirth” unfortunately turned out to be that of the spirit of Babel, which loosed paganism and unregenerate humanism once more over the world. Painting, music, politics, philosophy and all the arts and sciences began following their own head in concerted revolt against Christ their King and Creator.

It was to divert this noxious flood at its headwaters that the faithful had been urged to fling the Angelic Salutation into the teeth of the Cathar heresy. The enthusiastic response constituted a massive declaration of Marian faith, for denial of Mary’s divine Maternity and proscription of prayer to her figured prominently among Cathar errors. Under Dominican direction St. Louis of France and St. Margaret of Hungary became ardent promoters, and the devotion spread throughout Christendom like wildfire. All Europe prayed the Hail Mary by fifties, and She who defeats all heresies granted a decisive victory.

For Bl. Alan de la Roche, “to preach the Psalter [of our Lady] is nothing else but to lead the people to devotion, penance, contempt of the world and reverence for the Church.”   Through his instrumentality the Rosary entered the realm of communal prayer. Religious Congregations espoused it, not merely as pious practice, but as a means of perfection. Without losing its personal character, it provided a simple, flexible base on which any variety of associations might be formed, and after he established the first Rosary Confraternity in Douai in 1470, literally hundreds came into being. Because members were granted special indulgences at the hour of death, it was during this period that the second half of the Hail Mary was added: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” Those who may have to face the final encounter with Satan without Holy Viaticum should be mindful of the Rosary’s power in extremis.

Recommending daily recitation to everyone, Bl. Alan unified popular devotion in such a way that in due time the Holy See could act upon it and render it even more fruitful. Popularized by the swelling Confraternities, the Rosary was no longer limited to one religious order, but gradually became the prayer of the whole Church. It was intimately connected with the discovery of America and all that followed upon it, for missionaries carried it far beyond the boundaries of Christendom.

According to the Breviary the Turks were defeated at Lepanto “on the very day on which the Confraternities of the Most Holy Rosary throughout the world were offering up their rosaries, as they had been asked to do.” The Venetian Senate went further, formally declaring, “Non virtus, non arma, non duces, sed Maria Rosarii victores fecit,” attributing their success not to bravery, arms or leadership, but exclusively to the power of Our Lady of the Rosary. A second victory over the Turks was won through her intercession a century later at Vienna, and again in the next century at Belgrade. By then “Rosario” had become a common baptismal name.

Although for a long time conforming to the seven liturgical Hours, the Rosary had gradually become distinct from the Office proper and was pursuing a life of its own. Never just a devotion among others, it proved to be a super-devotion unlike any seen before. It was as if the Divine Office, which until then had been the prerogative of religious, was now put within reach of everyone, for by means of the Mysteries and three simple prayers known to all, an entire year was no longer required to carry the devout through the Church’s liturgical cycle.

The Rosary could complete the history of our Redemption in a week, a day or even an hour! Who could not find time for the Opusculum Mariae? Never restricted to the clergy, the Rosary came to be known as “the layman’s breviary,” and was no doubt meant to fill the same need in the spiritual life of the layman that the Breviary fills in the life of the priest. It is demonstrable that neglect of one or the other has opened the way to laxity in the ranks of the laity as it has in the ranks of the clergy, whereas fidelity to the practice strengthens the bonds to the Faith.

The only devotion to be raised to a liturgical status on a par with that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it would eventually be accorded its own feastday on October 7. First inserted into the Roman Martyrology by Clement VII, it was instituted with proper office by Pope Gregory XIII, and later extended to the universal Church by Clement XI.   Benedict XIII included the feast in the Breviary, and Leo XIII dedicated the entire month of October to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

Apart from the Blessed Virgin the Rosary is an incomprehensible phenomenon. “When we speak of Mary as a figure of the Church, as we do,” wrote Fr. James in The Secret of Holiness, “we are prone to speak as if the preeminence belonged to the Church. In reality it is not so. Preeminence belongs rightly to Mary, who is the ideal actualized in a living person, and she it is (in her unique relation to Christ) from whom the Church takes life and meaning. It is only when this deep truth is pondered in the light of which Mary is the true prototype and divine ideal of the Church on earth that the real dimensions of the Church are discerned. Mary is already what the Church has yet to be in the fullness of her being.”

Indeed the liturgy of the Church from earliest times has not hesitated to apply to our Lady those beautiful, mysterious texts of Scripture which describe God’s wisdom personified, whom “the Lord possessed from the beginning of His ways, before He made anything, from the beginning. From eternity was I established, and of old before the earth was made.” She is also that “mother of fair love” whose “abode is in the full assembly of the saints.”

Her “overshadowing” by the Holy Ghost which effected our Lord’s Incarnation is the closest approximation in creation to an incarnation of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. According to St. Maximilian Kolbe, she “is so closely allied with the Holy Ghost that she is called His spouse. . .She is, so to speak, the personification of the Holy Ghost! Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and humanity; the Immaculata is the unique mediatrix between Jesus and humanity.

“Just as Jesus Christ, to show His great love for us, became Man, so too the third Person, God-Who-Is-Love, willed to show His mediation as regards the Father and the Son by means of a concrete sign: this sign is the Heart of the Immaculate Virgin! It remains true to say that Mary’s action is the very action of the Holy Ghost. . . Let us grasp how impossible it is to separate the Holy Ghost from Mary the Immaculata, since she is the instrument He uses in all He does in the order of grace.”

As Mother of Christ and His clergy, her position is incomparably superior to that of Christ’s Vicar the Pope, whose infallibility is a privilege related to her Immaculate Conception. The liturgy says of her, “They who work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.” [4]St. Louis de Montfort, probably the greatest Marian apostle of modern times, taught that to address her is to address God Himself by the most efficacious means, so closely is she identified with the divinity.

At La Salette when she complained to the children Mélanie and Maximin of the widespread desecration of Sundays, she said, “I have given you six days in which to work. I kept the seventh for myself, and people don’t want to give it to me. This is what makes my Son’s arm so heavy.” Many found this statement shocking. How could she who was so humble say such a thing? Didn’t she mean, “God gave you six days?” At the time the two children were accused of misquoting her, but neither could be induced to change one word of their testimony, then or later. Because some Catholic editors not so scrupulous took it upon themselves to correct the seers in the name of orthodoxy, the bothersome authentic version has since been conveniently forgotten.

The Rosary is the ultimate liturgy. It finds its place as easily in a concentration camp as in church. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, it is the most powerful weapon ever placed at the disposition of the faithful. Dare we say more powerful? Yes, in the sense that, somewhat like Baptism and Marriage, it does not depend on the clergy – or in fact on any human being. Although not actually a Sacrament, through Mary Mediatrix of All Graces it infallibly opens to us at any time or place the inexhaustible fountain of living water flowing from the Sacred Heart of the Savior.

Were the Mass and the Sacraments to disappear for a time, the miraculous efficacy of the Rosary could not fail to be evident. Pius XII writes, “From the frequent meditation on the Mysteries the soul draws and imperceptibly absorbs the virtues they contain, and lights up with extraordinary hope of the immortal virtues, and becomes strongly and easily impelled to follow the path which Christ himself and His Mother have followed.”

It is possible to pray the Rosary in isolation, but never alone. As an integral part of the liturgy of the Church, it cannot be prayed outside the Communion of Saints. No more powerful “private” prayer exists, for it is the prayer of Christ himself in His Mystical Body. Venerable Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Propagation of the Faith,   established the Association of the Living Rosary as a tool of the apostolate in the shambles following the French Revolution. Encouraged by the Curé d’Ars and invoking the intercession of St. Philomena, she succeeded in reviving the faith of millions by the simple expedient of forming everywhere little groups of fifteen individuals, each of whom was assigned one particular decade to be said daily.

Persons from all walks of life, including the aged and the sick, became missionaries overnight. Not only did the missions benefit, but members of the Association as well. Pauline very wisely did not seek recruits only among the fervent. She found her group Rosary “a way to utilize the strength of these few isolated souls and enable them to share their spiritual vigor with those more spiritually impoverished.” It proved “a means for them to inject their spiritual ‘remedy’ drop by drop into the souls of others as ‘spiritual medicine’.” Acknowledging that “it was wise to make the good souls better,” she also realized that“this devotion would render spiritual health to those who were languishing.” [5]

Leo XIII declared in Octobri mense, “We may well believe that the Queen of Heaven herself has granted a special efficacy to this mode of supplication.”   His words would be reaffirmed by Sr. Lucy, the visionary of Fatima, who told Fr. Fuentes, “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary, to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal, or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world or of religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Rosary! With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves. We will sanctify ourselves. We will console our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.”

To the Italian Salesian Dom Umberto Pasquale she wrote in 1970, “The decadence which exists in the world is without any doubt the consequence of the lack of the spirit of prayer. Foreseeing this disorientation, the Blessed Virgin recommended recitation of the Rosary with such insistence, and since the Rosary is, after the Eucharistic liturgy, the prayer most apt for preserving faith in souls, the devil has unchained his struggle against it . . . The Rosary is the most powerful weapon for defending ourselves on the field of battle.” [6]

She writes in the same year to Mother Martins on how “the devil has succeeded in infiltrating evil under cover of good. . . And the worst is that he has succeeded in leading into error and deceiving souls having a heavy responsibility through the place they occupy. . . They are blind men guiding other blind men!” [7]Against the blunders and injustices committed by legitimate authority, prayer is almost the only recourse open to the ordinary faithful. Let them pray the Rosary day in and day out, over and over. The constant repetition of the prayers and Mysteries, which innovators find monotonous and antiquated, anchors it to the rhythms of God’s creation, where the same sun rises every day and the same seasons return every year.

Where there is no repetition there is chaos, for peace and order in this world cannot exist apart from it. “The recitation of identical formulas repeated so many times,” writes Pius XII, “rather than rendering the prayer sterile and boring, has on the contrary the admirable quality of infusing confidence in him who prays and makes a sweet compulsion toward the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” To one of her priest nephews Sr. Lucy writes, “The repetition of the Ave Maria, Pater Noster and Gloria Patri is the chain that lifts us right up to God and unites us to Him, giving us a participation in His divine life, just as eating bite after bite of bread, from which we nourish ourselves, sustains the natural life is us; nobody calls that outdated!” [8]

Whoever prays the Rosary is formally joined to the prayer of the Church in a most informal way. Proclaiming the everlasting Sanctus with every “Glory be,” the Rosary partakes of the angelic liturgy before the throne of the Lamb eternally immolated in heaven. The persecuted Catholics of Ireland were on sure doctrinal ground when they resorted to the “beads” for a “dry Mass.” As our earthly liturgy continues to disintegrate and the ranks of the priesthood to dwindle, this is good to remember. Older Catholics do in fact remember when it was accepted practice to participate in the Holy Sacrifice by saying the Rosary.

In a letter written to another of her priest nephews, Sr. Lucy referred to this method once known to all: “It is false to say that this is not liturgical, because the prayers of the Rosary are all part of the sacred liturgy; and if they are not displeasing to God when we recite them as we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice, so also they do not displease Him if we recite them in His presence, when He is exposed for our adoration. . . Why would the prayer which God taught us and so much recommended to us be outdated? It is easy to recognize here the ruse of the devil and his followers, who want to lead souls away from God by leading them away from prayer . . . Do not let yourselves be deceived!” [9]

Much as our Lady had set heaven’s seal on Pius IX’s promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by appearing at Lourdes in 1858 and proclaiming, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” she would ratify Leo XIII’s teachings on the Rosary by appearing at Fatima in 1917 and proclaiming “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”

There were six apparitions, in all of which she was seen, as at Lourdes, with the Rosary. During the last one on October 13, while the great miracle of the sun was in progress, Sr. Lucy saw three extraordinary tableaux displayed in the heavens: one of the Holy Family, symbolizing the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary; a second one of the Mother of Sorrows, symbolizing the Sorrowful Mysteries; and a third one of our Lady crowned and reigning in glory as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, symbolizing the Glorious Mysteries.

This spectacular testimony to the Rosary was not the first to be deployed in the heavens. Although unknown to the generality of Catholics and now nearly forgotten, a similar one is believed to have occurred twenty years before the spectacle in Fatima at Tilly-sur-Seulles, a little French village in Calvados. According to the account by Guy Le Rumeur, all fifteen mysteries were seen in the sky by a young visionary named Marie Cartel, who had never before heard of them:

“She read there not only their classification as Joyous, Sorrowful and Glorious, but their fruits as well. We know that the local Ordinary, who neither examined nor judged the case of these apparitions, proceeded in such wise that they could not be recognized. . . Nevertheless popular common sense, supported in 1905 by some French and Roman clergy, never rejected these apparitions, and Tilly-sur-Seulles continued to be a place of pilgrimage. A chapel, erected with diocesan approval, was destroyed during the battles of 1944 but rebuilt in 1952-3. Marble tablets inscribed with the fifteen mysteries can be found there, which were granted an Imprimatur in 1954.” [10]

Four years before the apparitions at Tilly Leo XIII had issued the encyclical Laetitia sanctae. Dated on our Lady’s birthday 1893, it belongs by right among his social encyclicals, for it proposed a schema for curing the three principal ills of modern society in terms of the Rosary, teaching that

 1.  the distaste for simple labor which characterizes the industrial age must yield to the salutary precepts of the Joyful Mysteries;

 2.  the repugnance for suffering endemic to a pleasure-motivated society must be overcome by living the Sorrowful Mysteries; and

 3.  the lethal forgetfulness of a future life must be dispelled by ordering all human endeavor to the Glorious Mysteries.

Already in 1884 Leo had warned in Superiore anno, “For it is an arduous and exceedingly weighty matter that is now at hand: to overcome the ancient and insidious enemy, Satan, in the brazen array of his power; to win back the freedom of the Church and of her Head; to preserve and secure the fortifications within which should rest the safety and wellbeing of human society. Care must be taken, therefore, that in these times of mourning for the Church, the most holy Rosary of Mary be assiduously and piously observed, particularly since this method of prayer, being so arranged as to recall in turn all the mysteries of our salvation, is eminently fitted to foster the spirit of piety.”

At Fatima our Lady told her children once and for all, “I want you to continue to say the Rosary every day!”   A complete Rosary has fifteen decades, and not only five like the chaplet. Padre Pio is said to have offered a hundred daily. Because it is liturgy placed within the reach of all and enjoined upon all with such insistence by the Mother of God, there is good reason to believe that its recital is not optional in the scheme of salvation. She told Bl Alan, “Know, my son, that a probable and proximate sign of eternal damnation is aversion for, lukewarmness and carelessness in saying the Angelic Salutation which has repaired the whole world!”

As once against the errors of the Cathars, Mary’s children are now being told to fling the Rosary against the “errors of Russia” which are drawing the whole world into Satan’s eternal fiery empire. In 1957 Sr. Lucy told Fr. Fuentes, “The Most Holy Virgin made me understand that we are living in the last times of the world. . . She told me that the devil is in the process of engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin, and a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat.”

Foreseeing these times, St. Louis de Montfort called for “true servants of the Blessed Virgin who, like so many St. Dominics, would go everywhere, the burning, blazing brand of the Gospel in their mouths and the Holy Rosary in their hands, barking like dogs, burning like fire, dispelling the world’s darkness like suns, and who, by means of devotion to Mary. . .would crush the head of the ancient serpent wherever they went.”[11]

Damaged perspective is quickly corrected by reference to the Mysteries of the Rosary, which contain the whole of human history in prophecy. For the Church there is no possibility of failure. Faithfully reproducing the life of her blessed Lord on earth as Mary did, she has left the Joyful Mysteries far behind and is already at grips with the Sorrowful ones. Approaching her own crucifixion, she is even now on the Way of the Cross which leads to the Resurrection. Like her divine Master, “who having joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb.12:2), she keeps her gaze fixed on the Glorious Mysteries lying ahead.

 Conformed to Him in all things, the Church can expect her torment to end like His, abruptly and without warning, leaving the world to marvel as did Pilate, who “wondered that he should already be dead” (Mk. 15:44). Suffering is not natural to man, who was created to share God’s own eternal happiness and glory. The Sacred Heart has promised, “I shall reign in spite of Satan and all opposition!”   Revealing her own participation in that promise, His Mother has declared, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” In their one Heart is laid up one inevitable, final, resplendent victory.

 [1] Guy Le Rumeur, Marie et la Grande Hérésie, 79290 Argenton-L’Eglise, 1974, pp. 20-1.

[2] September 15, 1951.

[3] Luis Alonso Getino, O.P., Origen del Rosario, Madrid, 1925.

[4] See the Lessons for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, its Vigil and the Common.

[5] A heartening revival of Pauline Jaricot’s work began in the U.S. in 1986, when the Universal Living Rosary Association was established at Box 1303 Dickinson, Texas 77539 and began soliciting enrollments worldwide. Current membership numbers about 160,000.

[6]IMichel de la Sainte Trinité, The Third Secret, Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990, p. 759

[7] Op. cit., p. 758

[8] Op. cit., p. 751.

[9] Op. cit., p. 752.

[10] Op. cit., pp. 19, 211.

[11] Prière Embrasée, 12.

By the way, have you seen any videos of Pope Francis devoutly praying the Rosary in public? If so, I would love to hear about it.

NOTE: This post belongs to evensong at Return to Fatima.  I am not in any way associated with the person who takes my articles without permission.

Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

Viva Cristo Rey!

~ evensong ~

Fatima in Mary’s Words – 2014

This is a repost that seems appropriate for today, the 97th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s last, but not final appearance at Fatima, Portugal.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

May 13, 1917. Our Lady to the three shepherd children, “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?”

Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia answered, “Yes, we are willing!” Our Lady then told them, “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

June 13, 1917. Our Lady spoke to Lucia, the oldest of the children, “Jesus wishes to make use of you to serve as His instrument to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne…my daughter…I shall never abandon you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.”

“Say the Rosary, inserting between the mysteries the following, ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.’ “

July 13, 1917. Our Lady told the children, “I want you…to continue praying the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world …because only she can help you! … Sacrifice yourselves for poor sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, ‘O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ ”

At that same appearance, following the terrible vision of Hell, “You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people do what I request, many souls will be saved and there will be peace… But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.. To forestall this I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.

“If they heed my requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world.”

August 19, 1917. This apparition was delayed due to the arrest of the children by the Masonic civil authorities. When she appeared, Our Lady urged the children, “Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell because there are none to make sacrifices and pray for them.”

September 13, 1917. “Continue to pray the Rosary every day… In the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in my apparitions.” In a personal message to the children, Our Lady assured them that God was pleased with their sacrifices.

October 13, 1917. On this visit, Our Lady identified herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary”, thus reinforcing yet again, how pleasing the devotion of the Rosary is to her. “Continue to say the Rosary every day … People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended.”

The promised miracle of the sun was witnessed that day by at least 70,000 people, many of whom were non-believers. Additionally, apparitions were seen by Lucia. To her, Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary, as Our Lady of Sorrows and as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Also, St. Joseph and the Child Jesus and Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared and blessed the world.

Those visions were messages as well, to those who are devoted to Fatima. They point us to St. Joseph as our powerful protector and the guardian of our faith. The Child Jesus appearing with St. Joseph and blessing us is specifically directed at families, which as we have seen, have been very much under satanic attack in the post-Fatima century. The blessings given by Jesus endorse the devotion to Fatima and strengthen it. The visions of Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel point the way to the recommended devotions, that is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (and by inference the devotion of Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), and the devotion to the daily Rosary in reparation to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Add to these devotions the First Saturdays of Communion of Reparation and you have essentially the complete program of Fatima. This is the message of Fatima in Our Lady’s own words. This is the message that has been ignored. That it is ignored by the world is not surprising, but that it has been ignored by the Church is beyond disappointing.

Pope after Pope spoke pious words and performed “almost, but not quite” consecrations, never actually obeying the Mother of God. Well-meaning Catholics point out the numerous instances where Pope Pius XII and John Paul II appeared to be obediently devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, but the point is that they never actually did what was requested. Often, John Paul II is hailed as the Marian Pope, yet when he recorded himself praying the Rosary, he omitted the Fatima Decade Prayer requested by Our Lady. In addition, he promoted an entirely new set of Mysteries which were not requested by Our Lady. Would a real servant of Mary refuse to give Our Lady what she has requested while at the same time inserting what was not asked for? What do you think?

The hierarchy of the Church has never promoted the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout the entire Church as requested by Our Lady, that is, First Saturdays of Reparation, Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, daily Rosary, especially the Family Rosary. To assert that the Consecration of Russia has been done is to make Our Lady a liar. Obviously Russia has spread her errors throughout the world and it is not yet ended. Indeed, the worst of the Chastisement may yet be in store for us, as Vatican II continues to infect and erode the Church.

The time is far advanced and yet we still may turn the tide. If only people could heed her message and accept Our Lady’s demands in all humility and obedience. Remember that Our Lady’s words to Lucia are meant for us as well,

“Jesus wishes to make use of you to serve as His instrument to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne…my daughter…I shall never abandon you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.”

Although the institutional Church delays implementing her requests, we her faithful children should use every possible means to live our devotion to our Queen and Mother and to spread that devotion insofar as we are able.

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

~ posted by evensong  for love of the Immaculate heart of Mary, our Queen and our Mother.

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today, October 7, we honor Our Lady of the Rosary. When Our Lady appeared at Fatima, she identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary and we have already discussed in a previous post how much she loves the Rosary. And so today, let’s consider how we can best use our Rosaries to honor her still more.

"Have no fear, draw near to Him: He is all love!"
“Have no fear, draw near to Him: He is all love!”

St. Louis Marie de Montfort, in his classic, The Secret of the Rosary, related that, “Our Lady once said to Blessed Alan de la Roche in a vision: ‘When people say one-hundred and fifty Angelic Salutations, this prayer is very helpful to them and is a very pleasing tribute to me. But they will do better still and will please me even more if they say these salutations while meditating on the life, death, and passion of Jesus Christ — for this meditation is the soul of this prayer.’ For, in reality, the Rosary said without meditating on the sacred mysteries of our salvation would be almost like a body without a soul: excellent matter but without the form which is meditation — this latter being that which sets it apart from all other devotions.”

Our Lady of Fatima calls everyone to pray the Rosary yet few heed her prayers. “I’m so busy!” Yes, but if you try it, you will find your life taking on a smoothness that you hadn’t imagined possible. Once you see the results, you will be glad, for you have been blessed by the Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.

The following Novena prayer is for a Novena of Rosaries, that is, nine days of praying the 15 decade, complete Rosary. For those unable to complete the entire Rosary each day, it can also be prayed as a 27 day novena, by saying one five-decade rosary daily, which makes a complete 15 decade rosary each 3 days. For that longer rosary it is good to mark each day on the calendar as it’s completed.

This Rosary Novena is very powerful, so please be sure to continue it, even though your prayers may be answered before the completion.

Our Lady Of The Holy Rosary Novena Prayer

Dearest Lady, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, from Calvary’s cross, thy dear Son entrusted us to thy care. Behold thy weak and sinful child in supplication at thy feet. I beg thee, accept this Holy Rosary, offered for the glory of God, in reparation for the offenses to thy Immaculate Heart and to the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, for the salvation of sinners and for the special intention: ____________.

Please place these poor prayers of mine in the chalice of thy Immaculate Heart and offer them to Jesus. Conscious of my own unworthiness, I trust in your Immaculate Heart, the fountain of infinite mercy. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, I place my trust in thee.
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

One simple and effective way to minimize distractions when saying the Rosary is to prepare carefully for your first Rosary of the day. After your morning offering/renewal of consecration, make a spiritual communion. It doesn’t take very long and is worth the time because it enables you to stay focused. After spiritual communion and thanksgiving, pray the Angel of Fatima’s prayer, that is:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages, and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. Through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

After that, call to mind the particular Mystery, such as Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious. It helps greatly if you have previously spent some time reading and thinking about these mysteries. I will include a post for this soon. Briefly however, in the Joyful Mysteries, we consider Mary’s humility and obedience. The Sorrowful Mysteries are about obedience and humility in action, that is on the way of the Cross. Jesus has commanded us to Take up our crosses and follow Him. The Glorious Mysteries encourage us with the fruits of virtue and help instill in us an ever greater faith, hope and love for Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.

Another helpful thing is to consider the words of the Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary) itself.

Hail Mary, full of Grace” is a statement of the Immaculate Conception. Mary was conceived immaculate from sin, in order to contribute the Body and Blood of Christ. I’ve never understood why that concept is so difficult for protestants. Why would they want Jesus Christ to spend the first nine months of His existence in a sinful body? When God the Father is so appalled at sin that He required His only begotten Son to die a cruel death to expiate sin? At any rate, it is enough for us to note that each Hail Mary begins with the affirmation of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception.

The Lord is with thee” reminds us that Mary is always with the Most Holy Trinity. She is the most favored Daughter of God the Father, the most beloved Mother of God the Son and the most glorious Spouse of God the Holy Ghost. So always remember that when you are praying your Hail Mary, the Holy Trinity is right there, too.

Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” These are the words of Mary’s kinswoman, Elizabeth. (Luke 1, 42)  By these Biblical praises, we console Our Blessed Mother and Our Lord for the blasphemies against them. Jesus told Sister Lucia that the Immaculate Heart of His mother is pierced with numerous thorns caused by ungrateful sinners. He called for us to make reparation. We must not be indifferent to His request.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” When praying this intercession, refer back mentally to the Fatima prayer above, which by Divine inspiration applies the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the salvation of sinners. Mary is truly the Mother of Mercy. The first revelation of Fatima was of the huge number of sinners falling constantly into Hell. We are commanded to pray and offer penance for them. This part of the Hail Mary supplies this need if it is coupled with a clear intention.

At the Doxology, as you pray, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit“, keep in mind that Mary is always praying that prayer, so dear to her Heart, with you, as are all the choirs of Heaven. For she is Queen of Heaven, and beloved of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Then follows the Fatima prayer, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.” Once again, we ask Jesus to apply that infinite merit to all poor sinners.

In numerous apparitions from Our Lady of Good Success and the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Lourdes and Fatima, both Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother have asked for prayer and penance. One certain way to fulfill both requests (prayer and penance) is to make time in your busy day for the full rosary of fifteen decades. As St. Louis de Monfort tells us, “…nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because (Mary) obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.”

If you are concerned about the well-being of your loved ones, or for our Church in these days of apostasy and confusion, there is no better way to help than by praying the Holy Rosary. At Fatima, in response to Lucia’s question, “Who are you?” Our Lady replied, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” Sister Lucia said:

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”

Most Glorious Queen of Heaven, bind us to thee and lead us to Jesus by thy rosary!

~ posted by evensong ~

And Mary, Rising Up in Those Days…

And Mary, Rising Up in Those Days…

“And Mary said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” And the Angel departed from her. And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.

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?
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?

“And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 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 leapt for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken of thee by the Lord.” Luke, 38-45.  Continue reading “And Mary, Rising Up in Those Days…”

May 13, 1917: The Day the World Changed

An offer made, an offer ignored…such a small thing…as they say, ‘the devil’s in the details’…

May 13, 1917 was a bright sunshiny Sunday and the rocky hillsides were sprinkled with wildflowers when Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta saw the Mother of God, “more brilliant than the sun”, in Lucia’s words.

To Lucia’s questions, the Lady answered, “I am from Heaven”… “Come here for six consecutive months on the thirteenth day at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here a seventh time.”

And then, the Virgin Mary made them an offer no true Catholic could refuse: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?” Lucia promptly answered, “Yes! We want to!” “Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”  Continue reading “May 13, 1917: The Day the World Changed”

Thoughts on the First Joyful Mystery

The Rosary is a beautiful prayer composed by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in honor of the most beloved daughter, mother and spouse of the Most High Trinity, and is meant to be a sure path to lead us through the darkness of this life. We often hear how much Our Lady loves for us to pray her Rosary, but not enough is said about how much Our Lord Jesus Christ loves for us to pray the Rosary. Do people understand, really understand that we could never pray our Rosaries attentively without Our Dear Lord’s help? And when we prepare to pray it, we must understand that of ourselves, we are completely unable to pray worthily to Mary, the Mother of God. It is only through Jesus, who loves both Mary and ourselves and wants to see us united in His love, only through Him that we can pray her Rosary worthily.

But once you grasp that simple fact; surrender all attempts to pray well on your own, and beg Him, of His infinite mercy to abide with you and assist you as you attempt to honor His dear Mother, He will open the treasures of this incomparable prayer for you. You will be delighted as He unfolds the Rosary for you, for it is an exquisite album filled with His loving memories. With it, He will show you how He desires you to approach Him, how to best serve Him and what plans He has for you.

The very first thing you will notice, once you understand the Rosary from this perspective, is that Our Lord Jesus Christ introduces us to His Mother at the very beginning. When someone loves you, they want you to meet, and love, those who matter the most to them, for love always unites good to good! In the First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, Our Lord introduces us to His beloved Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He paints us a picture of her, so that we can appreciate her beauty and virtue. Let’s see what He tells us.

“And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’ s name was Mary.  And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

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. And of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1, 26-38)

Now, the very first thing He tells us about Mary is that she is pure and innocent, a virgin. At the same time, He tells us that God the Father sent His angel Gabriel, who stands before the throne of God, to Mary. Gabriel’s name means Power of God and he is only mentioned by name in Daniel (in the Old Testament) and in Luke. Note the respect that Gabriel shows to Mary, referring to her as “full of grace” and “blessed among women”. He also states that “the Lord is with thee”, all of which confirm the purity of Mary and her fullness of grace.

After Gabriel tells her that she is to become the Mother of Jesus, Mary speaks her first words. “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” Now, Jesus is showing us with what beautiful virtues His Mother is arrayed. Her purity, far from being a negative thing, merely the absence of sexual activity, is a powerful affirmation of God. Mary’s virginity, like her Immaculate Conception is the indwelling of God’s grace and mercy. Whereas Eve, the first ‘Woman’, withdrew herself from her Creator in order to seek her own good, Mary, the ‘Woman’ of the New Testament, yielded herself totally to God, allowing Him to fill her with His life, thus, she is ‘full of grace’. The virtues shown by this simple verse are Mary’s perfect love of God,  her total consecration to Him, her purity, and her perseverance in keeping her vow.

Gabriel explained that the Incarnation of the Son of God would be accomplished by the power of God through the Holy Ghost. Mary then said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” With this verse, Our Lord shows us Mary’s humility and obedience, two of the most essential virtues. I call them ‘working virtues’ because you really cannot get through a day without them if you are intent on living close to Jesus and Mary. You must always beg Our Lord for an increase in these because it is a constant war to keep them. They are most hateful to the devil and he strives mightily to strip us of them.

So, Our Lord Jesus Christ has painted us an incredibly beautiful picture here, portraying His Mother so that we can see her beauty, her excellent virtues and her unique stature before the Holy Trinity. By showing her to us in this way, He sets out the virtues He wants us to acquire and the means He intends us to use. “Here is My Mother”, He is saying. “I give her to you. See, we shall have the same Mother!  She will be your example of the necessary virtues and she will teach you how to grow in them and advance toward union with Me, so that we can rejoice together in Heaven.”

If you will take a moment before beginning your rosary to put yourself in His presence and acknowledge your wretched unworthiness to pray fittingly to Our Blessed Mother, and ask His help so that together you can honor and love her, He will draw close and teach you and you will have the peace that only comes from truly being a child of Mary. He so wants to bring us to her, and she so wants to bring us to Him! Only ask and you will be astonished at the profligacy with which these two Sacred Hearts pour out their blessings on you!

O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee and of our Virgin Mother, I offer these prayers, in reparation for my sins, the sins of my family, the sins of the Church and for the conversion of sinners. I beg the reign of Thy Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in my heart, my life, my family and the Church. My Jesus, grant that I may love Thee always and then do with me what Thou will. Amen.

Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

~ posted by evensong ~