Most Holy Rosary Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Holy Bible tells us that after the Blessed Virgin Mary had visited her cousin Elizabeth, she recited the Magnificat. One prophetic verse in that prayer still echoes today, "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed." [Luke 1:48] The Holy Rosary fulfills the prophecy of those words, that the blessed Virgin Mary shall be called blessed today as much as she was called blessed in the days that followed the glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
The Church Sacramental of the Rosary, recited daily throughout the world, brings back to memory thousands and thousands of times the words of the angel of God, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with." [Luke 1:28] As a Christian prayer, it involves meditation on the fifteen mysteries surrounding the lives of Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rosary engages our thoughts, imagination, emotion, and desire.
Praying the rosary serves the purpose of mobilizing our faculties in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompting a conversion of heart and strengthening our will to follow Christ.
Considering the immense treasure of spiritual good that is found in the recitation of the Holy Rosary, how is it associated with Our Lady of the Rosary? When and where did it have its beginning?
Tradition asserts that the Feast of the Holy Rosary had its beginning when the Albigensian heresy was destroying the country of Toulouse. Shortly after September 12, 1213, St. Dominic turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the triumph of Catholic arms. As St. Dominic was kneeling before the altar in the Church of St. Jacques, Our Lady instructed him to preach the Rosary among the people as a cure for heresy and sin. In thanksgiving to Our Lady for the miraculous victory that followed, it is asserted that the crusaders erected a chapel in the Church of St. Jacques and dedicated it to Our Lady of the Rosary. Based on this tradition, it appears that the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary had its origin in those days.
Over and above the defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213, it is believed that the grace of God frequently shined upon the world through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.
At the same time, historical documents have not been able to accredit St. Dominic with the origin of the Rosary. The earliest trace of any Church documents alleges that it was a Dominican preacher, Alan de la Roche, who created the legend of St. Dominic in the fifteenth century.
Further research has proven that the Rosary was in existence prior to the days of St. Dominic. In those earlier days, its existence was patterned on the Book of Psalms. Originally, possibly as far back as the eight century, the Lord's Prayer was recited 150 times by religious communities. Those who were devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary replaced the Lord's Prayer with the first part of today's Hail Mary, reciting 150 Hail Mary's on beads strung on a cord.
It was not until the fifteen century that the Rosary was divided into three Chaplets of 50 Hail Mary's each and that the mysteries were added to each Chaplet. By the sixteen century, the fifteen mysteries had become accepted by all as the proper way of reciting the Rosary. During that period of time, the second half of the Hail Mary was added and the "Glory be to the Father" was used to close each decade of the Rosary. In 1569, Pope Pius V officially approved the Rosary as it is known today.
Four years later, he established the Feast of the Rosary in thanksgiving to Our Lady to commemorate the naval victory of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. On that same day, the first Sunday of October, while the members of the Rosary confraternity made their procession in Rome, Don John of Austria defeated the Turkish fleet.
Following the request of the Dominican Order, in 1573, Pope Gregory XIII allowed this feast to be observed in all the Churches that possessed an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In 1671, Pope Clement X extended the observance of this feast to the whole of Spain. Afterward, in recognition of the victory over the Turks by Prince Eugene on August 6, 1716, at Peterwardein in Hungary, Pope Clement XI commanded that the Feast of the Rosary be celebrated throughout the world.
Other popes, namely Benedict XIII and Leo XIII, were involved in raising the Feast to the rank of a double of the second class and added the Litany of Loreto to the invocation of "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary."
Although the history of the Rosary is controversial, over the centuries, different Supreme Pontiffs, in their apostolic letters, have accredited St. Dominic with the origin of the Rosary. In 1883, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical in which he commended to the faithful the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary, attributing its origin to St. Dominic.
Keeping all this in mind, it was not until Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children on May 13, 1917 that she revealed herself to be Our Lady of the Rosary. Recognizing the apparitions of Fatima as being worthy of belief, on October 13, 1930, the bishop of Fatima authorized devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima.
Since then, on a date that I have not been able to trace, the "Feast of the Rosary" has officially become the "Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary."
The "Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary" is closely associated with the titles of "Our Lady of Fatima" and the "Immaculate Heart of Mary." In summary, it began as a most beautiful spiritual prayer in recognition of the salutation of the angel of God to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then, it progressed to meditating upon the lives of Jesus and Mary according, each mystery reflecting upon a biblical passage or and inspired truths that the Church has proclaimed as a Dogmas. Such truths consists of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.
While reflecting upon the mysteries continues to be the norm of the faithful, now, based on the apparition of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, additional emphasis has been placed on repentance, praying for sinners and doing penance.
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary echoes the words of Job. "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." It has now become obvious to the world that the Lord God has eternal plans for the Blessed Virgin Mary and that He has commissioned her as the Second Eve to assist her Son in the salvation of mankind by bringing sinners to Jesus.
The book of Job continues..."The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning." Equally, the Lord has blessed the latter day of Mary more than her beginning. Progressively, over a period of possibly one thousand years, the fullness of the devotion to the Holy Rosary was not fully revealed to the world until 1917 when Our Lady stated, I am "Our Lady of the Rosary." If we are to measure the progressive honors that the Blessed Virgin Mary has received since she has departed from this world, can we begin to imagine what honors awaits her in the days to come?
Today, let us reflect upon the mystery of Our Lady of the Rosary that is unraveling itself upon the world. Let us give thanks to the Lord for the wonders that He has bestowed upon Our Lady of the Rosary, our heavenly Mother and our heavenly Queen.
(This article was taken from an article on the "Catholic Doors Ministry" https://www.catholicdoors.com/index.htm The views and opinions expressed on the website do not necessarily state or reflect those of Saint Helen Catholic Mission.)