ST. DOMINIC preached for a long time with untiring zeal against the heresy of the Albigenses, but few returned to the Church; he, therefore, redoubled his prayers and penitential works, and with special devotion besought the Queen of Heaven to assist him in his labors for the salvation of souls. The Mother of Mercy then appeared to him and taught him the rosary. Strengthened by the high privilege shown him by the Mother of God, he everywhere announced and taught this devotion. In a short time over a hundred thousand heretics were brought back to the bosom of the holy Catholic Church, and the devotion spread rapidly over the whole Christian world. Fraternities were formed and the Supreme Pontiff permitted the Friar Preachers to celebrate the Festival of the Rosary; this was observed with great solemnity. On the 7th of October 1571, the Christians, under the special protection of Mary, the Queen of Heaven, gained a glorious victory over the Turks; the Festival of the Rosary being at that time celebrated at Rome and in the provinces by public processions, in order that by her intercession the Turks might be restrained in their oppressions.
This victory was justly considered as the effect of Mary's intercession, and the holy Pope Pius V. instituted on this day in gratitude a festival which was called "Mary of Victory". This was united by Pope Gregory XIII. with the Festival of the Rosary, and fixed for the first Sunday in October. Finally, on account of another victory gained by Mary's intercession over the Turks in 1715 at Belgrade, Pope Clement XL ordered it to be celebrated by the whole Church, "that the hearts of the faithful might be thereby incited to the greater veneration of the Blessed Virgin, and that the grateful remembrance of the help received from above might never pass away."
What is the rosary?
It is a form of prayer in which there is said the Apostles' Creed, the Glory be to the Father, and fifty times the Hail Mary, with an Our Father before each ten Hail Marys; each decade is followed by a meditation upon one of the mysteries of the redemption. This is the smaller and more common rosary. The larger consists of the Apostles' Creed, of fifteen decades , every decade of ten Hail Marys preceded by an Our Father, and of fifteen meditations on the mysteries of our redemption. It is called the Psalter, because it contains a hundred and fifty Hail Marys as David's psalter contains a hundred and fifty psalms. This prayer is called the rosary, because every Hail Mary is like a flower in the wreath crowning the heavenly Queen, whom the Church calls by the significant title of "Mystical Rose." Every rose has green leaves and sharp thorns besides the flower itself; in the rosary the thorns represent the sorrowful, the green leaves the joyful, and the flower the glorious mysteries of the redemption which are meditated upon while reciting the rosary. The holy Fathers also compare this devotion to a crown, of which they say: "Its twelve diamonds are the twelve articles of the Apostles' Creed, the fifteen Our Fathers so many brilliant golden stars, and one hundred and fifty Hail Marys the roses."
How many parts are there in the rosary"?
Three: the joyful, the sorrowful and the glorious.
I. The joyful' are the first five decades by which we meditate upon the mysteries of the Incarnation and the joy of Mary's heart in her divine Child. This rosary is usually said from Advent until Lent, during which time the Church commemorates the joyful coming of Christ.
II. The sorrowful has also five decades in which are especially represented for meditation the sorrowful mysteries of the passion of Christ. This rosary is .usually said during Lent, because the Church at that time places before us the sufferings of Jesus.
III. The glorious mysteries have likewise five decades, in which we meditate upon the glory of Christ and His blessed Mother. This rosary is said from Easter to Advent, because the Church then presents to us these mysteries for our veneration and meditation.
METHOD OF SAYING THE ROSARY OF OUR BLESSED LADY
THE method consists in raising corresponding affections in the heart during the recital of each decade, such as the devotion of each one may suggest; for example, in the first part, sentiments of joy for the coming of our Redeemer. In the second, of compassion for the sufferings of our Lord, and contrition for our sins, which were the occasion of them. In the third, of thanksgiving for the exaltation and the glory of our Saviour, and His Blessed Mother, hoping through the merits of His passion and her intercession to be made partakers of their glory.
THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES.
Assigned for Mondays and Thursdays throughout the Year, the Sundays in Advent, and after Epiphany till Lent.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, etc.
V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
V. Thou, O Lord, wilt open my lips.
R. And my tongue shall announce thy praise.
V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son. and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall
be, world without end. Amen.
Alleluia is said at all times, except from Septuagesima till Easter, during which period say: Praise be to thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.
I. The Incarnation.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the angel Gabriel saluted our Blessed Lady with the title full of grace, and declared unto her the Incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Holy Mary, Queen of virgins, through the most high mystery of the Incarnation of thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by which our salvation was so happily begun: obtain for us, through thy intercession, light to be sensible of the greatness of the benefit He hath bestowed on us, in vouchsafing to become our Brother, and thee, (his own beloved Mother) to be our Mother also. Amen.
II. The Visitation.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, understanding- from the angel that her cousin, St. Elizabeth, had conceived, went with haste into the mountains of Judea to visit her, and remained with her three months. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Holy Virgin, most spotless Mirror of humility, by that exceeding charity which moved thee to visit thy holy cousin, St. Elizabeth, obtain for us, through thy intercession, that our hearts being visited by thy most holy Son, and freed from all sin, we may praise and give thanks for ever. Amen.
III. The Birth of our Saviour in Bethlehem.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the time of her delivery was come, brought forth our Redeemer Jesus Christ at midnight, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for Him inthe inns at Bethlehem. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O most pure Mother of God, through thy virginal and most joyful delivery, whereby thou gavest the world thy only Son our Saviour; we beseech thee to obtain for us, through thy intercession, the grace to lead such pure and holy lives in this world, that we may become worthy to sing without ceasing, both day and night, the mercies of thy Son, and his benefits to us by thee. Amen.
IV. The Offering of our Blessed Lord in the Temple.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the day of her purification, presented the child Jesus in the Temple, where holy Simeon giving thanks to God, with great devotion received Him into his arms. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Holy 'Virgin, most admirable mistress and patroness of obedience, who didst present in the Temple the Lord of the Temple: obtain for us, of thy beloved Son, that with holy Simeon and devout Anna, we may praise and glorify Him for ever. Amen.
V. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, after having lost, without any fault of hers, her beloved Son in Jerusalem, sought Him for the space of three days, and at length found Him the third day in the Temple, in the midst of the doctors, disputing with them, being of the age of twelve years. Our Father once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
Most Blessed Virgin, more than martyr in thy sufferings, and yet the comfort of such as are afflicted; by that unspeakable joy wherewith thy soul was ravished at finding thy beloved Son in the Temple, in the midst of the doctors, disputing with them: obtain of
Him that we may so seek Him, and find Him in the holy Catholic Church, as to be never more separated from Him. Amen.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope; to thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears: turn, then, most gracious advocate, thy eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile is ended, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement,O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY!
O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech thee, that meditating upon these mysteries , in the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.
THE DOLOROUS OR SORROWFUL MYSTERIES.
For Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the Year , and the Sundays in Lent.
I. The Prayer and Bloody Sweat of our Blessed Saviour in the Garden.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus was so afflicted for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, that His body was bathed in a bloody sweat, which ran trickling down in great drops to the ground. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
Most holy Virgin, more than martyr, by that ardent prayer which thy beloved Son poured forth unto His Father in the Garden, vouchsafe to intercede for us, that our passions being reduced to the obedience of reason, we may always, and in all things, conform and subject ourselves to the will of God. Amen.
II. The Scourging of our Blessed Lord at the Pillar.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ was most cruelly scourged in Pilate's house, the number of stripes they gave Him (as it was revealed to St. Bridget) being about five thousand. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Mother of God, overflowing fountain of patience, through those stripes thy only and most beloved Son vouchsafed to suffer for us: obtain of Him for us grace, that we may know how to mortify our rebellious senses, and cut off all occasions of sinning, with that sword of grief, and compassion which pierced thy most tender soul. Amen.
III. The Crowning of our Blessed Saviour "with Thorns.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how those cruel ministers of Satan plaited a crown of sharp thorns, and most cruelly pressed it on the sacred head of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Mother of our eternal Prince and King of glory, by those sharp thorns, wherewith His most holy head was pierced, we beseech thee, that, through thy intercession, we may be delivered from all motions of pride, and in the day of judgment, from that confusion
which our sins deserve. Amen.
IV. Jesus carrying His Cross.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ being sentenced to die, bore, with the most amazing patience, the cross, which was laid upon Him for his greater torment and ignominy. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Holy Virgin, example of patience, by the most painful carrying of the cross in which thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ bore the heavy weight of our sins; obtain for us, of Him, through thy intercession, courage and strength to follow His steps , and bear our cross after Him unto the end of our lives. Amen.
V. The Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ, being come to Mount Calvary, was stripped of His clothes, and His hands and feet most cruelly nailed to the cross in the presence of His most afflicted Mother. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times,
LET US PRAY!
O Holy Mary, Mother of God, as the body of thy beloved Son was for us extended on the cross,so may our desires be daily more and more extended in His service, and our hearts wounded with compassion for His most bitter passion; and thou, O most Blessed Virgin, graciously vouchsafe, by thy powerful intercession, to help us to accomplish the work of our salvation. Amen.
The Salve Regina. Hail, holy Queen, with the verse and prayer as above.
THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES.
For Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the Year, and the Sundays from Easter until Advent.
I. The Resurrection.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ, triumphing gloriously over death, rose again the third day, immortal and impassible. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O glorious Virgin Mary, by that unspeakable joy thou receivedst in the resurrection of thine only Son, we beseech thee obtain of Him for us, that our hearts may never go astray after the false joys of this world, but may be ever and wholly employed in the pursuit of the only true and solid joys of heaven. Amen.
II. The Ascension.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ, forty days after His resurrection, ascended into heaven, attended by angels, in the sight and to the great admiration of His most holy mother, and His holy apostles and disciples. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O Mother of God, comfortress of the afflicted, as thy beloved Son, when He ascended into heaven, lifted up His hands and blessed his apostles, so vouchsafe, most holy Mother, to lift up thy pure hands to Him for us, that we may enjoy the benefit of His blessing, and thine also on earth, and hereafter in heaven. Amen.
III. The Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how our Lord Jesus Christ, being seated on the right hand of God, sent, as He had promised, the Holy Ghost upon his apostles, who, after He was ascended, returning to Jerusalem, continued inprayer and supplication with the Blessed Virgin Mary, expecting the performance of His promise. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O sacred Virgin, tabernacle of the Holy Ghost, we beseech thee, obtain by thine intercession, that this most sweet Comforter whom thy beloved Son sent down upon his apostles, filling them thereby with spiritual joy, may teach us in this world, the true way
of salvation and make us walk in the path of virtue and good works. Amen.
IV. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the glorious Virgin, twelve years after the resurrection of her Son, passed out of this world unto Him, and was by Him assumed into heaven, accompanied by the holy angels. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O most prudent Virgin, who entering the heavenly palace didst fill the holy angels with joy, and man with hope, vouchsafe to intercede for us at the hour of our death, that being delivered from the illusions and temptations of the devil, we may joyfully and securely pass out of this temporal state, to enjoy the happiness of eternal life. Amen.
V. The Coronation of the most Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven.
Let us contemplate in this mystery, how the glorious Virgin Mary was, to the great jubilee and exultation of the whole court of heaven, and the special glory of all the saints, crowned by her Son with the brightest diadem of glory. Our Father, once. Hail Mary, ten times.
LET US PRAY!
O glorious Queen of all the heavenly citizens, we beseech thee, accept this Rosary, which as a crown of roses we offer at thy feet: and grant, most gracious Lady, that, by thy intercession, our souls may be inflamed with so ardent a desire of seeing thee so gloriously crowned, that it may never die in us, until it shall be changed into the happy fruition of thy blessed sight. Amen.
The Salve Regina. Hail, holy Queen, and the Litany of The Blessed Virgin.
Are unbelievers, and those who call themselves enlightened Catholics, right when they look with contempt upon the rosary?
Certainly not, for they despise that which they neither understand nor practice; for whoever considers the arrangement and significance of this most venerable prayer, must esteem it most highly and practice it for the good of his soul. Without taking into consideration that the greatest saints said this prayer daily, as for example St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Liguori and others, it is a confession of our holy Roman Catholic faith, a repeated adoration of the most holy Trinity, and an authorized veneration of the Blessed Virgin, whom the Holy Ghost has pronounced blessed. It is at the same time a grateful recollection and meditation upon the most profound and sacred mysteries of our holy religion, and especially of our redemption through the incarnation, sufferings, and death of our Lord. And in regard to the frequent repetition of the Our Father and Hail Mary, do not the angels and saints before the throne of the most holy Trinity repeat
continually: "Holy, Holy, Holy!" Can the heart filled with the true, sincere love of God and of Mary repeat their praises often enough? Do wo not daily, even often during the day, partake of the same bread without it losing its relish or becoming distasteful to us?
How acceptable to God is this holy rosary this beautiful garland of fragrant, heavenly flowers of prayer and meditation and what powerful effect it produces before the throne of His omnipotence and mercy! This God manifested at its introduction, as He has always since in a marvellous manner, especially upon occasions of great and particular hardships and cares; and on this account the
Church exhorts the faithful to its diligent practice, attaching many indulgences which she grants to all those who say the Rosary devoutly in the state of grace.* Do not; therefore, my dear Christian, permit yourself to be misled by those who not only do not perform this devotion, but even despise it, and in their proud self-conceit often pay no attention to the most important regulations of the Church. To them are applicable the words of Christ: I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. (Matt. xi. 25.) Practice this devotion all the more zealously in the spirit and sense of our holy Church, and you will perceive the benefit that will accrue to your soul therefrom.
We should let nothing prevent us from saying the rosary and never be ashamed to carry our rosary with us, always as a sign that we love and honor Jesus and Mary. For the rosary has justly become a badge of the true follower of Jesus and Mary, of the real Catholic; and who is ashamed of being a Catholic!
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, hath purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries in the most holy Rosary of the blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain, and arrive at what they promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.
LESSON. (Ecclus. xxiv. 14 16.) FROM the beginning and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.
* As by Pope Alexander IV. in the year 1291, Sixtus V. in 1474, and Pius V. an indulgence of five years and forty days.