"Such is Mary’s Rosary, a new and fruitful vine, which began to blossom at Gabriel’s salutation, and whose fragrant garlands form a link between earth and heaven." -Abbot Gueranger
It is customary with men of the world to balance their accounts at the end of the year and determine their profits. The Church is now preparing to do this as she comes to the Feast of Christ the King, and that of All Saints and All Souls and the end of the Liturgical Year.
But today’s feast is a reckoning even more solemn, the profits even bigger: the Church opens her balance-sheet with the gain accruing to Our Lady from the mysteries, which compose the entire liturgical cycle.
Christmas, the cross, the triumph of Jesus, these produce the holiness of us all; but before and above all, the holiness of Mary.
The crown, which the Church thus offers today to the Queen of heaven and earth, is made up of the triple crown of those sanctifying mysteries; joyful, sorrowful and glorious. These were the cause of her joy, the cause of her sorrow and of her glory.
The Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries in the life of Jesus her Divine Son. They are an integral part of her life as well.
Such is Mary’s Rosary; a new and fruitful vine, which began to blossom at Gabriel’s salutation, and whose fragrant garlands form a link between earth and heaven.
In its present form, St. Dominic made the rosary known to the world at the time of the struggles with the Albigensians, that social war of such ill-omen for the Church. The rosary was then of more help than armed forces against the power of Satan; it is now the Church’s last resource.
It would seem that, the ancient forms of social prayer being no longer loved by the people, the Holy Spirit has willed by this easy and ready summary of the liturgy to maintain, in the isolated devotion of these unhappy times, the essential of that life of prayer, faith, and Christian virtue, which the public celebration of the Divine Office formerly kept up among the nations.
This simple weapon given by the Mother of God and conceived by the eternal Wisdom of God is far-reaching in its effects. It leads wandering man to the Queen of Mercy, it destroys ignorance of the fundamentals of the Faith, ignorance which is the food of heresy, and it teaches him to find once more ‘the paths consecrated by the Blood of the Man-God, and by the tears of His Mother.’ (Pope Leo XIII, Sept. 8, 1892 Encyc. On the Rosary)
Pope Leo XIII and every Pontiff of modern times has pointed out, over and over again, that the Holy Rosary is the means of salvation more than once experienced by our fathers.
In fact, Pope Leo consecrated the entire month of October to the Holy Rosary, this devotion that is so dear to heaven.
Pope Leo honored Our Lady in her litanies with a new title, Queen of the most holy rosary; and raised this day to the honor of a second class feast with a proper Office. This feast is also a memorial of glorious victories, which do honor to Our Lady of the Rosary.
Heaven itself corroborated these honors given to Our Lady. Only a short time after this, Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917, and in October of that year, the very month dedicated to the Holy Rosary, She announced to the world: "I am the Lady of the Rosary."
Let us list here a small fraction of the victories directly obtained from God through the Holy Rosary:
- The Battle of Lepanto which saved Rome and Vienna, and thus the Pope and the Emperor, from Moslem subjugation
- The deliverance of Vienna by Sobieski
- The victory given to Prince Eugene of Peterwardein
- The raising of the siege of Corfu
- The taking of Belgrade
- The withdrawal from Soviet Troops from Austria on Oct. 26, 1955
- The deliverance of Brazil from Communism in 1964
On this Feast of the Holy Rosary, the joys experienced on the other feasts of the Mother of God, are all gathered up and resumed in this one, for us, for the angels, and for Our Lady herself.
Like the angles then, let us offer, together with Mary, the homage of our just delight to the Son of God, her Son, her King and ours. The mysteries of Jesus and Mary are our instruction and our hope. The Church prays today that they may also be our rule of life and our pledge of eternal salvation. That is the power of the Holy Rosary.
Our Lady’s mysteries are before all time in God’s sight, like those of Her Divine Son; like these they will endure for all eternity; like them they rule the ages, which circle round the Word and Mary, preparing for both in the Old Testament and perpetuating their presence by the ceaseless praise of the most holy Trinity, in whose name all Christians are baptized.
The Rosary honors all these mysteries. Today’s feast is a glance back upon the cycle of Redemption as it draws to a close. From these mysteries and today’s view of them all, we learn from Our Lady herself in this passage from Proverbs, which the Church applies to Mary:
"Now therefore, my children, consider my ways; imitate me, that you may find happiness." ‘Blessed is he that watches at her gates.’
Let us pray to Mary, rosary in hand, thinking of her at the same time, meditating on her life and her greatness, and watching, for even just 15 minutes each day, at the entrance to the palace of this incomparable Queen. The more faithful we are to the Rosary, the more assured will be our salvation and our progress in true life.
Let us congratulate the Queen of the Holy Rosary on her perfect life, all truth, and justice, and meekness, which won her the love of the supreme King. Let us proclaim the nobility of her race, unequalled in the whole world.
All grace, all light, all life, are to be found in our Lady; by her holy rosary she has multiplied flowers and fruits in the garden of the Church. Every offering acceptable to God comes from Mary, with and by Jesus.
The Rosary, piously meditated, prepares us for the Sacrifice of the altar, that august memorial of the mysteries which it imprints in the heart and mind of the Christian. Why not then, pray the holy rosary in the car as one drives to holy Mass. Pray it in thanksgiving on the way home.
Of Our Lady, the Offertory of today’s Mass says: "In me is all grace of the way and of truth: in me is all hope of life and of virtue: I have flowered forth like a rose planted by the brooks of water."
(Adapted by Saint Michael’s Online from The Liturgical Year Book V by: Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B)