The month of October is dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary was instituted to honour and to thank Our Lady for the protection of the Church experienced through her in the victories of the Christian armies against the Turks at Lepanto on 7th October 1571 and then at Peterwarde in Hungary in 1716. The faith that the Church expresses through the Feast is that Mary is the Protectress of the Church. The recitation of the Rosary is a means of experiencing her loving care. At the same time this Feast reminds us of Mary’s life and mission in the history of salvation.
The Rosary as we know is nothing but faith – contemplation of Christ’s life, death and glorification and of Mary’s intimate association with Jesus. The Rosary derives its great power and efficacy from the fact that more than any other it is a prayer of faith, having its origin deep in the creed of the apostles and commemorating the Mysteries of Faith based on the truths of the Gospel. With its twenty mysteries, the Rosary is the Gospel story in brief; recalling the lives of Jesus and Mary on earth. Hence, it serves to perpetuate the great teachings of the Church among the faithful by keeping alive in the hearts of the people the knowledge of God and His love for men.
First come the Joyful Mysteries. They bring before our eyes the Mystery of the Incarnation and the Nativity of Our Lord. God chooses Mary to be the Mother of His Son and the Angel Gabriel comes to Nazareth with this message to her and greets her, “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you”. She is very much troubled at this greeting. But when the Angel gives her the assurance that the child is to be born of her through the power of the Holy Spirit, she surrenders herself to God, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be in me according to your Word”. Then, we contemplate Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the Nativity of Our Lord, His Presentation in the Temple and His Loss and Finding in the Temple.
The Sorrowful Mysteries are just as meaningful. We meditate on the passion and death of Our Lord: His agony in the garden, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, His way to Calvary and finally His death on the Cross. Here again, Mary is present to share the sufferings of her Son and to offer Him as a victim to the Father, for the salvation of mankind. On Calvary, she accepts from her own Son the role of the motherhood of the human race.
In the Glorious Mysteries, we contemplate the Glorious Resurrection And Ascension of Our Lord, the Pentecost, and finally Mary’s Assumption and Glorification. In her glory, she is always ready to intercede for the human race with her Son till the end of time. “For taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role, but by her manifold acts of intercession continues to win for us gifts of eternal salvation”.
The Luminous Mysteries given by Pope John Paul II are mysteries of light which sum up Jesus’ childhood and then public ministry: the Baptism of the Lord in River Jordan. The wedding feast at Cana. The Proclamation of the Word. The Transfiguration of the Lord. The institution of the Eucharist.
The Rosary is a prayer of both praise and petition. The ‘Our Father’ was taught by Christ himself. We glorify God’s goodness and his generosity, call him Father, and ask for his blessings through the intercession of Mary our Mother. Then, we hail her who has found favour with God; who was made by him extra-ordinary full of Grace in order that the fullness of Grace might be poured out on all. The constant repetition of the Angelic salutation “Hail Mary” instills in the person who recites it a confidence of approach to Mary.
According to St. Pius X: “The Rosary is the most beautiful and most rich in grace of all prayers, it is the prayer that most deeply touches the heart of the Mother of God…” The Rosary is a sure means of preserving the home and strengthening family life. There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessing upon the family… than the daily recitation of the Rosary”(Pius XII). The Family Rosary recited by the members together can act as a strong binding and uniting force and strengthen the faith and unity of the family. The Rosary is the effective means of promoting world peace. At Lourdes and at Fatima, Our Lady repeatedly insisted that the faithful should say the Rosary. In one of her apparitions at Fatima in 1917 she said: “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world”. “If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, in your country, assemble every evening to recite the Rosary”(Pius IX).
So today, as we pray and contemplate Mary in the light of her Son, let us renew our devotion to the Rosary. Let us make it a point to recite daily with attention and meditation at least part of the Rosary. A family which prays together, stays together. Let the Rosary become for us a means for family union and personal growth in genuine Christian love.
Sr. Apollonia HC
St. Joseph Convent,
Aquem – Margao