Oct 7: THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
October is the month of Rosary. October 7th is the feast of our Lady of the Rosary. So we say solemn rosary before the masses during this month. The word Rosary means “crown of roses” or “garland of roses” and each prayer in the Rosary is considered a flower presented to Mary. The prayers we repeat are Biblical and, hence, “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary. As we are saying the Rosary, we are, in fact, in contact with two of the most basic prayers in our Christian tradition: the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father), and the Angelic Salutation (the Hail Mary). The first is fully rooted in the Scriptures, taught by Jesus Himself. The second is largely rooted in the Scriptures, its first half echoing the words of the Archangel Gabriel and of Elizabeth as each addressed Mary. The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father” — ancient in its wording — surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation.
The first major Rosary miracle, and one of the most impressive, is the one that occurred at the Battle of Lepanto. This historic battle took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting at Lepanto, on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The defeat was attributed to the effect rosaries recited by the soldiers and their respective countrymen for the sole purpose of preventing the Muslim army invading Europe and destroying Christianity as they did in the Byzantine Empire. The Turks had nearly three times more troops. The winds were against the Christians and the conditions were poor. But after the rosary recitals by the soldiers ended, the winds aided the Christians who gained a colossal victory against the Turks. This was one of the greatest naval upsets in history from which the Turks never fully recovered and their threat in the Mediterranean Sea ended. Following this victory, Pope Pius V established the Feast of Our Lady of Victories on October 7th. The name was later changed to its present form – the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716 and it is celebrated on the 7th of October, observing October as the month of the rosary.
During the recitation of the Rosary, we meditate on the saving mysteries of our Lord’s life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother. Journeying through the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary, we bring to mind our Lord’s Incarnation, His public ministry, His passion and death, and His Resurrection from the dead. Hence, by praying the Rosary, we come to live out the Paschal Mystery in our lives, thereby becoming authentic disciples of Jesus, people who really follow in his footsteps, dying with him so as to rise with him. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, the exemplar of faith, who leads all believers to her Son. Hence, we as modern-day Catholic Christians need to pray the Rosary and live the Rosary.
In the ninth century, the Christian monks who recited the 150 psalms instructed the illiterate common people to recite the “Our Father” 150 times using beads. These strings of beads became known as Paternosters, the Latin for “Our Father.” It was in the eleventh century that the Europeans added “Hail Mary” to “Our Father.” According to legend, in 1214, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic Guzman and instructed him to pray with the bead-string in a new form as an effective antidote against the Albigensian heresy. At least a dozen Popes have mentioned St. Dominic’s connection with the Rosary in various Papal pronouncements, sanctioning his role as at least a “pious belief.” Historians agree that St. Dominic preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the Faith. The Rosary devotion had attained its present form and gotten its name the Rosarium (“rose garden”), by AD 1500. An additional boost to the Rosary devotion was given in 1917, on the thirteenth of May, when our Blessed Mother, in her sixth apparition to the three children at Fatima, demanded, “Say the Rosary every day… Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners… I’m Our Lady of the Rosary.” She advised them to say the Rosary rightly, daily and devoutly for a holier life and world peace. The “Fatima prayer” “O, my Jesus” was added in the twentieth century. Pope John Paul II enriched the Rosary by adding the “Luminous Mysteries” in 2002.
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called the Rosary the perfect prayer because in addition to engaging the mind and the spirit, our fingers touch the beads and we are engaged in a physical way also. During this month of rosary, also every day of the year, let’s be faithful in saying the Rosary, because its power is unimaginable. Remember to come 30 minutes earlier for the weekend masses this month and become part of our parish rosary recitation a community one and gain spiritual graces from God through Mary.