have invoked me by various titles and have always obtained favor
from me. Now, since you have called me by that title so pleasing
to me, ‘Queen of the Holy Rosary,’ I can no longer refuse
the favor that you ask: for this name is most precious and dear
to me... ”
words were spoken by Our Blessed Mother in 1884 in an approved apparition
of Our Lady which occurred in Naples. It was in the house of Commander
Agrelli where Our Heavenly Mother deigned to make known the manner
in which she loves to be invoked. For 13 months Fortuna Agrelli,
the daughter of the Commander, had endured dreadful sufferings and
tortuous cramps. She had been given up by the most celebrated physicians.
On February 16, 1884, the afflicted girl and her relatives began
a novena of Rosaries. (A word novena means nine, so for nine days
they prayed the rosary)
Queen of the Holy Rosary favored Fortuna with an apparition on March
3rd. Mary, sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures,
held the divine Child on her lap, and in her hand a Rosary. the
Virgin Mother and the Holy Infant were clad in gold embroidered
garments. They were accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine
looked upon the sufferer with maternal tenderness. The patient saluted
her with the words: “Queen of the Holy Rosary, be gracious
to me; restore me to health.” It was on this occasion that
the Mother of God made known the manner in which she loves to be
invoked, and the title she holds as precious and dear to her: “Queen
of the Holy Rosary.”
Fatima, each time Our Lady appeared in 1917 she said, “Pray
the Rosary every day” She promised to give her name in October
when she would perform a miracle so that all may believe. And when
she performed the miracle of the spinning of the sun - a miracle
foretold months in advance as to the exact hour and day - it was
witnessed by upwards to 100,000 people. Our Lady then gave us her
name. She said, “I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to
say the Rosary every day.”
heavy rains had fallen through the night and the morning until noon,
true sun time. I have met more than one person who was there that
day and hour, and witnessed the rain stopping instantly. The clouds
then rolled back in a manner of seconds. Besides the miracle of
the sun - there was the miracle of complete dryness to everything
when the spinning of the sun and its descent in three phases were
concluded. All took about ten minutes. This miracle was “so
that all may believe” and respond to Our Mother’s request
to pray the Rosary daily and properly. When Lucia remembered to
ask requests that people had asked her to make from Our Lady, the
beautiful Lady from heaven would say “they must first amend
their lives,” or, “It is necessary for those persons
to say the Rosary in order to obtain the graces during the year.”
us review the origin of how the Rosary came about.
The origin of the Rosary is most interesting. From its early days
the Church urged its faithful to recite the 150 psalms of David
from the Bible. This custom still prevails today. Priests and consecrated
religious are obliged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office)
each day which consists in a large measure of the Psalms of David.
former days, before the printing press, it was not easy for anyone
to memorize the 150 Psalms and hand inscribed scrolls of Scripture
were a rarity. The people who could not learn the 150 Psalms by
heart, wanted to do something to make up for it. So they substitued
150 “Hail Mary’s.” They broke up these 150 Hail
Mary’s into 15 decades, or series of ten. Each 10 Hail Mary’s
were said while meditating on different aspects of the life of Our
divine Lord. We call them the mysteries.
keep each decade separate, each series of 10 began with the “Our
Father” and ended with the doxology or the “glory Be”
in praise to the Blessed Trinity. They would meditate on some mystery
of Jesus Christ for the length of time it took to say 10 Hail Mary’s,
transporting little stones or beads from one pocket or hand to the
Dominic, who died in 1221, received from Our Blessed Mother the
command to preach and to popularize the Rosary for the good of souls,
conquest over evil, and the prosperity of Holy Mother Church. Thus
as early as the 13th century, the Rosary was given its present classical
form, bound together by a string or wire. But the roots of the Rosary
is traced to the Bible and practices of the early Christians. Popes
have called it a Gospel prayer. It has been referred to as “an
illustrated prayer book one can read in the dark. “It is called,
“a pocket edition of the New Testament.”
Fatima the Mother of God insisted that the Rosary be prayed properly.
that means - meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary, the principle
events of the life of Jesus Christ, the chief events of our redemption
while praying the Hail Marys. The Rosary properly prayed is centered
on Jesus Christ.
praying the Holy Rosary, the whole man is employed. The Rosary invites
our fingers, our lips, our heart. The body as well as the soul is
employed. Pope Benedict XV said that when we have meditated on the
Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary - we have
meditated on all the chief events of our salvation.
have found that those who find it difficult to meditate on the mysteries
of the Rosary, while praying the Hail Marys, are helped much by
the simple method of forming an image of each mystery in one’s
mind before beginning each decade.
may ask why in the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima the Rosary
played such a prominent part. Is not the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
more important? Is not the Mass and the Sacraments, Our Lord’s
Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity and the need for Confession, most
important for our times?
the fact is - the Mass and the Sacraments are central to the Fatima
message when understood in depth. The message of Fatima begins and
ends with the Holy Eucharist. Back in 1974, I asked the Bishop of
Fatima to summarize for me the message of Fatima. He said, “Fatima
is reparation, reparation, reparation, and especially Eucharistic
reparation.” In asking for First Saturdays - Our Lady asked
that Confession be no less than once a month.
Mass is the perpetuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, the source
of our salvation, the very center of all divine worship, the very
source of grace from which will come the renewal of the world in
as Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mother of the Savior, and the Mediatrix
of all graces, has no more ardent desire than to lead us to a fuller
appreciation of the Mysteries of our Redemption, to a more abundant
participation in the life-giving grace of the Mass and the Sacraments.
Mary attaches so much importance to the proper praying of the Rosary
- the reason can only be - that the Rosary is the most practical
way to bring about the happy results of the fruitful participation
in the Mass and the Sacraments. The Rosary will lead us to the Altar
of Sacrifice, to the Holy Mass and Holy Communion, to a more intimate
union with Jesus and a profound grasp of the spirit of the Church.
Who can meditate on the passion and death of Jesus in the sorrowful
mysteries without the desire for forgiveness in the Sacrament of
Paul VI in his beautiful Marian document, Marialis Cultus, in writing
on the meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary spoke of the meditation
as the Soul of the Rosary. The Body of the Rosary would be composed
of the litany like prayers of the Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Each
decade concludes with giving glory to the Holy Trinity. To attempt
to pray the Rosary only by saying the Hail Marys and the Our Fathers,
Paul VI wrote, would be “like a dead corpse without its soul.”
Those who see the Rosary only as repetitious prayer that is monotonous,
do not know how to pray the Rosary properly. The Bible condemns
not repetitious prayer that is monotonous, do not know how to pray
the Rosary properly. The Bible condemns not repetition in prayer
but “vain “ repetition. “I love you” when
expressed from the heart even repeatedly is never monotonous.
first part of the Hail Mary prayer is from the Bible, thus under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; its second part is composed
by the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. When, the litany like
prayers are enlivened by the Soul of the Rosary - a - power of the
Spirit is released upon souls who pray it and for whom they pray.
Mary, most favorite Daughter of God the Father, Mother of the Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit; is being praised and invoked. the mysteries
of the life of Christ is the Mother of God are giving power and
life to the soul which prayerfully meditates.
things can be obtained by praying the Rosary properly. It is a Gospel
prayer. It is centered on Jesus Christ with whom Mary is inseparable.
The daily devout praying of the Rosary in the proper way - meditating
on its myteries - will bring one to desire intensely the Holy Eucharist.
the daily Rosary into your family if it is not there already. Little
children should not be compelled to join you by kneeling upright.
Let them want to imitate you. Let the little ones crawl over you
- as you pray, run in an out - if they will. In due time they will
want to be part of what you do and what see is important in your
praying with your family or a group state the name of the Mystery
for each decade - and perhaps a sentence or two as to its meaning
- but never separate the prayers of the Rosary from the Joyful,
Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries (now luminous) which lead us to
Jesus Christ. The short meditation will enable them to form an image
of the mystery in their minds as they pray the 10 Hail Marys.
Fatima, at the Church of St. Anthony, Our Lady taught seven year
old Jacinta, the little shepherd girl how to meditate on the mysteries
of the Rosary by showing little Jacinta 15 tableaus - pictures of
the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. Over the main altar
is a painting of Our Lady and Jacinta in this regard. Thus Mary
taught her to form images of the mysteries in her mind as one prays
the Hail Mary’s.
year old Jacinta of Fatima was so impressed with the Immaculate
Heart of Mary, what devotion to her Heart meant and Mary’s
request each time she appeared for people to pray the Rosary every
day - that the little girl influenced her family to take up the
practice of the daily Rosary. Nine year old Francisco of Fatima
did not see the Mother of God when she first appeared May 13, 1917.
Only Jacinta, seven and Lucia, ten years old, saw her too. When
Lucia did, “the beautiful Lady from heaven” replied:
“Tell him to say the Rosary and he will see me.”
immediately took out his Rosary. He had said but five or six Hail
Marys on his beads when Mary appeared to him. Father Messias Coelho,
a scholar on Fatima, interprets this to mean, “All things
can be obtained through praying the Rosary.” When Our Lady
said that Francisco would also go to heaven but first he must say
many rosaries, thereafter the nine year old boy was seen frequently
praying the Rosary.
John Paul II has called the Rosary “my favorite prayer.”
His Holiness says that he prays the Rosary when he had important
decisions to make.
Padre Pio, who said many rosaries each day, was beatified May 2,
1999 Pope John Paul II said: “The new blessed never tired
of teaching the faithful a tender and profound devotion to Our Lady
that was rooted in the Church’s authentic tradition. In the
privacy of the confessional, as in his preaching, he continually
urged the faithful: love Our Lady! At the end of his earthly life,
when the time came to express his last wishes, he turned his thoughts,
as he had done throughout his life, to Blessed Mary: ‘Love
Our Lady’ and help others to love her. Always recite the Rosary”
is power in the Rosary. This power flows from the intercession of
the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God for a soul which is in
union with her, who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Such a soul
thus unites with Jesus through Mary. The human nature of Jesus ,
whose Person is divine, is the Way to the Father. God cannot but
bless abundantly and shower down manifold favors on all who honor
His Mother, while meditating on the mysteries of the life of Jesus.
the Rosary in itself is not Liturgy, those who pray the Rosary properly
will thus be led to a more devout participation in the divine mysteries
of the sacred liturgy. The liturgical year will become ever more
meaningful to them. They have already frequently meditated in union
with Mary - while praying the Rosary - the chief mysteries of our
redemption as celebrated during the Church Year.
Church unfolds for us the events of salvation-history each year.
The divine liturgy of the Church, through the Mass and the Sacraments,
introduces us to Advent, Christmas, Lent with its Solemn Holy Week,
and then the Easter Season, when we celebrate His Resurrection.
Finally there is ordinary time when the life of Jesus and His teachings
and that of the early Church are laid out for us. The devout praying
and meditations of the Rosary thus lead us to a more spiritually
fruitful participation in the divine liturgy with all its power
and presence of the Lord. The Rosary enables us to enter into the
mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ in union with His Mother.
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