Sunday, October 4, 2009
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Today we have the privilege of offering the Mass of Our Lady of Rosary, as an External Solemnity in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The Lady of the Rosary is a very important historical and religious figure: throughout history, the praying of the Holy Rosary has brought about conversions, reversals of historical situations (such as Lepanto where the Muslims were attempting to invade Christendom and even today in the Philippines where a massive Rosary rally with millions in the streets reversed a violent situation).
After Holy Mass in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, we prayed the Litany of Loreto (in Latin), prayed to our Lady of the Rosary, blessed roses that were distributed to the faithful, and ended with the "Salve Regina".
Here are excerpts from today's homily.
Today we celebrate the External Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is kept on October 7th. October is traditionally the "Month of the Rosary", where special devotions such as we will have today after Mass are prayed in the family, by individuals, prayer groups, and parishes. Although May is "Mary's Month", October is a particular time to renew our devotion to the Holy Rosary, even if we pray it daily throughout the year.
The prayers that compose the Rosary come from Sacred Scripture: the 'Our Father', the 'Hail Mary', and the 'Glory be' (which although not explicitly from Sacred Scripture, is implicitly derived from it). The 'Apostles' Creed' is the ancient formula of our Faith; the Fatima Prayer, "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins..." is in its essence, a prayer that synthesizes the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ to save sinners and to share this mission with us in our prayers and penances.
The mysteries of the Rosary take us from the Annunciation to the Coronation of Our Lady, making the events our our Lord's life the subject of our meditation as we pray the vocal prayers; Pope John Paul II called this "the School of Mary"--by holding the beads in our hands, praying the words of the prayers with our lips, and with mind and heart 'contemplating' upon the mysteries of our salvation, we are formed interior in the image of the Son by the care of the Mother.
This particular day was instituted by Pope Saint Pius V to thank God for the victory of the Christian forces who prevented a Muslim invasion at Lepanto--a victory attributed to the people praying the Rosary. Other historic events since that time have been effected by the praying of the Rosary by the multitudes...
Padre Pio often called the Rosary "his weapon". He prayed countless Rosaries throughout the day. He was rarely seen without a rosary in his hands.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta prayed many rosaries each day, especially as she walked through the slums, or travelled throughout the world. Her sisters continue to do this, praying countless rosaries as they travel and do the work of the Lord.
The Rosary is a weapon in our spiritual battle. The prayers from our Lord, the 'Angelic Salutation'(the Hail Mary), the Church's Sacred Tradition are sacramentals and can bring grace to the one who prays in faith. The blessed rosary beads have the prayer of the Church and when used in faith and prayer can be the means of gaining a plenary indulgence. The Mysteries of our Salvation bring the soul into contact with the saving mercy of the Lord and teach the essence of our Catholic Faith.
We need the Rosary more now, than ever. Just in the last week, there was an 'International Day of Blasphemy' when people were encouraged to mock, deride, or curse God. The Holy Father has been viciously attacked in the media in Great Britain for his planned visit there. While many graces have been given and the witness of faith is tremendous, the pilgrimage throughout England of the relics of Saint Therese has been ridiculed and even condemned in the media there. And those are just three examples of the evil, unbelief, blasphemy, hatred of God, His Church, His Vicar.
Our Lady of Fatima, the Lady of the Rosary, asked the shepherd children to pray for the conversion of sinners, especially those who had no one to pray for them. This is a great act of charity and mercy: to pray the Rosary for "those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love" the Lord. We can call down God's blessing upon our homes, our families, our communities by the devout praying of the Rosary. Next to Holy Mass, the Sacraments, and the Divine Office, the Rosary is truly one of the most efficacious prayers and means of growth in holiness.
The Rosary, prayed devoutly and sincerely, leads us to a greater participation in the Holy Mass. True devotion to Our Lady, according to the teaching of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, always leads us to Her Son. May the graces of this day fill us with a renewed love for Mary's Rosary and a greater appreciation for this most sublime Sacrifice.