Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Wednesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14; Psalm 117:1-2;
Pope Saint Pius V established this feast in 1573 to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto. He attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe. In 1716, Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church.
The development of the rosary has a long history. First a practice developed of praying one hundred-fifty Our Fathers in imitation of the one hundred-fifty Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying one hundred-fifty Hail Marys. Soon after, a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary’s giving the rosary to Saint Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of Saint Dominic. One of his followers, Alan de la Roche, was known as “the apostle of the rosary.” He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the fifteenth century and the rosary was developed to its present form—with the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light or Luminous Mysteries to this devotion.
The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the Gospel. The main focus is on Jesus— His birth, life, death, and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus’ Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of His earthly and heavenly existence. The Glory Be’s remind us that the purpose of all life is the Glory of the Holy Trinity.
The Holy Rosary appeals to countless millions who are faithful to this great devotional prayer. It is simple and the constant repletion of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of our own lives. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the Glory of Jesus and Mary now and forever.
Question of the Day: Will you add the Holy Rosary to your daily prayer life and urge others to do the same?
Prayer: Lord God, fill us with Your grace. We know the Incarnation of Your Son by the message of an Angel. Through the intercession of Mary may we obtain the gory of resurrection through Christ’s Passion and Cross. Amen.