FEAST OF THE HOLY ROSARY
Jonah, Chapter 1, verse 9-10:
9 “I am a Hebrew,” he replied; “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10Now the men were seized with great fear and said to him, “How could you do such a thing!”—They knew that he was fleeing from the LORD, because he had told them.
Jonah as wise as he was tried to flee the Lord, are we any wiser. We often choose the wrong path. Jonah was motivated but not by love. He wanted justice and not mercy for Nineveh. Pope Francis in a dispute recently stated that mercy is greater than justice when confronted with the sins of mankind and the churches stance. Our Lord desires to give us his mercy and we should seek it and give it as often as possible.
In the night and the day that followed the Last Supper, Jesus was betrayed by one of his own. He was delivered over to the authorities in such humiliating powerlessness that even those who thought they loved him fled. He who came to reveal to us the God who is Love, fell into the hands of loveless men. Then, before the eyes of John, the only apostle who was present at the Lord’s execution, and his mother Mary, he died an appalling death. Here at the center of the mystery of our redemption, the full measure of the “marvelous exchange” begins to be unveiled. The Son of God not only became the Son of Man, fulfilling beyond expectation the great hope contained in the psalms and the prophets. Jesus came to be the purifying flame of Love in our midst, unsettling a world that had become comfortable in its estrangement from God. He came to pour his Spirit on us and reconcile us to the Father. When St. Paul tells us that the Son of God “emptied himself”, he does not mention only Jesus’ birth. When the Son of God took on our humanity, his “exchange” with us goes all the way to the end: “Being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. Elsewhere, St. Paul points to the same unfathomable mystery of solidarity with sinners that John the Baptist had glimpsed at the Jordan: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. When we gaze with Mary and John on Christ, who “died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”, we come face to face with all the consequences of the Incarnation. In joining himself to his creation, the Son of God took on all our fate. He took on even the thirst of a world suffering its self-inflicted estrangement from God. Even death. For centuries, the faithful people of Israel thirsted for God like the dry earth. They prayed, “My throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God”. All of humanity thirsted, for by sinning, we had rejected the source of our life. We had defended ourselves against the God who is Love. Yet our suffering in “this time of God’s absence” was as nothing before the terrible cry Mary and John heard at the foot of the cross. “Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), ‘I thirst!’. The tortured, dying man thirsted for water – but also for love. He thirsted for our love, for he had come to espouse mankind to himself. And although he was “true God from true God … consubstantial with the Father,” he thirsted even for God. John could not have imagined such a use – or fulfillment – of the words of the psalms as when the Son of God cried out his thirst to his Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When John heard this, he somehow understood. Those words were written for this day. They were prayed through the centuries so that Jesus might sum up all human thirst for God, all suffering and forsakenness, in himself. These words were handed down from generation to generation so that when the Son used them to express his own thirst, suffering, and forsakenness to his Father, our words would become divine words of unbreakable, unsurpassable love. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” Jesus cried. Finally, “he bowed his head” and handed over the Spirit that bound Father and Son. He made even his death a revelation of the unbreakable communion of Love that is God. When a Roman centurion pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, John, Mary, and the centurion himself saw blood and water – a sign of Christ’s divinity and humanity – gush forth over the parched earth. The covenant was established. It would never be broken. The divine bridegroom had truly loved us “to the end”. Even the centurion, an unbeliever who knew neither the psalms nor the prophets, recognized this radiant humility and saw the glory of this love: “When the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God!’”
Feast of the Holy Rosary
This feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by Pope Clement XI; in perpetual commemoration of a celebrated feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by him due to the double victory gained by the Christians at Lepanto, in 1571, under Pope St. Pius V., and at Belgrade, under Pope Clement XI., through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who had been invoked by saying the Holy Rosary. It is at the same time the principal feast of the Arch-confraternity of the Holy Rosary. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII., ordered the Rosary to be recited every day during the month of October in every parish church and cathedral throughout the world, and those of the faithful who cannot be present at this recital he exhorted to say it with their families or in private. The Holy Rosary is a form of prayer in which there is first said the Apostles Creed, and then fifteen decades, each one of which consists of ten Hail Mary’s. Each decade has one Our Father to be said before it and is followed by a meditation upon one mystery of our redemption. It is called the Rosary, or Wreath of Roses, because the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries, aptly symbolized by the leaves, the thorns, the flower, of which the rose consists with the prayers and praises that are blended together compose, as it were, a wreath or crown. It is also called the Psalter, because it contains a hundred and fifty Hail Mary’s, as the Psalter of David contains a hundred and fifty psalms, and because it is used in place of the singing of psalms, as practiced in former times. There are three parts in the Rosary the joyful, the sorrowful, the glorious. The joyful part consists of the five first decades, to which are attached five mysteries of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, through which, full of joy, we speak to Mary of Him: 1. Whom she conceived while a virgin. 2. Whom she bore to Elizabeth. 3. Whom she brought forth while a virgin. 4. Whom she offered to God in the temple. 5. Whom she found Him in the temple. (This is said particularly in Advent.) The sorrowful part, in like manner, contains five decades, in connection with which there are presented for our meditation five mysteries of the passion and death of Jesus: 1. Who for us sweat blood. 2. Who for us was scourged. 3. Who for us was crowned with thorns. 4. Who for us bore the heavy cross. 5. Who for us was crucified. (This is said particularly in Lent.) The glorious part, consisting of the last five decades, reminds us of the glory of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin by five mysteries in which we commemorate Him: 1. Who rose from the dead. 2. Who ascended into heaven. 3. Who sent to us the Holy Ghost. 4. Who received thee, O Virgin, into heaven. 5. Who crowned thee, O Virgin, in heaven. (This part is said particularly at Eastertide.)
How was this prayer introduced into the Church? St. Dominic had for many years preached against the errors of the Albigenses and other heretics, with such zeal and profound ability that they were often convinced. But nevertheless, the results were unimportant; but few returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church. In this discouraging state of things St. Dominic redoubled his prayers and works of penance, and in particular besought Mary for support and assistance. One day Mary appeared to him and taught him the Rosary. He zealously labored to introduce everywhere this manner of prayer, and from that time preached with such success that in a short period more than one hundred thousand heretics and sinners were converted. The divine origin of the Rosary is testified to by the bull of Gregory XIII of the year 1577.
Is the Rosary a profitable method of prayer? Yes; for by bringing before the eyes of the spirit the fundamental mysteries of Christianity it supplies us with the strongest motives to love God, to hate sin, to subdue the passions, to condemn the world and its vanity, and to strive after Christian perfection, in order that we may gain those happy mansions which Jesus prepares for us. The Rosary, besides, brings before us living examples Jesus and Mary whom we must follow, and encourages us to good works by pointing to the all-powerful grace procured for us by Jesus, and the all-prevailing intercession of the gracious Mother of God. Let us not be ashamed to carry the beads with us, for otherwise we might be ashamed of being Catholics; let us say the Rosary often every evening as was the custom with Catholics in former times, and we shall find that, as in St. Dominic’s day it was a wholesome check to error, so too in our times it will be, if said aright, a powerful weapon against heresy and unbelief, and will increase faith, piety, and virtue.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”– John 11:25-26
Our Lady of the Rosary
Pope Benedict XVI invites all families to pray the Rosary for the intentions of the Pope, the mission of the Church and peace. "It is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound." The Rosary, a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of Sacred Scripture," is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary," said the Pontiff.
Things to Do
· Pray the Rosary, or 5 decades of the Rosary tonight with your family. Continue this practice through October, the month that is especially dedicated to the Rosary.
· Learn the Luminous Mysteries. For families with younger children, it helps to have visual aids for the mysteries. Have a picture to flip at the beginning of each decade for the family Rosary. See the Activities Bar for ideas.
· Learn about the great victory of Our Lady at the Battle of Lepanto. You can also read more about Pope St. Pius V, who instituted the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
· Read Cardinal Angelo Sodano's homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.
· "The Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God." Read the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy on the Rosary, particularly encouraging the practices of:
1. [T]he recitation of the Rosary could be made more solemn in tone "by introducing those Scriptural passages corresponding with the various mysteries, some parts could be sung, roles could be distributed, and by solemnly opening and closing of prayer."
2. The custom of making an insertion in the recitation of the Hail Mary, which is an ancient one that has not completely disappeared, has often been recommended by the Pastors of the Church since it encourages meditation and the concurrence of mind and lips.
Insertions of this nature would appear particularly suitable for the repetitive and meditative character of the Rosary. It takes the form of a relative clause following the name of Jesus and refers to the mystery being contemplated. The meditation of the Rosary can be helped by the choice of a short clause of a Scriptural and Liturgical nature, fixed for every decade.
· Foods for this feast: Since the origin of this feast came from the Christian fleet defeating the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1570 through the intercession of Mary through the Rosary, why not make a cake in the shape of a ship? See the top bar for a cut-out cake, or make moderations to this Ship Cake. Read more about the Battle of Lepanto for ideas.
· St. Pius V was a very holy Dominican, who wore his scratchy habit underneath his papal robes, and walked around Rome barefoot. He ate just to sustain himself, and fasted frequently. We should use his example and remember to fast and pray the Rosary for the conversion of Islam.
Ask for the Prayers and assistance of the Angels
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.