Dear Friends and Benefactors, 10/16/19
The power of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has been a topic examined by many Catholics over the last 800 years since the time Our Blessed Mother gave it to Saint Dominic in A.D. 1214. For example, the Dominican priest, Father McKenna, in his book “The Treasures of the Rosary”, written 100 years ago, has given the following wonderful insight on this topic.
“What folly,” cries the skeptic, “to believe that three hundred Israelites under Gideon should defeat the Madianites (innumerable ‘as a multitude of locusts’) by crashing together earthen pitchers and waving lighted lamps!”
“What folly, to claim that the children of Israel caused the downfall of the walls of Jericho by walking around them seven times, and shouting, whilst their priests blew long and loud on the trumpets of the jubilee!”
“How foolish of the boy stripling, David, to dare assail in combat the mighty Goliath with no other weapon than a few pebbles from the brook!”
“Yet the result in all these instances proved that the Chosen People were acting under divine guidance. Shall Protestants, infidels and pagans, then, consider it foolish for Catholics to make use in prayer of a few beads, which we count a certain number of times? It would be well for them to know that in this we are guided by the teachings of our Holy Mother the Church, who on many occasions has approved, through her supreme Pontiffs, the wonderful power and efficacy of this simple devotion. Pope Urban IV, attests that each day the Rosary procures innumerable advantages for Christian people. Pope Sixtus IV said that this manner of prayer is advantageous both to the honor of God and of His Virgin Mother, and is particularly calculated to avert the dangers which menace the world. Pope Leo X declared that the Rosary was instituted against heretics and pernicious heresies. Pope Julius II called the Rosary the glory of the Church. And Pope Saint Pius V (surnamed the Pope of the Rosary) proclaimed that with the spread of that form of prayer the faithful commenced to be ardent in their holy meditations, the darkness of heresy was dissipated, and the light of Catholic Faith shone forth with all its splendor. Pope Gregory XIII assures us that the Rosary was instituted by Saint Dominic (given to him by Our Lady) in order to appease the anger of God and to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Gregory XIV teaches that the Rosary is the destruction of sin and the recovery of grace and glory. Before him, Pope Adrian VI had said that the Rosary is the scourge of the Devil; and Pope Nicholas V cried out with admiration: “The Rosary is the tree of life which raises the dead, heals the diseased, and preserves those who are in health.”
Whence has the Rosary its remarkable power? Is it merely in the strength of a few beads strung together? Ah, no! It is rather in the prayers said on these beads, and in the faith of those who recite these prayers with devotion. Had the Israelites not looked up to the brazen serpent, they would not have been healed; had they not gone around Jericho as commanded, its walls would not have fallen; had Naaman not washed seven times in the Jordan, he would have not been cleansed. It was their faith in the teachings of their spiritual guides that obtained for these children of the Old Law the special favors of Heaven. Now, we reverently ask, why are we (the children of the New Law) required to say fifty beads, believing that great blessings and graces are attached to their recital? It is because the Blessed Virgin Mary has revealed this devotion to us (as Sacred Tradition teaches) through her servant, Saint Dominic; and the faithful, in obeying her, know at the same time that they are obeying Almighty God, since she has ever done His Will and sought His Glory, as His humble handmaid.
Ah, yes, the enlightened Catholic is well aware that the Blessed Mother of God does not institute or inaugurate any religious Order or any practice of devotion which is not in accordance with the Will of her Heavenly Father. Much more clearly does Mary see the Face of God than the Angels behold It; much more perfectly than the greatest Saints and Doctors does she know the Mind of God, as to what will best procure His honor and glory and the salvation of souls for which her Adorable Son died on Calvary.
The ancient Fathers of the Church tells us that Jesus made His Mother the Dispenser of His graces and the Channel of all the good His Mercy is willing to bestow upon us. Mary, on her part, has been pleased to reveal to us the best means of obtaining the treasures committed to her charge; and this she did signally (as Sacred Tradition tells us) when she revealed to Saint Dominic her Holy Rosary.
Besides the ardent desire of the Mother of God to bestow upon men the spiritual treasure committed to her keeping, the Rosary places the most powerful of all prayers on the lips of the faithful. The first of these is the “Lord’s Prayer” given us by the Son of God Himself, Who not only instructed us to ask and we should receive, but in this divine prayer places upon our lips the very words that we should employ in our petitions. Now, the Son of God cannot refuse what He has thus solemnly promised to His children. The second prayer of the Rosary, and the one so often repeated, is equally divine, for its salutation was first spoken by an Archangel, deputed as Heaven’s ambassador by the Almighty Himself. It is a wonderful prayer for many reasons – it touches the Immaculate Heart of our Heavenly Mother by recalling to her the highest dignity that God could confer upon a creature. In the first part of the “Hail Mary,” we see the holy Virgin selected from among all women, in being declared full of grace and blessed above all the daughters of Eve. But later on, we hear her congratulated by the mother of the Baptist on that sublime and solitary prerogative – that wondrous privilege than which God has nothing higher to grant. Here, we are allowed to remind Mary that she was elevated almost infinitely above all, and for what purpose? To give poor sinners a Redeemer; to be the nursing Mother of the Lord of Heaven and earth. Again and again we remind Our Lady that she is great for our sake; and, therefore, that we have a special right to ask her aid and assistance before God, and the bestowal of those graces entrusted to her by her Adorable Son. Truly, then, the Rosary must be of powerful efficacy with God and His Blessed Mother, seeing that it is composed of these sublime prayers, which if recited with sincere faith and piety, cannot possibly be rejected by Heaven.
We need not be surprised that the great saints of the Church from the time of Saint Dominic were so devoted to this form of prayer. Saint Louis, King of France, day by day, no matter how occupied or absorbed by his royal duties, always managed to pray his Rosary. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, prayed the Rosary daily. He kept his Rosary beads upon his arm so that he might not forget the sacred mysteries, and that upon his awaking each morning he might give them his first thought. In the midst of his great labors, Saint Francis Xavier recited his Rosary before taking his repast. When it happened that he was not able to pray it during the day, he said it at night. Desiring to inspire all with this devotion, he not only preached it, but carried his Rosary around his neck, and used it to perform some of his stupendous miracles. Saint Francis de Sales made a vow to pray his Rosary every day, and this he prayed with so much devotion that he spent one hour in meditating on the fifteen mysteries. Saint Vincent de Paul constantly carried his Rosary on his cincture, both to be able to pray it frequently, and as a mark of his love for the Queen of Heaven. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, from the fourth year of her age, recited the entire Rosary each day, kissing the ground at each Ave Maria (Hail Mary). It is believed that it was this fervent invocation of our Blessed Mother that obtained later from her Son the sublime revelation of His Most Sacred Heart to that devoted religious. Saint Charles Borromeo called the Rosary – the most divine of all devotions. In a pastoral letter, he recommended to all in his diocese the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary.
Besides the above testimony to the power of the Rosary, we may rest assured that it is this devotion especially that merits the presence of Our Lord. Since Christ once declared that “When two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them,” (Saint Matthew 18:20), it is very consoling to reflect that the Rosary, in a particular manner, gathers together the members of a Christian family, and, with Jesus in their midst, unites them heart and soul in pouring forth their supplications to the Throne of Heaven. Moreover, we recall Father Patrick Peyton’s famous words, “The family that prays together, stays together.”
Last, but not least, the faithful, fervent and frequent praying of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary by her devoted Catholic children will be very instrumental in bringing about the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, in which Our Lady shall crush the head of the serpent, Satan, the ancient enemy, and destroy all heresies in the world, especially those accumulating heresies painfully afflicting Holy Mother Church since the time of Vatican II. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
AVE MARIA !
Father Joseph Poisson
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