The Most Holy Rosary
The Holy Rosary
We say, “HAIL, MARY, full of grace,” to Our Blessed Lady in fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary: five Joyful, five Sorrowful and five Glorious. The five Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary are concerned with Jesus as a Child. The Joyful Mysteries are the Annunciation, when Mary conceived Him; the Visita- tion, when she carried Him in her womb to visit her cousin, Elizabeth; the Nativity, when Jesus was born of her in a stable at Bethlehem for the salvation of the world; the Presentation, forty days after the birth of Jesus, when God Incarnate entered the Temple for the first time and was offered there to His Eternal Father; and the Finding in the Temple, when Jesus, at the age of twelve, lost for three days, was found by Joseph and Mary, teaching the intellectuals of His day that God’s revelations to man are perfectly given and perfectly received when taught and listened to in the manner of a child.
We say, “Hail, Mary, full of grace,” to Our Blessed Lady in the five Sorrowful Mysteries. The Sorrowful Mysteries are concerned entirely with Jesus grown to manhood. They are remembrances of what Mary suffered on the three days of the Passion and Death of Jesus. The five Sorrowful Mysteries are the Agony in the Garden, when Jesus sweated blood in abundance because of our sins; the Scourging at the Pillar, when blood was taken from His sacred body by cruel lashings and abuses on the part of His enemies; the Crowning with Thorns, when His royal and Divine head was ignominiously dishonored; the Carrying of the Cross, during which He fell three times, bleeding and exhausted; and the Crucifixion on Mount Calvary, when He was nailed to a cross between two thieves and gave up all His blood and His life for us and the remission of our sins.
We say, “Hail, Mary, full of grace,” to Our Blessed Lady in the five Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. The Glorious Mysteries are con- cerned, two of them, with the triumph of Jesus: in the Resurrection of His body from the grave, and in His Ascension in soul and body into Heaven. The middle Glorious Mystery is the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles at the first Pentecost – with Mary, Queen of Apostles, seated in their midst, showing us that all messages of God to man are henceforth to come to us under her protection and through her guiding inspiration. The last two Glorious Mysteries are the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, and her Coronation there as Queen and Mistress of all God ever created.
As presented to loving children of Mary to say, the Holy Rosary is given to us in the form of a “chaplet.” A chaplet consists of five decades. A decade is a group of ten Hail Marys preceded by one Our Father. Each decade is devoted to one of the five subjects in the three sets of the Rosary’s mysteries.
The Holy Rosary in full recitation consists of fifteen Our Fathers and one hundred and fifty Hail Marys. This number of Hail Marys is called “the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin.” This is because the Royal Psalter of David in the Old Testament contains one hundred and fifty psalms; nothing King David ever sang or said, by way of supplication or of praise, ever equaled in majesty or in dignity the phrases of the simple and much-repeated prayer of the Holy Rosary, which we call the Hail Mary.
The Holy Rosary, as ordinarily said, is a recitation of five prayers: the Sign of the Cross, the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, known as the Doxology.
By way of approach to the recitation of the five decades of the Ro- sary, one says an introductory Our Father and three Hail Marys and the Glory be to the Father. This is in honor of the Three Persons in God, and also in honor of the trinity of elections in Mary, who is at once the perfect Daughter of God the Father, the perfect Mother of God the Son, and the perfect Spouse of God the Holy Ghost.
The Sign of the Cross
The Sign of the Cross, in which we say, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen,” is made twice in the recitation of the Rosary, at the very beginning and at the very end. There is no more immediate profession of Faith than the Sign of the Cross. While saying our beads, we hold a small crucifix in our hand as we make the Sign of the Cross. It is the small crucifix attached to the Rosary. We place it first on our foreheads, then our breasts, then on our shoulders. We end by kissing with our mouth the image of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
There are, in best tradition, four nails in Jesus’ hands and feet repre- sented on the Cross, one in each hand and one in each foot. There are also four letters placed in title above His head. These letters are I N R I. They are the first letters of each word in the Latin inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, which means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” This title was placed above Our Lord’s head on the Cross when He died. Orders to have it put there were given by the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, despite the protests of the Jews. It was written in three languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. This title has a feast all for it- self, which may be celebrated on the third Sunday of July. This title commemorates the fact that Jesus “came unto His own and His own received Him not.” (John 1:11)
The Apostles’ Creed is recited once in the Rosary, at the beginning, after the Sign of the Cross. The Our Father is recited five times, and the Hail Marys fifty times. In a full Rosary – embracing all its mysteries – there are, as we have already said, fifteen Our Fathers and one hundred and fifty Hail Marys. All this is not counting the one Our Father and the three Hail Marys said by way of approach to the recitation of each chaplet, or of all three chaplets said at once.
Why is there such an abundance of Hail Marys in the Rosary? It is because the mysteries contemplated therein are all Mary’s. The Holy Rosary is a Mary-approach to God in eternity.
Twelve of the Mysteries of the Rosary refer to Our Lord; but it is to Our Lord as thought of in union with Mary, and meditated on in Mary’s mind, and loved by Mary’s Immaculate Heart. One of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary is a contemplation of God the Holy Ghost, not as He is in repose in the Godhead, but as He descends in the form of tongues of fire on Mary, Queen of Apostles, and on all her subjects on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, and ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven, at the very end of the first great novena.
Two of the mysteries of the Rosary are dedicated to Mary herself, both in thought and in theme; first in her glorious Assumption into Heaven, three days after her death, when she was seventy-two years old, in the year 58 A.D.; and then in her Coronation in Heaven as Queen of all God ever did, or could, create.
The Holy Rosary is not merely a prayer of our minds. It is a prayer of our hearts, our mouths, and our hands. We move, in the Holy Rosary, into a realization of the mysteries God has revealed to us in a way no angel ever could. We speak as we pray; we love as we meditate; we bow our heads as we adore; we move our fingers as we advance into the most central mysteries of our Faith.
A remembrance of the Rosary is constantly kept by the pair of beads we hold in our hand, kiss lovingly, and reverently fold when we have finished our prayer, and put in our pockets or some other guarded and intimate place for protection when we have finished the love-duty of saying the Rosary as often as we can.
The Rosary is a Catholic’s identification mark. Once the Rosary beads are seen held in our hands or heard rustling in our pockets, no further questions are ever asked by anyone as to what is our Faith.
The Holy Rosary suggests times for itself when we can recite it best. This would be beautifully as we are going to sleep at night, or waking from sleep in the morning, making its mysteries our last, or our first, thoughts of the day. The Holy Rosary even lures us to a place in which we can say it with supreme reverence. This is in a church or chapel, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. There we may join the beating of our hearts, the moving of our fingers, the utterance of our lips, to the bowing of our heads, to the bending of our knees in sheer incarnational adoration of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, really and truly present in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.
The overture prayer in the saying of the Holy Rosary is the Apostles’ Creed. This prayer was added to the recitation of the Rosary by the faith- ful devotees of Our Lady. Though recited now while holding the Cross, it has no bead for itself, nor has the Glory be to the Father, at the end of each decade since devotion also added this terminal invocation, as the saying of the Rosary went on through the centuries.
The Apostles’ Creed, though used in all parts of the prayer of the Church, is now most singularly the creed of the most Holy Rosary. It is called the Apostles’ Creed because the twelve apostles composed it on the day of Pentecost. It was then they recited it for the first time, and handed it on to us by way of tradition. Each Apostle contributed one of the articles expressed in this sublime profession of Faith.
When the Apostles composed their creed, the Holy Ghost had just descended upon them, with Mary, their Queen, seated in their midst. The list of the Apostles and the order in which they composed the Apostles’ Creed is that given us in Acts 1:13. Matthias is added to the list of the Apostles in place of Judas, the traitor.
The Apostles’ Creed is an oral prayer. The Council of Trent has clearly taught us that it is not enough to believe in the Catholic Faith in order to be saved. We must make a profession of that Faith. There are twelve articles contained in the Apostles’ Creed. Every one of these articles one must believe and profess.
Arranging the twelve articles in the Apostles’ Creed as the Council of Trent has done, and assigning each one of these articles to an Apostle for authorship and protection, we recite it as follows:
We say with Saint Peter, the head of the Apostles: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth.
We say with Saint John, the Beloved Disciple: And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord.
We say with Saint James, the brother of Saint John, and the first Apostle to be martyred: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.
With Saint Andrew, the brother of Saint Peter, we say: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
We join Saint Philip, the Apostle, in professing our faith that: He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead.
With Saint Thomas, who first doubted Our Lord’s Resurrection, and then believe in it, declaring, “My Lord and my God!” we say: He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
We join Saint Bartholomew, whose name is also Nathaniel, “an Israelite without guile,” in saying: From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
With Saint Matthew, the author of the first Gospel, we profess this dogma of the Faith: I believe in the Holy Ghost.
Our voices join that of Saint James the Less, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, thrown from the Temple and clubbed to death in the streets, saying: The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints.
It is with Saint Simon, called “the Cananaean” because of his patriotism, and “the Zealot” because of his enthusiasm for the law of God, that we say in the Apostles’ Creed: The forgiveness of sins.
It is our privilege to join Saint Jude – also called Thaddeus, which means “bighearted” – in saying, in the greatest of all Creeds: The resurrection of the body.
And Saint Matthias, the Apostle chosen in place of Judas, is hon- ored to have us say with him in the last article of the Apostles’ Creed: And life everlasting.
This great testament of belief, the Apostles’ Creed, bequeathed to us by the chosen Twelve of Our Lord, and constantly uttered ever since by all true Christians, is now the opening prayer of every Rosary. One sees immediately what dignity, grandeur, and dogmatic depths are given to the Rosary because of this initial prayer. We will now write it with all its phrases and articles and Apostles united.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth (Peter); and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord (John); Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary (James); suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried (An- drew). He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead (Phillip); He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty (Thomas); from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead (Bartholomew). I believe in the Holy Ghost (Mat- thew), the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints (James), the forgiveness of sins (Simon), the resurrection of the body (Jude), and life everlasting (Matthias). Amen.
The Our Father
The initial or lead prayer to each decade of the Rosary, as well as the approach prayer along with three Hail Marys in the saying of the chaplet, is the great and beautiful Our Father. This prayer was given to us on the Mount of the Beatitudes by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Eternal and only-begotten Son of God the Father, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is found fully revealed and written in the New Testament in the sixth chapter of the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew. This prayer is the summit invocation of God in the Sermon on the Mount.
It was Jesus Who gave us the right to call God “Our Father.” This title we did not possess until Jesus came. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God the Father in the Blessed Trinity. He came to earth to make us, in the fullest sense, the adopted sons of this same Eternal Father.
The Our Father is a pledge to us in very truth that those entitled to say it have been divinized, when they can speak to the First Person of the Blessed Trinity in the same terms as does His only-begotten Son. A dignity higher than this could never be reached in prayer. The very structure of this exquisite supplication teaches us how to say it.
The Our Father (known in Latin as the Pater Noster–which all Catholics hear audibly recited in the Holy Mass) should never be spoken except with majestic reverence, rapt attention, profound humility and perfect confidence.
The Our Father, properly and repeatedly said, could, all by itself, make one a saint. It is God teaching us how to talk to God, once the graces of re- demption and salvation have been bestowed on us by the Incarnate Word.
Before the coming of Jesus, it was not customary for men to refer to God as Our Father. One would call God: Our Creator, Master, Ruler, and Judge, but rarely would one dare to approach Him with the intimacy of a son speaking to his parent. But by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, given to us through His Incarnation, His sufferings and His death, and bestowed on us officially and liturgically in the Sacra- ment of Baptism – which makes us participators in the Divine Nature and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven – we are henceforth entitled to join hands with Jesus in prayer, and to direct a greeting to God Almighty in the First Person of the Blessed Trinity by way of addressing Him as Our Father, Who art in Heaven, to let Him see that we know we are as much His by adoption as Jesus is His by nature.
The second beautiful phrase in the Our Father is: “Hallowed be Thy name.” Saint Ambrose and Saint John Chrysostom both tell us that this means our sanctification in Baptism. It give us the name Father to say to God in complete truth, holiness, and intensity.
There are seven petitions in the Our Father. Each one of them could be applied in some delightful way to the effects of one of the Seven Sacraments. The standout fruits of the petitions we make to God in the Our Father are indicated in the two great Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.
“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” means we have become sons of the Eternal Father by the waters of Baptism. This is the first and most fundamental Sacrament of the Catholic Church, and without it no other Sacrament can be validly received.
“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” are beautiful corollaries to show how ardently we believe in our divine adoption by the Sacrament of Water.
“Give us this day our daily bread,” is the great central petition of the Our Father. Saint Matthew, in the sixth chapter of his Gospel, where he is relating the Sermon on the Mount and where the prayer known as the Our Father is found, uses the word supersubstantial instead of daily for the bread we petition. This immediately lets us know that the bread we are asking for in the Our Father is the Blessed Eucharist. Saint Ambrose tells us that we should live so as to be made worthy to receive Holy Communion every day. Saint Ambrose insists that the petition we are constantly making to God in the Our Father is for the Blessed Eucharist.
Our Holy Mother the Church, to let us know how completely the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” in the Our Father refers to the Blessed Eucharist, puts in the Canon of the Mass, midway between the Consecration and the Communion, the most sublime recitation of the Our Father ever uttered. In a High Mass, the priest sings this Our Father. This is to teach us that it is the supreme request we make to Almighty God.
In the recitation of the Pater Noster in the Mass, when the priest is saying or singing “Give us this day our daily bread” (Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie) he is required to have his eyes fixed on the consecrated Host that lies on the altar before him. If the “law of praying is the law of believing” (lex orandi est lex credendi), and we know that it is, then once and for all we must realize that the Our Father is, in its great petition, its great request, its great beseeching of God, a plea for the gift of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar which every good Catho- lic should receive every day.
Reciters of the Rosary who do not go to Holy Communion every morning fail to use the petitional prayer power of the Our Father in the Rosary at the height of its intensity.
There are six large engraved beads, beautifully and humanly carved to make our fingers join our minds, mouths, and hearts at prayer, in every chaplet of the Rosary, to indicate the place for the saying of the Our Father.
The Rosary beads are the chains that bind us to Christ. The Rosary keeps us close to the altar of sacrifice, where Jesus offers His flesh and blood as our food, and as the fruit of our petitions.
The last three petitions of the Our Father are requests of simple in- nocence and confidence. We ask God the Father, Who agrees to give us life by Baptism and to keep us alive by the Holy Eucharist, to “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We ask forgiveness from God for our sins and defects in the simple manner in which forgiveness is obtained from man; that is, by merely asking for it and expressing one’s sorrow.
In the Our Father, we ask the First Person of the Blessed Trinity to “lead us not into temptation.” We want Him never to let us be exposed to any influence by way of environment, friendship, companionship, reading, or alliance that would make us forget the one, true Faith where alone our Father, in all His paternal providence, is found.
We then finally ask our Father in Heaven to “deliver us from evil.” This means from the evils of this world, its seductions, its false reli- gions and heresies, and from the host of unbelievers in the midst of whom we live. It also means from the evils of the next world, from the powers of darkness, the devils and fallen angels who hate the sanctifica- tion of a human being by God Incarnate.
We will now write the Our Father with its seven petitions enumer- ated. Seven is a most sacred number to God. There were seven days of creation, on the last of which God rested. There are seven angels who stand before the throne of God. There are seven sorrows of Our Lady. Mary spoke seven times in the Bible. Jesus spoke seven times hanging on the Cross. Here is the Our Father with its seven beautiful petitions:
- Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name
- Thy Kingdom come
- Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
- Give us this day our daily bread
- And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
- And lead us not into temptation
- But deliver us from evil, Amen
The Hail Mary
The basic, constant, and most repeated prayer in the Holy Rosary is, of course, the Hail Mary. It is said ten times in every decade. There are five decades in a small Rosary and fifteen in a full one. This incessant repetition of the Hail Mary (known in Latin as the Ave Maria) lets us know, and tells God how much we know, what is its value as we utter it in time and send it soaring to eternity.
The Hail Mary has three parts. Two of them were inspired by God. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women,” is what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary at the Annunciation, on March 25, as revealed to us in the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 1:28. “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” is the greeting given to Mary by her cousin, Elizabeth, at the time of the Visitation. (Luke 1:42)
Saint Luke, the third Evangelist, was inspired by God to write both these greetings, offered now to God’s Mother in the Hail Mary. An angel greets Mary in the first salutation. A woman greets her in the second.
The rest of the Hail Mary, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,” was given to us by the Catholic Church, at the Council of Ephesus, in the year 431, when a sinful, wicked, and heretical Catholic bishop and patriarch named Nestorius, was endeavoring to deny the Divinity of Mary’s Child. Through Catholic love and reverence there was added to this final petition the phrase, “now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Our Holy Mother the Church has also inserted the names Mary and Jesus into the Angelical Salutation. So, for reasons of clarity, courtesy and affection, we do not say to Our Lady merely, “Hail, full of grace;” we say to her, “Hail, Mary, full of grace,” so we will not fail to remember, and our Guardian Angel will not fail to see, to whom we are talking.
Also, we do not say alone, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” as Elizabeth did when she saw Our Lady standing in her doorway. We say, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus,” so that no one on earth or in Heaven can fail to know of Whom we are speaking when we pray.
We see at once that the Hail Mary, as our Holy Mother the Church has taught us to say it, is the most beautiful protection for the Holy Name of Jesus in prayer that could ever be conceived. In the Hail Mary, the Holy Name of Jesus is guarded by the Holy Name of Mary spoken before and after it. It is as though we took the Divine Child and put Him back in His Mother’s arms, as born in the stable, as lost in the Temple, as dead on the Cross.
Millions of devout Catholic men, women, and children, in churches, homes, and places of prayer are saying the Holy Name of Jesus, pro- tected by the Holy Name of Mary, every hour of the day.
The Holy Name of Jesus is said sixteen or more times in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and is uttered devoutly three times in the Divine Praises by priests and by laity at the end of each Low Mass. This shows us how much constant and childlike repetition of the Holy Name con- stitutes reverence for it in devotion and in prayer. In the twenty-seven books of the New Testament of the Bible, the Holy Name of Jesus is written 968 times. This Holy Name, even in print, is sacrosanct. It is a blessing on anyone who looks on it reverently, or kisses it.
In the early days of Christianity, when life as a Catholic meant a continual persecution and an imminent martyrdom, Christians used to write the Holy Name of Jesus in a monogram, on the walls of catacombs and other hiding places where they prayed, and where their priests said Mass. The secret abbreviation of the Holy Name of Jesus is I H S. These are the first three letters of its spelling in the Greek language, the language in which all of the New Testament was inspired. Matthew’s Gospel was first written in Aramaic and then writ- ten in Greek. All the other books of the New Testament were written in Greek.
I H S O U S is the way the Holy Name of Jesus looks when written fully in Greek. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter, and Jude are the eight authors of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.
Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was martyred outside the walls of Rome, in the year sixty-seven. His severed head was heard distinctly to utter the Holy Name of Jesus three times as it fell and bounced, bleeding to the ground.
The Holy Rosary is an incessant repetition of the Hail Mary. It thereby puts the Name of Mary and the Name of Jesus together in that constant reiteration that always goes with love.
The Holy Name of Jesus has a feast day all for itself. This is on the Sunday between the feast of the Circumcision, on January first, and the feast of the Epiphany, on January 6. If there be no Sunday in this interval, the feast of the Holy Name is on January 2.
The Holy Name of Mary has a feast day all for itself, too. She was given the name Mary on September 15, but the feast of the Holy Name of Mary is celebrated on September 12, four days after Our Lady’s birthday, thereby leaving September 15 for the feast of her Seven Sorrows.
The Glory Be to the Father
The “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen,” is said at the end of each decade of the Rosary. This is to remind us how constantly we are touching eternity as we pray and are reaching the Blessed Trinity through the intercession of Mary.
The Hail, Holy Queen
Each five decades of the Rosary, when said in chaplet form, is terminated by the reciting of a beautiful canticle called the Hail, Holy Queen. This prayer was written by a humble little Benedictine monk of the eleventh century known as “Hermann the Cripple.”
Hail, Holy Queen, (Saint Hermann said to her) Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning, and weep- ing in this valley of tears.
This is a perfect appeal to Mary in terms of God’s revelations to us concerning her. It is a royal greeting. Then Saint Hermann said: Turn then, Most Gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Saint Bernard added to Saint Hermann’s beautiful prayer – and we say with Saint Bernard: O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! We also add: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Power of the Rosary
The Holy Rosary is a protection against all the evils that can come to us. It frightens heretics, terrifies non-believers, and puts devils to rout. It won a great Christian victory all by itself at the Battle of Lep- anto, in the year 1571, when a small army of Catholics, vastly outnum- bered by Turks, whom they were fighting, defeated them because of the repeated recitation of the Rosary. It was then that the feast of the Holy Rosary was established by a great and glorious Pope, Saint Pius V. The feast of the Holy Rosary is on October 7.
Just to let us know how pleasing to her is the saying of the Our Fathers and the Hail Marys of the Rosary, Our Lady, holding her Di- vine Child in her arms, appeared to Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, at Toulouse, France, in the year 1214 and gave him the Rosary beads. Saint Dominic was moved to give up the wisdom of books in favor of this sublime prayer. It is more of a childlike study of God in intensity, in all its mysteries, contemplations, and simple ap- proaches than the learning of the world could ever give.
Saint Dominic knew that great havoc would come to the world if this Rosary were neglected. A hundred years later, it was neglected. Then Europe suffered such horrors as the Black Plague, the Avignon Captivity, and the Great Western Schism.
Devotion to the Rosary, as given to Saint Dominic, was beauti- fully revived in the early part of the eighteenth century by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, who died in the year 1716. Saint Louis Marie told all the Catholic faithful that if they did not have a constant and daily devotion to the Rosary, new horrors would come to Catholic Europe. They did not fully heed him, and so these horrors came. They were in the form of super-organized Freemasonry, anti-Christian alliances, the French Revolution, and the suppression of the Society of Jesus.
In the compelling prayer constantly repeated in the Rosary known as the Hail Mary, we are incessantly saying at the very center of this prayer, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” The blessed fruit of Mary’s womb is the flesh and blood of God Incarnate. This flesh and blood, as we implicitly ask for it in the Hail Mary, is the Holy Eucha- rist given us in communion at Holy Mass. By constantly begging for this Blessed Eucharist, and by meaning what we say, and by going to the altar to receive it, we become incarnately the adopted children of the Blessed Virgin. We become literally, along with Jesus, the fruit of her womb. We are also then the seed of Abraham forever, as Mary tells us in her Magnificat. After that, the reading of the whole Bible, Old Testament and New, is full of meaning for us, and makes us promises that are always fulfilled.
Our Lady makes all approaches to her come by way of material devices and symbols. This is by reason of the fact that the Word be- came flesh and dwelt amongst us and was born of her at Bethlehem. The Rosary is a flesh-and-blood device for lovers of God who come to Him by way of human approach.
The holy Scapular is another material symbol, that was given to Saint Simon Stock, a Carmelite priest in England, in the year 1251, when Our Lady appeared to him on the sixteenth of July and made him promises in terms of sure salvation for all those who would wear this holy garb.
Additionally, the Miraculous Medal, given by Mary to Saint Catherine Labouré, in the year 1830, is a symbol in which the Cross of Jesus, the first letter of Mary’s name, the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, twelve stars, an image of Our Lady with lights streaming from her hands, and a serpent crushed beneath her feet, are all united in a little metal remembrance.
Our Blessed Lady never discloses or reveals herself except to the innocent and simple of heart, whether it be a man, a woman, or a child. Everyone knows the astounding miracle by which she showed herself visibly eighteen times in the year 1858 to a little French girl in southern France named Bernadette.
The greatest historical event in our own century – in which Heaven and Earth, Eternity and Time, have united has been the shining appari- tions in the year 1917 of the Mother of God to three young shepherd children at Fatima, in Portugal.
Our Lady appeared to the Fatima children with the Rosary always in her hand. The apparitions occurred in 1917 in a field called Cova da Iria at Fatima, a village north of Lisbon, while a little ten-year-old girl named Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, nine and seven years old respectively, were tending sheep.
Six times, in the year 1917, Our Lady emerged from the sky to speak to these children. She shone in their eyes with all the dazzling innocence of her majesty and humility, and spoke to them with her own voice. She had sent an angel with a chalice containing the Precious Blood for the two younger children to drink as a prelude to these ap- paritions. Lucia, the oldest child, was given a consecrated Host.
Francisco and Jacinta have since died. Francisco age ten, died two months before his eleventh birthday, and Jacinta, his sister, nine, died one month before her tenth birthday. Lucy first entered a convent of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy in Spain. She was given the name of Sister Maria of the Sorrowful Mother. In 1946, she became a Carmelite nun in a cloistered convent in Coimbra, in Portugal. Her name was Sister Mary Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. She died on February 13, 2005 at the age of ninety-seven.
Our Lady appeared to these Fatima children as Queen of the Holy Rosary. Her apparitions on one day were in three guises. She was seen with Jesus as a Child and with Joseph; she was seen with Jesus as Our Lady of Sorrows; and she was seen holding the Child Jesus in her arms while she was robed and vested as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. These are beautiful symbols of her three types of mysteries in the Holy Ro- sary: Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious.
These Fatima children were given by Our Lady a vision of Hell and they saw how horrible it is. Speaking of her Immaculate Heart, she said to them, “To all those who embrace it, I promise salvation, and their souls will be loved by God… as flowers placed by me before His throne.”
By way of impressing the world ahead of time, with how powerful the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary is when she speaks from the depths of her Immaculate Heart, on October 13, 1917, at the last apparition to the Fatima children, 70,000 people saw the sun in the sky whirl round and round wildly for ten minutes or more, while they were standing in the field of Cova da Iria with the Fatima children.
It took time for this news from Fatima to reach the United States, because a hostile press was trying to hush it up. Thanks to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, everyone now knows what occurred.