Thursday, 6 October 2011
October - A Month Dedicated to Mary: Praying the Rosary
The history of the Rosary dates back many centuries before the early monastic orders in the Catholic tradition used it in the form of knotted beads as an aid to track their prayers. Ever since then, the Rosary has undergone dramatic metamorphosis.
In the year 1214, Our Blessed Lady appeared to St Dominic while he was busy combating the Albigensian heresy in the South of France and handed him a Rosary requesting him to spread the devotion by saying it and meditating on the life of Christ each and everyday. In return, Our Lady promised St Dominic success in combating the Albigensians and that his Religious Order would flourish. In filial obedience, Dominic spent the rest of his life carrying out this instruction. In order to facilitate his task, he went the extra mile to found a Confraternity.
The story of the historical development and propagation of the Rosary Devotion can hardly be complete without the mention of Blessed Alan de la Roche. He took over and continued from where Dominic stopped with incredible zeal. In the 15th Century, the Mysteries of the Rosary were assigned to each of the decades providing a wonderful opportunity for contemplation on Scripture while at the same time reciting this meditative prayer.
The Old Penny Catechism taught us that “God created us know, love and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him for all eternity in Heaven.” Even though man appears to have lost focus now fervently pursuing the twin prizes of “money and pleasure”, Mary still holds out her hand to rescue her children. She is always praying for us and constantly pointing to the grace that the Rosary brings to mankind. Oh how Mary earnestly desires us to achieve this ultimate prize-being happy with God in Heaven for ever.
Daily recitation of the Rosary is highly recommended. The Rosary, literarily speaking, softens the ground, tills the soil, and waters it in preparation for a bountiful harvest. If only we knew the tremendous torment Satan suffers as we recite the Rosary. A school of thought holds, and rightly too, that with each bead of the Rosary recited with the devotion it deserves, a powerful “bomb” detonates in hell unleashing untold panic and terror in the satanic world. Satan becomes utterly confused.
The Rosary is a direct gift to us from the Queen of Heaven. The power of the Rosary was amply demonstrated during St Dominic’s time and continues to be felt to this day. The Rosary works incredible wonders in our life-leading the way for our personal sanctification. Those who faithfully recite the Rosary daily with all the devotion and humility, can testify to this claim. No one can outdo Our Lady in liberality and she will stop at nothing to lead us to her Son, Jesus. On May 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to the three Shepherd children-Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta- at Fatima. She declared herself “Lady of the Rosary” ostensibly to underscore the relevance and potency of the Rosary. She repeatedly urged the children to recite the Rosary daily.
Pope John Paul II added a new dimension on October 16, 2002 with a set of five mysteries beautifully referred to as “The Mysteries of the Light” which beams piercing searchlight on the public ministry of Jesus from His Baptism in the Jordan to the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Writing in his apostolic letter “The Rosary of the Virgin Mary”, the Holy Father said inter alia-“The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centred prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety. It is the echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive incarnation which began in her virginal womb”. The holy Father was always in the habit of praying the Rosary. He once said, “The best prayer I like is the Rosary”.
Finally, in this age of our world beset with fragile peace and broken promises; a world ravaged by wars, famine and disease, let us turn to Mary armed with our Rosary. She will certainly guide us through all these perils and difficulties and deliver us safely to Jesus. Let us then consecrate and surrender unreservedly to Mary faithfully repeating daily-“We are all yours, Our Queen, Our Mother, and all we have is yours”
If you are not sure how to pray the Rosary go here: http://www.rosary-center.org/howto.htm