Friday, October 7, 2011
The Secret Of The Rosary
The traditional Rosary is not the invention of man, but the chosen weapon of the Blessed Trinity, who invested it with the power to destroy sin, heresy and the enemies of the Church. It crushed the Albigensians heresy and stopped the Muslims from overcoming Christian Europe in 1571.
The Rosary has been in use since the time of the apostles, but it was only in 1214 that Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.
The story of how he received it is found in the very well known book “De Dignitate Psalterii” (The Importance and Beauty of the Holy Rosary) by Blessed Alan de la Roche, O.P. Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma.
At this point Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said:
“Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?”
“Oh, my Lady,” answered St. Dominic, “you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.”
Then Our Lady replied:
“I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter , which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”
So he arose, comforted and burning with zeal for the conversion of the people in that district, he made straight for the Cathedral. At once unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together, and St. Dominic began to preach.
At the very beginning of his sermon an appalling storm broke out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that all were very much afraid. Even greater was their fear when, looking at a picture of Our Lady exposed in a prominent place, they saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God’s vengeance upon them if they failed to amend their lives and seek the protection of the Holy Mother of God.
At last at the prayer of St. Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went on to preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and value of the Holy Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their false beliefs. In a very short time a great improvement was seen; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits.
This miraculous way in which the devotion to the Holy Rosary was established is something of a parallel to the way in which Almighty God gave His law to the world on Mt. Sinai and obviously proves its value and importance. Yet the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary only retained its fervour for one century after it was instituted by St. Dominic. After this it was like a thing buried and forgotten. After several scourges sent by God, Blessed Alan revived the Confraternity at the urging of Jesus and Mary, to lead people away from sin.
Ever since St. Dominic established the devotion to the Holy Rosary up until the time when Blessed Alan de Roche re-established it in 1460, it has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. This is because it has the same number of Angelic Salutations [Hail Mary’s] as there are psalms in the Book of Psalms. Since simple and uneducated people are not able to say the Psalms of David, the Rosary is held to be just as fruitful for them as David’s Psalter is for others.
Our Lady also taught it to Blessed Alan de la Roche and said to him in a vision: “When people say one hundred and fifty Angelic Salutations [Hail Mary’s] this prayer is very helpful to them and very pleasing to me. But they will do better still and will please me even more if they say these salutations while meditating on the life, death and passion of Jesus Christ----for this meditation is the soul of this prayer."
Our Lady ordered St. Dominic to teach the faithful to meditate upon the sacred mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ. She did this, not only that they might adore and glorify Him, but chiefly that they might pattern their lives and actions upon His virtues, which are shown in the fifteen mysteries of His life.
Our Lady also said to Blessed Alan: “I want you to know that, although there are numerous indulgences already attached to the recitation of my Rosary, I shall add many more to every fifty Hail Mary’s (each group of five decades) for those who say them devoutly, on their knees – being, of course, free from mortal sin. And whosoever shall persevere in the devotion of the Holy Rosary, saying these prayers and meditations, shall be rewarded for it; I shall obtain for him full remission of the penalty and of the guilt of all his sins at the end of his life.”
The above excerpts were adapted from Saint Louis de Montfort’s book The Secret of the Rosary (Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, NY, 1954; reprint, TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford, IL, 1970).
The emphases have been added.