|"St. Dominic Receiving the Rosary from the Virgin Mary" - Artist unknown|
Today the Church honors the Blessed Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
In honor of this day and of the momentous victory of Lepanto, let us offer our prayer of the Holy Rosary for our Christian brothers and sisters being persecuted by Islamic terrorists, especially in Iraq and Syria.
The following is a little history of the rosary written by Msgr. Charles Dollen. It is taken from his book Listen, Mother of God!: Reflections on the Litany of Loreto.
The Rosary devotion...was introduced by Blessed Alan de la Roche, a Domincan who lived...in the fifteenth century. He piously referred it to his founder, St. Dominic, and while it is true to the spirit of Dominic and has roots in other, older Marian forms, Blessed Alan deserves the credit.
...it soon earned the name 'The Psalter of the Poor,' or 'The Poor Man's Breviary.' The monks and nuns gathered together in their chapels to chant or recite the Divine Office, which, at heart, has the 150 Psalms to center its liturgical piety...
The 150 Aves of the Rosary imitated the 150 Psalms, and the divisions by tens into decades make counting them on the fingers quite easy and effortless.
But the great power of the Rosary comes from the fifteen meditations or mysteries [Note: this was written prior to Saint John Paul the Great adding the Luminous mysteries]...
The clients of Our Lady of the Rosary find great joy and comfort in its history. Among the great events associated with this devotion is the great naval victory of the Christians over the Moslems at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V urged Christians to fast and pray to save Christendom from the hands of the infidels. Their record of pillaging and enslaving Christians was notorious. The prayer that this saintly pontiff, who was a Dominican, decreed was the Rosary.
After the victory was announced, he proclaimed that day the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and he said, 'By the Rosary the darkness of heresy has been dispelled and the light of the Catholic Faith shines out in all its brilliancy..."
At Fatima, the Blessed Mother again approved the Rosary, as she has at most private revelations in recent centuries....
Pope Leo XIII was the great modern devotee of the Rosary and it was he who designated October as the Month of the Rosary. He published many works on the Rosary and never ceased to urge it on others.
"To appease the might of an outraged God, " he states in Octobri Mense, 'and to bring the health of sul so needed by those who are sorely afflicted, there is nothing better than devout prayer and persevering prayers, provided that it be joined with a love and practice of Christian life. And both of these, the spirit of prayer and the practice of Christian life, are best attained through the devotion of the Rosary of Mary..."
Among the various supplications with which we successfully appeal to the Virgin Mother of God, the Holy Rosary without doubt occupies a special and distinct place. - Pope Pius XI
"This prayer is well-suited to the People of God, most pleasing to the Mother of God and most effective in gaining heaven's blessings." - Pope Paul VI
"Before we being reciting the Hours, or the Rosary, we should consider whom we are going to address, and who we are that are addressing Him, so that we may do so in the way we should. I assure you that if you give all due attention to a consideration of these two points before beginning vocal prayers which you are about to say, you would be engaging in mental prayer for a very long time." - St. Teresa of Avila
"The Rosary is strength, it is power, it is a chain of gold which links us to Mary." John Cardinal Carberry