Queen of the Rosary
Tradition holds that Our Lady gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic Guzman in 1206 as a form of gospel-preaching and popular prayer. For more than seven centuries, the Rosary devotion has been one of the most popular devotional practices in the church. Its combination of vocal and mental prayer have made it a prime tool for contemplation. Jesus is the author and source of grade; Our Lady's Rosary is the key to open the treasury of grace to us.
Although prayer beads had been popular before Dominic's time, he and his friars quickly adopted the Rosary as an excellent way to teach the mysteries of Christianity to a largely illiterate European population. In 1470, Blessed Alan of Rupe founded the first Rosary Confraternity, and thereby launched the Dominican Order as the foremost missionaries of the Rosary. Through the efforts of Blessed Alan and the early Dominicans, this prayer form spread rapidly throughout Western Christendom.
The meditations on the fifteen mysteries serve as reminders of incidents in the lives of Christ and Mary. These are divided into the joyful, sorroful, and glorius mysteries. Thirteen of the mysteries come from incidents in the New Testament. One, the assumption of Mary into heave, comes from Sacred Tradition. The fifteens, the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven is thought to be derived from images in the Book of Revelation. These meditations make the Rosary a reflection on the fundamental beliefs of our Faith.
Through the years, Our Lady has re-affirmed her approval of this devotion, and her pleasure in the title "Queen of the Rosary." To Blessed Alan, she made fifteen promises to those who devoutly recite her beads. She told him, ".. immense volumes would have to be written if all the miracles of my Holy Rosary were to be recorded." Our Lady's promises are:
Our Lady told Blessed Bartolo Longo to propagate the Rosary, and promised that those who would propogate this devotion would be saved. In 1884, Our Lady of Pompeii appeared at Naples to Fortuna Agrelli, who was desperately ill. She told Fortuna that the title "Queen of the Holy Rosary" was one which was particularly pleasing to her, and cured Fortuna of her illness. At Lourdes, Our Lady told St. Bernadette to pray many rosaries. When Bernadette saw the beautiful lady, she instinctively took her Rosary in her hands and knelt down. The lady made a sign of approval with her head, and took into her hands a Rosary which hung on her right arm. As Bernadette prayed, Our Lady passed the beads of her Rosary through her fingers, but said nothing except the Gloria at the end of each decae. At Fatima, Mary told the children to pray the Rosary often.
- Those who shall have served me constantly by reciting the Rosary shall receive some special grace.
- I promise my special protection and great graces to all who devoutly recite my Psalter.
- The Rosary shall be a most powerful armor against hell; it shall destroy vices, weaken sin, overthrow unbelief.
- It shall make virtues and good works to flourish again; it shall obtain for souls abundant mercies of God; it shall win the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and life them to a desire of things eternal. Oh, how many souls will be sanctified by this means !
- The soul which has recourse to me through the Rosary shall not perish.
- Whoever shall have recited the Rosary devoutly and with meditation on its mysteries, shall never be overcome by misfortunes, shall not experience the anger of God, shall not be lost by a sudden death; but if he be in sin he shall be converted; and if he be in grace, he shall persevere and be made worth of eternal life.
- Truly devoted servants of my Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments.
- It is my will that those who recite my Rosary have, in life and in death, light and the plenitude of graces; and in life and death, may participate in the merits of the saints.
- Every day I deliver from Purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary.
- True servants of my Rosary shall enjoy great glory in heaven.
- Whatever you shall ask through the Rosary, you shall obtian.
- I will assist in every necessity those who propagate my Rosary.
- I have obtained form my Son that all members of the Confraternity of my Rosary may have in life and in death all the blessed as their associated.
- All who recite my Rosary are my children and the brethren of my Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ.
- Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
Popes throughout history have loved the Rosary. Not a single Pope in the last four hundred years has failed to urge devotion to the Rosary. From Sixtus IV, in 1479, to the present day, the popes have urged the use of this devotion, and enriched its recitation with indulgences. Pius XI dedicated the entire month of October to the Rosary. Pope St. Pius X said, "Of all the prayers, the Rosary is the most beautiful and the richest in graces; of all it is the one most pleasing to Mary, the Virgin Most Holy." Pope Leo XIII repeatedly recommended the Rosary as a most powerful means whereby to move God to aid us in meeting the needs of the present age. In 1883, he inserted the invocation, "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us ! " into the Litary for the Universal Church. Pope John XXIII who was particularly faithful to the daily recital of the whole Rosary has said, " We can never sufficiently recommend the saying of the Rosary, not simply with the lips but with attention of the soul to the divine truths, with a heart filled with love and gratitude." Pope John Paul II tells us to "... love the simple, fruitful prayer of the Rosary."
Many of the Saints, and a number of the religious orders have praised the Rosary. Saint Charles said he depended on the Rosary almost entirely for the conversion and sanctification of his diocese. Founders of most religious orders have either commanded or recommended the daily recitation of the Rosary. The Benedictines speedily adapted this devotion in their ancient cloisters. The Carmelites were happy to receive the Rosary as well as their rule from the Dominicans. The Franciscans made their rosaries out of wood, and preached this devotion as well as poverty. The Servites wore their rosaries as a badge of that servitude which is the only true liberty. Inspired by the example of their founder, the Jesuits invariably propagated the devotion. St. Francis Xavier used the touch of his chaplet as a means of healing the sick. St. Vincent de Paul instructed the members of his order to depend more on the Rosary than upon their preaching.
Our ancestors had recourse to the Rosary as an every- ready refuge in misfortune, and as a pledge and a proof of their Christian faith and devotion. St. Dominic used the Rosary as a weapon in his battle against the Albigensian heresy in France. In the last century, the Christian successes over the Turks at Temesvar and at Corfu coincided with the conclusion of public devotions of the Rosary. During the penal days in Ireland, the Rosary bound the Irish Catholics together as the church militant. When it was a felony to teach the Catholic Catechism, and death for a priest to say Mass, the Irish mothers used their rosaries to tell their little ones the story of Jesus and Mary, and thus kept the Faith green in the hearts of their children. Saint John Vianney, the Cure d'Ars, declared emphatically that in the nineteenth century it was the Rosary which restored religion in France. Likewise, in the dark days of persecution in Mexico, in our own century, the sturdy Mexican Catholics clung faithfully to their rosaries. The martyr Miguel Pro was allowed his last request before being shot by a firing squad --- he knelt and prayed his Rosary.
A special society, the Society of the Living Rosary, was founded by the Venerable Marie Pauline Jaricot in the city of Lyons, France, in 1826. She formed bands of fifteen members who each said one decade of the Rosary daily. Thus, the entire Rosary is said collectively by the members of each circle daily.
Father Timothy Ricci, O.P., instituted the Perpetual Rosary, or Mary's Guard of Honor, in 1635. The aim of this devotion is to unite the members in such a way that some devoted watchers will ever be found in prayer and praise at Our Lady's shrine, telling their beads for the conversion of sinners, the relief of the dying, and the succor of the dead. In Belgium, the Dominican nuns of the Third Order established a monastery for the express purpose of maintaining the Perpetual Rosary, so that there it became not merely the devotion of a society, but the distinctive work of a community. A number of shrines of the order are to be found in the United States. Here, the Rosary is said day and night by members of the community. Rosary processions are held, and pilgrims come to sing again and again the praises of their Heavenly Queen.
Beloved Queen of the Rosary, I thank you for your great gift of your psalter. As the beads slip through my fingers, may my heart and my lips sing your praise, and my brain contemplate those sacred mysteries of my Holy Faith. May my meditations on your beloved Rosary draw me ever closer, trustingly, to you, and through you to your divine son, my Lord and my God.
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