The Rosary, Lepanto, & Our Spiritual Lives

10-10-2021Weekly Reflection

This past week (October 7) we celebrated the feast of the Most Holy Rosary and the whole month of October is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and the Rosary. The Rosary developed in the Middle Ages and was given to St. Dominic. Christians greeted the Virgin Mary with the title, Mystical Rose, the symbol of love and joy. As an expression of this affection her images were crowned with bouquets of roses called a Rosarium, hence the name Rosary. Whoever was unable to recite the Church’s psalms in her prayer book called the Book of Hours would pray as many Hail Mary’s to compliment the 150 psalms.

Christians would use stones strung together by the decade or use knots on a rope to keep count of the prayers. At the same time they would meditate on a particular aspect of the life of Christ or His Mother, hence we have the mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and most recently the Luminous Mysteries give to us by Pope John Paul II.

The feast of the Most Holy Rosary was given to the Church by St. Pope Pius V in thanksgiving for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s assistance in the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The Pontiff foretold that the Rosary would win the battle in 1569 and Pope Clement XI extended the feast day to the whole Church in 1716. Also the great title, Our Lady Help of Christians was added to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. The original title was Our Lady Help of Christians against the Turks because of the threats to Christendom from a militant Islam. It was later shortened to its present title. From that historical moment, the Popes would encourage devotion to the Blessed Virgin with renewed fervor as public and universal prayer for the ordinary/extraordinary needs of the universal Church and of the entire world. As we face a form of militant Islam today we ought to pray the Rosary for a change of hearts to end terrorism and spread the Lord’s Gospel along with prayer and penance for conversions to the Catholic Faith. Moreover, our Lady’s Rosary is a powerful weapon to enable us to win in our interior struggle (1 Tim 4:10) and to help all souls. Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us. (