Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary
Presence of God— O most holy Virgin, may the Rosary be my spiritual armor and my school of virtue.
Today’s feast is a manifestation of gratitude for the great victories won by the Christian people through the power of Mary’s Rosary; it is also the most beautiful and authoritative testimony of the value of this prayer. The liturgy of the day is not only a commentary on the Rosary, but an amplification of it: the three hymns of the Office as well as the antiphons of Matins and Lauds, review its different mysteries; the lessons chant its glories, and the continual references to the Virgin, who “blossomed as it were, among the flowers, surrounded by roses and lilies of the valley,” are a clear allusion to the mystical crowns of roses which Mary’s devoted children weave at her feet when they recite the Rosary. This feast tells us that to honor the Rosary is to honor Mary, for the Rosary is simply a meditation on Our Lady’s life, accompanied by the devout recitation of the Hail Mary. It is for this reason that the Church praises this practice and recommends it so insistently to the faithful. “O God,” she prays in today’s Collect, “grant that meditating on the mysteries of the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.” The Rosary, if recited well, is both prayer and instruction; its mysteries tell us that in Mary’s life everything is judged in relation to God: her joy and consolation found in all that gives pleasure to God; her sorrows are, so to speak, the very sorrows of God, who being made man, willed to suffer for the sins of mankind. Mary’s only joy is Jesus: to be His Mother, to clasp Him in her arms, to offer Him for the adoration of the world, to contemplate Him in the glory of His Resurrection, to be united to Him in Heaven. Mary’s unique sorrow is the Passion of Jesus: to see Him betrayed, scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified by our sins. This, then, is the first fruit which we must gather from the recitation of the Rosary: to judge all the events of our life according to their relation to God, to rejoice in what gives Him pleasure, in what unites us to Him, to suffer for sin which separates us from Him and is the cause of the Passion and death of Jesus.
“O Mary, just as there is no saint who loves God more than you love Him, so we neither have, nor could we have, after God, anyone who loves us more than you, our most loving Mother. If it were possible to bring together the love of all mothers for their children, of all wives for their husbands, of all the saints and angels for those who have devotion to them, it would not equal the love you have for one single soul, and, therefore, for my soul too.
“O Mary, since you love me, make me resemble you. You have all power to change hearts: take my heart, then, and transform it. Make me a saint, make me your worthy child.
“Let others ask for what they will: health, riches, worldly advantages; I come to ask you, O Mary, for those things which you yourself desire for me and which are very dear to your heart. You, who were so humble, obtain for me humility and a love for contempt. You, so patient in the sorrows of this life, obtain for me patience in adversity. You who were filled with love for God, obtain for me the gift of pure, holy love. You were all charity toward your neighbor; obtain for me charity toward all, and especially toward those who are opposed to me. O Mary, you who are the holiest of all creatures, make me holy. You lack neither love nor power; you can and you will obtain everything for me. Only my failure to have recourse to you and my want of confidence in your aid can prevent me from receiving your favors” (St. Alphonsus).
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Art: Our Lady of the Rosary [St. Dominic Receives the Rosary], Anonymous, PD-Old, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.