|Window in Carlow Cathedral, St. Dominic Receives the Rosary from the Virgin Mary|
Today is the Memoria of Our Lady of the Rosary. The feast day was established in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. This victory saved Europe from being overrun by the forces of Islam.
Lepanto, perhaps the most complete victory ever gained over the Ottoman Empire, on October 7, 1571, is commemorated by the invocation "Help of Christians," inserted in the Litany of Loretto. At Belgrade the Turks were defeated on the Feast of Our Lady ad Nives in 1716. A second victory gained that year on the Octave of the Assumption determined Pope Clement XI to command the Feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church. Leo XIII added the invocation "Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us," to the Litany of Loretto. The Feast is in reality a great festival of thanksgiving for the signal and countless benefits bestowed on Christendom through the Rosary of our blessed Queen.
In modern times successive popes have urged the faithful to pray the Rosary. It is a form of contemplative prayer, mental and vocal prayer, which brings down God’s blessing on the Church. It is a biblically inspired prayer which is centered on meditation on the salvific mysteries of Christ in union with Mary, who was so closely associated with her Son in his redeeming activity..
Catholic Culture.org has some suggestions for the feast
in crazed haze of word after empty word:
pitiful piety brings no aid,
naught but far-fetched fancies made
to deceive naïve nuns, whose prayers, never heard,
would be better, too, never prayed.
Can it be? Surely Truth tricks not, nor can disdain
pleas of hearts heavy, weak with pain
and sorrow—for well He knows
it, bore it, and for my sake chose.
Her heart, too, racked, rent with His, yet by the Cross remains—
ever full of grace, now on her children to flow.
Faithful Virgin, and fruitful! when thy Fiat confessèd:
to thee, in haste, I fly,
under thy mantle to hide, to lie:
as Jesus—newborn babe, then mangled man—on thy breast rested,
dear Mother, so may I!
strength strainèd, sin-stainèd, am I, who live in
grace (and not the Law to bear),
in Habit, and on cincture wear
that cord, of Mystic Rose to Rose of Patience given,
that ever-efficacious prayer!
New Eve, inviolate, of all women most famed,
Mater omnium, digna prædicari,
et Regina sacratissimi rosarii,
Life, Sweetness, Hope, is named:
Gratiam tuam, Mater mea, gaudeo contemplari!
for your poor child, exiled, to see dawn of eternal day:
thy sweet succor swiftly bring,
that I, life and light diminishing,
be found faithful—and then, lasting Life living, I may
the praises of thy Son with thee ever sing.
We well know the Rosary’s powerful efficacy to obtain the maternal aid of the Virgin. By no means is there only one way to pray to obtain this aid. However, We consider the Holy Rosary the most convenient and most fruitful means, as is clearly suggested by the very origin of this practice, heavenly rather than human, and by its nature. What prayers are better adapted and more beautiful than the Lord’s prayer and the angelic salutation, which are the flowers with which this mystical crown is formed? With meditation of the Sacred Mysteries added to the vocal prayers, there emerges another very great advantage, so that all, even the most simple and least educated, have in this a prompt and easy way to nourish and preserve their own faith.