MONSIGNOR [Hugh] Benson, in one of his early novels, gives us a beautiful explanation of the Rosary. An old nun is trying to make the devotion clear to a young Protestant girl. The enquirer asks:
"How can prayers said over and over again like that be any good?"
Mistress Margaret was silent for a moment.
"I saw young Mrs Martin last week, " she said, "with her little girl in her lap. She had her arms around her mother's neck, and was being rocked to an fro; and every time she rocked, she said 'O mother.' "
"But then," said Isabel, after a moment's silence, "she was only a child."
" 'Except ye become as little children . . . .' " quoted Mistress Margaret softly-----"you see, my Isabel, we are nothing more than children with God and His Blessed Mother. To say 'Hail mary, Hail Mary,' is the best way of telling her how much we love her. And then, this string of beads is like Our Lady's girdle, and her children love to finger it, and whisper to her. And then we say our Our Fathers, too; and all the while we are talking, she is showing us pictures of her dear Child, and we look at all the great things He did for us, one by one; and then we turn the page and begin again."
Those who have profited from the Rosary are those who have thus understood it. With hearts full of love they have rested close by the side of our heavenly Mother; and, whispering words of endearment to her, they have gazed the while at those wonderful pictures which the [fifteen] changing mysteries recall, seeing always something new and beautiful. And when they have come to the end of the picture-book, with the insatiable interest of a child, they have gone back to the beginning and turned every page over again,
In the devotions which are offered here, the prayers to be said at the beginning of each decade set before the mind those wonderful pictures in a simple and striking way. It is as if someone stood at our side to point out the beautiful, interesting things which by ourselves we might have missed. And then, in order that out seeing may not be profitless, we are led on at the end to ask for that grace which the mystery suggests. Surely, even apart form the making of the novenas, we must feel that this that this is the best method of reciting the Rosary.
This devotion combines three things which are dear to god in a very remarkable scheme: frequent Communion, the practice of the virtues, and devotion to mary in the Rosary. One who will carry it our faithfully will have besieged Heaven in a way that must make him heard.
-------Rev. Raymond Lawrence
ORIGIN AND METHOD
This devotion, which the author has called the "Rosary Novenas to Our Lady," is of comparatively recent origin.
"In an apparition of Our Lady of Pompeii, which occurred in 1884 at Naples, in the house of Commander Agrelli, the heavenly Mother deigned to make known the manner in which she desires to be invoked.
"For thirteen months Fortuna Agrelli, the daughter of he Commander, had endured dreadful sufferings and torturous cramps; she had been given up by the most celebrated physicians. On February 16, 1884, the afflicted girl and her relatives commenced a novena of Rosaries. The Queen of the Holy Rosary favored her with an apparition on March 3rd. Mary, sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures, held the Divine Child on her lap, and in her hand a Rosary. The Virgin Mother and the holy Infant were clad in gold-embroidered garments. They were accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. The throne was profusely decorated with flowers; the beauty of Our Lady was marvelous. The picture can be viewed on the previous page, just scroll down.
"Mary looked upon the sufferer with maternal tenderness, and the patient saluted her with the words: 'Queen of the Holy Rosary, be gracious to me; restore me to health! I have already prayed to thee in a novena, O Mary, but have not yet experienced thy aid. I am so anxious to be cured!'
" 'Child,' responded the Blessed Virgin, 'thou hast invoked me by various titles and hast always obtained favors from me. Now, since thou hast called me by that title so pleasing to me, 'Queen of the Holy Rosary,' I can no longer refuse the favor thou dost petition; for this name is most precious and dear to me. Make three novenas, and thou shalt obtain all.'
"Once more the Queen of the Holy Rosary appeared to her and said, 'Whoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary, and three novenas in thanksgiving.'
"This miracle of the Rosary made a very deep impression on Pope Leo XIII, and greatly contributed to the fact that in so many circular letters he urged all Christians to love the Rosary and say it fervently."
------The Rosary, My Treasure, Benedictine Convent, Clyde, Mo.
The Novena consists of five decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition; then immediately five decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted.
The meditations vary from day to day. On the first day meditate on the Joyful Mysteries; on the second day the Sorrowful Mysteries; on the third day the Glorious Mysteries; on the fourth day meditate again on the Joyful Mysteries; and so on throughout the fifty-four days.
A laborious Novena, but a Novena of Love. You who are sincere will not find it too difficult, if you really wish to obtain your request.
Should you not obtain the favor you seek, be assured that the Rosary Queen, who knows what each one stands most in need of, has heard your prayer. You will not have prayed in vain. No prayer ever went unheard. And Our Blessed Lady has never been known to fail.
Look upon each Hail Mary as a rare and beautiful rose which you lay at Mary 's feet.
These spiritual roses, bound in a wreath with Spiritual Communions, will be a most pleasing and acceptable gift to her, and will bring down upon you special graces.
If you would reach the innermost recesses of her heart, lavishly bedeck your wreath with spiritual diamonds-----Holy Communions. [In today's Church it is seldom possible to get to Holy Mass every day, but a fervent Spiritual Communion will suffice. At the end of each set of Mysteries we provide the prayer for this.-----Web Master] Then her joy will be unbounded, and she will open wide the channel of her choicest graces to you.
In obedience to the decree of Pope Urban VIII and of other Supreme Pontiffs, the author begs to state that, in regard to what is herein narrated, no higher authority is claimed than that which is due to all authentic human testimony.
THE SEVEN BLESSINGS OF THE ROSARY
"The Rosary recited with meditation on the mysteries brings bout the following marvelous results:
1. It gradually gives us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ;
2. It purifies our souls, washing away sin;
3. It gives us victory over all our enemies;
4. It makes it easy for us to practice virtue;
5. It sets us on fire with love of Our Blessed Lord;
6. It enriches us with graces and merits;
7. It supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow men, and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces for us from Almighty God."
--------St. Louis De Montfort
THE FIFTEEN PROMISES ATTACHED TO THE HOLY ROSARY
Made by the Blessed Virgin to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan.
1. To all those who will recite my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and very great graces.
2. Those who will persevere in the recitation of my Rosary shall receive some signal grace.
3. The Rosary shall be a very powerful armor against Hell; it shall destroy vice, deliver from sin, and shall dispel heresy.
4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal Things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of Me by recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from My Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are My Sons, and brothers of My Only Son Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to
My Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
MEDITATIONS ON THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES