Wednesday, 27th Week OT A
Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
On October 7, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates today’s feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was known for several centuries by the alternate title of “Our Lady of Victory,” as it takes place in honor of a 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against Turkish invasion at Lepanto. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe.
The development of the rosary has a long history. First a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary.
In the 16th century, the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries: joyful, sorrowful and glorious. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion. The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel, focusing on Jesus — his birth, life, death, and resurrection.
As a foundational prayer of the rosary, the Our Father, given by Jesus to the disciples in today’s gospel reading, reminds us that Jesus’ Father is our Father too through our adoption in Baptism. We must never be afraid to ask him for what we need and to trust that he hears our petitions just as a loving Father listens to the requests of his children.
The Hail Mary’s of the rosary remind us to join with Mary in contemplating the mysteries of Christ’s life. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glory Be’s remind us that the purpose of all life is to participate forever in giving glory to the Most Holy Trinity.
We will soon pray the Our Father together during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as we do at every Mass. When we do, let’s consciously reflect on the meaning of the words we say.
Perhaps we can make it our goal to pray the Lord’s Prayer a few times throughout the day today so as to be reminded of our heavenly Father’s immense love for us, remembering that we must imitate Jesus in loving our Heavenly Father with all of our heart, as he loves us, and forgiving others just as he loves and forgives us.
Perhaps we can also resolve to pray the Rosary every day if we are not already doing so. Our Blessed Mother assures us that by doing so we will grow in grace and love of our Lord and come to understand that her desire is to lead us into a deeper relationship with her son.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.