Our Lady of the Rosary
Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. We remember today the victory in 1571 of Christian Europe over Islam in the naval Battle of Lepanto, south of Greece. Pope Pius V had assembled a coalition of forces to defend Christian Europe and then asked the Christian world to pray the Rosary for victory. The Pope did not want them to pray for carnage but for the preservation of Christian civilization. When the coalition won, he established the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, which was later changed to Our Lady of the Rosary, to emphasize the prayer that brought victory then and can bring it now.
Today is a day to focus on the place of the Rosary in our spiritual life. It has been part of Catholic spirituality for centuries. Through the Rosary and its joyous, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries, we review the story of our Redemption. We try to see how each of these mysteries applies to our life. Pope Paul VI once called the Rosary a form of “spiritual television” in which we try to visualize each mystery as we recite the Hail Mary.
The Rosary is not magic. Like anything else, it can become mechanical. However, when we say it prayerfully, thoughtfully, and reflectively, it becomes a magnificent way of joining our life’s moments of joy, light, sorrow, and glory to the mystery of Jesus Christ. Praying the Rosary should lead us to live the mysteries of that Rosary. The mysteries of the Rosary are our mysteries too. As Bishop Soc Villegas puts it, “The rosary must become me…the rosary must become you.” In short, the rosary and us must become one.
Today, we have battles of our own to fight. The world is at war. There is economic war, cultural war, racial war, political war, and spiritual war being waged everyday. Each of us is involved in one way or another in a war for the soul of our culture as well as our own souls. For all the battles of life, the Rosary is a powerful source of strength. All the places of joy, the moments of sorrow, the times of light, and the experiences of glory can be found in the Rosary. The Rosary provides the bridge between our lives and the mysteries of the life of Christ. (Joseph Krempa)
Through the Rosary, Mary continues to be in prayer with the Church. Through the Rosary, we open ourselves to God’s will, as Mary did. It is a way of bringing healing, grace, and spiritual victory to our lives and to our world.