MEDITATE ON THE MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY
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This free eBook will help you meditate on the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary. These special excerpts from Mother Angelica's reflections on the Mysteries were taken from her books and written in Mother’s unique style. Use the form below to tell us where to send your free eBook, Mother Angelica's Rosary Meditations.
At the time when the battle of Lepanto was fought, the Ottoman Empire had not lost a major battle since the previous century. Pope St. Pius V realized that the Holy League needed great spiritual assistance, so he asked the Holy League, as well as all of the faithful, to pray the Rosary, asking Our Lady’s intercession for a victory in the upcoming battle. The evening before the famous battle, the sailors prayed the Rosary on their knees.
On October 7, 1571, the Christian fleet went into battle carrying a banner blessed by the Pope. Some evidence also suggests they carried a painting sent to the King of Spain from Mexico depicting the miraculous image known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Holy League encountered the Ottoman warships deployed in the shape of a crescent, the symbol of Islam. The Holy League’s ships took the shape of a cross. Between the two forces, there were more than 400 warships, making this one of the largest naval battles in history. After five hours of battle, the Holy League won.
The Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states promoted by Pope St. Pius V, fought against the Ottomans, an Islamic empire centered in Istanbul. The “Turks” were trying to extend their influence beyond Southeast Europe. A Turkish victory might have permitted the expansion of Islam deep into Europe.
Where did the Battle of Lepanto take place?
The battle took place in the Gulf of Patras, on the western coast of the Greek peninsula.
What was the significance of the Battle of Lepanto?
Due to the Holy League’s defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Lepanto, the Turks did not advance into Europe. Many historians have said that this was one of the most significant battles in history.
“You know what Our Lady said about the Rosary? That the whole world would change if everybody said it…. If my Mother says, ‘Say it,’ I’m gonna say it.” – Mother Angelica
Pope St. Pius V knew that Our Lady had interceded for the Holy League, ensuring their victory. In fact, the day of the Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, he saw the Blessed Mother in a vision, and she revealed the victory to him.
As an offering of thanksgiving, the Pope declared this day as the feast day of Our Lady of Victory, later known as Our Lady of the Rosary.
Mary is the Queen Mother because her Son is Christ the King. The rosary, as given to St. Dominic, is a meditation on the mysteries of the Incarnate King, and thus on the sorrows and joys of His Mother, as well. Thus, Mary is so deeply entwined with the rosary that one cannot think of the rosary without thinking of Mary.
In the 13th century, the Blessed Mother appeared in visions to St. Dominic and inspired him to create the rosary as we know it today.
“You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it. It will, moreover, help you to have presence of God.” – St. Josemaria Escriva
- Make the Sign of the Cross and say “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
- Say the Creed.
- Say one Our Father, three Hail Marys, and one Glory Be.
- Announce the first Mystery. If possible, make a short meditation on the subject of the mystery. Then pray an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and the Glory Be. While it is not a formal part of the Rosary, it has become usual to
- This pattern is then repeated on the decades for each of the subsequent mysteries of the Rosary.
- After you have completed all the decades, it is usual to say the Hail, Holy Queen, and other prayers according to custom, though these are not formally part of the Rosary, nor obligatory.
- Make the Sign of the Cross and say, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Fátima Prayer: "O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy."
Like any prayer, the purpose of the Rosary is to bring us closer to the Lord. Unlike most “vocal prayer”, the Rosary is also meant to be a meditation on the subject matter of the mysteries.
As a vocal prayer, the Rosary serves the usual purposes of such prayer, often described in the mnemonic A.C.T.S. – Adoration of God, Contrition for our sins, Thanksgiving for His Gifts and Supplication for ourselves and others. We can thus offer, and intend, the Rosary for any and all of these intentions. Many Catholics even make a different intention for each decade.
Which leads us to the Rosary as a meditation. All of these same elements can be drawn out of the Rosary by meditating on its mysteries. Contemplating the mysteries we see the reasons to adore and give thanks in the greatness of God and the greatness of His love for us. We see the evil of our sins and the reasons for contrition, and in Jesus and Mary the models of holiness to which we ought to aspire, so that we may share in the joys and glory of eternal life with the Holy Trinity.
Thus, the Rosary leads us to a deepening of Faith, of Hope and of Charity. It is, as many saints have testified, the door of the faithful to a deeper prayer life and a deeper union with God.
“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.” – Pope St. Pius X
Many people who pray the Rosary find it difficult to meditate on the mysteries. Either they don’t consider themselves capable of meditation, or distractions keep them from it. Public rosaries are often impossible to combine with meditation, and the noise and preoccupations of our culture, especially with electronic devices, certainly does not help.
None of this should keep us from praying the rosary, and even trying to meditate on the mysteries. Even if it’s a simple mediation, such as imagining the scene of the mystery, or is one guided by a book – such as a scriptural rosary or other rosary meditation book, it should be possible to some degree for most people. With time, like all habits, if we persevere it will become easier to do.
The Catholic Church interweaves the year with feasts and liturgical seasons as reminders of the mysteries of salvation. The months of the year are also dedicated to different aspects of the faith for this same reason. In October, we recall especially the Holy Rosary, itself a summary of the Gospel. In particular, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.
While not a definitive list, among the common monthly dedications are the following:
- January: The Holy Name of Jesus
- February: The Passion of Our Lord and the Holy Family
- March: St. Joseph
- April: The Most Holy Eucharist and the Holy Spirit
- May: The Blessed Virgin Mary
- June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus
- July: The Precious Blood of Christ
- August: The Immaculate Heart of Mary
- September: The Holy Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows
- October: The Most Holy Rosary
- November: The Holy Souls in Purgatory
- December: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
“Go to the Madonna. Love her! Always say the Rosary. Say it well. Say it as often as you can! Be souls of prayer. Never tire of praying, it is what is essential. Prayer shakes the Heart of God, it obtains necessary graces!” – St. Padre Pio
- Those who faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
- I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
- The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
- The recitation of the Rosary will cause virtue and 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 of
- The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
- Those who recite my Rosary devoutly, applying themselves to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. In his justice, God will not chastise them; nor shall they perish by an unprovided death, i.e., be
- Those who have a true devotion to the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
- Those who faithfully 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.
- I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
- The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.
- By the recitation of the Rosary you shall obtain all that you ask of me.
- Those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
- 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 their death.
- All who recite the Rosary are my beloved children and the brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
- Devotion for my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
According to tradition, the Blessed Mother gave these 15 promises to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche.
These promises are promoted by the Rosary Confraternity, an association of people around the world who strive to pray 15 decades of the rosary each week (the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries). Also, they encourage (but do not require) the members to pray the Luminous Mysteries. There are certain plenary and partial indulgences associated with being part of the Confraternity. Finally, since the members of the Confraternity pray for the intentions of the rest of the society, this means that each member receives a share of hundreds of thousands of prayers every day.
The prayer of the Hail Mary is rooted in Scripture, but is also a response of the Church to the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption, and the role of Our Lord’s Blessed Mother in it (cf. John 2:3).
In Luke 1:28, St. Gabriel greets Mary with the words, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”
In Luke 1:42, St. Elizabeth says these words to Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
Unlike Holy Communion, which is reserved for Catholics, the rosary may be prayed by anyone. In fact, since the rosary is mostly a reflection on the Gospel, many non-Catholics enjoy the meditations on the life of Jesus. The practice was even popularized in books like “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy” by Methodist chaplain J. Neville Ward.