Monday, October 09, 2006

Our Lady of Victory

To commemorate the victory of the Christian Armada over the Turks on Oct 7th, 1571 Pope Pius V introduced the Feast of the "Blessed Virgin Mother of Victory". In 1573
His successor Pope Gregory XIII. Changed this title to “Feast of the Holy Rosary” To be celebrated on the first Sunday of October. It’s name was changed a few more times until 1969 it was changed to “Our Lady of the Rosary” and it is now a mandatory memorial. (This is one of things I like about the Catholic Church - a mandatory party. It really is a place that knows how to celebrate).

It is now attached to and starts Respect For Life Month yes, a new battle. Say the Rosary every day this month. And hopefully forever for it has done wonders in my life.

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. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as unhistorical (but a good story none-the-less), the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche (for whom I was named), was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. 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 the Mysteries of Light to this devotion.

The Rosary is a powerful prayer. It is praying the gospels. Saint Padre Pio, when under spiritual turmoil, would shout out “Someone bring me my weapon!” and someone would bring him his Rosary. The Rosary has changed history, Lepanto being the most famous case and there are many who credit the Rosary with ending World War 1 and the fall of Communists Russia, (remember Fatima?).

Many complain it is repetitious. When I did sports, every day we: ran laps, did the same drills, pushups, crab walks and when we messed up we were given more of those to do. This repetition slowly built us up into strong individuals and a cohesive team. The coach told us that, the team that did these things the hardest, the longest, and the most wholeheartedly usually came out victorious on the field of battle. He also said, “If you end up victorious it is because of what you did. If you fail it is because of what I did”. Through repetition we were transformed.

It is the same with prayer. The “repetition” of the Rosary can work a slow but deep transformation of our hearts. One could also point out that repetition is not necessarily a sign of a lack of imagination. It may be sheer exuberant pleasure that makes us repeat an activity. I have never grown weary of getting a baby to smile no matter how many times a day I receive that smile.

G. K. Chesterton argued that repetition is a characteristic of the vitality of children, who like the same stories, with the same words, time and time again, not because they are bored and unimaginative but because they delight in life. Chesterton wrote: “Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead, for grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes each daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg.'

The middle part, the heart, of this past Sunday’s readings bear this out:
(Mk 10:2-16)
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,but the disciples rebuked them.When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,"Let the children come to me;do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs tosuch as these. Amen, I say to you,whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a childwill not enter it."Then he embraced them and blessed them,placing his hands on them.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely post on the Rosary!

I'm printing this for my family and friends.

Anonymous said...

Attention all Christian congregations regarding the Pope's comments on Islam . If you live in an area with an active Muslim population, it may be wise to review your Church's security, fire-precautions and insurance cover: