Mary Our Mother and Queen // Our Lady of the Rosary

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Bible verse 1: Luke 1:28

Bible verse 2: Luke 1:42

    The history of the rosary began with Saint Dominic, a famous preacher.  His goal was to teach people the truth about Jesus. But just like today, people of Saint Dominic's time wanted to fit Jesus into their own way of thinking, rather than changing their way of thinking to fit the teachings of Jesus. At times Dominic met with little success. One day when he was feeling particularly low and disappointed by the stubbornness of the people, he prayed that Mary would help him. The year was 1208 and Mary appeared to St. Dominic in a vision. She told him to teach the people to pray. It seemed like a weird request to St. Dominic, because people were already praying and meditating. Even the common illiterate people were substituting 150 "Our Fathers" in place of the Psalms. Why was she asking that the people pray prayers they were already praying?

    Mary further explained her request. She wanted people to meditate on the life of Jesus as they pray. She wanted them to elevate their minds with her as she  heard the words of the Angel Gabriel when he announced the conception of Jesus, the joy she felt at her cousin Elizabeth's greeting, the serene awe she felt as she looked upon the baby Jesus that first Christmas in Bethlehem, and how she felt as she and Saint Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple in accordance with Jewish law. She wanted to share with us everything to do with Christ’s life and her role in it.

    She encouraged St. Dominic to teach people to feel her happiness as she was assumed into heaven to be with her Son, and where, shortly thereafter, Jesus gloriously crowned her Queen of Heaven and Earth. Dominic, who spread the devotion of praying the rosary by following Mary's advice, taught everyone he met these prayers.

    Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, 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 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. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. 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 Bes remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity. (1)

    “The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb.... It can be said that the rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter that discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church" (Pope John Paul II, apostolic letter The Rosary of the Virgin Mary).

    The yearly Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was known for several centuries by the alternate title of “Our Lady of Victory,” because the feast day takes place in honor of a 16th century naval victory which saved Europe from Turkish invasion. 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.

Reflection question 1: What part of the history of the rosary was the most surprising to you?

Reflection question 2: Was the origin of the feast day what you’d expected?

Act: Take time to research or read up on the mysteries of the rosary, also called the prayer of the Gospels.


Heart of Mary Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots/free/downloadable