Our Lady of the Rosary – Feast of the Day – October 7
Rosaries made by my Brother-in-law, Larry Perkins
October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was established in 1573 to celebrate the naval victory at Lepanto over invading Turkish forces. Pope Pius V attributed the success of the smaller Europen forces in defeating larger numbers of invaders to the prayers of people throughout Europe who were praying the rosary and asking God for help. The feast became part of the calendar for the universal Church in 1716.
The rosary is a string of beads used to help keep track of a series of prayers which are repeated in a specific order. On each bead in the rosary a prayer is said. These include the Our Father, Hail Mary, Apostle’s Creed and Doxology (the Glory Be). The Hail Holy Queen is traditionally the last prayer of the rosary before the final Sign of the Cross.
When I was a girl, a retreat house was opened in our diocese. As part of the campaign needed for its successful completion, we were asked to pray the rosary. In place of the Hail Holy Queen, we all prayed the Memorare. So for me, that became the concluding prayer of the rosary.
The rosary includes 20 mysteries related to the life of Christ and of Mary. The Joyful Mysteries are: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth of Jesus, the Presentation and the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. The Luminous Mysteries include: The Baptism of Jesus, Jesus Reveals Himself in the Miracle at Cana, Jesus Preaches the Good News of Conversion, Repentance and Forgiveness, The Transfiguration of Jesus, and The Institution of the Eucharist. The Sorrowful Mysteries include: the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. The Glorious Mysteries are: the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, the Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.
The rosary has been an aid to Christian prayer since the time of St. Dominic in the 1200s. (Buddhists and Moslems also use strings of beads to help them in their prayers.) In praying with the rosary, we can have a focus for our thoughts while being open to God’s presence. The repetition of prayers gives us a base to hold while our thoughts are turned to God. The rosary is a good prayer to use in the evening or in the morning or even in the middle of the night if a person wakes up then. It is not necessary to complete the entire rosary at one time. Falling asleep during the rosary is OK. God is always happy to have us fall asleep relaxed comfortably in the arms of prayer, just like a parent rocking a small child to sleep.
On this day, a feast originally established to commemorate a naval victory, may our prayers be for peace, understanding, and cooperation among people of good will, regardless of religious and other differences that divide us.