Sent From Heaven Above
Thomas A. Droleskey
In His ineffable Mercy, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has sent us His Most Blessed Mother, the Queen of Mercy, to us mere mortals on earth at various times since she was Assumed Body and Soul into Heaven. Such is Our Divine Saviour's forbearance with us that He spares no effort to get us to reform our lives, to quit our sins, to rise from our tepidity and our indolence, to be earnest about making reparation for our sins by living more penitentially here in this life in order to avoid the fires of Purgatory, to have a true zeal for souls, starting with our own, that have been redeemed by he shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. He has thus sent us Our Lady to provide us with various means to save our souls and to help to retard the evils of the day (see
Two Last Remedies and
Our Lady Does Not Act on Her Own).
Our Lady was sent to Saint Dominic de Guzman in 1208 to give him her Psalter to fight the Albigensian heresy. Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary is thus our weapon against heresy, which Our Lady hates as it is an offense against the Holy Integrity of the Deposit of Faith that her Divine Son has entrusted exclusively to His Catholic Church for Its eternal safekeeping and infallible explication (see Father Frederick Faber's meditation on the Sixth Dolor of Our Lady as reprinted from The Dolors of Mary/The Foot of the Cross in
Our Mother of Sorrows).
Such is the devil's hatred for Our Lady and the power of her Most Holy Rosary that there are, sadly, many Catholics who disparage Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary, including some who discount the fact that Our Lady had appeared to Saint Dominic to give him her Psalter. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has admitted that he does not pray the Rosary every day, only when he can find time for it, almost never mentioning this Heavenly weapon to promote the salvation of our souls and to fight heresy in his public allocutions. Anyone who has a cavalier attitude about Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary is, whether or not he realizes it, doing the work of the devil.
Blessed Alan de la Roche, O.P., who was visited by Our Lady and Saint Dominic in 1460 to revive the praying of the Rosary after it had fallen into a period of disuse, made it clear that it is only the devil who seeks to disparage devotion to the Mother of God and to her Most Holy Rosary, which consist of fifteen meditations on the very mysteries of our salvation:
Blessed Alan [de la Roche] relates that a certain Cardinal Pierre, whose titular church was that of Saint Mary-beyond-the-Tiber, was a great friend of Saint Dominic's and had learned from him to have a great devotion to the holy Rosary. He grew to love it so much that he never ceased singing its praises and encouraging everyone he met to embrace it. Eventually he was sent as legate to the Holy Land to the Christians who were fighting against the Saracens. So successfully did he convince the Christian army of the power of the Rosary that they all started saying it and stormed heaven for help in a battle in which they knew they would be pitifully outnumbered. And in fact, their three thousand triumphed over an enemy of one hundred thousand.
As we have seen, the devils have an overwhelming fear of the Rosary. Saint Bernard says that the Angelic Salutation puts them to flight and makes all hell tremble. Blessed Alan assures us that he has seen several people delivered from Satan's bondage after taking up the holy Rosary, even though they had previously sold themselves to him, body and soul, by renouncing their baptismal vows and their allegiance to Jesus Christ.
In 1578, a woman of Antwerp had given herself to the devil and signed a contract with her own blood. Shortly afterwards she was stricken with remorse and had an intense desire to make amends for this terrible deed. So she sought out a kind and wise confessor to find out how she could be set free from the power of the devil.
She found a wise and holy priest, who advised her to go to Father Henry, director of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, at the Dominican Friary, to be enrolled there and to make her confession. Accordingly, she asked to see him but met, not Father Henry, but the devil disguised as a friar. He reproved her severely and said she could never hope to receive God's grace, and there was no way of revoking what she had signed. This grieved her greatly but she did not lose hope in God's mercy and sought out Father Henry once more, only to find the devil a second time, and to meet with a second rebuff. She came back a third time and then at last, by divine providence, she found Father Henry in person, the priest whom she had been looking for, and he treated her with great kindness, urging her to throw herself on the mercy of God and to make a good confession. He then received her into the Confraternity and told her to say the Rosary frequently.
One day, while Father Henry was celebrating Mass for her, Our Lady forced the devil to give her back the contract she had signed. In this way she was delivered from the devil by the authority of Mary and by devotion to the holy Rosary. (Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, pp. 80-82.)
The devil has good reason to hate Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. Pope Saint Pius V called upon Catholics to pray the Rosary for the success of the combined Christian forces against the infidel Turks in the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, a remarkable feat in the annals of naval warfare, wrought solely by the power of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary.
Saint Rose of Lima, T.O.P., a spiritual daughter of Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, used Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary to turn back a pending invasion of Lima, Peru, by those hideous, Catholic-hating Dutch Calvinists in 1606:
Saint Rose is most famous for her penances, done not for their own sake, but as pure expressions of her love for Jesus and vicarious satisfaction for souls dear to Him. Her love found other means of expression, as well. Rose prayed long hours for her beloved Archbishop Turibius, himself a saint, in his trials, and beseeched God for the conversion of the Peruvian Indians, who were still practicing pagan religions. She was taught to make herbal medicines and took great delight in distributing these remedies to long lines of the sick poor of Lima.
It is natural that one with Rose’s pure love of God seek a religious vocation, but for a time even this good desire seemed to be frustrated. She discerned that it was not God’s will that she enter a cloister. A short time later she received a sign in answer to prayer that she was to be a Dominican tertiary and live at home, like Saint Catherine of Siena. At age 20 she made her profession in the Third Order of Saint Dominic.
It was at this time that perhaps the most spectacular of Rose’s miracles occurred when Dutch pirates invaded Lima’s harbor and defeated the Peruvian fleet. Due to the Reformation, they intended not only to loot the city but also to desecrate churches. The women, children and religious of Lima took refuge in the churches. In the church of Santo Domingo, Rose stirred them all to prayer. It is said that as pirates burst into the church, they were confronted with the terrifying spectacle of a young girl ablaze with light, holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. They turned away and fled to their ships which sailed away. St. Rose of Lima: Follower of Dominic and Spouse of the Heart of Christ)
It was put a mere forty years later invasion of Dutch Calvinists threatened the Catholic Philippines:
Sculpted by a non-Catholic Chinese artist who was later converted through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, the image of Our Lady of the Rosary was commissioned in 1593 by the Spanish Governor of the Philippines. Luis Perez Dasmarinas, who wanted the statue to memorialize both his deceased father and his own regime. The statue was entrusted to the Dominicans in Manila and was enshrined in Santo Domingo Church, where it received an outpouring of love and devotion.
Fifty-three years later, in March, 1646, while Spanish invaders were still governing the islands and were outright enemies of the Dutch, the people were shocked to learn that a fleet of five Dutch war ships was bearing down on Manila. Carrying the triple threat of conquest, pillage and Dutch Protestantism, the enemy had chosen a tim when Spanish warships were unavailable for defense.
Two commercial galleons, "The Rosary" and "The Incarnation," were donated by their owners and were quickly outfitted in preparation for battle. While sailing into position for the confrontation, the men prayed the Rosary and dedicated themselves to La Naval, Our Lady of the Rosary.
The five Dutch ships were well-equipped with canons, firearms and trained seamen; the two Spanish-Filipino cargo ships were poorly fitted with a few guns. At the end of the day it seemed unbelievable that the Dutch fled the area while the defenders of the city returned home in glory, praising Our Lady for her protection.
For the next four months the two cargo ships patrolled the waters, then, in July, they discovered that they had been trapped in a narrow strait by not five, but seven Dutch ships. Since their position did not afford a proper angle for battle, they prayed and waited. Fearful that they would be attacked, they vowed that if they were victorious they would pilgrimage barefoot to the Church of Santo Domingo to thank Our Lady of the Rosary. Through the intercession of La Naval, the two cargo ships were apparently unseen in the fading sunset since the Dutch ships turned toward Manila without firing on them. The two cargo ships then gave chase and closed in. At sunrise the next day the Dutch retreated in disgrace. As soon as the victors arrived home, they gratefully fulfilled their vow.
After the next battle the people of Manila began to call the cargo ships "the galleons of the miracle." After the fourth confrontation and victory the name was confirmed. Yet a fifth time the Dutch fleet appeared for battle. Anxious to defend their honor and restore their pride, the Dutch resolved to win at any cost. The advantage was definitely theirs when they found the two cargo ships anchored with the wind against them. Unable to move, the new cargo ships fought where they were and defeated the enemy so badly that they limped away, never to return.
Our Lady of the Rosary and the men of her two cargo ships defeated 15 well-equipped warships.
This victory at Manila is similar in many respects to the great naval victory at Lepanto, which was also credited to the intervention of Our Lady and the power of her Holy Rosary. In both instances Our Lady miraculously defended and granted victory to their seamen who placed their trust in her.
Sixteen years after the successful defense of Manila, an Ecclesiastical Council was convened in Cavite to study the unusual aspects of the five naval victories. The Council consisted of theologians, canonists, and prominent religious. On April 9, 1662, after studying all the written testimonies of the participants and eyewitnesses, the Council declared that the victories were:
Granted by the Sovereign Lord through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin and devotion to her Rosary, that the miracles be celebrated, preached and held in festivities and to be recounted among the miracles wrought by the Lady of the Rosary for the greater devotion of the faithful to Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary and her Holy Rosary.
This decree was signed by all eight members of the Ecclesiastical Council. (Joan Carroll Cruz, Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Portraits and Statues, TAN Books and Publishers, 1993, pp. 367-369.)
King Jan Sobieski of Poland defeated the Mohammedan forces of the Turks in the Battle at the Gates of Vienna on September 12, 1683, an epic battler in which Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary was once again the decisive factor:
In 1683 Turkish forces threatened once again to overrun Europe. They carried the war into Austria for the purpose of annihilating the Catholic religion. Kara Mustapha, Grand Vizier of Mahomet IV, had boasted that he would not rest until he had stabled his master's horses at Saint Peter's in Rome. With an army 300,000 strong, the leader of the infidels arrived at the gates of Vienna and laid siege to the city. Days of enemy assaults, fire, and disease had reduced the Austrian capital to the last extremity. A small garrison of exhausted men, under the command of the courageous Imperial General, Count Starhemberg, himself wounded in the attack, fought desperately, with no earthly help in sight.
Pope Innocent XI urgently appealed to the princes of Europe on behalf of the beleaguered city and, on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the "Unvanquished Lion of the North", John Sobieski, King of Poland, mounted his war-horse, going forth to battle for the glory of the cross and the preservation of all Christendom. (Letter to Blessed Pope Innocent XVI)
Before Our Lady's altar in Her sanctuary in Czestochowa, the King raised his sword and vowed not to sheathe it until the mighty Queen of Heaven had given victory. The army asked Her blessings on their enterprise. Marching towards Vienna, the men prayed the Holy Rosary, Sobieski, wearing an image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, gave his soldiers their battle cry: In the Name of Mary: Lord God, help!
Joining up with the Imperial army, under the command of Charles, Duke of Lorraine, John Sobieski, whose tranquil presence in the midst of fiercest combat had such power with his own forces, had been unanimously chosen to lead the united armies of Europe. Many a time had his fearless leadership routed the Moslem invaders!
At five o'clock on the morning of September 12, the Holy Sacrifice was celebrated by the papal legate, Father Marco d'Aviano, on the heights of Mount Kalemberg, overlooking the Austrian capital. The King yielded to no one in the honor serving that Mass. The armies of Christendom knelt in humble prayer. Later on that same day, Father Marco was to see a white dove hovering over this very king and his men while the battled raged, a sign of the victory to come.
The King gave a signal. Drums rolled, cannons roared and the great human avalanche plunged down the steep mountain precipices shouting, Jesus! Mary! Sobieski! Jesus! Mary! Sobieski!
Many were the separate and terrible combats on that memorable day, but suffice it to say that by five in the afternoon, the warrior king brandished his sword and charged upon the tent of the Turkish leader, shouting the words of the prophet king [David], Non nobis Domine exercituum, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam. Not to us, O Lord of Host, not to us, but to Thy name give the glory. [Psalm 113:9]
The name of Sobieski spread panic throughout the enemy camp. Kara Mustapha, trembling in his boots, turned to the Tarter Khan, Selim Gieray, Can you not save me? he pleaded. I know the Polish king, Selim replied, where he is, flight is our only refuge. Look out upon the firmament and you will see that God Himself is against us. (The two armies saw the crescent moon fade in the skies.) The Moslem army fled in terror. Sobieski and his men attributed their victory to God and the power of Our Lady's name.
We are now on our march to Hungary, the king wrote, taking advantage of their distraction to defeat the remainder of their scattered troops. I have all the princes of the Empire my companions in this enterprise, who tell me they are ready to follow such a leader not only into Hungary but to the end of the world...Thanks be to Heaven, now the half-moon triumphs no longer over the Cross.
Blessed Pope Innocent XI, established the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary to be celebrated on the twelfth of September each year as a perpetual memory of the victory of Vienna. (The Garland of Roses)
As important as these victories wrought by Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary have been, however, there is a far more important battle which each one of us fights every day: the battle that we must fight every day against the forces of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Our Lady is as indispensable in our battle against those forces as she was in helping the combined Christian forces defeat the Mohammedans 439 years ago. We need Our Lady's constant intercession to help us avoid sin and to scale the heights of sanctity, especially in these times of apostasy and betrayal.
Each Hail Mary we pray ends with a plea to Our Lady to "pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death." Do any of us know the exact moment of our deaths that God has appointed for us from all eternity? We need Our Lady to pray for us sinners, nunc, et hora mortis nostrae."
Yes, each of us is a sinner. As Saint John the Evangelist noted, "If any of us say we are without sin we are deceivers." While human nature has not been totally corrupted by Original Sin, as Martin Luther and John Calvin contended erroneously, it has been weakened by the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin, as well as our own actual sins committed after Baptism. Each one of our sins darkens our intellects and weakens our wills. Each one of our sins inclines us to sin all the more. An ancient prayer of the Church, which is included in the Miraculous Medal novena, tells us that we "must recover by penance what we have lost by sin." Our humble recognition of our fallen nature will lead us to recognize how dependent we must be upon our loving Blessed Mother to help us in our struggle against sin, as well as to recognize that we, who are the unmerited beneficiaries of Divine Mercy in the Sacrament of Penance, must freely bestow that mercy upon our fellow sinners when they disappoint or sin against us.
Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary contains a summary of the history of salvation from the moment of the Incarnation to that of her Coronation as Queen of Heaven and of earth. Each mystery, however, is intimately connected with the fact of our sinfulness, and that we need Our Lady's help to cooperate with the graces won for us by the shedding of her Divine Son's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross on Good Friday.
Pope Leo XIII wrote several penetrating and moving encyclical letters on Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. Writing at a time with outrages being committed against the Holy Faith that were, sadly, prophetic of those to be committed in our own day, Pope Leo XIII noted the following in his Encyclical Letter, Magnae Dei Matris, September 8, 1892:
It is only too plain how many and of what nature are the corrupting agencies by which the wickedness of the world deceitfully strives to weaken and completely uproot from souls their Christian faith and the respect for God's law on which faith is fed and depends for its effectiveness. Already the fields cultivated by our Lord are everywhere turning into a wilderness abounding in ignorance of the Faith, in error and vice, as though blown upon by some hideous pest. And to add to the anguish of this thought, so far from putting a check on such insolent and destructive depravity, or imposing the punishment deserved, they who can and should correct matters seem in many cases, by their indifference or open connivance, to increase the spirit of evil.
We have good reason to deplore the public institutions in which the teaching of the sciences and arts is purposely so organized that the name of God is passed over in silence or visited with vituperation; to deplore the license -- growing more shameless by the day -- of the press in publishing whatever it pleases, and the license of speech in addressing any kind of insult to Christ our God and His Church. And We deplore no less the consequent laxity and apathy in the practice of the Catholic religion which if not quite open apostasy from the Faith, is certainly going to prove an easy road to it, since it is a manner of life having nothing in common with faith. Nobody who ponders this disorder and the surrender of the most fundamental principles will be astonished if afflicted nations everywhere are groaning under the heavy hand of God's vengeance and stand anxious and trembling in fear of worse calamities.
Now, to appease the might of an outraged God and to bring that health of soul so needed by those who are sorely afflicted, there is nothing better than devout and persevering prayer, provided it be joined with a love for and practice of Christian life. And both of these, the spirit of prayer and the practice of Christian life, are best attained through the devotion of the Rosary of Mary.
The well-known origin of the Rosary, illustrated in celebrated monuments of which we have made frequent mention, bears witness to its remarkable efficacy. For, in the days when the Albigensian sect, posing as the champion of pure faith and morals, but in reality introducing the worst kind of anarchy and corruption, brought many a nation to its utter ruin, the Church fought against it and the other infamous factions associated with it, not with troops and arms, but chiefly with the power of the most holy Rosary, the devotion which the Mother of God taught to our Father Dominic in order that he might propagate it. By this means the Church triumphed magnificently over every obstacle and provided for the salvation of her children not only in that trial but in others like it afterward, always with the same glorious success. For this reason, now, when human affairs have taken the course which We deplore, bringing affection to the Church and ruin to the State, all of us have the duty to unite our voice in prayer, with like devotion, to the holy Mother of God, beseeching her that we too may rejoice, as we ardently desire, in experiencing the same power of her Rosary.
When we have recourse to Mary in prayer, we are having recourse to the Mother of mercy, who is so well disposed toward us that, whatever the necessity that presses upon us especially in attaining eternal life, she is instantly at our side of her own accord, even though she has not been invoked. She dispenses grace with a generous hand from that treasure with which from the beginning she was divinely endowed in fullest abundance that she might be worthy to be the Mother of God. By the fullness of grace which confers on her the most illustrious of her many titles, the Blessed Virgin is infinitely superior to all the hierarchies of men and angels, the one creature who is closest of all to Christ. "It is a great thing in any saint to have grace sufficient for the salvation of many souls; but to have enough to suffice for the salvation of everybody in the world. is the greatest of all; and this is found in Christ and in the Blessed Virgin."
It is impossible to say how pleasing and gratifying to her it is when we greet her with the Angelic Salutation, "full of grace"; and in repeating it, fashion these words of praise into ritual crowns for her. For every time we say them, we recall the memory of her exalted dignity and of the Redemption of the human race which God began through her. We likewise bring to mind the divine and everlasting bond which links her with the joys and sorrows, the humiliations and triumphs of Christ in directing and helping mankind to eternal life.
It pleased Christ to take upon Himself the Son of Man, and to become thereby our Brother, in order that His mercy to us might be shown most openly; for "it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest before God." Likewise because Mary was chosen to be the Mother of Christ, our Lord and our Brother, the unique prerogative was given her above all other mothers to show her mercy to us and to pour it out upon us. Besides, as we are indebted to Christ for sharing in some way with us the right, which is peculiarly His own, of calling God our Father and possessing Him as such, we are in like manner indebted to Him for His loving generosity in sharing with us the right to call Mary our Mother and to cherish her as such.
While nature itself made the name of mother the sweetest of all names and has made motherhood the very model of tender and solicitous love, no tongue is eloquent enough to put in words what every devout soul feels, namely how intense is the flame of affectionate and active charity which glows in Mary, in her who is truly our mother not in a human way but through Christ. Nobody knows and comprehends so well as she everything that concerns us: what helps we need in life; what dangers, public or private, threaten our welfare; what difficulties and evils surround us; above all, how fierce is the fight we wage with ruthless enemies of our salvation. In these and in all other troubles of life her power is most far-reaching. Her desire to use it is most ardent to bring consolation, strength, and help of every kind to children who are dear to her.
Accordingly, let us approach Mary confidently, wholeheartedly beseeching her by the bonds of her motherhood which unite her so closely to Jesus and at the same time to us. Let us with deepest devotion invoke her constant aid in the prayer which she herself has indicated and which is most acceptable to her. Then with good reason shall we rest with an easy and joyous mind under the protection of the best of mothers.
To this commendation of the Rosary which follows from the very nature of the prayer, We may add that the Rosary offers an easy way to present the chief mysteries of the Christian religion and to impress them upon the mind; and this commendation is one of the most beautiful of all. For it is mainly by faith that a man sets out on the straight and sure path to God and learns to revere in mind and heart His supreme majesty, His sovereignty over the whole of creation, His unsounded power, wisdom, and providence. For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder to those who seek Him. Moreover, because God's eternal Son assumed our humanity and shone before us as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our faith must include the lofty mysteries of the august Trinity of divine Persons and of the Father's only-begotten Son made Man: "This is eternal life: that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
God gave us a most precious blessing when He gave us faith. By this gift we are not only raised above the level of human things, to contemplate and share in the divine nature, but are also furnished with the means of meriting the rewards of heaven; and therefore the hope is encouraged and strengthened that we shall one day look upon God, not in the shadowy images of His creatures, but in the fullest light, and shall enjoy Him forever as the Supreme Goodness. But the Christian is kept so busy by the various affairs of life and wanders so easily into matters of little importance, that unless he be helped with frequent reminders, the truths which are of first importance and necessity are little by little forgotten; and then faith begins to grow weak and may even perish.
To ward off these exceedingly great dangers of ignorance from her children, the Church, which never relaxes her vigilant and diligent care, has been in the habit of looking for the staunchest support of faith in the Rosary of Mary. And indeed in the Rosary, along with the most beautiful and efficacious prayer arranged in an orderly pattern, the chief mysteries of our religion follow one another, as they are brought before our mind for contemplation: first of all the mysteries in which the Word was made flesh and Mary, the inviolate Virgin and Mother, performed her maternal duties for Him with a holy joy; there come then the sorrows, the agony and death of the suffering Christ, the price at which the salvation of our race was accomplished; then follow the mysteries full of His glory; His triumph over death, the Ascension into heaven, the sending of the Holy Spirit, the resplendent brightness of Mary received among the stars, and finally the everlasting glory of all the saints in heaven united with the glory of the Mother and her Son.
This uninterrupted sequence of wonderful events the Rosary frequently and perseveringly recalls to the minds of the faithful and presents almost as though they were unfolding before our eyes: and this, flooding the souls of those who devoutly recite it with a sweetness of piety that never grows weary, impresses and stirs them as though they were listening to the very voice of the Blessed Mother explaining the mysteries and conversing with them at length about their salvation.
Pope Leo elaborated on these themes in Iucunda Semper Expectatione, September 8, 1894:
Thus the excellence of the Rosary; considered under the double aspect We have here set forth, will convince you, Venerable Brethren, of the reasons We have for an incessant eagerness to commend and to promote it. At the present day -- and on this We have already touched -- there is a signal necessity of special help from Heaven, particularly manifest in the many tribulations suffered by the Church as to her liberties and her rights, as also in the perils whereby the prosperity and peace of Christian society are fundamentally threatened. So it is that it belongs to Our office to assert once again that We place the best of Our hopes in the holy Rosary, inasmuch as more than any other means it can impetrate from God the succor which We need. It is Our ardent wish that this devotion shall be restored to the place of honor; in the city and in the village, in the family and in the workshop, in the noble's house and in the peasant's; that it should be to all a dear devotion and a noble sign of their faith; that it may be a sure way to the gaining of the favor of pardon. To this end it is indispensable that zeal should be redoubled, while impiety daily redoubles its efforts and labors to move the justice of God and to provoke, for the general ruin, His terrible vengeance. Amongst so many causes of grief to all good men, and to Ourself, not the least is this, that in the very midst of Catholic nations there exist persons who are ever ready to rejoice in that which insults and outrages our august religion; and that they themselves, with incredible effrontery and with all publicity, seize every opportunity of teaching the multitude to hold reverend things in contempt and of persuading them from their old confidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. During the last months the very person of Our Divine Redeemer has not been spared. Such a depth of shameless indignity has been reached that Jesus Christ Himself has been dragged upon the stage of a theater often contaminated with corruptions, and has been represented there discrowned of that Divinity upon which rests the whole work of human salvation. And the last touch of shame was added in an attempt to rescue from the execration of ages the guilty name of him who was the very sign of perfidy, the betrayer of Christ. At the consummation of such excesses in the cities of Italy there arose a general cry of indignation, and energetic protest against the violation and trampling under foot of the inviolable rights of religion, and this in a nation that has for its greatest and most righteous boast that it is Catholic. The Bishops rose at once, on fire with holy zeal. And first they made their vigorous appeal to those whose sacred duty it is to safeguard the decorum of the religion of the country. Next, they informed their people of the gravity of the scandal, and exhorted them to special acts of reparation towards our most loving Savior exposed to such slanders.
We have pleasure, however, in rendering praise to the free and fruitful faith manifested by men of good will; and this has brought Us comfort in the bitterness inflicted upon the very quick of Our heart. And having regard to the duties of Our supreme ministry, We take this occasion to lift up Our voice and to unite Our complaints and protests to those of the Bishops and of their people, authenticated by Our Apostolic authority. And with a like ardor to that wherewith we condemned this sacrilegious offense, do We preach faith to all Catholics, and particularly to the Italians. Let them with jealous care guard this inestimable inheritance received from their fathers, let them defend it with courage, let them not cease from magnifying it with good actions of which their faith is the inspiring motive. This is a motive the more for the enkindling, in private and in common prayer, throughout the coming month of October, of a holy emulation in celebrating and honoring the Mother of God, the mighty succorer of the Christian people, the most glorious Queen of Heaven. For Our own part, We confirm with all Our heart the favors and indulgences We have already awarded upon this point. (Pope Leo XIII, Iucunda Semper Expectatione, September 8, 1894.)
In quite a contrast to the apostasy of false ecumenism unleashed by the "Second: Vatican Council and its aftermath in the "magisterium" of the conciliar antipopes, Pope Leo XIII noted in Adiutricem, September 8, 1895, that Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary was the path to bring Protestants and the Orthodox back into the one Sheepfold of Christ, the Catholic Church:
And so, in Mary, God has given us the most zealous guardian of Christian unity. There are, of course, more ways than one to win her protection by prayer, but as for Us, We think that the best and most effective way to her favor lies in the Rosary. We have elsewhere brought it to the attention of the devout Christian and not least among the advantages of the Rosary is the ready and easy means it puts in his hands to nurture his faith, and to keep him from ignorance of his religion and the danger of error.
The very origin of the Rosary makes that plain. When such faith is exercised by vocally repeating the Our Father and Hail Mary of the Rosary prayers, or better still in the contemplation of the mysteries, it is evident how close we are brought to Mary. For every time we devoutly say the Rosary in supplication before her, we are once more brought face to face with the marvel of our salvation; we watch the mysteries of our Redemption as though they were unfolding before our eyes; and as one follows another, Mary stands revealed at once as God's Mother and our Mother.
The sublimity of that double dignity, the fruits of her twofold ministry, appear in vivid light when in devout meditation we think of Mary's share in the joyful, the sorrowful, the glorious mysteries of her Son. The heart is inflamed by these reflections with a feeling of grateful love toward her and, esteeming everything beneath her as so much worthless chaff, strives with manful purpose to prove worthy of such a Mother and the gifts she bestows. Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, often repeated in the spirit of faith, cannot help but please her and move her, the fondest of mothers, to show mercy to her children.
For that reason We say that the Rosary is by far the best prayer by which to plead before her the cause of our separated brethren. To grant a favorable hearing belongs properly to her office of spiritual Mother. For Mary has not brought forth-nor could she-those who are of Christ except in the one same Faith and in the one same love; for "Can Christ be divided? All must live the life of Christ in an organic unity in order to "bring forth fruit to God" in the one same body. Every one of the multitudes, therefore, whom the mischief of calamitous events has stolen away from that unity, must be born again to Christ of that same Mother whom God has endowed with a never failing fertility to bring forth a holy people. And this Mary, for her part, longs to do. Adorned by us with garlands of her favorite prayer, she will obtain by her entreaties help in abundance from the Spirit that quickeneth. God grant that they refuse not to comply with the burning desire of their merciful Mother but, on the contrary, give ear, like men of good will, with a proper regard for their eternal salvation, to the voice, gently persuasive, which calls to them: "My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you." (Pope Leo XIII, Adiutricem, September 8, 1895.)
Pope Leo XIII noted in his Laetitiae Sanctae, September 8, 1893, hat the whole of social order itself depends upon man's devotion to Our Lady in her Most Holy Rosary. There is no salvation in "conservatism" or any other form of naturalism or secular philosophy or ideology. The hope of mankind is Our Lady, who made possible our salvation by her perfect fiat to the Father's Holy Will at the Annunciation. She must be recognized as the Queen of all nations. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply deceiving himself. Consider the words of Pope Leo XIII, found in Laetitiae Sanctae:
The third evil for which a remedy is needed is one which is chiefly characteristic of the times in which we live. Men in former ages, although they loved the world, and loved it far too well, did not usually aggravate their sinful attachment to the things of earth by a contempt of the things of heaven. Even the right-thinking portion of the pagan world recognized that this life was not a home but a dwelling-place, not our destination, but a stage in the journey. But men of our day, albeit they have had the advantages of Christian instruction, pursue the false goods of this world in such wise that the thought of their true Fatherland of enduring happiness is not only set aside, but, to their shame be it said, banished and entirely erased from their memory, notwithstanding the warning of St. Paul, "We have not here a lasting city, but we seek one which is to come" (Heb. xiii., 4).
When We seek out the causes of this forgetfulness, We are met in the first place by the fact that many allow themselves to believe that the thought of a future life goes in some way to sap the love of our country, and thus militates against the prosperity of the commonwealth. No illusion could be more foolish or hateful. Our future hope is not of a kind which so monopolizes the minds of men as to withdraw their attention from the interests of this life. Christ commands us, it is true, to seek the Kingdom of God, and in the first place, but not in such a manner as to neglect all things else. For, the use of the goods of the present life, and the righteous enjoyment which they furnish, may serve both to strengthen virtue and to reward it. The splendor and beauty of our earthly habitation, by which human society is ennobled, may mirror the splendor and beauty of our dwelling which is above. Therein we see nothing that is not worthy of the reason of man and of the wisdom of God. For the same God who is the Author of Nature is the Author of Grace, and He willed not that one should collide or conflict with the other, but that they should act in friendly alliance, so that under the leadership of both we may the more easily arrive at that immortal happiness for which we mortal men were created.
But men of carnal mind, who love nothing but themselves, allow their thoughts to grovel upon things of earth until they are unable to lift them to that which is higher. For, far from using the goods of time as a help towards securing those which are eternal, they lose sight altogether of the world which is to come, and sink to the lowest depths of degradation. We may doubt if God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.
It is from this danger that they will be happily rescued, who, in the pious practice of the Rosary, are wont, by frequent and fervent prayer, to keep before their minds the glorious mysteries. These mysteries are the means by which in the soul of a Christian a most clear light is shed upon the good things, hidden to sense, but visible to faith, "which God has prepared for those who love Him." From them we learn that death is not an annihilation which ends all things, but merely a migration and passage from life to life. By them we are taught that the path to Heaven lies open to all men, and as we behold Christ ascending thither, we recall the sweet words of His promise, "I go to prepare a place for you." By them we are reminded that a time will come when "God will wipe away every tear from our eyes," and that "neither mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more," and that "We shall be always with the Lord," and "like to the Lord, for we shall see Him as He is," and "drink of the torrent of His delight," as "fellow-citizens of the saints," in the blessed companionship of our glorious Queen and Mother. Dwelling upon such a prospect, our hearts are kindled with desire, and we exclaim, in the words of a great saint, "How vile grows the earth when I look up to heaven!" Then, too, shall we feel the solace of the assurance "that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. iv., 17).
Here alone we discover the true relation between time and eternity, between our life on earth and our life in heaven; and it is thus alone that are formed strong and noble characters. When such characters can be counted in large numbers, the dignity and well-being of society are assured. All that is beautiful, good, and true will flourish in the measure of its conformity to Him who is of all beauty, goodness, and truth the first Principle and the Eternal Source.
These considerations will explain what We have already laid down concerning the fruitful advantages which are to be derived from the use of the Rosary, and the healing power which this devotion possesses for the evils of the age and the fatal sores of society. These advantages, as we may readily conceive, will be secured in a higher and fuller measure by those who band themselves together in the sacred Confraternity of the Rosary, and who are thus more than others united by a special and brotherly bond of devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. In this Confraternity, approved by the Roman Pontiffs, and enriched by them with indulgences and privileges, they possess their own rule and government, hold their meetings at stated times, and are provided with ample means of leading a holy life and of laboring for the good of the community. They are, are so to speak, the battalions who fight the battle of Christ, armed with His Sacred Mysteries, and under the banner and guidance of the Heavenly Queen. How faithfully her intercession is exercised in response to their prayers, processions, and solemnities is written in the whole experience of the Church not less than in the splendor of the victory of Lepanto. (Pope Leo XIII, Laetitiae Sanctae, September 8, 1893.)
As we know, there is a greater victory coming: that of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart following the proper consecration of Russia by a true pope and all of the world's true bishops in exact accord with Our Lady's Fatima Message. We are called to be participants in helping to usher in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by our assiduous devotion to Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and our evangelical zeal to bring all those God places in our path each day to love Our Lady and to pray the fifteen decades of Our Lady's Psalter, her Most Holy Rosary.
Our Lady did, after all, invite Saint Bernadette Soubirous to pray the Rosary in the Grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes, France, in 1858, by making the Sign of the Cross with the Crucifix on her Rosary beads, and she did tell Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos to pray the Rosary every day when she appeared to them in the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. She did not do these things on her own initiative. She was sent to us from Heaven above by her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Himself, to tell us to pray her Most Holy Rosary so that we can get back home to Heaven as we meditate upon the very mysteries of our salvation. Only fools possessed of some kind of combination of the evil spirits of Albigensianism or Jansenism or rationalism (which is, after all, the same thing as Protestantism) disparage the necessity of praying Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary, thereby ignoring Heaven's plea for us to do so.
No Rosary we pray is ever wasted. Those of us who are totally consecrated to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart need to understand that everything we do and have, every prayer we say, every indulgenced act that we perform--in a world, our all--belongs to Our Lady. We are her slaves, willingly giving her everything we do without looking for tangible results here on the face of this earth. We will only discover in eternity, please God and by Our Lady's maternal intercession we die in states of Sanctifying Grace, what sort of good our fidelity to praying the Rosary well each day of our lives accomplished for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity and for the good of the souls redeemed by Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross.
As I noted six years ago in a talk given on Rosary Sunday, The Rosary And Naturalism, the Rosary was given to us as the antidote to the heresy of Albigensianism. Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary is just as much a weapon against Naturalism in all of its mutant variations. We should recognize this and ask Our Lady in her Most Holy Rosary to keep us safe from all of the influences of naturalism. The agents of naturalism on television and on the radio have nothing to teach us as they do not understand the things of this world in light of First and Last Things. Our time is much better spent praying more Rosaries than it is on wasting our time on the insane babblings of naturalists who are, by virtue of the very fact that they are naturalists, enemies of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen.
Our Lady was sent from Heaven above to give Saint Dominic her Most Holy Rosary to bring us to Heaven through her loving hands. It is always time to pray a Rosary, wouldn't you agree? Isn't it time to do so now if we are serious about getting home to Heaven and joining with Our Lady in the adoration of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Mark I, pray for us.
Saints Sergius, Bacchus, Marcellus, and
Apuleius, pray for us.