St. Dominic de Guzman, who’s feast was on the 4th, was born to a noble Spanish family in the year 1170. He was an incredibly pious child, and it was no small surprise when, in 1194, he entered the Benedictine order, after ten years of intense study in theology and liberal arts. While Dominic was studying at the university at Palencia, a terrible famine left many homeless and destitute. The saint sold all he had, his clothes, furniture, and even his precious books to buy food for the poor. When asked why he had gone to such lengths, he replied, “Would you have me study from these dead skins when people are dying from hunger?” We see then that even before his earthly mission had begun, Dominic already possessed the virtues characteristic of a true son of the Church.
Around the same time, the Albigensian, or Cathars, were reviving the Manichean teaching that there were two gods: one good, who had dominion over the spiritual realm, and one bad, who had power over all things physical. They believed that all matter, including their own bodies, were intrinsically evil. Some went so far as to commit suicide to rid themselves of their physical bodies. St. Dominic went on a missionary journey through the south of France, where the heresy was flourishing, in order to reclaim those poor souls for Christ. The heretics were taken aback by his austerity. Undoubtedly his strong conviction and humble appearance helped Dominic to convince them of the truth and beauty of the faith they once professed. Soon, St. Dominic and his Benedictine colleagues established a monastery in Prouille, and in 1215, he was given approval to start his own religious order. They were called the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans. The work had begun.
A year prior to this, in 1214, Dominic had a vision, in which the Blessed Virgin Mary presented him with a rosary, as well as instructions on how to recite it. This is the rosary we pray today, with a few changes. Dominic became a fervent disciple of this devotion, and carried a rosary with him wherever he went. It is through his actions and zeal that the rosary gained recognition. Truly we owe him for this invaluable treasure he helped to give us.
Sadly, many Catholics seem to have forgotten this time old tradition, or at least brush it off as a practice for elderly women. However, the rosary is in fact one of the most important prayers of our time. Consider the confusion surrounding us in the Church. We, the sheep, have a deficiency in orthodox leadership. Many clerics, who are supposed to be our shepherds, seem to be compromising on or openly accepting the errors of Modernism. Truly, we are in a crisis, with faith and morals by and large being rejected by a once Christian world. We have few men left to turn to in hope of light and guidance. But Mary, our mother, provides for us a beautiful meditation on the events of Christ’s life, and a powerful weapon in time of tribulation. The rosary then, serves as an anchor for our souls amid the chaos of the modern world.
Consider the promises our Lady made to those who recite the rosary daily:
- To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces.
- Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary will receive some special grace.
- The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy.
- The rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
- Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish.
- Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life.
- Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
- Those who are faithful to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed.
- I will deliver promptly from purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary.
- True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in heaven.
- What you shall ask through my Rosary shall obtain.
- To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities.
- I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court.
- Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
- Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination
Some promises are too good to be true, but not our Lady’s. Her divine Son grants her every wish. Why then, do we not pray the rosary more? Can you not sacrifice a mere 15 minutes of your day, in order to pray the most holy rosary? If you haven’t already today, make some time to do so. The rosary is the weapon we have to wield in order to combat the evil afflicting the Church today. Will we, as loyal children of the Church, pick up our beads and defend the bride of Christ against the onslaught of Satan and his angels? Mary has given us our weapon; the choice is up to us.
– Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!