St. Dominic started the practice of praying the rosary daily; a devotion he spread far and wide during his life. Since then, the graces flowing from this prayer has been confirmed and emphasized through the examples of many great saints and apparitions of the Blessed Mother.
One of the most well-known apparitions of Mary was that of Fatima, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children in a field. Our Lady urged the children to pray the rosary daily for the conversion of sinners. She also told one of the children, Francisco, that in order to enter heaven, he must pray many rosaries. What a powerful prayer the rosary is indeed, to not only soften the hearts of the most hardened of sinners, but to grant entrance to heaven itself!
Another apparition stressing the importance of the Holy Rosary took place in Lourdes, France. It was there, in a little cave, that the Virgin Mary appeared to a young peasant, Bernadette Soubirous. At the first moment of their meeting, Bernadette did not launch into questions, nor did the Lady introduce herself. No words were spoken save the immediate recitation of the rosary, and even in this, the Blessed Mother showed her perfect humility by only saying aloud the Glory Be, honoring the Holy Trinity, for it would not be fitting for her to say the Hail Mary, a prayer in praise of herself, nor to pray the Our Father, as she had no need for Daily Bread. Throughout all the visions Bernadette received from her beautiful lady, they always began with this ever important prayer.
Lourdes and Fatima have not been the only places the Blessed Mother had urged us to pray the rosary. She longs to grant our requests through this prayer, if only we will ask! Even if she does not appear to us, she still pours out her graces on even the smallest requests made through her prayer.
But what is it that makes the Rosary so powerful? Surely, though she is the mother of God, she has no power like Christ’s on her own. She intercedes for us to Him, just as she did long ago at the wedding at Canna, when the wedded couple ran out of wine at the feast. She tells Him that there is no more wine. Jesus answers by telling her that it is not yet His time. Nonetheless, Mary turns to the servants and tells them to ‘do whatever He tells you.’ Immediately, Jesus grants her request, and the miracle of the water turned into wine takes place. And just to provide wine for a wedding! This is just one example of how powerful Mary’s intercession is for us, and how readily her Son grants her requests! How much more she longs to grant us if only we ask her!
Yet some might protest, saying, “The rosary is so monotonous. It’s just a bunch of Hail Marys over and over and over until you drop off to sleep!” They might complain, “What’s so special about a prayer like that?” A saint, once pressed with a objection such as this, responded that praying the Hail Mary over and over is the same as a child clinging to its mother and saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” over and over until the child has its mother’s attention and she grants her child’s request. Mary is truly our Mother, always listening, always interceding with her Son for us. The rosary is our ultimate petition to heaven, to be borne by the Blessed Mother to be laid at the feet of God Himself.
We have only to ask through the rosary.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!