In the Month of the Rosary, UCL medical student Dominique Rouse writes about the Rosary. It is, she says, not merely a prayer for supplications. It is a prayer of mission.
"The Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God." St. Louis Marie de Montfort could not have described it more beautifully nor more accurately. As a member of the Legion of Mary, a Catholic lay organisation devoted to Our Lady and to spreading the message of God’s love to the world, I revere and love the Holy Rosary. I love it for the peace it brings to those who have recourse to Our Lady and the power it has to change one’s trials into triumphs. Myriad experiences have taught me to rely on this prayer in the darkest of moments and it has never failed me.
The Holy Rosary is essentially a ‘synopsis of the Gospel’ (Lacordaire). In it, the four mysteries tell the story of God’s love for Man and the ultimate sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son in order to save the souls of men. In addition, Pope Leo XIII states that “its contents, the [twenty] mysteries, celebrate the principal interventions of the Holy Spirit in the drama of Redemption.” In ‘The Secret of the Rosary’, St. Louis Marie de Montfort describes it as comprising two parts: mental and vocal prayer. Mental prayer is meditation upon the life, death and glory of Our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother. According to him, meditation is the soul of the rosary. Vocal prayer is composed of the prayer of Christ and the angelic salutation, that is, the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Hail Mary’ respectively. It involves beseeching Our Lady’s prayers for us while contemplating the virtues of the twenty decades: the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries and those of Light.
As Pope Leo XIII wisely put it: “It is the remedy for all evils, the root of all blessings.” In this single statement he outlines two of the major roles of the Holy Rosary: its role in disarming the Devil and its role in channelling God’s graces to His children through Our Holy Mother. Both a tonic and a cure, it is Our Lady’s most powerful weapon to procure souls in order to fulfill her role in God’s plan for the redemption of man.
From the end of the second century to now, Our Lady’s part in God’s plan of redemption has been acknowledged by the Church. According to Hilda Graef in ‘Devotion to the Blessed Virgin’:
“Through her obedient acceptance of God’s will, she became Eve’s counterpart and as Eve had had a secondary role in Man’s fall, Mary also had a secondary role in Man’s redemption, preparing [men] for salvation. For by her obedience, she became the pure womb which regenerates men unto God.”
Our Lady as the spouse of the Holy Spirit did not only agree to be the Mother of God, but also, upon her ‘fiat’, agreed to bring salvation to the world and redeem God’s people. Revealed to St. Dominic in 1214, the Holy Rosary was given to him by Our Lady as a tool to convert the unrepentant sinners of his time. Today, it still serves as her weapon against the Devil.
The Legion of Mary starts every meeting with the most Holy Rosary. As legionaries, the Rosary is not merely a prayer for supplications. It is a prayer of mission. When we say the Rosary before our meetings, it focuses us on the task at hand. It arms us with the graces we need to effectively spread God’s love in the world, through acts of kindness and sharing of His Word with those we encounter in our daily lives. The transformative power of the Rosary converts us sinners into servants and opens our hearts to immense graces: particularly faith, hope and charity.
Our role as Christians is to arm ourselves with the Rosary and ask Our Lady for the graces we need to be good Christian examples in the world. Each one of us has a purpose in life, regardless of our age. While we are still breathing in this world, there is a purpose we are required to fulfill. The Holy Rosary illuminates what our missions are and enables us to fulfill them. According to St. Josemaria Escriva: "If you say the Holy Rosary everyday, with a spirit of faith and love, Our Lady will make sure she leads you very far along her Son's path." Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
The Vocations Office, in collaboration with the Agency for Evangelisation, have produced a prayer card entitled 'Praying the Rosary for the Renewal of Christian Vocation'. Parishes and schools can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more of these cards.