The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7th, hence the devotion to her of this month. The Collect of the Mass of Our Lady of the Rosary is:
Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.
This prayer will probably be familiar to many as part of the prayers of the Angelus. When we pray the Rosary we are invited to enter into the mysteries of the life of Our Lord and of Our Lady. During the praying of each decade we spend time pondering and contemplating the incident which is presented to us and place ourselves “there” with Our Lady so as to come to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of our faith. The use of the rosary goes back to the time in the Church’s life when many Catholics sought to repeat the 150 psalms daily, hence the traditional use of 150 Hail Mary’s in the Rosary. The Rosary itself developed in the Middle Ages and was greatly promoted by St. Dominic and the Dominicans. It is hard to find a saint that would not promote and praise as a most worthy prayer the Rosary of Our Lady. For many the Rosary is a part of their daily prayer life and the Rosary is promoted as a perfect prayer for a family to pray together on a daily basis. Praying the rosary regularly has brought much solace and comfort to countless souls, been that which has strengthened the bonds of family, been a seedbed for vocations and a great tool to aid in the conversion of others or to be offered for a particular intention.
Traditionally there are Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary – the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. They are traditionally prayed on specific days, so the Joyful Mysteries are prayed on Mondays and Thursdays, the Sorrowful on Tuesdays and Fridays and the Glorious on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II added the option of the Luminous Mysteries to be prayed on Thursdays.
There are numerous books and articles, etc., on the Rosary and so a list of them would be exhaustive, however, you may want to consider look at “The Rosary of Our Lady” by Romano Guardini, “The Secret of the Rosary” by St. Louis de Montfort, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” Apostolic Letter of John Paul II, or “The Excellence of the Rosary” by Rev. M.J. Frings. Finally, in light of the number of monthly devotions that are centered on Our Lady it may be of value to purchase a copy of “The Glories of Mary” by St. Alphonsus Liguori – a true treasure in reflecting on the Blessed Mother.
(This article is part of a series that will appear over the course of this year on the Monthly Devotions of the Church’s year).