Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary-A A +A
Questions that Matter
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
ONE could not believe that we are already in the middle of the month of October. I was shocked last Saturday when I saw a student assistant from the Accounting office bringing the pay slips. I paused a while and thought about it. It is really the middle of the month already. How time flies these days. Anyway, October is the month of the Holy Rosary and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
In one of my articles, I promised to deal with the topic on the Holy Rosary. Now is the time. I scrolled over a lot of sites in the net tackling the topic on the Rosary. I also searched from my seminary notes regarding the Rosary and what I found were historical notes regarding the devotion to the Blessed Mother through the praying of the Holy Rosary. Throughout history the popes had many encyclicals dedicated to the devotion of the Holy Rosary.
Historically, Wikipedia tells us that in 1571 Pope Pius V instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory in the Battle of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a rosary procession had been offered on that day in St. Peter's Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to "Feast of the Holy Rosary." This feast was extended by Pope Clement XI to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays. Thus, the devotion to the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary started.
How about the rosary beads, where did the devotion using it come from? The rosary came from the Latin term, rosarium, meaning "rose garden." It is a Roman Catholic sacramental and Marian devotion to prayer and the commemoration of Jesus Christ and events of his life. The term "Rosary" is used to describe both a sequence of prayers and a string of prayer beads used to count the prayers. The word is sometimes written with an initial capital in a Catholic context. The traditional 15 Mysteries of the Rosary were standardized based on the long-standing custom, by Pope St. Pius V in the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries, and the Glorious mysteries. In 2002, Pope John Paul II announced a set of five new optional mysteries called the Luminous mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to 20.
Now, allow me to share to you some of the important dates in the evolution of our devotion to the holy Rosary. In the 4th century prayer rope were used by the Desert Fathers to count repetitions of the Lord's Prayer. By the 7th century prayers to Mary were becoming more common, around 1075 Lady Godiva refers in her will to "the circlet of precious stones which she had threaded on a cord in order that by fingering them one after another she might count her prayers exactly." A rule for anchorites in mid-12th century England gives directions on how 50 Hail Marys are to be said divided into sets of ten, with prostrations and other marks of reverence.
It is recorded in 12th century Mary-legends (Marien-legenden) that a certain Eulalia was told to pray five decades slowly and devoutly instead of 15 decades in a hurry. In 1160, Saint Rosalia is buried with a string of prayer beads  1214 traditional date of the legend of Saint Dominic's reception of the rosary from the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Rosary. It is recorded of St. Louis of France (1214-70) that "without counting his other prayers the holy King knelt down every evening 50 times and each time he stood upright then knelt again and repeated slowly an Ave Maria." Mid-13th century word "Rosary" first used (by Thomas of Champitre, in De apibus, ii. 13), not referring to prayer beads but in a Marian context.
Fifteenth century Blessed Alanus de Rupe (Alain de la Roche) established the "15 rosary promises" and started many rosary confraternities. In 1514, Hail Mary prayer attains its current form. In 1569, Pope Pius V established the original 15 mysteries. In 1579, Instructions and advertisements, how to meditate the mysteries of the rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary by Gaspar Loarte is published. In 1587, Rosario della Sacratissima Vergine Maria by Ven. Luis de Granada is published in Italian, which uses a similar method to the fourth method of the five methods of praying the rosary by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort. In 1589, Instructions for the use of the beades by John Bucke is published. In 1597, first recorded use of the term "rosary" to refer to prayer beads.
In recent history, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima is said to ask that the Fatima Prayer be added to the Rosary. Her visionaries state that she also asks for the Rosary to be said to stop the war, and as part of the Immaculate Heart's reparation. In 1974, Pope Paul VI issues the Apostolic Letter Marialis Cultus which devotes 14 sections to the use of the rosary within the Roman Catholic Church. In 2002, Pope John Paul II introduces the Luminous Mysteries as an option for Roman Catholics.
Today, the devotion continues, especially in the Philippines. The Filipinos will always turn to the Blessed Mother as the Mediatrix and the bridge to the Father. So, as we dedicated the month of October to the Blessed Mother, let us all pray the Rosary.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
St. Ezekiel Moreno, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, Blessed Pedro Calungsod and John Paul II, and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 16, 2012.