Legaspi: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

OCTOBER 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The other title of the Blessed Mother of the Holy Rosary is "Our Lady of Victory" in honor of a 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against Turkish invasion. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle of Lepanto through a campaign to pray the rosary throughout Europe.

The Catholic News Agency gives us this beautiful reflection about the Blessed Mother. Allow me to quote what they have written. "This

devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven," Pope Leo continued, "has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy ... or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies." Foremost among such "attacks" was the battle of Lepanto, a perilous and decisive moment in European and world history."

A short history of the miracles of our Mother as I recalled my notes in church history. The Turkish Ottoman Empire invaded and occupied the Byzantine Empire in mid-1400s. The Turks bought with them the Islamic law. For the next hundred years, the Turks expanded their empire westward on land and asserted their naval power in the Mediterranean.

Three Catholic powers on the continent -- Genoa, Spain, and the Papal States -- allied called the Holy League, to defend their Christian civilization against the Turkish invasion. Its fleets sailed to confront the Turks near the west coast of Greece on October 7, 1571. Crew members on more than 200 ships prayed the rosary in preparation for the battle - as did Christians throughout Europe, encouraged by the pope to gather in their churches to invoke the Virgin Mary against the daunting Turkish forces.

Some accounts say that Pope Pius V was granted a miraculous vision of the Holy League's stunning victory. Without a doubt, the pope understood the significance of the day's events, when he was eventually informed that all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships had been captured or sunk. He was moved to institute the feast now celebrated universally as Our Lady of the Rosary.

So, the rosary had been a very powerful tool of not only saving the lives of people but also of saving oneself from the destruction of sin. Praying the rosary in times of temptation is a very powerful weapon against leading us to sin.

A "Christian" friend of mine, one time ridiculed me as a pagan for doing repetitious prayer and with a rosary bead on my hand. I kept on praying until the end of the rosary while he kept on ridiculing me for doing pagan practices. After the prayer, I told him that "yes I may have done a pagan act but at last, I had prayed and what have you done, have you prayed too?" I also told him that I did not only prayed to Jesus but also prayed to His Mother. He kept silent and I guessed he too prayed.

The rosary is one symbol for us Catholics. It was the dream of my mother to have every Catholic to have a rosary ring or beads. When I was young and we were at the farm, together with the farm workers and my grandmother, we pray the rosary after angelus at the hacienda chapel. When I grew up and whenever I slept on the farm, I would ask the people to continue the tradition and now I am happy that at least for the month of the rosary the people in the farm are praying every dusk.

The next time, you have problems, never forget to turn to the Blessed Mother. Use your rosary beads in praying to her. Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.


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