150 salutations of Our Blessed Mother, fifteen holy mysteries of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection; a combination of vocal and meditative prayer. The rosary truly is the most marvelous of all the devotions within Holy Mother Church. A priest in my diocese, Fr. Rick Heilman (wonderful priest), often calls it our “umbilical cord” to the Virgin Mother. Through this string of 153 beads we are brought directly into the presence of Mary, Queen of Angels, where she takes our prayers and offers them up to her Most Holy Son.
I cannot count the number of times when I grew lukewarm, or my faith wavered, or when I was on the precipice of despair and a simple 15 minutes spent with Our Lady washed it all away. There is great power to be found in such a devotion, St Louis de Montfort put it this way:
“The Rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother.”
Oftentimes, some men within the Church will dismiss the rosary as something that old ladies do in their free time. Discarding this gift as a novelty of the past, or trivializing it as mere “worry beads.” The rosary is in fact a weapon. Honestly the most powerful one that man can utilize. Look at it this way: through the simple meditation and recitation of these prayers we are seeking out the aid of the most glorious creature in all of creation, the Holy Theotokos. There is no other creature more exalted nor glorified than the Virgin Mother of God. And to receive her intercession in times of strife is a power which no force on earth or in hell can withstand.
St Padre Pio would pray his rosary upwards of thirty times a day! There is a little story of a time when St Pio forgot his rosary in his cell, and he asked a fellow monk to retrieve ‘his weapon’ for him. It is remarkable how such a humble devotion has enough power to shake the foundations of hell.
Even outside of the Western Church the rosary has found devotees in one form or another. St Seraphim of Sarov was enamored with the Theotokos and would devoutly recite an older rendition of 150 Marian salutations on the holy rosary. There are even those in the Western rite of Eastern Orthodoxy who are devoted to the practice, which goes to show just how wonderful a devotion it truly is.
In traditionalist Catholic circles, devotion to the holy rosary is strong, and I believe it may be on the rise once more in the wider Church. If there was any devotion to take up in our most troubled times, the rosary is the one to choose. And this is coming from a guy who calls himself the ‘slave to the sacred heart!’ Not only am I advocating this devotion, but when Our Lady appeared to the children at Fatima, she specifically requested that they continue to pray the rosary fervently. There was even a new prayer given to pray after each decade. I make an effort to pray a 5-decade rosary at least once a day, and I’ve got two toddlers and a full-time job, so if I can find the time anyone certainly can. Just 15 minutes of focused, meditative prayer to Our Lady can work miracles.
As a final note, I would like to mention that beginning on August 15th there will be a 54-day rosary novena prayed for the intentions of a positive outcome of the upcoming Amazon Synod. So please take the time each day from August 15th through October 7th!