Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7)

Pilgrim Relic from the Holy Land, 6th century

The feast today is a reminder of the spiritual power of  the Rosary, a simple prayer we pray with Mary, recalling the mysteries of Jesus Christ, her Son. The rosary is “a school of Mary.” We ask her, who followed her Son and kept memories of him in her heart, to help us obtain his promises. 

St. Bernard recalls Mary’s role in the Incarnation of her Son:

The child to be born of you will be called holy, the Son of God, the fountain of wisdom, the Word of the Father on high. Through you, blessed Virgin, this Word will become flesh, so that even though, as he says: I am in the Father and the Father is in me, it is still true for him to say: “I came forth from God and am here.”

By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, invisible and unthinkable, God wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of. 

But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory. Finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.

Wisely meditate on these truths; rightly recall the abundant sweetness, given by the fruits of this priestly root. And Mary, drawing abundantly from heaven, will cause this sweetness to overflow for us.”

An “incomprehensible, inaccessible, invisible, unthinkable” God wished to be understood, seen and thought of, St Bernard says. We usually begin the Rosary with the Creed, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” Mary believed in the Creator of heaven and earth. Only One so mighty could do such great things in her.

Lord, open our hearts to your grace. May we, who learned to believe,  through the angel’s message,  in the incarnation of Christ your Son,  be brought by his passion and cross,  at the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  to the glory of his resurrection.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

Originally this memorial was celebrated in thanksgiving for Mary’s intercession for the defeat on October 7,1571 of Turkish naval forces that threatened Europe. She was seen as a sign that God can raise up the lowly and “cast down the mighty from their thrones.”

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