Pray the Rosary – VL197
“I beg of you to beware of thinking of the Rosary as something of little importance – as do ignorant people and even several great but proud scholars. Far from being insignificant, the Rosary is a priceless treasure which is inspired by God.”
-The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis De Montfort
Octave of the Epiphany
Dear Friend of Our Lady,
“I feel like I should be doing more.” These were the words of one long-time volunteer for Our Lady’s apostolate recently. She is not alone. We hear similar sentiments from other volunteers and supporters.
Generally this expressed desire accompanies a discussion involving the crisis in the Church which has surpassed anything witnessed in the last 2000 years, and the subsequent moral decline in the world, all of which Our Lady of Fatima warned about.
Quite possibly, because you are among the few in the world who know the Fatima Message and understand its importance for the salvation of souls and its significance with regard to turning the Church and the world back to Christ, you may also be wondering what else you could or should be doing.
Here Is One Suggestion
One suggestion is to pray the full Rosary. As you know, when Our Lady came to Fatima She repeated Her request at each of the six apparitions that we pray the Rosary every day.
A complete Rosary is comprised of fifteen decades or all three sets of mysteries – Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious. Its very history confirms this. The 150 Hail Marys prayed in the fifteen decades comes from, or evolved from, the 150 Psalms in the Bible – which in the early Church were recited daily by monks and hermits.
In the 5th Century, recognizing the difficulties for many religious monks in praying all 150 Psalms daily, Saint Benedict arranged the Psalms for his monks so that they prayed all 150 in a week (today that is known as the prayers of the Divine Office). Around the 7th Century, Irish monks divided the 150 Psalms of David into a format of three groups of fifty.
In the 12th Century, in praise of Our Lady, the custom of reciting Psalms was replaced by Hail Marys. Father James Galvin (a Redemptorist) wrote, “By the 13th Century, the number of Aves (Hail Marys) was set at one hundred and fifty to equal the number of the Psalms of David”.
St. Thomas Aquinas explains that the Psalter of David, composed of 150 Psalms, is divided into three equal parts of 50 Psalms each. “These three equal parts represent (figuratively) the three stages in which the faithful find themselves: the state of penance, the state of justice, the state of glory”.
Father Anthony Fuerst explains in his book, This Rosary, “The Rosary of Mary is divided into three parts of fifty Hail Marys each in order to express fully the phases of the life of the faithful: penance, justice and glory.”
In referring to the Rosary’s traditional structure, Msgr. George Shea writes, “Because its 150 Hail Marys correspond to the 150 Psalms of the Psalter, the complete Rosary is sometimes called ‘Our Lady’s Psalter.’”
In the 13th Century, when Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic in response to his appeal for help in crushing the widespread heresy of his day, the solution She gave him was the Rosary.
In placing the Rosary into the hands of St. Dominic (and thus, via him, into our hands), Our Lady put Her seal of approval on the practice that had been established in the Church, and strongly encouraged its practice in order to defeat heresy and other evils.
Our Lady’s Psalter is known by many names, which include but are not limited to: the Angelic Psalter, the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of course, the Dominican Rosary – given because of the Saint through whom the Queen of Heaven condescended to give Her Psalter to us.
She Herself used the term “Psalter” twice, which is the Rosary designated as 150 Aves that link it to the Psalms of David.
Our Lady makes the distinction between the term Rosary and one set of mysteries of the Rosary in the Fatima Message. At each apparition She told the children to pray one-third of the Rosary (in Portuguese, “Terço”) – that is, one-third of the 15 mysteries, which is one set of mysteries or five decades – every day.
Then when Our Lady returned to ask for the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays (December 10, 1925), as She had promised the children that She would in the apparition at Fatima July 13, 1917, She made the same distinction when giving the requirements for making the Five First Saturdays.
She asked Sister Lucia to console Her for the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful men by announcing Our Lady’s request for reparation to be made on the First Saturday of Five Consecutive months through:
Confession, Holy Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary (in Portuguese She said “rezarem um terço” which is, pray one-third, referring to the Rosary, and asks that we keep Her company for fifteen minutes meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
Though Our Lady asked that we pray one set of mysteries of the Rosary daily, we strongly encourage that, as often as possible, the full Rosary – which is all 15 mysteries – be prayed daily.
This may be accomplished in a variety of ways and not all 15 mysteries have to be prayed at one time. The three parts or three different sets of mysteries may be said at 3 different times of the day and may be broken down even further.
The ideal, of course, is to stop everything and pray. But for many, that poses difficulties with other obligations. However, as Father Gregory Hesse (R.I.P. 2006, long-time friend of The Fatima Center) explained, the mysteries can be prayed while doing work about the house or elsewhere. Presumably work that requires little focus or concentration.
That is, activities that won’t impede one’s ability to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. For example, the Rosary may be prayed while washing the dishes, or cooking something you are well versed with, or folding laundry, or when going for a walk.
To help maintain focus praying the Rosary while doing other work, one can use a Rosary CD or DVD, or the fatima.org website which offers the Rosary prayed aloud.
Saint Louis De Montfort teaches us that “The Rosary is made up of two things: mental prayer and vocal prayer. Mental prayer is meditation on the chief mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Vocal prayer consists in saying fifteen decades of the Hail Mary, each decade headed by an Our Father, while at the same time meditating on and contemplating the fifteen principal virtues which Jesus and Mary practiced in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary.”
While there are many wonderful Church-approved prayers and devotions, the Rosary is the most powerful and efficacious form of prayer, second only to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
And let us not forget the 15 promises Our Lady gives for praying the Rosary. Those 15 promises only apply to the mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Dominican Rosary as She gave to Saint Dominic – that is, the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.
While other prayers may have promises attached to them, the 15 promises for praying Our Lady’s Rosary do not apply to other Rosary chaplets such as the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, or the Chaplet of the Seven Joys of Mary, or the chaplet of the Luminous mysteries.
Unfortunately, after John Paul II offered the Luminous mysteries in 2002, many organizations took it upon themselves to incorporate the Luminous mysteries into leaflets, booklets, etc. of the Holy Rosary of Our Lady and incorrectly referred to it as part of the Dominican Rosary. The Holy Rosary of Our Lady, or the Dominican Rosary, cannot be changed by anyone except Our Lady Herself.
If you know of someone who is praying five decades of Rosary beads daily while meditating on the Luminous mysteries, and is doing so in place of any of the mysteries of the Dominican Rosary, then they are not praying the Rosary of Our Lady and are not praying what Our Lady of Fatima asked.
In the past, some have taken exception to the advice that the Luminous mysteries are not part of Our Lady’s Rosary and cannot be substituted for the Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious mysteries. Some have insisted upon it as being part of, or as important as, or a replacement for, the actual mysteries of Our Lady’s Rosary saying, as their reason, “but John Paul II is a saint.” Regardless of issues about declarations of John Paul II being a saint – no saint outranks Our Lady.
In fact, all the merits and virtues of all of the saints combined, do not even come close to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of almighty God. The mere words and works, or wishes of a pope or a saint, cannot begin to be compared to Our Lady.
She gave us Her Rosary, and that is the only Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
If you are seeking to do more to help turn the Church and the world back to Christ, to help poor sinners, especially those of your family, friends and loved ones, to say thank you to Our Lady for the grace of the knowledge of the Fatima Message and its importance, then please strive to pray all fifteen mysteries of the Rosary – that is, Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious – daily.
After that, if you still have time, by all means, pray the other Chaplets that are not part of Our Lady’s Rosary.
As always, we encourage you to reach out to souls that God places in your path, and introduce, or re-introduce them to the Rosary. One of the fastest ways to help someone to return to the Catholic Faith, or to convert to Catholicism is to get them to pray the Rosary.
To help you reach out to others, we have enclosed one of the tools Our Lady’s apostolate prints, on teaching others how to pray the Rosary. The enclosed leaflet, How to say the Rosary, is the first one printed by this apostolate decades ago under Father Gruner’s direction.
Saint Louis De Montfort wrote:
“If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins ‘you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.’(1 Peter 5:4) Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell … even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and save your soul, if – and mark well what I say – if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”
For more copies of the enclosed leaflet, How to say the Rosary, return the enclosed reply form or call us at 1-800-263-8160 or 905-871-7607. This leaflet is also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.
Wishing you a continuing joyous Christmas season (which ends after the Feast of the Purification on February 2) and a blessed and holy New Year.
In the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts,