This week in our Catholic Study Sessions we will do an in depth research on the origins of the Rosary. We will also look into one of the most important battles where the success of it was attributed specifically to Our Lady of the Rosary. We will complete with the poem that G. K. Chesterton wrote about that battle.
In 1214, Our Lady said “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” After his reply she said “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.” 3
What is the Angelic Psalter? Well, there are 150 psalms that were commonly recited as a devotion daily by many monks! And the Hail Mary prayer back then was referenced as the Angelic Salutation, as the words, “Hail Mary” are the first words that the angel Gabriel speaks. And so, the Angelic Psalter is the 150 Hail Mary prayers that made up the Rosary, complete with the meditations of Christ.3https://illustratedprayer.com/2018/07/09/the-angelic-psalter/
From this we can see that the Rosary handed on to St. Dominic was a lay version of the 150 psalms recited by the monks during that time. Of the fifteen events of the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries there are 150 Hail Mary’s. As a lay person, which is more likely: reciting 153 Hail Marys, 5 Our Fathers and the Profession of Faith or reciting all the psalms between the Book of Job and Proverbs?
And so St. Dominic did exactly as was requested. He preached and spread the devotion of the Angelic Psalter. And the rest is history. The Albigensians are no more, but to this day, many of us still pray the Rosary devoutly.3
In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, St. John Paul II wrote, “Thanks to St. Louis de Montfort, I came to understand that true devotion to the Mother of God is actually Christocentric, indeed, it is very profoundly rooted in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.” 2
St. Louis de Montfort wrote “If priests and religious have an obligation to meditate on the great truths of our holy religion in order to live up to their vocation worthily, the same obligation, then, is just as much incumbent upon the laity — because of the fact that every day they meet with spiritual dangers which might make them lose their souls. Therefore they should arm themselves with the frequent meditation on the life, virtues and sufferings of Our Blessed Lord — which are so beautifully contained in the 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary.” 2
So far we’ve only discussed the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries. But for those who say the Angelic Psalter on a daily basis, they know on Thursday we say the Luminous Mysteries. Since Our Lady of the Rosary never mentioned the Luminous Mysteries to St. Dominic, where did they come from and when?
The answer to that question can be found at the https://www.theholyrosary.org. It says “The Blessed Holy Father John Paul II on October 16th, 2002 with the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae on the Most Holy Rosary has added 5 new mysteries of the Rosary: The Mysteries of the Light.” It goes on to say “The word Rosary means “Crown of Roses”. Our Lady has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses.”
But, the devotion given to St. Dominic was called the Angelic Psalter. When did they start calling it the Holy Rosary and why?
The very well-known book De Dignitate Psalterii, by Blessed Alan de la Roche, documents how St. Dominic received the vision from Our Lady of the Rosary. The Angelic Psalter was also called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary because the mysteries all focused on events in Jesus and Mary’s life.
St. Dominic preached the Psalter with fervor and that fervor spread for a century and then that holy zeal left the priests and laity. But in 1349, God punished the whole of Europe with the most terrible plague that had ever been known. It was followed by a tragic schism in 1376. Later on, by God’s glory, our Lady told Blessed Alan to revive the Psalter. 4
One day when Blessed Alan de la Roche was offering Mass, our Lord, spoke to him in the Sacred Host. “How can you crucify me again so soon?” Jesus said. “What did you say, Lord?” asked Blessed Alan, horrified. “You crucified me once before by your sins,” answered Jesus, “and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have my Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach my Mother’s Rosary, and you are not doing it. If you only did that, you could teach many souls the right path and lead them away from sin. But you are not doing it, and so you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit.”4
Ever since Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established this devotion, the voice of the people, which is the voice of God, gave it the name of the Rosary, which means “crown of roses.” That is to say that every time people say the Rosary devoutly they place on the heads of Jesus and Mary 153 white roses and sixteen red roses. Being heavenly flowers, these roses will never fade or lose their beauty. 4
Our Lady has approved and confirmed this name of the Rosary; she has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose, and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses. 4
So the complete Rosary is a large crown of roses and each chaplet of five decades is a little wreath of flowers or a little crown of heavenly roses which we place on the heads of Jesus and Mary.
Adding the Fatima prayer
The Rosary concludes a decade of Hail Mary’s with “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.” Actually though, there is a passage in Walsh’s “Our Lady of Fatima,” published in 1947, in a transcript of an interview with Sister Lucia, which gives the prayer in English as, “Oh my Jesus, pardon us, and save us from the fires of hell. Draw all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.” 5 The modified version with ‘of thy mercy’ is the most common and recited by Catholics throughout the globe.
Battle of Lepanto
The Battle of Lepanto: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (7-October 1571)
Sermon on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. Quotes on the rosary & tips to pray the rosary better. please say 3 Hail Marys for the priest. For more go to http://www.veritascaritas.com
G. K. Chesterton poem
- Saint Dominic & The History Of The Holy Rosary, https://www.sainttherse.com/saint-dominic-the-history-of-the-holy-rosary/ .
- 21 Things St. Louis de Montfort Said About the Rosary and Marian Devotion, https://www.ncregister.com/blog/21-things-st-louis-de-montfort-said-about-the-rosary-and-marian-devotion, National Catholic Register, April 27, 2016
- The Angelic Psalter, https://illustratedprayer.com/2018/07/09/the-angelic-psalter/, Karina Tabone, July 9, 2018
- History of the Rosary, https://www.theholyrosary.org/rosaryhistory,
- Origin of the Fatima Prayer in the Holy Rosary, https://taylormarshall.com/2012/09/origin-of-fatima-prayer-in-holy-rosary.html, Dr Taylor Marshall
- Winning Battles With the Holy Rosary, Sensus Fidelium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EpZdGKG-0Y
- Lepanto,G. K. CHESTERTON, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47917/lepanto