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The Rosary

The Rosary has been included in encyclicals of many Popes. In the Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) we see the Rosary defined as:

"The Rosary", says the Roman Breviary, "is a certain form of prayer wherein we say fifteen decades or tens of Hail Marys with an Our Father between each ten, while at each of these fifteen decades we recall successively in pious meditation one of the mysteries of our Redemption."

The quotes from many different papal encyclicals below summarize well what the Church has always taught on the Holy Rosary:
 

References in Scripture to Perseverance in Prayer:

  • "And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word" Matthew 26:44
  • "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God" Luke 6:12
  • "And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground" Luke 22:43-44
  • "All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" Acts 1:14
     

Catholic Church Teaching on the Holy Rosary:

  • "And so Dominic looked to that simple way of praying and beseeching God, accessible to all and wholly pious, which is called the Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the same most Blessed Virgin is venerated by the angelic greeting repeated one hundred and fifty times, that is, according to the number of the Davidic Psalter, and by the Lord's Prayer with each decade. Interposed with these prayers are certain meditations showing forth the entire life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, thus completing the method of prayer devised by the by the Fathers of the Holy Roman Church." Encyclical by Pope Pius V, Consueverunt Romani, 1569
  • "Now that the anniversary, therefore, of manifold and exceedingly great favors obtained by a Christian people through the devotion of the Rosary is at hand, We desire that that same devotion should be offered by the whole Catholic world with the greatest earnestness to the Blessed Virgin, that by her intercession her Divine Son may be appeased and softened in the evils which afflict us." Encyclical, "On Devotion of the Rosary" by Pope Leo XIII, 1883

    "Our merciful God, as you know, raised up against these most direful enemies a most holy man, the illustrious parent and founder of the Dominican Order. Great in the integrity of his doctrine, in his example of virtue, and by his apostolic labors, he proceeded undauntedly to attack the enemies of the Catholic Church, not by force of arms, but trusting wholly to that devotion which he was the first to institute under the name of the Holy Rosary, which was disseminated through the length and breadth of the earth by him and his pupils. Guided, in fact, by divine inspiration and grace, he foresaw that this devotion, like a most powerful warlike weapon, would be the means of putting the enemy to flight, and of confounding their audacity and mad impiety" Encyclical, "On Devotion of the Rosary" by Pope Leo XIII, 1883
  • The formula of the Rosary, too, is excellently adapted to prayer in common, so that it has been styled, not without reason, "The Psalter of Mary." And that old custom of our forefathers ought to be preserved or else restored, according to which Christian families, whether in town or country, were religiously wont at close of day, when their labours were at an end, to assemble before a figure of Our Lady and alternately recite the Rosary. She, delighted at this faithful and unanimous homage, was ever near them like a loving mother surrounded by her children, distributing to them the blessings of domestic peace, the foretaste of the peace of heaven. Considering the efficacy of public prayer, We, among other decrees which we have from time to time issued concerning the Rosary, have spoken thus: "It is Our desire that in the principal church of each diocese it should be recited every day, and in parish churches on every feast-day (Apostolic Letter Salutaris Ille, 24th December, 1883). POPE LEO XIII ON THE ROSARY 1896
  • "Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs have let pass no occasion of commending the Rosary and have enriched it with Apostolic Indulgences." Encyclical "On Saint Dominic" by Pope Benedict XV, 1921
  • "Let us turn, too, to the most powerful intercession of the Divine Mother -- to obtain which We, addressing to you this Letter of Ours on the day appointed especially for commemorating the Holy Rosary, ordain and confirm all Our Predecessor's prescriptions with regard to the dedication of the present month to the august Virgin, by the public recitation of the Rosary in all churches" Encyclical of Pope St. Pius X, On the Restoration of All Things in Christ", 1903
  • Nevertheless, if men in our century, with its derisive pride, refuse the Holy Rosary, there is an innumerable multitude of holy men of every age and every condition who have always held it dear. They have recited it with great devotion, and in every moment they have used it as a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight, to preserve the integrity of life, to acquire virtue more easily, and in a word to attain real peace among men. Nor are there lacking men famous as to doctrine and wisdom who, although intensely occupied in scientific study and researches, never even for a day fail to pray fervently on bended knee, before the image of the Virgin, in this most pious form. Thus kings and princes, however burdened with most urgent occupations and affairs, made it their duty to recite the Rosary." Encyclical, "On the Rosary" by Pope Pius XI, 1937
  • "Devotion to the Blessed Mother: Inasmuch as priests can be called by a very special title, sons of the Virgin Mary, they will never cease to love her with an ardent piety, invoke her with perfect confidence, and frequently implore her strong protection. So that every day, as the Church herself recommends,[51] they will recite the holy rosary, which, by proposing for our meditation the mysteries of the Redeemer, leads us "to Jesus through Mary." APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION OF POPE PIUS XII TO THE CLERGY OF THE ENTIRE WORLD 1950
  • "To undertake such a difficult duty, We affirm that the custom of the family recitation of the Holy Rosary is a most efficacious means. What a sweet sight -- most pleasing tO God -- when, at eventide, the Christian home resounds with the frequent repetition of praises in honor of the august Queen of Heaven! Then the Rosary, recited in common, assembles before the image of the Virgin, in an admirable union of hearts, the parents and their children, who come back from their daily work. It unites them piously with those absent and those dead. It links all more tightly in a sweet bond of love, with the most Holy Virgin, who, like a loving mother, in the circle of her children, will be there bestowing upon them an abundance of the gifts of concord and family peace" Encyclical on "Reciting the Rosary" by Pope Pius XII, 1951


Summary

Scripture clearly teaches that perseverance in prayer is good, and the Catholic Church has repeatedly taught that the Holy Rosary is one of the best forms of prayer. Are you practicing this devotion daily? Is it promoted in your parish?

 

 

 

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