How many centuries of love and prayer brought the Rosary to us in this simple, childlike form we have it today? The hand of God must have slowly fashioned it, as he himself let the beads of years slip to the earth, one by one, each containing within itself his loving care, his providence, his mercy, his justice and his infinite charity, each gift of his loving-kindness to us.
It grew slowly with the infant Church. How many chanted it throughout Christendom in the days when Christians sought first the kingdom of heaven, knowing that all the rest would be added to them!
When did it become a string of beads? Our Lady must have liked the simplicity that made it available to all—children, youth, and all the ages of men and women, both the learned and unlearned. “The Psalter of Mary” it was called: three times fifty Hail Marys said by anyone in the place of the one hundred and fifty psalms of the Office, in the days when many could not read. And tradition has it that she blessed it and gave it to St. Dominic to give to others. It is a heavenly lasso, perhaps, to entice her wayward children back into her motherly arms!
It is part of so many recent apparitions, in which she has so emphatically told the world, through the lips of children, to pray the Rosary. How slender a thread to hold our disintegrating world up! And yet how strong. It consists of a short string of a crucifix, one large bead, three smaller ones, and then another large one. This short string is attached to a circlet of beads: five decades, or sets of one large bead and ten smaller ones.
How childishly simple beads , made of anything and everything, strung in orderly rows, beginning with the cross. It is her Son’s cross, which she never can or will forget. On the crucifix, we recite the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…” Then on the first large bead, the first Our Father: “Our Father, who art in heaven…”—her Father and ours. The Father who chose her to be the mother of his Son. The Father who is so pleased with her. The Father who made her immaculate, a vessel of predilection. Then on the three small beads three Hail Marys, Gabriel’s angelic salutation, “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you…” which forever resounds in her ears. The last large bead for the Glory Be, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…” She must love that so, she who is Our Lady of the Trinity! And then the measured, evenly recurring Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and Glory Be said for each decade.
While reciting each decade we meditate on a particular mystery, or event in her life, as she leads us through the whole of her life, so full of mysteries. Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries—deep as the seas of eternity. Simple as the smile of a child. Leading us to the very heart of God, through her who gave him his human heart.
Rosaries are held by millions of hands: the chubby ones of babies, the smooth, beautiful, strong and manly hands of youth, the capable and gentle hands of women and men, the gnarled and work-worn hands of old, the transparent and weak hands of the sick. Sinners and saints hold them, and, letting them pass through their fingers, bead by bead, enter an unspeakably beautiful symphony of love, woven of two prayers—the Hail Mary, given us by an angel; and the Our Father, revealed by the Son of God. They are music that lead us on to heights uncharted and unknown, to where God dwells.
A promise of salvation and peace! As we pray, we will remember her promise that she will hold our disintegrating world together and will help us restore ourselves and it, to her Son.
Our life Is a Rosary
Much has been written and will yet be written about the Rosary, that simple, profound, almost unfathomable prayer to the gracious Mother of God, which takes her children again and again on the pilgrimage of her life and her Son’s, until, through it, their lives and God’s become one.
Still, there is another “rosary” that many of us miss completely. It is the one that opens up right at our feet, day by day, hour by hour, on the road all of us must travel, the road to God. It is a strange rosary. Its mysteries embrace the life of Christ and his mother, in the Mystical Body of his Church. It is the rosary of our own life.
~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty
Today, May 13th we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. On this day in 1917, our Lady made her first appearance to three shepherd children, Jacinta (age 7), Francisco (age 9), and Lucia (age 10), at Fatima in Portugal. She appeared to them once a month from May to October. The lives of the three children were entirely transformed by the heavenly apparitions. In each of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, she insisted on praying the Rosary. “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.” Lucia often repeated and emphasized what Our Lady has recommended to her.
In the final apparition on October 13th, 1917, Our Lady silently held out the scapular (the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel). Lucia had said that the Blessed Mother wants everyone to wear it: “The Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable.”
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal ~ Photo taken by me (January 2015)
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima is built on the spot where three children saw a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Chapel of the Apparitions ~ Photo taken by me
The Chapel of the Apparitions is at the very heart of the Basilica and the exact location of the apparitions is marked by a marble pillar which holds the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!
Our Lady of Fatima
O Most holy Virgin Mary,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima
and reveal a glorious message.
We implore you,
inspire in our hearts a fervent love
for the recitation of the Rosary.
By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption
that are recalled therein
may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask,
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Redeemer.
Wishing all of you a very happy Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima and a very blessed Mother’s Day! ❤