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´╗┐Title: The Excellence of the Rosary - Conferences for Devotions in Honor of the Blessed Virgin
Author: Frings, Math Josef, 1819-1895
Language: English
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THE EXCELLENCE OF THE ROSARY

CONFERENCES FOR DEVOTIONS IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN

BY
REV. M. J. FRINGS

NEW YORK
JOSEPH F. WAGNER


Nihil Obstat
REMIGIUS LAFORT, D.D.
_Censor_

Imprimatur
JOHN CARDINAL FARLEY
_Archbishop of New York_

NEW YORK, September 19, 1912

Copyright, 1912, by JOSEPH F. WAGNER, NEW YORK


CONTENTS

I. THE NAME OF THIS DEVOTION
II. THE ORIGIN OF THE ROSARY
III. THE POWER OF THE ROSARY
IV. THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
V. THE APOSTLES' CREED
VI. THE GLORY BE TO THE FATHER
VII. THE OUR FATHER
VIII. THE HAIL MARY
IX. THE PRAYER TO INCREASE THE THREE DIVINE VIRTUES
X. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE ROSARY IN REGARD TO ITS FORM
XI. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE ROSARY ON ACCOUNT OF THE MYSTERIES
COMMEMORATED



THE ROSARY
CONFERENCES FOR SODALITIES B. V. M.



I. THE NAME OF THIS DEVOTION


"I was exalted as a rose plant in Jericho."--Eccles. xxiv, 18.

My dear brethren, when Pope Pius IX, on May 23, 1877, gave audience to
a number of pious pilgrims he said to them: "Have courage, my dear
children! I exhort you to fight against the persecution of the Church
and against anarchy, not with the sword, but with the rosary, with
prayer and good example." This Pope, who with great wisdom and strong
hand has guided for thirty-two years the bark of Peter, which in many
violent storms had been rocked to and fro, he who well knew the great
dangers of our times, regarded the rosary as a conquering weapon.

What great confidence his successor, Pope Leo XIII, placed in the
veneration and invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by means of the
rosary! He exhorted all Christianity to pray the rosary daily during
the month of October, in order to obtain assistance in these
distressing times. In his brief on this occasion Leo XIII says: "It has
been a favorite and prevalent custom of Catholics, in times of need and
danger, to take refuge in Mary, and to seek consolation from her
motherly concern."

Thus the firm reliance and confidence rightly placed by the Catholic
Church in the mother of God is stanchly avowed.

As a matter of fact, Mary, the immaculate Virgin, free from original
sin, the chosen mother of God, is endowed with such power by her Son,
as no other creature, man or angel, has ever received or can receive.

The efficacy of this great devotion to the great Queen of Heaven had
been demonstrated especially when false teachings, depravity, or other
great enemies threatened disaster to Christians.

History, early and recent, relates how public and private devotion to
the mother of God was held in times of calamity and distress, and how
these prayers were heard, and help was granted. Thus originated the
exalted titles which Catholics give to the Blessed Virgin, such as Help
of Christians, Refuge of Sinners, etc.

To these titles was added another, when under date of December 10,
1883, Leo XIII directed that the title "Queen of the Rosary" be added
to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. In his brief the Holy Father
expresses the desire that all the faithful practise daily the devotion
of the rosary. If, therefore, the rosary is considered of such great
power and efficacy by the head of the Church, the representative of
Christ, it is befitting that we heed his words and pray often and
devoutly by means of the rosary.

If this prayer were better understood it would be prayed with more
devotion, and greater benefit would come from it. In order, then, to
spread a better knowledge, and to urge the devout recital of the
rosary, let us contemplate this devotion in a course of instructive
addresses. The name rosary may be the subject of to-day's discourse.

The devotion of the rosary consists in the recital of a fixed number of
Our Fathers and Hail Marys, combined with the meditation on certain
mysteries from the lives of Jesus and Mary. The name rosary is
significant. It is a symbol of Mary, also of the devotion to her. We
will endeavor to make this clear.

The realm of nature is the symbol of the realm of grace, as the realm
of grace is a symbol of the realm of glory. It was God's intention to
let His earthly creation be a reflection of the divine perfections, of
the supernatural, of divinity, so that man might perceive the
supernatural through created things, and thus more readily understand
it. "For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world,
are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Rom.
i, 20).

Our first parents obtained a clear conception of the supernatural
through the natural things of this life. Nature was to them an open
book, in which they could read the divine perfections. Through sin the
understanding of man was dimmed and he failed in the interpretation of
nature. Instead of being led to God through it, he allowed himself to
become estranged, and from a master became the slave of nature.

Then Christ came and redeemed the world from the slavery of sin and
again granted to man the clear conception of the true God, as also the
right understanding of nature. This is verified in the saints and we
have a beautiful example in St. Francis of Assisi. About his
interpretation and meditation of nature St. Bonaventure says: "He
considered all things created as original from God, and saw in each
creature the Creator and Preserver."

Everything in nature was to him a symbol of spiritual life. He took
delight especially in flowers, because they reminded him of the flower
from the root of Jesse, which refreshens and gladdens the whole world.

See, my dear brethren, this is the correct, the Christian way of
contemplating nature. The spiritual world is reflected in the visible.

And Jesus being the King and Mary the Queen in the realm of grace and
glory, nature contains symbols that refer to Jesus and Mary. All things
of this creation: from the flowers of the valley to the brilliant stars
that illumine the night, all things in nature are symbols of the
glorious mother of God. Among many such symbols used in Holy Scripture
we find Mary called the mystical rose. The Church therefore regards the
rose as a symbol of Mary. Let us see in what the likeness consists.

If on a summer's day we enter a garden, where various flowers through
their form, color and sweet odor delight and refresh us, our eye is
chiefly attracted by the rose. We are especially well pleased with it.
The rose is the queen of flowers in form, color and fragrant odor,
because of its beauty.

Let us turn now our gaze to the spiritual garden, the Church of Christ.
The various flowers there are the faithful, adorned with piety and
virtue, and spreading the fragrance of saintliness with which God is
pleased. In the Canticle of Canticles the Lamb of God is pictured as
feeding among the lilies. A beautiful thought! It tells us how the Lamb
of God, our divine Saviour, is fond of the flowers of God, the
God-loving souls, as is the lamb of the lilies.

And in this garden of God, the Holy Church, Mary is the rose, the pride
of the garden, the queen of the flowers. The rose is therefore the most
beautiful symbol of Mary, of all saints the queen, exalted above all
saints in sublimity, beauty, gentleness and sweetness. Therefore,
because Mary is among the saints what the rose is among flowers, she is
called "the mystical rose." And the name rosary is to remind us of
this.

The rose, furthermore, signifies the virtuous life of Mary the virgin.
The rosebud is a beautiful symbol of virginity. It is hidden as under a
veil. Lovely is the Christian virgin, hidden in the garb of innocence
like a rosebud. Mary is the Virgin of Virgins, and can above all be
compared to the fair and undefiled rosebud.

The open, blooming rose is an emblem of pure motherhood. Like the
opened radiant rose the Christian mother is in the full vigor of life;
her heart open with true love for her husband and children; and she
unfolds her soul to heaven, so that through prayer she may receive the
needed assistance for herself and hers. Through her good example in
Christian virtues she spreads around her the fragrance of a God-
pleasing life, and encourages those who associate with her to imitate
her virtues.

Mary is the immaculate virgin and mother, mother of God, and of all
mankind. She is the most noble and perfect of all mothers. Like a
magnificent rose she shines in the splendor of her virtues, and is the
perfect example for all mothers. Because her heart is fired with love
for God and man, she is, as St. Jordanus says, likened to the flaming
red rose.

There is no rose but has its thorns. The thorns are a figure of
suffering, of sorrow, of the temptations in life, under which only a
truly virtuous life can thrive.

St. Brigid relates in her revelations how she at one time was downcast
because the enemies of Christ were so powerful, and how she was
consoled by the mother of God herself, who told her to remember the
rose among the thorns. "The rose," so said Mary, "gives a fragrant
odor; it is beautiful to the sight, and tender to the touch, and yet it
grows among thorns, inimical to beauty and tenderness. So may also
those who are mild, patient, beautiful in virtue, be put to a test
among adversaries. And as the thorn, on the other hand, guards, so do
wicked surroundings protect the just against sin by demonstrating to
them the destructiveness of sin."

The life of Mary was interwoven with many sorrows and she is justly
called "a rose among thorns." St. Brigid says: "The Virgin may suitably
be called a blooming rose. Just as the gentle rose is placed among
thorns, so this gentle Virgin was surrounded by sorrow."

The rose obtains its life through the stem, to which it is closely
united. A rose broken from the stem will soon wither. So Mary received
all her graces from Jesus, with whom she was united through the
liveliest faith and ardent love.

Mary is in truth a spiritual, a mystic rose. The rose therefore is a
fitting symbol of the virtuous life of the mother of God. As mystical
rose she deserves our admiration and veneration, and she must be our
example and model in all Christian virtues, the model of a true
spiritual life.

The name rosary, therefore, is well suited to this devotion. For it is
a wreath of spiritual roses, as it were, which we place at the feet of
Mary, in order to show our love and veneration.

The rose has, moreover, been at all times regarded as a symbol of love.
It was already the custom of the early Christians to adorn on feast
days the pictures and statues of the saints with wreaths of roses,
especially on feast days of the Blessed Virgin.

St. Dominic, inspired and instructed by Mary, formed from the beautiful
and efficacious prayers, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, together
with the principal mysteries from the lives of Jesus and Mary, a
beautiful wreath, and called it the "Rosary."

The threefold mysteries represented in the devotion again give it a
resemblance to the rose. The green of the rose is the color of hope and
confidence. It is represented in the glorious rosary. The thorns are
represented in the sorrowful rosary. The beautiful red petals of the
rose, finally, are represented in the joyful rosary, in the glories of
Jesus and Mary.

Thus is shown therefore the deep and significant meaning of the name
rosary. And as the rosary reminds us of all the virtues, the spiritual
beauty and sublimity of Mary, and as it is a worthy manifestation of
our love and veneration for the mother of God it is meet that we hold
the rosary in high esteem. And Mary finds delight in this devotion, for
it reminds her of all the good God did for her, and for which all
nations pronounce her blessed.

Oh, let us then resolve to wind this wreath frequently, to lay it often
at the feet of the noble, the gracious queen of the Rosary!



II. THE ORIGIN OF THE ROSARY


"The Highest himself hath founded her."--Ps. lxxxvi.

My dear brethren, in our consideration on the rosary let us to-day
reflect upon its origin.

Its origin and age bestow on this devotion a great dignity. From the
earliest times of Christianity it has been the custom of the Christians
to observe in their prayers method and perseverance. Thus it was the
custom of the hermits of the Orient, as far back as the fourth century,
to devise a sequence of certain prayers, which they counted on pebbles.
We also know that long ago in England a so-called Paternoster-cord was
used for this purpose. St. Gregory, at the end of the fourth century,
spoke of such a method of devotion in veneration of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. This pious bishop thought a wreath of spiritual roses would be
more pleasing to the blessed Virgin than the natural roses with which
the faithful adorned her altar. He selected, therefore, a number of
prayers, in praise of the blessed Virgin, and united them into a
wreath. And this was the origin of the rosary, woven by pious hands for
the veneration of Mary, the mystical rose.

In the fifth century, St. Brigid urgently commended the devotion of the
rosary, and she chose as its prayers the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and
the Creed, and united them into a wreath of prayers. In order to count
their recital she strung little beads of stone or wood and made a
wreath of them.

This custom subsequently spread through all Christian lands, and
through the centuries, to our own days. That this devotion was always
in great favor and esteem among pious Christians may be concluded from
the fact that in the grave of St. Norbert, who died in 1134, a rosary
similar to ours was found.

We have proof, then, that the devotion of the rosary, such as we have
it, was practised already in the early days of Christianity. And it was
practised not only by monks and nuns, but found adherents among all the
faithful.

The particular manner in which we now pray the rosary was brought into
vogue by St. Dominic. This is attested by the tradition of six
centuries. Twelve Popes bear witness to this fact. We will now speak of
the introduction by St. Dominic, and will also refer to the great
efficacy of this devotion since its inception. May our reflections
contribute to the greater honor of God, and of the glorious Queen of
the rosary.

I. The devotion of the rosary in its present form dates its origin from
the thirteenth century, and St. Dominic was selected by God as the
instrument of its introduction. Spain was the home of this great saint.
In one of the valleys of Castile there is situated an humble little
village named Calarunga, where his parents possessed a small estate. He
was born there in the year 1170. While being baptized his sponsor saw,
as if in a vision, a brilliant star over the forehead of the future
saint, shedding its brilliant light through the church. As Dominic
advanced in years he increased in wisdom, virtue and piety. In due time
he devoted himself to theology, believing that in this pursuit alone he
could find the wisdom of God. Not in the pleasures of this world, but
in the knowledge of God, he sought his pastime. His favorite place was
the church and the solitude of the sanctuary. Two incidents from his
schooldays throw a light upon his character. At the time of a famine
Dominic gave all that he possessed to the poor, even all but the
necessary clothes, and when he had nothing more to give, he sold even
his beloved books and gave the proceeds to the poor. When berated by
people for his excessive generosity, he said: "How could I dare indulge
in these lifeless books, when human lives are in danger of starvation?"
At another time St. Dominic met a woman who was weeping bitterly
because she had no money with which she could release her brother, who
had been imprisoned by the Saracens. Dominic offered to sell himself
into bondage to release this brother; but since God had destined him to
release sinful mankind from the bondage of sin, of error and unbelief,
He did not permit Dominic to do as he offered.

At the age of twenty-five he was appointed upon the chapter of the
cathedral at Osma. Here he was conspicuous among his brethren on
account of his humility, holiness, and zeal for prayer. He spent nine
years in Osma, during which time divine Providence prepared him for his
important and great vocation. This vocation became plain to him when,
in the year 1204, he went to France and saw the terrible devastation
which the prevailing heresies had wrought against the Church of Christ.
The sight of this disaster nearly broke his heart. The poison of heresy
had spread among the faithful with great rapidity, and principally in
southern France. From the city of Albi the heretics had assumed the
name Albigenses. These Albigenses discarded the doctrines of
Christianity and constructed new doctrines that played havoc with
morality and social order. They were violent enemies of Church and
State, and preached disobedience and rebellion against spiritual and
temporal authority. An enemy of the Church is invariably also an enemy
of the State; history and experience prove this.

In southern France the Albigenses secured the support of Prince
Raimond, of Toulouse, a wealthy and mighty, but, at the same time, a
most godless and immoral prince of that time. He had several wives;
associated with heretics, and even gave his children to be educated by
them. This prince undertook the leadership of the heretical Albigenses,
and with them, and other rabble by which France at that time was
overrun, scoured the country, robbing and plundering wherever they
went. This lawless band, under the direction of this godless prince,
robbed churches of their treasures, murdered priests, even tore open
the tabernacles and desecrated the most holy Sacrament. A messenger of
Pope Innocent III was murdered by one of these knaves, who then found
the protection of this depraved prince. Under these conditions the Pope
finally saw the necessity of preaching a crusade against these
heretics, who surpassed even the Saracens in the outrages committed. A
terrible war then ensued, in which these enemies of Church and State
were subdued, but not converted. For this there was necessary an
extraordinary spiritual effort, and divine Providence had already
prepared the instrument. St. Dominic was the tool in the hand of God to
introduce and apply an efficacious remedy, and this remedy was the
rosary.

Dominic had for many years taught the doctrines of the Catholic Church
to the heretics, and had converted a number of them, but not enough to
satisfy his holy zeal. He often turned with humility to God and
besought Him with tears, and deeds of penance, that He might let him
know how to accomplish better results. Since childhood he had been a
faithful servant of Mary, and had often said that the devotion to her
was a powerful means of converting heretics and sinners.

Finally his prayers were heard in a miraculous way. One day, while on
his way from Toulouse, Dominic threw himself down on his knees and
resolved not to cease praying until his prayers were heard. Then, so
the legend tells us, the glorious Queen of heaven appeared to him,
spoke words of encouragement, and taught him how to pray the rosary,
assuring him that this would be the right weapon to conquer error and
sin. With joy Dominic arose and returned to Toulouse, and began to
spread the use of the rosary, as Mary had taught him and in the way we
now recite it. He preached this devotion, explained it, and taught the
people how to pray it. It proved indeed a most efficacious means for
the conversion of apostates, heretics, and sinners. Since the lack of
knowledge in matters of faith had been the real cause why heresy so
quickly spread, the principal truths of faith and morals were now
communicated to the people through the rosary, and the principles of a
Christian life were taught them in this most sublime prayer of the
Church. This was bound to bring results, and we will give now some
thought to these results.

II. According to the historians of those ages the effects of the rosary
sermons of St. Dominic were truly wonderful. In all cities where he
preached, the people gathered in great numbers to hear his heaven-
inspired words and to pray the rosary with St. Dominic. Sinners were
converted, the faithful were strengthened and fortified, and many
thousands of those who had been led into heresy opened their hearts
again to the true faith and returned to the holy Church. The inspired
words of St. Dominic met with such splendid results that, even if the
tradition did not tell us so, the miraculous effects of this devotion
would prove its heavenly inspiration, and Pius IX, Leo XIII, as many
Popes before them, have publicly avowed their belief that St. Dominic
received the rosary from our blessed Mother.

The promise which Dominic received was fulfilled. Where all other means
had failed, the humble prayer of the rosary accomplished the victory
over heresy. Thus divine wisdom and infinite power make use of humble
things to effect great achievements. Of this the great work of the
redemption gives us an example. God made the Cross the instrument of
the redemption. The despised Cross, once a shame and disgrace, was
raised on the height of Calvary and became the instrument of the
redemption for all the world, the fountain of grace, a blessing for
time and eternity, the symbol of victory and glory.

St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, writes: "And I,
brethren, when I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of
wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ. For I judge not
myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And my speech and my preaching was not in the persuasive words of human
wisdom, but in the showing of the spirit and power. That your faith
might not stand on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. But we
preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and
unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews
and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God; for the
foolishness of God is wiser than men; but the foolish things of the
world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong. That no flesh
should glory in his sight" (I Cor. i and ii). And so did God choose the
rosary, this humble prayer, to work such great things, that human
effort had not been able to accomplish. What an incentive to put all
our trust in God, rather than in our own strength!

The devotion of the rosary soon spread from southern France to all
other Catholic lands, and all peoples welcomed it with joy and prayed
it with great zeal. Rosary societies were formed and approved of by the
Popes, and were richly endowed with many indulgences. Ever since there
has been no other prayer practised so diligently as the rosary. And
often there have been recorded miraculous effects of this devotion, no
less miraculous than the conversion of the heretics in the south of
France.

The devotion as now practised is therefore in use over seven hundred
years. The wonderful origin, its great age and the remarkable miracles
that were wrought by its use at all times, bestow a great dignity on
this devotion.

When we consider the conditions that prevailed at the time of the
origin of the rosary, and for the betterment of which divine Providence
provided this devotion, we can not fail to realize a similarity of
conditions in our own times. Materialism and unbelief, connected with
widespread immorality, are now prevalent as they were then. They are
causing great injury to Church, State, and homes, and will become more
destructive if not checked by the right weapon. Pope Pius IX, as also
Pope Leo XIII, have declared the rosary to be that weapon, and have
exhorted Christianity to resort to the zealous use of it. If all
Christians would follow the advice of these supreme Pontiffs, we should
soon see the Catholic faith and good morals come into their own again,
and ample blessing would, through this devotion, be bestowed upon
private and public life. All the insistent endeavors of world-wise
scholars and reformers will be of no avail if God's blessing does not
rest upon their work. Only then, when the true faith and a life of
faith are made the standard of public and private merit and ethics,
will the temporal, no less than the eternal, welfare of nations and of
individuals be assured.

Let us, through the rosary, call to Mary for her powerful intercession
in the battle of the Church against the enemies of faith and morals,
and with her intercession we shall be sure of victory. Amen.



III. THE POWER OF THE ROSARY


"Lo, here is the sword of Goliath. . . . There is none like that, give
it to me."--I Kings xxi, 9.

SYNOPSIS.--_David, with God's assistance, his only weapon a pebble,
slew the giant. God gives us, as our weapon, the rosary. This has
proven efficacious in the battles of the Church against heretics and
heathen armies. Examples: Albigenses; Turks at Lepanto and Belgrade;
many epidemics abated or averted by the power of the rosary. This
devotion is just as powerful for the individual and for the family.

God has shown us that He wishes many to co-operate with the Church and
with the Christian in their fight for faith and salvation. Let all use
this weapon._

My dear brethren, in the first book of Kings we read how the
Philistines went forth to battle against the Israelites. The
Philistines arrayed their forces on a mountain, and the Israelites
occupied a mountain on the opposite side, so that the valley was
between them. Then there went out from the hordes of the Philistines a
man named Goliath, a giant of enormous strength, who challenged the
Israelites to let one of their men fight him hand to hand, the result
of this contest to decide the victory or defeat of either army. A youth
named David, inspired and urged by the spirit of God, went forth with a
few smooth stones and a sling to meet this Philistine, and as Goliath
rushed toward him David cast the stones with the sling and struck the
Philistine in the forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth.
David then ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and
slew him. Israel thus gained the victory over the Philistines. But when
for this victory exceeding praise was given to David, King Saul became
angry and sought the life of the youthful hero. In his flight David
came to Nobe. Not having any weapon, he said to the high priest
Achimelech: "Hast thou here at hand a spear or a sword?" The high
priest answered: "Lo, here is the sword of Goliath, whom thou slewest
in the valley of Terebinth, if thou wilt take this, for there is no
other but this." And David said, "There is none like that, give it me."

These last words, which I have made the text for my address to-day, we
may fitly apply to the holy rosary. For the rosary has ever since its
origin proven itself a conquering weapon for the Church, as also well
as for the individual Christian, against the most powerful enemies of
God and of His Church. Let us consider the fact for the greater glory
of God and of the Queen of the rosary.

Since the introduction of the rosary by St. Dominic, for more than six
hundred years therefore, the great victories of Christianity against
the many and ferocious enemies of the Church are ascribed to the
devotion of the rosary. The Church has at all times had enemies, who
with all their power and in all their evil ways have opposed and
persecuted her. Nor is this surprising. Ever since Satan succeeded in
beguiling our first parents into sin, he has continued to sow
dissention among mankind. Beginning with Cain and Abel, there have been
children of God who obeyed God's commandments, and, on the other hand,
children of Satan, as holy Scripture calls them, who seek their
salvation in the pleasures of this life. Since the time of Cain and
Abel, mankind has been split into two divisions, one seeking the
kingdom of God, the other the kingdom of the world, the kingdom of
Satan.

When our Saviour conquered Satan He left him power over those who make
themselves slaves to the sensual pleasures, and thus there exists an
evil force against the Church, and it will exist to the end of time.
This is a fact that we must keep in view in order to fully understand
and judge the conditions. The realm of darkness, Satan's realm, stands
opposed to the realm of Christ. Satan and his adherents carry on the
warfare against the Church of Christ, as they assaulted Christ Himself.
"As they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you," so did
Christ prophecy.

The Church of Christ demands the subjection of the flesh; she preaches
against luxury, pride and selfishness. She preaches chastity and
submission to the commandments of God; she preaches penance alike to
those of high and low station in life. This angers all those who would
indulge in the evil things of this world. They cry: "Let us break her
bonds asunder; and let us cast away her yoke from us." But as Christ
foretold the persecution of His Church, so He also foretold that the
gates of hell would not prevail against her. The Church of God will in
due time conquer all her enemies, some will be converted, while others
who are obstinate will perish in the battle. In all these battles and
victories of the Church, Mary, blessed mother of her divine Founder,
co-operates with the Church through her intercession. Mary was already
spoken of in paradise as the one who would come to tread upon the head
of the serpent, the spirit of darkness. This she has done by becoming
the mother of God, by bringing forth the Redeemer. And as Jesus through
Mary's co-operation came into this world, so He desires her
co-operation in ruling the world. The history of the contests and
Victories of the Church verify this throughout the centuries.

The evil spirit has a twofold weapon with which he assails and combats
God's Church; namely, the godless rulers of the world and heresy.
Through the godless authorities of the world Satan has endeavored since
the beginning to crush the Church; through heresy he attempts to
destroy the Church by internal dissension. Both weapons are used
together, for heresy and calumny can not prevail without substantial
support, and heretics seek worldly power and assistance. On every page
of Church history we find recorded the clashes planned by these evil
forces, from which the Church always came out not conquered, but a
conqueror.

The history of the veneration of Mary tells us that the Blessed Virgin
Mary helped to win these victories. During the early times, when fierce
battles against the Church were raging, bishops and priests knew of no
more efficacious means to avert these dangers than to exhort the
faithful to pray to the Blessed Virgin. Thus we read in history that
the holy bishops and martyrs Ignatius and Irenaeus did this in the
second century, and in the third century it was Pope Calixtus who
advised the faithful to take refuge with the Blessed Virgin in time of
persecution of the Church. And so on through all Christian times.

Since the introduction of the rosary by St. Dominic all great victories
have been credited to the devotion of the rosary. The first great
conquest of the Church effected by the rosary was the victory over the
Albigenses, who had spread heresy in southern France and had caused
great havoc in Church and State.

St. Bernard complained in those times: "The churches are empty, the
people without priests, the Sacraments without reverence. People on
their deathbed refuse the assistance of the Church, ridicule penance."

How the weapon with which this heresy was conquered was the rosary we
have related in a previous sermon. This was the first glorious victory
through the devotion of the rosary. It was the sword with which the
Church slew the proud Goliath of heresy.

Another wonderful victory through this miraculous weapon of
Christianity was the defeat of the Turkish navy at Lepanto, on October
7, 1571. The so-called reformation, of which Martin Luther was the
originator, had spread over the whole of Europe, bringing in its trail
destruction, dissension and war. The Turks, who had long thirsted for
vengeance upon the Christians, found situations favorable for their
plans. They gathered all their forces to assail the Christian lands.
The princes of Europe were either indifferent, or were besieged with
difficulties in their own lands, and Luther even said he preferred the
Turks to the papacy. Pope Pius V alone realized the great danger that
threatened Christianity and he called upon the Christian people to
defend country and Church against the common enemy.

The Christian forces which could be assembled were very small compared
with those of the Turks. Nevertheless Pius V knew of another power
which he realized would be a mighty ally. With all his energy he
exhorted his people to implore the Blessed Virgin and glorious Queen of
heaven, through the rosary, to come to the assistance of the Christian
army. It was, as Leo XIII said in his Commendation of the rosary, an
ennobling sight, which drew the eyes of the whole world; on one side,
not far from the Corinthian Sea, the Christians prepared to sacrifice
life for religion and country; while gathered on the other side,
imploring through the rosary Mary's assistance for the fighting
Christians, were many Christians unable to take up arms.

The small army of Christians attacking the great force of the Turkish
fleet was an undertaking similar to the assault of David upon the giant
Goliath. On October 7, 1571, the deciding battle was fought, in the Bay
of Lepanto. The battle raged from six o'clock in the morning until six
o'clock at night. It was one of the most terrific battles ever fought.
And, lo! in the evening, toward six o'clock, the battle ended in the
victory of the Christians over their powerful enemy. This wonderful
victory of the Christians was undoubtedly due to the assistance of the
Blessed Virgin. Pope Pius V so declared, and in memory of this
wonderful achievement he added to the litany of the Blessed Virgin the
supplication: "Help of Christians, pray for us!" He also ordained that
the anniversary of this victory be celebrated as the feast of "Our Lady
of Victory," which Gregory XIII subsequently styled the "Feast of the
Rosary."

In the annals of the Church there is another great victory over the
Turks recorded which once more demonstrated the power of the rosary. It
was the great victory in the campaign against the Turks at the
beginning of the eighteenth century.

After the Turks had been defeated at sea, they endeavored to conquer on
land. They forced their way to Hungary, and had taken possession of
eight provinces, when Emperor Charles VII sent an army against them
under the command of Prince Eugene. This army was composed of only
seventy thousand men. With this meager force Prince Eugene defeated two
hundred thousand Turks and laid siege to Belgrade, their stronghold.

Prince Eugene, before engaging the enemy, implored the help of the
Blessed Virgin, through the rosary, and then with confidence in God's
assistance went to battle and to glorious victory. Thirty thousand
Turks were slain on the battlefield; the others fled. The rosary again
had won the victory, and on the feast day of the Blessed Virgin.

In the same manner as the rosary was a successful weapon against
heretics and other enemies of the Church, it has demonstrated its
wonderful efficiency in individual cases of stress, and of such I will
mention a few instances. In the year 1578 a fearful epidemic devastated
the city of Pavia. The terrified people made a public vow to build a
chapel to our Blessed Lady of the Rosary if the epidemic would cease.
And the very day the vow was made the epidemic did abate. A similar
case happened in Cologne, where people were saved from an epidemic
after such a vow had been made. That cases like these are innumerable'
is manifested by the many chapels built as a result of such vows, and
by the votive tablets in pilgrimage churches dedicated to Mary. Sight
is restored to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, the
use of their limbs to the crippled, diseases of all kind are cured, by
invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin by means of the
devotion of the rosary.

The conversion of a hardened sinner is, after all, a greater miracle
than all cures of disease. And such conversions to this day are as
numerous as they were at the time the rosary was introduced. Entire
nations, provinces and cities have been converted to God through his
devotion. Blessed John, a companion of St. Dominic, wrote a book about
the miraculous power of the rosary. The blessed Alanus de la Roche
tells of a bishop, in whose diocese morality was decadent, who finally
took up the devotion to the rosary, explained it to his people, prayed
it with them, and had it introduced in all parishes. Soon the people
abandoned their evil ways.

St. Clement Hofbauer assures us: "When I am called to a sick man of
whom I know that he is averse to making his peace with God, on the way
I pray my rosary, and when I reach him I am sure to find him desirous
to receive the Sacraments."

The holy doctor Alphonsus of Liguori relates from his experience: "The
walls of Jericho did not collapse more quickly at the trumpet call of
Josue than false teachings disappear after the earnest praying of the
rosary. The swimming pool of Jerusalem was not as healing for the
bodily sick as the rosary is as remedy for the spiritually diseased."

These few examples, to which I could add hundreds of other similar
instances, prove the miraculous efficacy of the rosary. Oh, that all
Christians would grasp this weapon to attack and conquer all enemies of
Church and soul!

Great dangers threaten the spiritual weal of the individual, family and
community. Let us, then, arise and grasp the mighty sword which is like
to none, the holy rosary, and let us attack with it the Goliath of our
times, corruption and godlessness. As David courageously met the enemy
of Israel with the humble sling in his hand and conquered because God
was with him, so let us face the enemies of Christendom and of our
salvation, with the humble wreath of the rosary in our hands, and the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin will secure for us God's grace and
assistance, and with God to fight our battles, who will do us harm?
Amen!



IV. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ROSARY

(a) _The Sign of the Cross_


"The foundations thereof are in the holy mountains."--Ps. lxxxvi, I.

Dear brethren, we have seen in our previous discourses upon the rosary
how for more than six centuries the rosary has proved itself a great,
indeed a marvelous, power and help in times of stress. This, of course,
was apparent from its very origin. It was a special instrument of
divine Providence in troublous times of Church and Society. The various
parts of the rosary are admirably adapted to exercise such great power
and efficacy. The Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Glory be to
the Father, and the Sign of the Cross, which are said in reciting the
rosary, are the most beautiful, I the holiest and most excellent of
prayers, and for this reason also the most potent and efficacious. The
mysteries of our holy faith, which are at the same time meditated upon,
embrace the entire work of our redemption, in its work (joyful
mysteries), its accomplishment (sorrowful mysteries), and in its fruits
(glorious mysteries). Meditation combined with prayer as it is
contained in the rosary renders it a perfect prayer. The rosary
furthermore is the best means of honoring Mary, and therefore it is the
best means for obtaining Mary's powerful intercession.

That we may understand and perceive the whole beauty and excellence of
the rosary let us closely view its component parts, and we will begin
to-day by considering the opening of the rosary, namely the sign of the
Cross. This has a most sublime meaning, and has of itself great power
and efficacy. It is a sign of honor, of blessing and of power. In this
threefold aspect let us consider it to-day.

I. The sign of the Cross is, first of all, a mark of honor. It reminds
us of the holy Trinity and of our relation to the triune God. The
Father has created us, the Son redeemed us, and the Holy Ghost has
sanctified us. God the Father created us after His own image, and
therefore we bear a resemblance to God in our souls. Our soul is a
spirit, as God is a spirit. It has understanding and free will; it can
be holy; it can become perfect, since our heavenly Father is perfect.
Our soul is immortal, as God is immortal, and it is destined to partake
in heaven of divine glory and happiness. Is there not in this
resemblance and likeness to God an unspeakably high dignity and glory
for man? We are reminded of this by the sign of the Cross. The Son of
God redeemed us through the Cross. After sin had reduced the human race
to a state of ignominious bondage the Son of God, moved by infinite
love, became incarnate for us, in order to make satisfaction for our
sins and to remove from us their awful consequences. From slaves of sin
and of the devil, He has made us just and children of God. Having been
redeemed, we now call God our Father; and Jesus, the Son of the eternal
Father, calls us His brethren. Of all this we are reminded by the
Cross, for we were redeemed through the Cross, and became children of
God and heirs of heaven. Thus the Cross is the glorious sign of our
redemption. The Holy Ghost sanctifies us by dwelling in us and making
of us His temples. What an honor for us! The sign of the Cross reminds
us of this honor.

In truth is therefore this sign a mark of the highest honor, and the
Christian's greatest glory. In this sense the Apostle wrote to the
Galatians: "But God forbid that I should glory, but in the Cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. vi, 14). This means, according to Saint
Chrysostom: "I glory only in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
namely, in the faith, in grateful remembrance and contemplation of the
benefactions of the Cross, through which we were redeemed and have
received the grace to lead a devout: life and to strive for eternal
happiness. In the Cross we recognize thoroughly the enormity of our
guilt and the boundless love of God."

With what love and devotion should we, then, make the sign of the
Cross! As often as we sign ourselves with the Cross we profess our
belief in the holy Trinity, and in the merciful and blessed work of the
redemption, and express our gratitude to the holy Trinity, Father, Son
and Holy Ghost. It is hard to believe that there are Christians who are
ashamed to make the sign of the Cross; and yet: there are many such
nowadays. Some act so from motives of cowardly human respect; others
because their faith is dead. But to be ashamed of the Cross means a
denial of our faith. At all times the sign of the Cross has served as a
public and solemn profession of the Christian faith. Thus did in the
days of persecution the faithful profess their belief in Christ, and
seal their profession with their blood, as the acts of the martyrs
record. When the holy Bishop Polycarp was brought before the heathen
judge, who said to him, "Deny Christ and you will be free!" Polycarp's
reply was worthy of a true Christian. "It is now over sixty years that
I have served Him, and He never did me any harm. How, then, can I deny
my beloved Master, King and Saviour?" So speaks the true Christian when
an attempt is made to make him deny his God and Redeemer. The sign of
the Cross also serves as a mark of distinction from those sects, which
centuries ago separated themselves from the mother Church and abandoned
the beautiful custom of making the sign of the Cross. It is a great
crime, then, to be ashamed of a sign which serves for our honor and
distinction. And Jesus Christ says, "For whosoever shall be ashamed of
me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he
shall come in his majesty, and of his father's, and of the holy angels"
(Luke ix, 26). "But whosoever shall deny me before men, I will also
deny him before my Father, who is in heaven" (Matt, x, 33). Thus does
Jesus Christ express Himself concerning those who are ashamed of the
glorious sign of the true Christian, and those who reject this sign
with contempt.

II. The Cross is, furthermore, a sign of blessing. It reminds us, in
the first place, as we have considered, of the source of all blessing,
of all gifts and graces for body and soul. This source is the blessed
Trinity. As often as we make the sign of the Cross we invoke the
blessings of God upon us, for we owe all blessings to the infinite
merits of our divine Saviour, who died upon the Cross for us. The
ignominious instrument of torture and death, the Cross, has now become
the instrument of life and the source of salvation. Hence the Church
never dispenses blessing except in the sign of the Cross. St.
Chrysostom says therefore: Every blessing in which we participate is
accomplished through the sign of the Cross. When regeneration (Baptism)
takes place, the sign of the Cross is employed. Whether we partake of
that holy mysterious food or receive any other of the Sacraments, it is
always under the sign of our victory, the sign of the Cross. We should,
therefore, earnestly endeavor to have this sign in our homes, and often
sign our foreheads with it; for it is the commemoration of our
salvation and of our redemption. In making the sign of the Cross
devoutly we say to God: Heavenly Father, behold not our sins which
render us unworthy of thy grace, but the Cross of thy beloved Son, with
which we sign our foreheads, which we profess with our lips and carry
devoutly in our hearts. For the sake of Jesus' bitter death upon the
Cross be merciful to us and grant us the assistance of thy grace in all
our words and actions! This is the prayer which is contained in the
sign of the Cross. That such prayer will not remain unheard is attested
by numerous manifestations of grace which have been obtained through
this sign, and the countless miracles which at all times have been
performed through the same.

III. Finally, the Cross is a sign of power. Because Jesus upon the
Cross conquered the arch enemy, redeemed mankind and merited for us all
blessings and graces, there lies in the sign of the Cross a miraculous
strength and efficacy. Jesus himself has said: "Everything that you ask
the Father in my name, he will give you." The sign of the Cross calls
for help and grace through the Blood of Christ shed upon the Cross.
Would God deny such prayer? The sign of the Cross is a particularly
powerful weapon against the malicious and cunning assaults of the
devil. Of this St. Chrysostom says: "When in the fulness of faith you
make the sign of the Cross upon your forehead no impure spirit will be
able to tarry near you; for he beholds the sword that has given him the
death blow." "Write the sign of the Cross upon thy brow," says St.
Cyril, "so that the devils when they see the sign of the king may
tremble and take flight." St Augustine tells us that our mere
remembrance of the Cross puts the devil to flight, strengthens us
against his assaults, and preserves us from his snares. The sign of the
Cross provides us with a powerful weapon, wherewith we may conquer the
unseen foe in every attack.

We know, too, from the testimony of Holy Writ, that the evil spirit can
injure mankind not only in body and soul but also in earthly
possessions. Thus the devil, by God's permission, slew Job's children,
deprived him of his possessions and afflicted him with painful and
loathsome maladies. Now, though Christ by His death has broken Satan's
power, yet He has not completely removed it. For this reason the Church
makes the sign of the Cross over people, blesses food and drink,
dwellings, water, soil, in brief everything that Christians come in
contact with. This she does in order to withdraw all these things from
the injurious influence of the evil spirit, to unite them with the
divine blessing and thus make them salutary. The grace before meals of
Christians has the same purpose. It is indeed a sad token of ignorance,
of indifference, or lack of faith, when in Christian homes grace before
meals is disregarded, as not infrequently happens in our days. We know
from the testimony of history that the sign of the Cross was also
employed successfully against bodily evils. When St. Benedict was
handed a glass of poisoned wine, the saint made the sign of the Cross
over it, and behold the glass broke in his hand, and he was saved from
death. St. Gregory of Nissa testifies that his sister during an illness
desired her mother to make the sign of the Cross over her; and when it
was done the illness left her. Through the sign of the Cross Bishop
Fortunatus restored the sight to a blind man; St. Lawrence cured
several others similarly affected. St. Roch cured the plague stricken,
and the legend says that St. Corbinian brought the dead back to life by
this same sign. The lives of the saints are replete with examples that
testify to the miraculous power of the sign of the Cross.

Because the Cross is then a sign of honor, of blessing and power,
because it is an effective remedy against evils of body and soul, the
Church has always exhorted the faithful by word and example to make
zealous use of the same at all times. Since the time of the Apostles
the sign of the Cross has been made by the faithful in all their
undertakings. Through this sign they dedicated their work to God and
invoke the divine blessing upon it.

The Fathers teach that this custom originated with the Apostles; it is
related even by a pious legend that Christ Himself at His ascension
into heaven blessed the Apostles with this sign. How universal this
custom was among Christians of the early centuries may be learned from
the words of St. Chrysostom: "We find everywhere the sign of the Cross,
it is used by princes and subjects, by women and men, by the slaves and
the free. They all sign themselves with it by making it over their
foreheads."

Let us then imitate the pious Christians of those days when faith was
more lively and robust, and let us never be ashamed of this sign of
honor! What would you think of a soldier ashamed of his colors? Let us
not be ashamed of this sign, lest Jesus be ashamed of us, when He comes
in power and majesty, with the Cross shining before Him like the sun.
Let us not deprive ourselves of the manifold blessings of this sign,
either through fear of our fellowmen or indifference. Let us make
abundant use of this sign of power, so that we may participate in the
blessing and protection that comes from the Cross, most especially when
assailed by the enemies of our salvation. This sign of the Cross should
be placed upon the forehead, lips and breast, before our prayers, for
by this our thoughts, our words, and the emotions of our heart are
consecrated and become more pleasing to God. This is the purpose of
beginning the prayer of the rosary with the sign of the Cross. But,
remember, it is not enough to make the sign merely with the fingers,
our spirit must take part in making it, and it should be made with
reverence, devotion, with a lively faith and firm confidence in the
merits of Jesus Christ. Christians who make this sign thoughtlessly and
without devotion deprive themselves of the great blessings of this holy
sign. We, however, who have just contemplated this glorious token of
salvation will use it with the greatest zeal and piety, and profess
with it our faith in the blessed Trinity and in our holy mother Church.
Amen.



V. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ROSARY

(b) _The Apostles' Creed._


"For with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth,
confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. x, 10).

Dear Brethren: At the beginning of the Rosary, the Apostles' Creed is
recited. Everything that we must believe, in order to attain to eternal
life, is contained in this Creed. It puts in explicit words all that of
which the sign of the Cross is the symbol. Tradition tells us that this
profession of faith originated with the Apostles, and for this reason
it is called the Apostles' Creed. To be sure not all the dogmas of the
Catholic Church are declared in the twelve articles of the Creed, but
any dogmas not expressly mentioned are included in the ninth article,
which says: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church." In these words the
Catholic declares that he believes everything which the holy infallible
Catholic Church teaches and requires of us to believe.

The Creed is, therefore, by its origin, as well as its contents, a
truly holy and excellent prayer. It we duly appreciate this beautiful
prayer we shall say it with more devotion, to the greater glory of God,
and our own good.

I. "I believe in God." With these words I express my firm conviction
that there is a God, and that everything that God has revealed is
infallible truth, because God is truth itself and can neither deceive
nor be deceived. With these words I submit my mind, my reason and my
will to the infallible authority of God.

"I believe in God the Father." This means that I believe that in God
there are three Persons, of whom the first Person is called the Father
because He is the origin of all existence; because from all eternity He
begot the Son, who is equal to Him in essence but different in Person.
Further, He is our Father because He created us His children.

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty." It is befitting that at the
beginning of the Creed the omnipotence of God should be emphasized. Our
faith contains many mysteries, which no created understanding can
comprehend. Because I firmly believe in the omnipotence of God I
profess that to God nothing is impossible.

In His omnipotence, God, the Father, created the world, calling it into
existence from nothing. Hence we say: "I believe in God, the Father
Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth." But God not only created
the world, He also preserves and rules it through His omnipotence. As
by virtue of His will He created the world, so does God cause it to
continue in existence. A building erected by a master hand remains
standing even though the master absent himself; yet the world,
according to St. Augustine, could not continue to exist for one moment
did not God preserve it. This world which God called forth from nothing
would, the very moment that God should withdraw His almighty hand, fall
back into nothing. "And how could anything endure if thou wouldst not?"
Thus we read of God in the Book of Wisdom (ii, 26). Since we are then
so utterly dependent upon God that at any moment He could cut the
thread of our lives, how greatly should we fear to offend Him?

God not only preserves, but also rules the world; He is solicitous for
all things; He orders and governs all things with wisdom and mercy to
the end for which He created them. "The eyes of all hope in thee, O
Lord: and thou givest them meat in due season. Thou openest thy hand,
and fillest with blessing every living creature" (Ps. cxliv, 15-16). Of
what little value is a flower which so soon withers? And yet the divine
solicitude extends to this humble flower. Indeed, is not the flower of
the field clothed more beautifully by the hand of God, than was Solomon
in all his glory? What is there about a man of less account than a
single hair of his head? And yet each of these hairs is counted, and
not one falls from the head without the knowledge and will of God. We
see how the care and providence of God extends to all things, even the
most insignificant.

God, furthermore, orders and governs all things according to their
appointed end. He created the world and all that is in it for His
glorification and for the welfare of mankind, and provides in all
things that this end may be attained. Nothing can withdraw itself from
the rule of God. There is no blind chance, no blind fortune. The
prophet Jeremias asks: "Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be
done, when the Lord commandeth it not?" (Lam. iii, 37). "Thy
providence, O Father, ruleth all things," so we read in the Book of
Wisdom. And so God orders and disposes everything in our lives, that we
may attain the eternal goal. We have but to commit ourselves to divine
Providence and place our trust in God. For this reason we should
exclaim with David: "The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing. For
though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evils, for thou art with me" (Ps. xxii).

In the first article we profess our faith, therefore, in the
omnipotence of God, divine Providence, and all the divine attributes.
God has created us and preserves us. But He has done still greater
things for us. Is this possible? Yes, for God so loved the world that
He sacrificed His only begotten Son for it. And this brings us to the
second article, which comprises the truths we must believe of God the
Son.

II. When the sin of our first parents had deprived us of the friendship
of God as well as of our heirship to Heaven, there came to our rescue
the second Person of the Godhead, the only begotten of the Father. The
succeeding articles tell us of the love and sacrifice of the Son of God
for our race.

The second article is: "And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord."
What does this mean? It means I believe that He is the Son of God, God
of God, true God of true God. It means I believe that He became
incarnate for the sake of our salvation. It means I believe in the
doctrines that He proclaimed, in the miracles that He performed. It
means I believe in His presence in the holy Eucharist; in the effects
of the holy Sacraments which He instituted. It means I believe in His
holy Church, to which He transmitted His authority. To believe in Jesus
Christ means, furthermore, to believe in His Passion and death, by
which He redeemed the world; in His glorious resurrection and
ascension. He is the Divine Master, and as such the supreme Lawgiver
whom all creatures must obey. He is also the Judge of the universe, and
as such will come again one day to preside at the general judgment,
when He will judge all men according to their belief, according to the
manner in which each one has observed or transgressed His commandments,
used or neglected the means of salvation. Then will be the end of time;
and mankind will go to its reward or to its punishment once and for
all. All this is proclaimed in the articles of faith that treat of
Jesus Christ. To believe in Jesus Christ means to believe everything
that the Gospel teaches and everything which the holy, infallible
Church requires us to believe.

The third chief part of the Creed declares what we must believe of the
Holy Ghost, the third Person of the Godhead.

III. The Holy Ghost, the third Person of the Godhead, proceeds equally
from the Father and the Son, from all eternity, and is of equal essence
with the Father and the Son from eternity.

The Holy Ghost, sent by the Father and the Son, came down upon earth
and took charge of the Church founded by Christ, in order to apply
through it the fruits of redemption to mankind.

Only in the true Church of Christ can be found the fruits of the
redemption; only in her is the true priesthood of the Lord. The fruits
of the redemption here on earth are truth and grace, and in the
hereafter eternal salvation. The divine truth, as proclaimed by Christ,
is alone contained in the holy Catholic Church; and through the
co-operation of the Holy Ghost it is preserved uncorrupted in this Church.
The Church is the pillar and the beacon of the truth. She can not
deviate unto the end of the world one tittle from the doctrine received
from Christ, because the Holy Ghost guides the teaching Church in all
truth, and sees to it that every truth is understood rightly by her and
properly interpreted and explained. Hence, to submit ourselves to the
Church's definition of the faith means to submit ourselves to the Holy
Ghost. The Holy Ghost operates in the Church, through the priesthood,
and thus applies to the faithful the fruits of the redemption, so as to
sanctify them and prepare them for eternal happiness. Thus it is the
Holy Ghost who sanctifies us, who makes us holy, as our Father in
heaven is holy; who leads us to perfection, as our Father in heaven is
perfect.

"I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," is the next article of our
Creed. The Holy Ghost lives and operates in the Church. This Church is
a "Communion of Saints," a communion of faithful, part of whom have
already entered eternal life of bliss, and is called the Church
Triumphant; another part is being cleansed from the remnants of sin in
the place of purification, and is called the Suffering Church; a third
part is still struggling on the battlefield of the world for the crown
of eternal life, and is called the Church Militant. All are true
members of this great community of saints and children of God, allied
through the bond of love. This doctrine is very consoling to us. It
opens to us, as it were, even during our earthly life, the portals of
eternity. We may enter these in spirit, and seek and find help and
consolation amongst our glorified brethren, and also carry help and
consolation to our suffering brethren. One thing alone bars us from
this glorious communion and shuts heaven against us, and that is sin.
But in the Church there is provided for repentant sinners the
Absolution from Sins, the remission of sin and its penalty. When we
finally die in the grace of God our soul shall enjoy eternal life, and
our glorified body shall be joined to it on the great day of
resurrection.

This, then, is what we are taught to believe in the Apostles' Creed.
When we say this Creed with devotion and perfect faith, we honor and
glorify first of all the Blessed Trinity. But we refresh also the
teaching of the Gospel in our minds, and thus strengthen our faith. It
is an excellent means of awakening exalted sentiments of faith within
us, and of inspiring us to a courageous profession of our holy
religion.

The Creed is possessed of great power against the temptations of the
evil one. The Apostle exhorts us "to resist the devil strong in faith"
(I Pet. v, 8), and Holy Scripture calls the faith a shield against
which the darts of Satan are broken. Thus is the Creed, according to
its origin, and its contents, and efficacy, a holy and excellent
prayer. In conclusion, let me quote an exhortation from St. Augustine:
"Forget not," he says, "to recite the profession of your faith when you
rise in the morning, nor when retiring at night; repeat it frequently,
for its repetition is salutary for you, that no forgetfulness may
arise. Your creed should be your mirror. Examine yourself therein as to
whether you firmly believe everything you profess to believe, and
rejoice daily in the possession of faith." Well, then, let us bear in
mind this beautiful advice. Let us say the Creed daily, in order to
strengthen ourselves in the faith but especially let us say it with
great devotion as part of the holy Rosary. If here below we are true to
the faith we shall one day behold in reality what we now see only with
the eyes of faith, and in this vision enjoy eternal glory and bliss
without end. Amen.



VI. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ROSARY

(c) _The Glory be to the Father_


"Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honor, and
power: because thou hast created all things."--Apoc. iv, II.

Dear Brethren, we know that the "Glory be to the Father" occurs very
frequently in the prayers of the Church and in our private devotions.
In the Rosary it is repeated with every decade. This prayer of praise
is of great significance for the Christian life. In order to understand
its meaning better we must join in spirit the choirs of the blessed
before the throne of God. Isaias, the great prophet of the Old
Testament, to whom was vouchsafed a profound insight into the mysteries
of God, had a vision of heaven, and he says, "I saw the Lord sitting
upon a throne high and elevated, and his train filled the temple; upon
it stood the seraphims: . . . and they cried one to another, and said:
Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts; all the earth is full of his
glory" (Is. vi, I). So also did John, the beloved disciple of Jesus,
have the grace to see heaven, and he saw the angels of heaven, and with
them the whole army of the saints and all the nations, tribes and
peoples, standing before the throne in sight of the Lamb, and with a
loud voice they praised God, who sat upon the throne, and the Lamb, who
is the Lamb of God (Apoc. vii, 11).

Thus God has made known to us, through both these prophets, in what the
unceasing occupation of the blessed in heaven consists. They behold the
magnificent beauty of God and praise Him on account of His majesty,
power and love, and this occupation of the dwellers in heaven should
also be the task of the dwellers upon earth. It is indeed the duty of
mankind, and an indispensable obligation. King David acknowledged this
when he said: "I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be
always in my mouth" (Ps. xxxiii).

Therefore, our whole life and endeavor should be one uninterrupted
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost."

We will make this obligation the subject of our consideration.

I. The happy inhabitants of heaven as they behold God in His
indescribable splendor extol Him with hymns of praise. To know God and
to serve Him, to glorify Him, this is the supreme end of man, not only
when he is admitted to heaven, but even here on earth. God himself
tells us this through the Prophet Isaias. "In order," thus He speaks,
"that man should glorify me, therefore have I created him and brought
him forth from nothing."

We mortals as yet can not behold God as the blessed do in heaven; but
we do behold Him in His works, and know Him from His revelation given
us through the prophets, and through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The works through which God has revealed Himself to us are creation,
redemption and sanctification. Creation is a vast book which speaks to
us unceasingly of God, and it is intelligible to all. If we contemplate
the magnificence of the starlit sky we must exclaim with David: "The
heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the
work of his hands" (Ps. xvlii). Yet not only the heavens, but also the
earth shows us, at every step, the omnipotence of God, His wisdom and
love. Mountain and valley, forest and field, river and ocean, they all
remind us of God, their creator. Every flower of field and meadow is a
great masterpiece, which no mortal man could create.

The animal world presents still greater marvels for our consideration.
The waters teeming with millions of animals of all kinds, from the
smallest jellyfish to the ship-destroying monsters, the beasts of the
forest, the birds of the air, they all are called into existence by
God, and God has not merely called all these creatures into existence,
but His providence preserves them, and not even a sparrow falls from
the roof without His knowledge.

But we have not yet considered the masterpiece of creation: man, the
creature with an immortal soul, created according to God's own image
and likeness. In man body and soul are joined together in a wonderful
unity, so that man presents in himself a combination of the spiritual
and material.

Man is the masterpiece of creation, and all creation is for his
service. "Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast
crowned him with glory and honor; thou hast set him over the work of
thy hands" (Ps. viii, 6).

In very truth we may say, therefore, the universe speaks to our mind
and heart in powerful and impressive language. This language is its
beauty, its appropriateness, its greatness.

But yet more plainly than creation does the redemption proclaim the
glory of God. It is "not the immensity of the heavenly bodies," says
St. Gregory, "not the brilliancy of the stars, not the adornment of the
universe, not the preservation of the world, that point so much to the
glory of the divine power and omnipotence, as does that divine
condescension to the feebleness of nature."

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descended from heaven and brought into
the world a truer and fuller knowledge of God. The ancient people knew
there was a God, but they knew Him not. The knowledge of the true God
was drowned in paganism. Even among the Jews small had become the
number of those who still possessed an undefiled knowledge of God. In
the Old Testament there was only an intimation of the blessed Trinity,
not a clear knowledge. Then Jesus Christ brought to us the knowledge of
the Triune God. In Him the divine attributes of love, sanctity,
justice, wisdom, omnipotence and mercy were presented to our minds so
that we can comprehend them. He made known to us the merciful decrees
which God had ordained for our temporal and eternal welfare. Through
His bitter passion and death He reconciled us to the Father, and
acquired for us the heirship of heaven. He founded the Church, the
kingdom of God upon earth, and He rules it through the Holy Ghost, who
proceeds from Him and the Father.

Through this Church are applied the glorious fruits of the redemption.
Through this Church God would sanctify all mankind and lead them to
eternal salvation. The Church and the communion of the saints reveal to
us God's glory and love far more than all the wonders of the world. A
single saint is a greater miracle of the divine grace than the whole
universe. The redemption made of earth a preparatory school for heaven,
and it behooves us, as St. Augustine says, in this life to give praise
to God, because in heaven our work will be an eternal proclamation of
the divine praises. Our whole earthly life, as a befitting preparation
for heaven, should be an imitation of the life of the blessed in
heaven. It ought to be a perpetual praise of God, until after a happy
death we are admitted to the ranks of the celestial choirs.

II. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, who has brought to us the
true knowledge of God, taught us also the true worship of God. After He
had accomplished the work of the redemption and had founded the Church,
He returned to heaven. Before this, however, He provided that He should
also remain here upon earth. He instituted the most Holy Eucharist, the
holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and thus remains in His Church until the
end of time. Jesus, the Head of the Church, offers Himself to the
Father unceasingly in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Thus the
glorification of God takes place here upon earth as unceasingly as it
does in heaven. The praise of God takes place here on earth,
furthermore, through the' ecclesiastical hourly prayer, in which all
the priests and religious of the Church unite throughout the world. The
Church dedicates the Sunday exclusively to the praise and service of
God. This day is to remind us of the creation accomplished by the
Father, of the redemption accomplished by the Son, and of the
sanctification accomplished by the Holy Ghost. On this day especially
are the members of the Church invited to contemplate these great works
of God, and praise and thank Him for the same.

The entire year has been divided by the Church into three great
festival cycles, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, and thus is
consecrated to the Triune God.

We are exhorted to receive the holy Sacraments, and thus participate in
the fruits of the redemption, sanctifying ourselves by a Christian
life. A truly Christian life is the best and highest worship of God
here below, as it makes us worthy to be associated with the heavenly
choirs, there to continue eternally our praises in the blissful vision
of God.

We see then how the Church admonishes us to make our whole lives and
all our works an unending "Glory be to God." In order that this may be
accomplished we must above all things be faithful children and living
members of the Church, brethren of Jesus Christ.

We must diligently and devoutly obey the Commandments, and receive the
Sacraments. The light of faith should lead us and hope should draw us
heavenward, the love of God and of our neighbors must fill our hearts.
He who possesses these virtues is indeed in possession of all other
virtues. Love is the bond of perfection, for who so loves God and his
neighbor has fulfilled the law. We should make a good intention the
first thing in the morning, and renew it frequently throughout the day.
This certainly is not difficult. St. Paul exhorts us urgently to make
this good intention in the words: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink,
or whatsoever else you do; do all things for the glory of God" (I Cor.
x, 31)

To make this good intention, the "Glory be to the Father" is especially
appropriate. If we utter the same frequently and devoutly we shall
makes our lives a continual praising and glorifying of God, a perpetual
prayer. Glory be to the Father, who has created us; to the Son, who has
redeemed us; and to the Holy Ghost, who sanctifies us. Glory be to the
Holy Trinity through all our thoughts, words and works, as glory was to
God in the beginning, when He created heaven and earth, as now, and so
too through all eternity in heaven. Yes, we will glorify God here below
with the militant Church, so that we may be worthy to behold Him one
day with the triumphant Church, and to praise Him in blissful rapture
for all eternity! Amen.



VII. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ROSARY

(d) _The "Our Father"_


 "Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi, I.

Dear Brethren: The holiest, the most beautiful and most perfect, and
for this reason the most efficient prayer is the "Our Father."

This prayer comes from Our Lord himself, who gave it to His disciples
when they urged that He should teach them how to pray. The "Our
Father," therefore, had its origin with God himself, and, therefore, is
the holiest of prayers. It is a petition to His heavenly Father,
composed by the God-man and bequeathed to us, His brethren. In this
petition is contained everything we may ask for. Tertullian says in his
writings that the "Our Father" contains not merely the things for which
man ought to ask God, but also everything the Lord has taught and
ordained, so that the whole Christian doctrine is briefly contained
therein. The separate petitions are arranged according to their
importance, and follow one another in a most appropriate way.
Therefore, the "Our Father" is according to its origin, as also
according to its contents and its form, the perfect prayer.

The divine Saviour promised that everything we ask of our Father in
heaven He will give us. When we recite the "Our Father" we not merely
pray in the name of Jesus, but in His own words. Hence the Lord's
Prayer is to God the most pleasing prayer, and for that reason the most
efficient and powerful of prayers. It is evident from the history of
the Church that the Lord's Prayer has, at all times been held by the
faithful in the highest esteem. It was used, as the fathers tell us,
not only in public, but also in private devotions.

This holy, excellent and most efficacious prayer forms a part of the
Rosary, and we will give it our consideration, in order the better to
understand it, to appreciate it more fully, and to say it more
devoutly.

I. The "Our Father" consists of a preface and seven petitions. The
preface is intended to lift up our thoughts to God. Holy Scripture
admonishes us to such preparation, "Before prayer, prepare thy soul:
and be not as a man that tempteth God" (Eccles. xviii, 23). When
beginning to pray we should present to our mind God as He is enthroned
in heaven. We should approach God in humility and reverence with
childlike confidence and love. Thus prepared for prayer we will be
pleasing to God. To give our mind this disposition is the purpose of
the preface: "Our Father, who art in heaven." Hence this preface should
be said with devotion and piety.

The seven petitions of the "Our Father" contain everything a Christian
ought and may ask for. But what may and should a Christian ask for? For
all things necessary and serviceable for the proper fulfilment of his
life work. This prayer contains petitions for everything necessary for
the attainment of the last end for which we were created, and that is,
in the first place, the glorification of God, and, in the second place,
our eternal salvation. In the first four petitions Christ teaches us
and commands us to beseech for the things that pertain to this last
end, and in the last three petitions for protection against the things
which hinder the attainment of this end.

1. The glory of God is the first and chief purpose of all creation, as
also of redemption and sanctification. It should be the occupation of
all mankind, as it is the occupation of the blessed in heaven. We
glorify God when we recognize Him as the highest good; when we love Him
above all things, with a childlike love, serve Him faithfully, worship
Him in all our thoughts, words and actions. As we are unable to do this
by our own strength we must seek the assistance of grace, which we do
in the words of the first petition: "Hallowed be Thy name." By the
words "Thy name" must be understood here, God himself, as He has
revealed Himself to us and this petition is equivalent to saying:
"Thou, O God, shalt be glorified by us and by all mankind." We ask in
the first petition that God may not be blasphemed, but rightly known,
truly loved and duly revered. We implore God in this petition to
enlighten the heathen that yet stand in the shadow of death, and all
unbelievers and heretics, that they may learn to know and adore Him;
and to grant sincere conversion to all sinners. We also ask, for
ourselves and our fellow Christians, the grace to grow in the knowledge
of God, in His love and service and in Christian perfection, so that
thereby God may ever be glorified more and more. A truly Christian life
is our highest glorification of God, hence to obtain this grace we must
diligently pray.

This petition is placed first, because it is the most necessary to the
glorification of God and to our salvation. It is also the foundation of
the other petitions.

2. In the second petition "Thy kingdom come," a threefold kingdom of
God is meant, for the coming of which we pray. It is the kingdom of God
about us, in us and above us. The kingdom of God about us is the Church
of Christ. Christ founded it as His divine kingdom on earth, to glorify
God and lead mankind to Salvation. We ask that God may grant to all men
grace to recognize our holy Church as _the_ divine institution, to
submit themselves to her authority, and to become members of this
Church find order to properly worship the true God, to glorify Him, and
thus work their salvation.

The kingdom of God is within us, when we allow ourselves to be ruled
and guided not by the spirit of the world, but by the spirit of God.
"Those who are moved by the spirit of God are God's children." In his
soul is the kingdom of God established whose faith agrees with the
teaching of the Church, who hopes, loves and lives in the true faith.

The kingdom of God above us is the kingdom of heaven. The Church on
earth is the kingdom of truth, of grace, of virtue; it will become in
heaven the kingdom of glory.

Through this triple kingdom God is glorified on earth and in heaven,
and this is the first and chief aim of every created thing. Through
this threefold kingdom we gain salvation, happiness and eternal life.
That this threefold dominion of God may come to us and to all mankind
we ask the Father in heaven in the second petition.

In order that what we ask for in the second petition may be attained we
must comply with the third petition: "Thy will be done on earth, as it
is in heaven." Almighty God is the supreme ruler of heaven and earth.
All creatures in heaven and earth must submit themselves
unconditionally to His holy will. God makes His will known to us
through His commandments, and through His holy Church. We must be ready
and willing at all times to do the will of God, and to submit to it in
all things. We must obey His commandments, we must gladly and humbly
submit ourselves to His dispensations, no matter what they may be. That
God's will may at all times be done by us, and in us, and in all
things, this should be our ardent desire, not with a servile fear but
with filial love, as Jesus has taught us by His word and example. But
this far surpasses our own strength and for this reason Jesus teaches
and enjoins us to beg the Father that He may grant to us and to all
mankind the grace to do at all times His holy will. By this faithful
submission of our wills to the will of God we glorify God in the most
perfect way.

3. In our earthly pilgrimage to heaven we require divine assistance in
order to live our corporal and spiritual life according to the divine
Will. For this reason Christ instructs us to pray in the fourth
petition: "Give us this day our daily bread." That means: Give us, O
God, what we stand in need of for body and soul that we may live
according to Thy holy will.

We depend upon God in all things. He is our Creator and also our
Preserver. We could not live a single moment without his aid. As we
are composed of body and soul our wants are twofold, we have
requirements for the body and others for the soul. We stand in need of
food, shelter and clothing for body. All, rich and poor alike, must
petition God for these, for each one stands in God's hand. God can cast
the rich man down like Job, and free the poor man from all want. The
word bread includes all necessities of life. "Give me neither beggary
nor riches: give me only the necessaries of life" (Prov. xxx, 8).

That we are told to pray for our daily bread should remind us that we
must not be too solicitous for the morrow. He who gives unto us to-day
will also provide for us to-morrow if we humbly ask Him. We say: _Our_
bread, because it is our duty to earn it in an honorable manner by
industry and labor. "He who toils not, shall not eat." We say also
_our_ bread, and not _my_ bread, because we wish the poor who can not
help themselves to have it as well as we ourselves, and we must share
it with them as much as our means allow.

As our body requires nourishment, so does our soul. The food of the
soul is the word of God, and the Bread of Life that came down from
heaven. We must partake of this Bread of the soul by hearing the word
of God, by reading and meditation, and by receiving the Sacraments.

Thus has Jesus in the four first petitions taught and commanded us to
ask for everything that is necessary for the attainment of our last
end. In the three remaining petitions He instructs us to pray for
protection against all things which are obstacles to the attainment of
that end.

II. In these three petitions we ask that everything may be averted that
would hinder us from attaining our true goal, our salvation and the
glorification of God.

1. This obstacle, however, is sin and its evil consequences and these
three petitions have reference to sin and its evil consequences. We,
like all men, are sinners, and in our sins we can not worship God
properly, nor can we attain our salvation if God does not show mercy to
us. For this reason we humbly implore God in the fifth petition:
"Forgive us our trespasses." In these words we implore God to grant
unto us and to our fellow men a sincerely contrite heart and to
graciously forgive us our sins and the punishment due for them. As a
condition of forgiveness, however, God exacts from us that we forgive
those who have offended us, as fully as we desire that God forgive us.
Therefore, we add: "As we forgive those who trespass against us."

2. In the sixth petition we implore God that He would graciously
preserve us from falling into sin. "Lead us not into temptation." With
these words we urge God that He should keep from us temptation to sin,
or, if through temptation He desires to try us, that He grant us
abundant graces to conquer it. Temptations do not come from God, but
from our own nature, from Satan and from the world. God permits them in
His wisdom to try our love for Him, to preserve us in humility, and to
strengthen us, to animate our zeal for virtue and to increase our
merits. God will assist us in temptation if we are exposed to it
without any fault of ours.

Those, however, who court the danger will perish in it. They can not
expect divine assistance who wilfully seek temptation and sin.

3. The seventh and last petition is "But deliver us from evil." After
asking God not to lead us into temptation we urge Him to preserve us
from evil of soul and body. We confidently trust God to guide us
according to His wisdom and mercy, and to deliver us from everything
which is an obstacle to our salvation, even if in our own
shortsightedness we may think it good and desirable.

We conclude the "Lord's Prayer" with the little word "Amen," which is
equivalent to "So be it." With this single word we confirm all our
petitions. It means: "O God grant us these things for which we have
just prayed."

Truly this prayer, taught us by Our Lord, is of high dignity and
importance. It is not alone a prayer, but a sermon as well. It is a
prayer which comprises in itself all other prayers. It is a prayer of
praise, of thanksgiving and supplication. It is, therefore, appropriate
for all occasions. Are you discouraged and faint-hearted, go and say
the "Our Father." The thought that you have an all-merciful Father in
heaven will lift you up, inspire you with confidence and comfort you.
Do self-love and pride strive for the mastery within you, go and say,
"Hallowed be Thy name." Is anger and malice in your heart, say,
"Forgive us our trespasses at we forgive those who trespass against
us." If impatience is your fault say, "Thy will be done on earth, as it
is in heaven." When beset by temptation invoke God: "Lead us not into
temptation," and in trial and adversity beseech God: "Deliver us from
evil."

O that this holy and sublime prayer would be properly understood and
appreciated. What blessings it would produce everywhere. May then our
contemplation contribute with the blessing of God toward our own love
of this wonderful prayer and greater devotion in its recital.



VIII. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ROSARY

(e) _The Hail Mary._


"And the angel said to her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women."--Luke i, 28.

Dear Brethren: To-day there is offered for our consideration one of the
sweetest of prayers of our holy Religion. It is the "Hail Mary," or
Angelical Salutation, which we say so often, particularly in the
Rosary. Considered in its origin, its contents, and in its efficacy it
is beautiful and sublime, and, with the exception of the Lord's Prayer,
the most excellent. Its origin is to be had in the words which the
Archangel Gabriel addressed to blessed Mary, ever virgin. To these have
been added the words of St. Elizabeth on the occasion of Mary's visit,
and the holy Church has completed the prayer with a consoling
supplication. Its very origin, therefore, makes this prayer a holy and
venerable one.

The words of salutation are brief, but they contain everything that one
could ever say in praise of the Virgin Mother of God.

The petition includes briefly everything for which we may ask Mary.

Let us then give our attention to this beautiful prayer in the name of
Jesus and Mary, His blessed mother.

I. I said, that in the first part of the "Hail Mary" all the privileges
and glories which made the blessed Virgin so worthy of praise are
contained. A closer examination will show us how true this is. Let us
transport ourselves in spirit to Nazareth, to the quiet little room
where Mary is praying in deepest devotion. Suddenly there enters this
room one of the most exalted spirits that stand at the throne of the
Creator. What does this messenger from heaven desire of this humble
virgin, unknown to the world? He desires no less than her participation
in our redemption. The only begotten Son of God, in His infinite love
for mankind, has offered to take upon Himself human nature, to atone
for our sins and to redeem us. The time appointed by God's providence,
when this great work was to be consummated, had now come. Mary, in the
divine counsels, is destined to be the mother of the Saviour. The
celestial messenger appears to bring this message to her, and to obtain
her consent. God desired that Mary should voluntarily cooperate in the
redemption.

Mary cooperated in our redemption by proving herself worthy to be
called to the divine motherhood, as far as this is possible for a human
being. This she did by cooperating faithfully with the abundance of
grace granted her by God, and thus proving herself worthy to become the
mother of the Saviour. Through her virginity she rendered herself
worthy according to the body, and through her most profound piety and
humility according to the spirit. Both virtues stand forth most
brilliantly in the annunciation of the angel. But she wished rather to
forego the exalted dignity of divine motherhood, than relinquish the
virginity which she had dedicated to God. And when the highest dignity
which can be bestowed upon a creature was announced to her, she called
herself the handmaid of the Lord. Mary, when convinced of the will of
God, humbly consented, saying, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it
done unto me according to thy word."

Through this consent Mary conferred upon the world an unspeakable great
blessing, for which we should be eternally grateful to her. By this
consent she became the second Eve, me spiritual first parent of the
redeemed race.

The angel, recognizing in Mary his future queen, now reverently set
forth in brief words all the prerogatives which God had granted her,
and was about to bestow upon her. These prerogatives are: (1) the
fulness of grace which God had already granted unto her; (2) the
dignity of mother of God which He now granted her, and, finally (3),
the veneration and glorification which on account of this fulness of
grace and this dignity she would partake of in heaven and earth.

The first privilege, fulness of grace, which she had received from God,
the angel expressed with the words "full of grace." These words mean:
thou art filled with all the divine graces in a measure possible to no
other creature; thou hast received to the full all graces. As God will
exalt thee to a dignity beyond that of the most exalted spirits of
heaven, so He has granted you more and greater graces than even to the
Seraphim and Cherubim. Now since thou hast cooperated in a perfect
manner with all these graces, thou hast become the most virtuous, the
holiest, the most perfect of all creatures. Therefore, art thou worthy
to become the mother of the Most High.

Mary's second privilege which the angel mentioned was her elevation to
the dignity of mother of God. "The Lord is with thee," that is, God has
bestowed upon thee every grace, and, finding thee worthy, thou art to
be the mother of His Son, to cooperate in the redemption and the
salvation of the world.

In the words "The Lord is with thee" is expressed the intimate
relationship of Mary to God, accomplished by the Incarnation. Not
merely through the fulness of His grace and love is God with her, but
even according to the flesh God is intimately united to her.

Mary's third privilege announced by the angel is the exalted veneration
which she merits for her dignity and sanctity. The angel expresses this
in the words "Blessed art thou among women." The angel had reference to
the promise given by God in Paradise, that there would come a woman who
should crush the serpent's head. He had in mind also the renowned women
of the old law who had rescued the people of God from peril and
oppression, and who were for this reason blessed by the people, such as
Judith and Esther. These heroic women were glorious prototypes,
pointing to Mary who was to crush the serpent's head, to destroy the
designs of Lucifer, and to save the human race from destruction. Yes,
truly, Mary is blessed by God among all women, and is herself an
infinite blessing for the entire world. The Lord hath done great things
in her. She realized this herself, in those prophetic words, "Behold
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, for he that is
mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is his name." And so it
has been, and ever will be, as long as the sun illumines the earth. For
more than nineteen centuries the people and nations have joyfully
repeated the angel's words, "Blessed art thou among women." By precept
of the Church we add the words "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus," in order to join to our praise of Mary that of Jesus, from whom
and on whose account she received all her privileges, and for whose
sake she receives all this praise.

II. After the prayer of praise in the "Hail Mary" there follows the
prayer of supplication which the Church has added. This supplication is
"Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of
our death. Amen." A short petition, but a significant one by which we
invoke Mary's intercession in all our needs. The words holy Mary,
mother of God, form the opening of this petition. They repeat the truth
contained in the prayer of praise, and are at the same time calculated
to arouse our confidence in Mary. The name "Mary" alone should awaken
our confidence in the blessed Virgin, because the name Mary means
sovereign. Mary, is indeed a sovereign, a ruler. As mother of the King
of heaven and earth, she is the Queen of heaven and earth, and our
lady, our queen as well. Mary means also star of the sea. As star of
the sea Mary is to mankind what a kindly star is to the sailor who
finds himself on the stormy waters. This world resembles an ocean,
where storms and perils abound to the menace of body and soul. The
winds and storms of temptations rise, the dangerous rocks of oppression
threaten, the stormy waves of passion, of pride, of ambition, of
avarice, of anger, envy, revenge, avidity beat upon us. All these
dangers trouble the heart and fill it with sorrow and fear. And as the
star leads the sailor to a safe haven, so Mary is to us the kindly star
that inspires us with consolation and confidence and brings us rescue.

Holy Mary, mother of God! As mother of God Mary possesses the power of
mediation with her divine Son. The angels and saints all together can
not have the influence that Mary exercises. The holy fathers and
teachers refer to this power, when they say Mary is omnipotent through
her intercession, as God is omnipotent in Himself. Thus the opening of
the supplication inspires veneration and confidence in Mary. With this
veneration and confidence then we ask, "Pray for us sinners." Thou, the
holy one, the powerful and good, pray for us miserable sinners, not
worthy to approach God and be heard. Pray for us in all our temporal
and spiritual necessities, in every danger of body and soul. Pray above
all, to obtain for us the grace of a perfect conversion and repentance,
and the grace of perseverance until the end of life. Pray for us, holy
Mary, mother of God, now, while it is yet time for us to merit
salvation, but pray for us especially when that solemn and sad hour of
death has arrived. In that dark hour will be decided our eternal
destiny; at that dread hour forsake us not, Pray for us now, and at the
hour of our death.

We have seen what an excellent prayer the Hail Mary is. It follows that
it is also an efficacious prayer. When the Hail Mary was uttered for
the first time by the Archangel it ushered in the most stupendous of
all miracles. And whenever we devoutly repeat this salutation with
faith and confidence, it will be for us also a means of grace and
blessing. Whenever you salute Mary, says St. Bernard, she returns the
greeting, she gives you in return consolation and blessing.

Let us then recite this beautiful and excellent prayer most diligently
and piously, and let us give special preference to the devotion of the
Rosary which is a garland woven to blessed Mary from this prayer of
praise. The quarter of an hour spent in reciting the beads will bring
us blessings in life and a happy death. How we shall rejoice when we
behold Mary face to face and greet her with the words: Hail Mary, full
of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, to whom be praise for all
eternity. Amen.



IX. THE PRAYER TO INCREASE THE THREE DIVINE VIRTUES


"And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the
greatest of these is charity."--I. Cor. xiii, 13.

Dear brethren, in beginning the Rosary one Our Father and three Hail
Marys are said in supplication for the three divine virtues. These
virtues are called divine because they have God for their Author or
their object. In Baptism these virtues are infused into the soul
together with sanctifying grace. Through sanctifying grace, received in
Baptism, we are made children of God. From that moment there is imposed
upon us the duty, as soon as we shall be able to use our reason, of
thinking, speaking and acting as behooves the true children of God.
This duty we perform if we imitate the example of Jesus Christ, and if
we endeavor to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. But as
this cannot be done by human power, the Holy Ghost has willed to enable
us to do so, by imparting to us, in Baptism, the three divine virtues.
By the infused grace of faith God gives us a supernatural light, in
addition to the natural light of our reason, with the aid of which we
may comprehend His revelations. God bestows upon us thus, through the
virtue of faith, a share in His own wisdom. The supernatural grace of
hope turns our thought heavenward, gives us an incentive to co-operate
with grace.

The supernatural virtue of charity renders us capable of loving God in
a worthy and meritorious manner and of loving that which God loves.

As the child arrives at the age of discretion, and obtains the right
use of reason, he is obliged to practise these virtues, and thus I
strengthen his soul and grow in grace.

We are obliged to awaken frequently faith, hope, and charity towards
God and our neighbor, in a practical manner. By the possession,
practise and application of these three divine virtues we attain to
Christian perfection. The more we learn to know these virtues, the more
zealous we shall be in practising them, the more earnestly we shall
strive for their increase, the more incessantly shall we pray for them.

Let us, therefore, take these three divine virtues for the subject of
our consideration.

I. Faith is the first of the three divine virtues; it is the foundation
of the other virtues. Without faith in God, in His revelations and
promises, there can be no Christian hope, no Christian charity. For
this reason faith is the foundation of virtuous living: Christian faith
is a virtue infused by God into our souls by which we are enabled to
believe firmly all that which God has revealed and which the infallible
Catholic Church proposes for our belief.

An act of faith requires the use of the understanding and the use of
the will. The mysteries surpass our natural understanding; they are,
furthermore, to be believed in a supernatural manner, and we require,
therefore, the supernatural light of faith, added to the natural light
of our understanding, and we require also that our natural willpower be
strengthened by the supernatural power of grace. This light and this
power we receive in Baptism. The supernatural light of faith qualifies
us to understand that the truths revealed by God are divine.

In order to believe it does not suffice to know the divine truths as
the Church teaches them, we must also, of our own free will, assent to
them, and acknowledge as divine truths even those mysteries which
surpass our human understanding. To that extent faith is a matter of
the will. God, through the light and the power of the grace of faith,
comes to the assistance of our reason and will, in order that we may
confidently submit both to divine revelation, that is, to God. In order
that the infused virtue of faith may be meritorious for us, we must
co-operate with grace by readily submitting our understanding and our will
to divine revelation. Then this virtue of faith will not only be an
infused one but, also, will be an acquired one and thus become a
meritorious virtue. This actual and acquired virtue is for every adult
the first condition of salvation. Still the acceptance of the divine
doctrine is alone not sufficient for salvation. We must live in
accordance with our faith; we must do good and shun evil. Such is the
teaching of faith. "He truly believes who practises what believes,"
says St. Gregory, and St. James tells us that "Faith without works is a
dead faith and avails nothing to salvation." A living faith is the
first condition and the beginning of salvation. Eternal happiness
consists, as we are aware, in the vision of God. The living faith is a
beginning of this vision. We know God through the Christian faith, but
only as in a mirror. "Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as
I am known" (I. Cor. xiii, 12).

II. The second of the divine virtues is hope. Christian hope is a
virtue infused into our souls by which we confidently expect of God
everything which He has promised us through the merits of Christ. God
has promised us eternal happiness, also all things which we stand in
need of, and that are profitable for us in our endeavor to attain
eternal happiness. Jesus has merited these for us, and God has promised
them to us for the sake of the merits of Jesus Christ. And because God
has promised them to us we must confidently expect and hope for them,
because God is omnipotent, merciful and faithful to His promises.

This Christian confidence in God is bestowed by the virtue of hope,
infused into our souls at Baptism. We must frequently exercise it in
order to make it conducive to salvation.

The virtue of hope is based upon the virtue of faith. Faith informs us
of the promises of God, and that He is all-powerful and faithful in
fulfilling His promises. Without faith Christian hope would not be
possible. This the Apostle Paul teaches in his Epistle to the
Corinthians, in plain words: "Faith," he writes, "is the substance of
things hoped for" (Heb. xi, i). Hope is really, therefore, an active
faith in the mercy and generosity of God. Christian hope is just as
necessary for salvation as faith. "For we are saved by hope." Thus the
Apostle writes in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. viii, 24). Hence,
when we lose hope we forfeit our salvation.

Christian hope is in part desire, in part confidence. It is a lively
desire for eternal happiness, for the possession of God and for the
means which aid us in gaining salvation. It contains in itself a
heartfelt desire for forgiveness of sins, and for liberation from the
punishment due to sins. It includes an ardent longing for a virtuous
Christian life. It is that hunger and thirst for justice of which
Christ speaks in the eight Beatitudes. As God is the supreme good,
combining every other good, so our desire for the blessed possession of
God must be the sincerest, indeed, the sole, desire of our hearts. All
other things we may desire only on God's account, and only in so far as
they are the means to help us to the possession of God. Whoever
experiences this desire will zealously pray for all things; he will be
a man of prayer.

Christian hope is not only desire, but also confidence. God has
promised us forgiveness of our sins and the grace to do the good that
is required of us. He has promised us after a Christian life the
eternal happiness of heaven. He is ready to fulfil His promises. The
fulfillment of the divine promise depends, however, upon our own
co-operation, upon our sincere good-will, upon our co-operation with
grace. Our confidence must, therefore, never become presumption. The
Apostle admonishes us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
St. Francis de Sales calls confidence in God and distrust in ourselves
the two balancing poles by the help of which we are enabled to keep our
equilibrium. To distrust ourselves, and to have the fullest trust in
God, this is the essence of Christian hope.

Christian hope is an essential condition for eternal happiness. By hope
we anticipate life eternal. It is to us a pledge and a foretaste, and
when we shall pass into eternity with this living hope, our hope will
be transformed into possession of that which we have hoped for the
possession of God, the supreme good.

III. Charity, the third of the divine virtues, is the virtue infused by
God into our souls which enables us to love God above all things, and
for His sake to love our neighbor as ourselves. That such divine
charity surpasses human power is quite evident. It is inseparably
united to sanctifying grace. He who possesses sanctifying grace
possesses also the virtue of divine charity. He who loses sanctifying
grace through mortal sin, loses also divine charity. The virtue of
charity is a participation in the divine charity with which God loves
us. It is a divine commandment that we must love God with our whole
heart, with our whole soul, with our whole strength, and that we must
love our neighbor as ourselves, for God's sake. To give oneself wholly
to God, to prefer Him to all things, rather lose all things than offend
Him, to seek to accomplish His holy will in all things, to observe His
commandments, to offer up to God every thought, word, and deed, to work
and suffer for God, to live and die for God, this is the true love of
God.

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth
me." Thus speaks the Son of God (John xiv, 21). To love God in this
manner is made possible for us by the divine virtue of charity,
received in Baptism. We may, however, co-operate with it and so fulfil
God's commandments. Only in this manner does the infused virtue become
an acquired and meritorious virtue. The Christian virtue of charity is
the greatest of all virtues. It presupposes faith and hope because we
must believe and hope in God before we can love Him: charity gives life
to faith and hope. Without charity, faith and hope are dead and avail
not for salvation. Who so loves not remains in death. Charity is not
merely the greatest of all virtues, but it contains all Christian
virtues; it is the essence of the Christian life. Through Christian
faith we participate in the divine knowledge, through hope in the
divine power, and through charity we participate in the divine justice
and sanctity. Christian charity renders us holy, as the heavenly Father
is holy, and perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. It is charity
which here on earth unites us with God. "He who abides in charity
abides in God and God in him." It is a virtue which continues for all
eternity, when faith has become the vision, and hope the possession, of
God.

The love of God is inseparably united to the love of our neighbor; for,
as St. Augustine says, there are two commandments but only one charity,
because there is no other charity with which we love our neighbor than
that with which we love God. Who so says that he loves God, but does
not love his neighbor, in him there is no divine charity.

We have seen, therefore, how the three divine virtues are the
foundation of the Christian life, and that their practise constitutes
Christian life. The true worship of God consists in practising these
virtues which, at the same time, are the sole way to eternal bliss.
Progress in the Christian life keeps pace with the activity of these
virtues. This increase of virtue is, likewise, a gracious gift of God.
We are ever obliged to co-operate with grace. We must strive for the
increase of our faith, hope, and charity, by frequently practising
these virtues, by the worthy reception of the holy Sacraments, by
attentively contemplating the divine truths and, especially, by humble
and heartfelt prayer.

How feeble, indeed, is our faith, how wavering our hope, how
insufficient our love of God and our neighbor. They need the
strengthening grace of God.

To pray rightly, and to be worthy of being heard, we must awaken these
fundamental virtues. Therefore, at the beginning of the Rosary we say
devoutly one Our Father and three Hail Marys to ask God for an increase
of these virtues. Because faith, hope, and charity should be both the
basis and the fruit of the Rosary. Amen.



X. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE ROSARY IN REGARD TO ITS FORM


"She reacheth therefore from end to end mightily, and ordereth all
things sweetly."--Wisdom viii, 1.

The disposition of the heart is in prayer of more consequence than the
manner of expression. Yet an appropriate form of prayer is helpful in
avoiding distraction and in inducing devotion. Our Divine Saviour
taught His disciples to make use of a special form of prayer, the "Our
Father."

The form of the Rosary helps appreciably in rendering the Rosary the
great prayer it is. The Rosary has been aptly called the "lay
breviary." For many centuries the faithful joined in the reciting of
the breviary. As late as in the eleventh century St. Peter Damian
urgently exhorted the faithful to participate in the ecclesiastical
"hours" of prayer. And when gradually participation in the
ecclesiastical prayer ceased, Divine Providence supplied the Rosary to
take for the laity the place of the breviary. It may thus properly be
called the "lay breviary." In fact it reminds of the breviary of
priests, for it contains verbal prayer and meditation, and the hundred
and fifty "Hail Marys" of the Rosary correspond to the hundred and
fifty psalms of the breviary.

Let us now consider how appropriate the form of the Rosary is, and how
it renders the Rosary a perfect prayer.

The form makes the Rosary both an excellent devotion and a perfect
prayer. Prayer is the first duty of all men. It is an article of faith
that no man can work out his salvation without prayer. The real essence
of prayer consists in the union of vocal prayer with meditation, or
interior prayer. The true prayer is a conversation, or intercourse, of
man with God. The combination of meditating with vocal prayer is an
excellent means of participating in Divine grace. Meditation makes us
realize our needs, the faults which we should lay aside, and the
virtues which we must acquire. Sin makes man blind, meditation opens
his eyes. Vocal prayer alone is not of itself a protection from sin,
daily experience teaches this. There are many who say vocal prayers and
yet fall into grievous sin and remain in that state. The reason is
because they omit the contemplative prayer. Those who combine vocal
prayer with meditation do not easily incur God's disfavor, or if they
do they at once resolve to amend and they lose no time in returning to
God. A combination of meditation and vocal prayer is therefore
calculated to preserve us from sin, and to rescue us from that state,
if unfortunately we find ourselves in it. It is also the most effective
means for us to reach Christian perfection and eternal salvation.

We should therefore combine with vocal prayers proper meditation if we
desire our prayers to be more perfect. When we say the "Our Father," or
the "Hail Mary," we should not merely utter the words with our lips,
but should contemplate the purport of the words, lifting the mind to
God, to whom we are praying, otherwise our prayer will be merely a
prayer of the lips. Remember the words of our Divine Saviour: "These
people glorify Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me."

In saying the Rosary we combine vocal prayer with meditation upon the
Sacred Mysteries. Where there is time for it a longer meditation is
very beneficial and of great spiritual advantage. But if time is
lacking, or when the Rosary is said in common with others, one should
at least at every decade briefly put the mystery before the mind.
Pondering upon the mysteries whilst saying the prayers is ordinarily
requisite to gain the indulgences attached to the Rosary.

The Rosary in its union of vocal prayer and meditation is a perfect
prayer. The parts of the Rosary so appropriately succeed one another as
to form a beautiful chain of prayers. We begin the prayers of the
Rosary with the sign of the Cross, with which the Church commences all
her prayers. This sign reminds us of the Most Holy Trinity in whose
Name we were baptized, and to whom we belong absolutely, through
creation, redemption, and sanctification. By making the sign of the
Cross we place ourselves vividly in the presence of God, to whom we are
praying, and awaken within us acts of faith, reverence, love, and
confidence. Through the sign of the Cross there are dedicated to God in
prayer the thoughts of the mind, the words of our lips, and the
sentiments and feelings of the heart. Most assuredly the devout signing
ourselves with the Cross is an excellent introduction and preparation
for prayer.

Then follows most appropriately the Apostle's Creed. It declares more
fully that which the sign of the Cross indicates. The twelve articles
of the Creed contain that which we must firmly believe if we would be
saved.

The Creed most properly opens the Rosary because it is the basis of our
faith. The Joyful Rosary expounds the article of faith: "Conceived by
the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary." The Sorrowful Rosary is a
commemoration of the article: "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified, died and was buried." The glorious is founded upon the
article: "Rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven and sitteth at
the right hand of God." Thus the entire Rosary is in truth a prayer of
faith, and draws from the faith its force and efficacy.

After the Creed follows "Glory be to the Father," which is repeated at
every decade of the Rosary as it is also said in the ecclesiastical
"hours" after every Psalm. To give glory to God is our chief duty, it
must be our intention in all our words and works. To give glory to God
must also be our principal intention in saying the Rosary. As we repeat
this doxology at the end of each decade, we should again raise up our
mind and heart to God with fresh sentiments of faith, love, and
confidence. This preserves us from distraction and gives new zeal to
our prayers.

After the first "Glory be to God" we say one Our Father and three Hail
Marys for the increase of the three divine virtues. The three divine
virtues are the foundation of the right disposition which we must have,
in order truly and worthily to honor God. St. Augustine says: "God is
to be glorified through faith, hope, and charity. They are the corner-
stone of the Christian life." And the Apostle says: "The just man
liveth by faith" (Heb. x, 38), meaning that man lays the foundation for
his justification through faith, receives the life of justification
from faith, perseveres in this just life through faith, perfects this
life through the light and the power of faith whence hope and charity
proceed.

To promote this kind of life is the aim of the devotion of the Rosary.
The more pious and virtuous we become, the more we glorify God and
assure our temporal and eternal happiness.

These prayers are the introduction and preparation to the prayer of the
Rosary, which combines meditation of the Mysteries with the recital of
the Our Fathers and Hail Marys. The Rosary is a prayer indeed for the
glory of God and for honoring and invoking Mary the Mother of God. The
Mysteries of the Rosary contain that which God has done in order to
glorify Himself and to redeem, sanctify, and save mankind. At the same
time these mysteries from the lives of Jesus and Mary are fraught with
touching examples for our own lives. In the devout contemplation of
these mysteries, and in the application of the same to our own
religious moral life, lie the gist of the prayers of the Rosary and the
chief fruits which we should draw from this saving devotion.

Certain critics of the Rosary cannot understand why the Hail Mary is so
frequently repeated. But in the repetition lies the strength of the
prayer, for holy perseverance is expressed by this repetition. The
psalmist in the one hundredth and thirty-fifth Psalm repeats twenty-six
times the words: "For his mercy endureth forever." And the heavenly
hosts proclaim their "Thrice Holy" for ever and ever.

We are perfectly right, therefore, in declaring that the Rosary is a
thoroughly practical prayer, corresponding exactly to the necessities
and peculiarities of our minds and hearts.

We might challenge the world to name a more beautiful, a more excellent
prayer. The Church therefore numbers the Rosary amongst her most
efficacious prayers, and she has endowed it richly with indulgences to
induce the faithful to say it frequently.



XI. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE ROSARY ON ACCOUNT OF THE MYSTERIES
COMMEMORATED


"Unless thy law had been my meditation, I had then perhaps perished in
my abjection."--Ps. cxviii, 92.

Dear Brethren: In our former considerations of the Rosary we have
discussed the prayers of which the Rosary is composed. The second chief
part of the Rosary is the fifteen Mysteries. They are called Mysteries
because the truths which they contain are hidden and cannot be
comprehended except by Divine revelation. These Mysteries and their
significance will be the subject of our discourse to-day. It is the
spirit and intention of the Church that these Mysteries be properly
meditated upon while saying the Rosary. This we do by reflecting upon
them, by applying to ourselves the lesson drawn! from them, and by
resolving to amend our life or to perfect it according to this lesson.

I. The consideration of the Divine truths of salvation is absolutely
necessary for all mankind, for no one can be saved who is not mindful
of his salvation. We cannot attain happiness without serving and loving
God. Yet he knows not God who does not give any thought to things
divine. In order to learn to know God and to make progress in this
knowledge we must contemplate the Divine attributes and perfections,
and the works which proclaim them. The whole universe is preaching to
us God's omnipotence, wisdom, and love. The heavens tell of God's
glory, and the firmament proclaims the works of His hands. The tiny
flowers in field and meadow, the birds in the tree, the stars in the
sky, they all remind us of God and of His Omnipotence and Goodness. We
ought not regard these things thoughtlessly, they give us food for
salutary thought and meditation. They exhort us to show love and
gratitude towards God, the merciful Father who has created all these
things for us.

God so loved the world as to sacrifice for it His only begotten Son.
The Son so loved Mankind that He became Man, suffered for us and died
upon the Cross, in order to ransom us from sin and ruin. We learn to
know not only the malice, horror, and guilt of sin, but also the
infinite mercy and love of God by pondering on the works of God.

In the work of sanctification, specially ascribed to the Holy Ghost, we
perceive fresh wonders of God's love. The Holy Ghost cleanses us from
our sins and transforms us into children of God. He consoles us with
heavenly consolation, and leads us with His hand, conducting us to
Christian perfection and to life eternal. By considering these divine
works, often and earnestly, we learn to know God, and become desirous
of loving Him and serving Him faithfully. To make progress in the
knowledge of these divine things is the sacred duty of a Christian. But
in order to be saved it is not sufficient to know God; we must also
know ourselves. For this reason St. Augustine besought God: "Let me
know myself, and let me know Thee." We must learn to know our faults in
order to correct them, and our evil inclinations so as to fight against
them. We must ascertain what virtues we are lacking in so that we may
strive to acquire them. We must understand the gravity of our sins to
repent of them sincerely. Finally, we must understand our inability to
acquire merit, so that we may seek from God grace, strength, and help.

It is necessary also that we understand clearly the duties which we
have to perform.

If we were profoundly impressed by the excellence of the Divine Laws,
of the magnificent rewards that will be the share of those who observe
the Commandments, and of the terrible chastisement awaiting the
transgressor, who would ever presume to transgress these Divine
Commandments? And what is calculated to impress us with these truths if
not serious reflection upon them?

The royal Prophet exclaims: "Blessed are they that search his
testimonies; that seek him with their whole heart" (Ps. cxviii, 2).

Meditation has drawn numberless sinners from the depths of sin and
protected untold numbers against sin. It is also, as St. Ignatius
remarks, the shortest way to Christian perfection. Hence St. Teresa
implores those who have not yet begun this meditative prayer, to do so
in the name of God, and through the love of Christ, and no longer
deprive themselves of this most precious and necessary good.

Objection may be made by some that they cannot meditate, that they have
not the ability to do so. The reply is that for meditation no skill or
science is required. When you reflect upon an article of faith, upon a
commandment of God, upon sin or virtue, upon God, your duties, and then
awaken acts of faith, hope and charity, contrition, and thanksgiving,
followed by resolutions of amendment, petitions to God for His grace
and assistance to keep these resolutions, you have made a very good
meditation. This much any one can do.

Another objection may be advanced, that one has no time for it. A man
living in the world has many business cares, but then the salvation of
the soul is the chief business of man. Our Divine Saviour has said that
one thing only is necessary, and this one thing is solicitude for the
soul's welfare. David had the cares of governing a great kingdom, and
yet he said: "O how have I loved thy law, O Lord, it is my meditation
all the day." (Ps. cxviii, 97.) No, my brethren, time and ability are
not lacking. If anything is lacking, it is the good will. Therefore let
us all make the firm resolution to give in the future due consideration
to Christian meditation so as to place our soul's welfare in safety.

II. The Mysteries of the Rosary offer us an easy method and material
for our meditation. They give us a brief sketch of the life, passion,
and death of Jesus Christ and the sorrows and joys of our Mother Mary.
The fifteen Mysteries are divided into three parts: the Joyful, the
Sorrowful, and the Glorious Mysteries.

The joyful Mysteries of the Rosary contain events from the youthful
life of Jesus. These are the Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary, the
Nativity of Christ, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the
Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. These five Mysteries comprise
the foundation of the work of the redemption. With all of them is
intimately connected Mary, the Blessed Mother of the Redeemer.

These five Mysteries set before us the example of Jesus and Mary. To
make of us children of God, the Son of God became incarnate, and He is
for us the model of a child of God. Mary, His holy Mother, is in all
things His faithful likeness and thus the model for us in the imitation
of Christ.

The sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary remind us of the work of
redemption, through the passion and death of Jesus Christ. He begins
His passion in the garden of Olives in an agony of sorrow. By the
scourging He did penance for our sins of the flesh, and by the crowning
with thorns, for our sins of the mind. Then He bore His Cross to the
place of execution, and with it the sins of the world, in order to
efface our debt upon this Cross. These Mysteries teach us how to
partake of the merits of the redemption. The consideration of our sins,
of their malice and guilt, and a sincere contrition for them is the
first step. The second is the discipline of our flesh and its evil
desires by temperance, chastity, and mortification. The third step is
the discipline of the spirit by humble obedience towards God and His
holy law. The fourth is the patient bearing of our cross, and the last
is that we die completely to sin, and live only for Christ.

The glorious Mysteries of the Rosary tell us of the glorious fruits of
the redemption. These are a new life of grace, resurrection from the
dead, and admittance into heaven. They speak to us also of the mission
of the Holy Ghost, whose work is to sanctify us. In Mary's assumption
into Heaven we behold the most sublime work of the Holy Spirit, _viz_.,
her holy life here upon earth and her coronation in Heaven, the reward
of this holy life for all eternity. All these things are calculated to
induce in us a devout Christian life. We behold what God has prepared
for those who love Him, who live for Him, who work and suffer and die
in His grace and love.

Thus the fifteen Mysteries give us a short summary of the lives of
Jesus and Mary. The events selected are best calculated to awaken our
faith, to strengthen our hope, to inflame our hearts with love for
Jesus and Mary, and to animate us to imitate the lives of Jesus and
Mary.

These Mysteries thus offer most excellent material for our meditations.
They are so simple that every believing Christian may understand them,
yet so profound and full of meaning that those most learned and
advanced in the spiritual life may find therein ample food for
edification. The public life of Jesus and Mary pass, as it were, before
our eyes.

How fortunate did the Apostles esteem themselves to have known Jesus by
sight, to have listened to the teachings from His own lips, to have
gazed and meditated upon His holy life! We may draw the same profit
from the diligent and devout meditation of the Mysteries of the Rosary.

If we daily say the Rosary, and picture the mysteries to ourselves,
what advantage may we not draw from them for our life! It will be for
us a daily intercourse and association with Jesus and Mary that will
enlighten our minds, elevate and ennoble our hearts, and powerfully
invite our will to a true life of virtue. The Rosary is, therefore, an
admirable means to lead a truly Christian life, and an admirable
means, consequently to attain eternal salvation. Let us all be zealous
to avail ourselves of it and the Rosary will become a bond uniting us
intimately with Jesus and Mary, and conducting us to the participation
of their glory and happiness for all eternity. Amen.





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