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The Rosary: Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is an apposite day on which to conclude our series on the Rosary. The series has focused on the cycles and prayers of the Rosary in which we have seen the richness and depth of this devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as its ultimate Christological character.

This is a special feast for Dominicans because of the tradition that Our Lady gave the traditional Rosary to St. Dominic. St. Dominic was not the first to use beads as a means of prayer - for example, the practice of saying 150 Our Fathers or the “Paternoster” certainly predated the Rosary. However, the tradition was affirmed by Pope Leo XIII especially and on several occasions, to say nothing of the endorsement of other Popes, besides.

St Dominic de Guzman receiving the Rosary, Federico Barocci, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Given this background, the Dominicans have a special role in promoting this Marian devotion and do so in various ways. One way we promote the Rosary is by personal recitation. After all, it would be useless to promote a devotion that we did not ourselves practise. The Constitutions of the Friars Preachers state "The brothers should recite daily five decades of the rosary in common or in private… This form of prayer leads us to the contemplation of the mystery of salvation in which the Virgin Mary is intimately associated with the work of her Son." [LCO 67]. Of course, we are greatly assisted in this task by the fact that we wear the Rosary as part of our habit! [LCO 50]

Elsewhere in the Constitutions, the importance and value of our devotion to the rosary and its implications is underscored: "The Rosary as a way of contemplating the mysteries of Christ, is a school for developing evangelical life. As such, it is a form of preaching particularly appropriate to our Order, in which the truths of faith are proposed in the light of the blessed Virgin Mary’s participation in the mystery of Christ and the Church. Since the Rosary is a characteristically Dominican devotion, the brothers should fervently preach it, so that it may flourish, and they should promote its societies.” [LCO 129].

Further reading on the meaning and value of the Rosary, together with advice on the way to say it can be found in various Papal documents, including Adiutricem (Leo XIII) , Marialis Cultus (Paul VI), and Rosarium Virginis Mariae (St. John Paul II).

In writing this series, we hope that we have been true to our Dominican heritage and mission, and that some encouragement has been provided to our readers to dedicate themselves to this wonderful devotion.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God – that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


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