Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thirty-Eigth Rose: A Bishop's Devotion

Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"

A SPANISH COUNTESS, who had been taught the Holy Rosary by Saint Dominic, used to say it faithfully every day with the result that she was making wonderful strides in her spiritual life. Since her one and only thought was how she might attain to perfection she asked a Bishop who was a renowned preacher for some practices that would help her become perfect.

The Bishop told her that, before he could give her any counsels, she would have to let him know the state of her soul and also what her religious exercises were. She answered that her most important exercise was the Holy Rosary which she said every day meditating on the Joyous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, and that her soul was greatly helped by so doing.

The Bishop was overjoyed to hear her explain what priceless lessons the mysteries contain. "I have been a Doctor of Theology for twenty years," he exclaimed "and I have read many excellent books on various devotional practices. But never before have I come across one better than this----for it is of the essence of Christianity and is a devotion which cannot but bear fruit. I shall follow your example, and from now on I shall preach the Rosary."

The Bishop's preaching met with great success, for in almost no time his diocese changed for the better. There was a notable decline in immorality and worldliness of all kinds as well as in gambling. There were several striking instances of people being brought back to the Faith, or sinners making restitution for their crimes and of others sincerely resolving to give up lives of vice. Religious fervor and Christian charity began to flourish. These changes were all the more remarkable because this Bishop had been striving to reform his diocese for some time but with hardly any results.

To better inculcate devotion of the Rosary, the Bishop also wore a beautiful Rosary at his side and always showed it to the congregation when he preached. He used to say:

"My dear brethren in Jesus Christ, I am a Doctor of Theology and a Doctor of Canon as well as Civil law, but I say to you, as your Bishop, that I take more pride in wearing Our Lady's Rosary than in any of my episcopal regalia or academic robes."


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thirty-Seventh Rose: A Monastery Reformed

Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"

A NOBLEMAN who had several daughters entered one of them in a lax monastery where the nuns were very proud and thought of nothing else but worldly pleasures. The nuns' confessor, on the other hand, was a zealous priest and had a great love for the Holy Rosary. Wishing to guide this nun into a better way of life he ordered her to say the Rosary every day in honor of the Blessed Virgin while meditating on the life, passion and glory of Jesus Christ.

She joyously undertook to say the Rosary and little by little she grew to have a repugnance for the wayward habits of her sisters in religion. She developed a love for silence and prayer and this in spite of the fact that the others despised and ridiculed her and called her a fanatic. It was at this time that a holy priest, who was making the visitation of the convent, had a strange vision while he was making his meditation: he saw a nun in her room, rapt in prayer, kneeling in front of a Lady of breathless beauty who was surrounded by Angels. The latter had flaming spears with which they repelled a crowd of devils who wanted to come in. These evil spirits then fled to the other nuns' rooms under the guise of vile anials.

By this vision the priest becarne aware of the lamentable state the rnonastery was in and he was so upset that he thought he might almost die of grief. He immediately sent for the young religious and exhorted her to persevere.

As he pondered on the value of the Rosary, he decided to try to reform the sisters by means of it. He bought a supply of beautiful rosaries and gave one to each nun, imploring them to say the Rosary every day, even going so far as to promise them that, if they would only say it faithfully, he would not try to force them to alter their lives. Wonderful and strange as it may seem the nuns agreed to this pact and were glad to be given the rosaries and promised to say them.

Little by little they began to give up their empty and worldly pursuits, letting silence and recollection corne into their lives. In less than a year they all asked that the monastery be reformed.

So the Holy Rosary worked more changes in their hearts than the priest could have worked by exhorting and commanding them.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thirty-Sixth Rose: Freed from satan

Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"

IN 1578 A WOMAN in Anvers had given herself to the devil and had signed the contract with her own blood. Shortly afterwards she was stricken with sincere remorse and had an intense desire to make amends for this terrible deed. So she sought out a kind and wise confessor who advised her to go to Father Henry, one of the Fathers of the Dominican Friary, who was Director of the Rosary Confraternity in that town, to ask him to enroll her in it and hear her confession.

Accordingly she went to ask for him but met, not Father Henry, but the devil disguised as a Dominican Father. The latter scolded her pitilessly and said that she could never hope to receive Almighty God's grace again as long as she lived, and that there was absolutely no way in which she could regain possession of her contract. This grieved her greatly but she did not quite lose hope of God's mercy and sought out Father Henry once more, only to find the devil a second time, and to meet with a second rebuff. She came back for the third time and then at last, by Divine Providence, she found Father Henry in person----the priest whom she had been looking for----and he treated her with very great kindness, urging her to throw herself upon the mercy of Almighty God and to make a good confession. He then received her into the Confraternity and told her to say the Rosary frequently.

One day while Father Henry was saying Mass for her Our Lady forced the devil to give her back the contract which she had signed. In this way she was delivered from the devil by the authority of Mary and by her devotion to the Most Holy Rosary.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thirty-Fifth Rose: Cardinal Pierre

Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"

BLESSED ALAN says that a certain Cardinal Pierre, whose titular Church was that of St. Mary-beyond-the-Tiber, was a great friend of Saint Dominic's and had learned from him a deep devotion to the Most Holy Rosary. This resulted in his loving it so much that he never ceased singing its praises and encouraging everyone he met to embrace it.

Eventually he was sent as Legate to the Holy Land to the Christians who were fighting the Saracens. So successfully did he convince the Christian army of the power of the Rosary that they started saying it one and all to storm Heaven for help in a battle in which they knew they would be pitifully out-numbered. This resulted in victory for them, and three thousand Christians triumphed over an enemy of one hundred thousand.

As we have seen, the devils have an overwhelming fear of the Rosary. Saint Bernard says that the Angelic Salutation puts them to flight and makes all Hell tremble.

Blessed Alan says that he has seen several people delivered from Satan's bondage after taking up the Holy Rosary, even though they had previously sold themselves to him in body and soul by renouncing their Baptismal Vows and their allegiance to Our Lord Jesus Christ.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thirty-Fourth Rose: Simon de Montfort, Alan de Lanvallay And Othere

Excerpt from the Book "Secret of the Rosary"

IT IS ALMOST impossible to do real credit to the victories that Count Simon de Montfort won against the Albigensians under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary. These victories are so famous that the world has never seen anything to match them. One day he defeated ten thousand heretics with a force of five hundred men and on another occasion he overcame three thousand with only thirty men. Finally, with eight hundred horsemen and one thousand infantrymen he completely put to rout the army of the King of Aragon which was a hundred thousand strong, and this with the loss on his side of only one horseman and eight soldiers! 

Our Lady also protected Alan de Lanvallay, a Breton Knight, from great perils. He too was fighting for the Faith against the Albigensians. One day when he found himself surrounded by enemies on all sides Our Lady let fall one hundred and fifty rocks upon his enemies and he was delivered from their hands. Another day when his ship foundered and was about to sink, the Blessed Mother caused one hundred and fifty small hills to appear miraculously above the water and by means of them they reached Brittany in safety.

He built a monastery at Dinan for the religious of St. Dominic, in thanksgiving to Our Lady for all the miracles that she had worked on his behalf in answer to his daily Rosary. Having become a religious himself he died a holy death at Orleans. 

Othère was also a Breton soldier, from Vaucouleurs, and he often put whole companies of heretics or robbers to flight unaided, wearing his Rosary on his arm or carrying it on the hilt of his sword. Once when he had beaten them his enemies admitted that they had seen his sword gleam and that another time they had noticed a shield on his arm which had pictures of Our Lord and Our Lady and the Saints upon it. This shield made him invisible and gave him the strength to attack well. 

Another time he defeated twenty thousand heretics with only ten companies and without losing a single man. This so impressed the general of the heretics' army that he came to see Othère afterwards, abjured his heresy and declared publicly that he had seen him surrounded by flaming swords during the battle.