I’ve never been a huge fan of “National ‘Something’ Days.” I do, however, love the idea that months carry special themes and flavors. May is the month of Mother Mary. June, in addition to being Dairy Month, is also the month of the Sacred Heart. September is for sweet corn, and October for pumpkin spice lattes and the Rosary. More than just being a pious devotion, the Rosary is credited with winning a war.
Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire, had fallen to invading Ottoman Turks in 1453. Historians consider this moment to be the end of not only the medieval period, but also the final end of the Roman Empire. The Muslim Turks began expanding into Europe and got as far as the walls of Vienna, Austria. In 1571, they were vying for naval control of the entire Mediterranean Sea. Pope Pius V, who had been a Dominican, asked Catholics all over Europe to pray the Rosary. The vastly outnumbered Christian forces (a coalition known as the Holy League) won a huge upset victory over Turkish ships on Oct. 7. By the time the news got to Rome, the pope already knew; he had seen a vision.
If you look in the back of SS. Mary & Hyacinth Church, you will find a statue of Mary giving the Rosary to St. Dominic. The Rosary existed in various forms long before the Dominican order. But the form we have today was the one popularized by Dominican preachers. The Rosary, a prayer that encompasses the entirety of Christ’s life, is a perfect tool for nurturing the spirit of stewardship within us. By contemplating the joyful, sorrowful, luminous, and glorious mysteries, we are drawn closer to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
As we reflect on the joyful mysteries, we are reminded of the gift of the Annunciation and the humility of Mary’s “yes” to God’s plan. This encourages us to be open and receptive to God’s will in our lives, just as Mary was. The sorrowful mysteries teach us the importance of self-sacrifice and compassion, as we meditate on the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. This prompts us to consider the ways we can alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in need. The luminous mysteries remind us of Christ’s public ministry and the importance of sharing the Gospel with others, motivating us to be active disciples who spread the message of love and salvation. Finally, the glorious mysteries inspire us to look forward to the final victory over sin and death in God’s eternal kingdom.
In this Month of the Most Holy Rosary, I encourage each of you to take up this powerful devotion as a means of deepening your stewardship and discipleship. Set aside time each day to meditate on the mysteries, allowing Mary to guide you in embracing your role as a steward of God’s gifts and a soldier in God’s army. As we offer our intentions through the Rosary, let us also pray for the grace to live lives that reflect the love and mercy of Christ, reaching out to those in need and shining His light in a world often filled with darkness. Pray the Rosary each day this month, and see what victories God will win in your life.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Joel Sember