Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the seventh day in the month of October we annually celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which began with the devotion to Our Lady of Victory, in commemoration of the great victory of the forces of the Christian faithful in the great battle of Lepanto against the forces of the infidels and those who persecuted the faithful and threatened Christendom at that time.
At that time, Christendom was threatened from all sides, from external forces and enemy as mentioned, as well as from internal disputes and divisions, heresies and lack of faith. But there were those who strived to put the effort to bring the Church back on its feet, as part of the Counter Reformation movement, renewing the zeal of many of the faithful and many heeded God’s call to serve Him in purifying His Church.
And when faced with the great external threat in the form of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which then was the superpower of the known world, and threatened much of Christendom, it was several brave leaders who took up the Cross and endeavoured to fight back against those who sought the destruction of the faithful. And thus, under the leadership of Pope St. Pius V and other leaders like Don Juan of Austria and many others, the Christian forces rallied itself and sought for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin for victory against their enemies through the devotion of the Rosary.
In the end, despite the great odds and supremacy of the enemy, the Christian forces prevailed in the end, and the faithful dealt a major blow on their enemies. It was also told that a great miracle occurred during the battle, as it appeared that the Blessed Mother of God was there guiding the faithful as they struggled against their enemies and helped through her intercession to bring them to a great victory.
In thanksgiving for the great victory, the day of the triumphant Battle has ever since been declared by Pope St. Pius V as a day of great celebration, initially attributed to Our Lady of Victory, but eventually developed into the celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary as how it happens today. Nonetheless, the key message of the celebration remains, in how the faithful managed to overcome their great oppressor and enemy through the help and intercession of Mary, by the devotion of the Rosary.
Now, let us all look at the Rosary itself. The rosary is a form of prayer in which a series of prayers of Ave Maria or ‘Hail Mary’ as we all know it, are prayed together in a chain, forming a chain of prayers which we use the rosary chain as a guide as we pray. The word rosary itself came from the root word ‘rosa’ meaning rose in Latin, that is a symbolic representation of how we actually offer a bouquet of lovely roses to our loving mother Mary as we pray the rosary.
The rosary is shown to us by Mary herself as she appeared to St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, many centuries ago, and centuries before the fateful battle in Lepanto. She asked St. Dominic to propagate the use of the rosary as a devotion to help in the salvation of souls. For through the prayers of the rosary, the faithful can become closer to their loving mother through their prayers, and in turn, Mary will intercede for their sake before her Son in heaven.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary loves us just as much as she loves her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is because she had been entrusted to us by the Lord Himself from His Cross to be our mother, as He entrusted her to St. John, His disciple, representing the whole body of the Church. And vice versa therefore, we have also been made to be her adopted sons and daughters. Which mother then does not love her own children?
She does not want us to fall into sin that eventually lead us into damnation and separation from her Son, Our Lord and God. That is why through the Rosary, our blessed mother wants to help us to reconnect spiritually to God through her. She wants us to deepen our relationship with God through prayer and through contemplation. Through better relationship with God we can develop stronger faith and be more resistant to the temptations of the world.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord’s call through His blessed mother calling us to a greater devotion and closer relationship with Him through His mother. On this day we are called to remember how through our close interaction and relationship with God through Mary we can be brought into a new existence in God and also receive His grace and blessings as those who won at Lepanto by the grace of God has shown us all. And we ourselves are in constant spiritual struggle and warfare, against the devil and the fallen angels who are trying to drag us into sin and hell with them.
Therefore in this month of October, the Marian month of the Rosary, let us all spend the time to pray more fervently especially that of the devotion of the rosary, so that we may grow to love God more and attune ourselves to Him more, and be more capable of resisting the temptations to sin in our daily living. And let us all trust in God more deeply for everything, knowing that He has loved us all these while and will not let us all to fall into eternal damnation through sin.
May the Lord, through His blessed mother Mary, who is also our loving mother, continue to love us all dearly and guide us to Himself in our journey of faith throughout life. Let us all deepen our spirituality and connection to God through His mother Mary by our devotion of the holy rosary daily that we may be triumphant in this constant struggle for our souls in the constant and daily spiritual warfare. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.