Just moments after he was spared everlasting punishment, a king cried:
“Blessed be the Rosary of the most holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!”
To help us comprehend the power of this ancient weapon against the Evil One, Saint Louis Marie de Montfort’s book, The Secret of the Rosary, takes us back many years ago to the extraordinary story of King Alphonsus of Leon and Galicia (1118-1230).
The King desired that all his servants honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, and so hung a large rosary on his belt – despite having rarely prayed the rosary himself.
One day, the King fell ill and was given up for dead. He found himself standing before the judgment seat of Christ.
Moments before he was to be condemned, Our Lady swiftly interceded for him.
Our Lady weighed his sins on one scale. On another scale, she weighed his large rosary and the many rosaries that others had recited because of his example. The rosaries outweighed his sins.
And so, he was spared.
Our Lady then said, “As a reward for the little service you did for me in wearing my rosary, I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son.
“Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend those years wisely, and do penance.”
Today when it seems like darkness covers our world and our soul’s enemies grow stronger, we must turn to the tender and compassionate Queen of Heaven for refuge.
We can count on the powerful intercession of Our Lady who is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and who by her seed has crushed the serpent’s head.
October is traditionally the month of the rosary
October 7th is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The origins for this feast go back many centuries ago, to when the Church of Europe was on the verge of collapse.
Pope Pius V urged all Christians across Europe to invoke Our Lady’s intercession through the rosary:
“The Roman Pontiffs, and the other Holy Fathers, our predecessors,
when they were pressed in upon by temporal or spiritual wars,
or troubled by other trials,
in order that they might more easily escape from these,
and having achieved tranquility,
might quietly and fervently be free to devote themselves to God…
and with David to lift up their eyes unto the Mountains,
trusting with firm hope that thence would they receive aid”
(Consueverunt Romani Pontifices, September, 17, 1569).
He also called upon all the Christian princes of Europe to unite against this imminent threat and form the Holy League.
But on October 7, 1571, the morning of the Battle of Lepanto, the odds were stacked against the Holy League.
Not only were they severely outnumbered by the Ottoman army, but the wind was against them.
Clinging to their last glimmer of hope, the Christian army turned to prayer.
Suddenly, by the end of the day, the wind shifted in favor of the Holy League, who defeated the Ottomans and liberated the 12,000 Christian slaves.
The powerful weapon of the rosary saved Christendom from the clutches of the Ottoman invaders.
And in the same way, Our Lady is a powerful intercessor for us today, especially when we invoke her protection through the Holy Rosary.
How did this ancient weapon come to be?
Our Lady appeared in Prouilhe, Southern France, to Saint Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers, later known as the Dominicans.
In the year 1214, St. Dominic was in anguish because the darkness of the Albigensian Cathar heretics seemed to be ubiquitous.
He went alone to a forest and prayed, fasted and sobbed unceasingly for three days and three nights until he passed into a coma.
Our Blessed Mother then appeared to him with three angels by her side and said, “If you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.” (De Dignitate Psalterii by Blessed Alan de le Roche).
For many centuries, the Rosary was known as ‘Our Lady’s Psalter’.
And so, filled with burning zeal, Saint Dominic preached the rosary.
The people of Toulouse embraced Christianity and sought to imitate the virtuous life of Christ and His Blessed Mother.
One day, St. Dominic, when meeting with St. Francis of Assisi and Brother Angelus, he also predicted the miraculous power of the Scapular and the Rosary together.
He said, “Brother Angelus, to your Order of Carmel the Most Blessed Virgin Mary will give a devotion to be known as the Brown Scapular, and to my Order of Preachers she will give a devotion to be known as the Rosary.
“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, she will save the world.”
I leave you with the moving words of Saint Louis Marie De Montfort:
“If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins ‘you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 Pet 5:4).
“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell
…sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and save your soul,
…if you say the Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth
and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”
(The Secret of the Rosary)