The Excellence of the Rosary - Conferences for Devotions in Honor of the Blessed Virgin
by M. J. Frings
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The words of salutation are brief, but they contain everything that one could ever say in praise of the Virgin Mother of God.

The petition includes briefly everything for which we may ask Mary.

Let us then give our attention to this beautiful prayer in the name of Jesus and Mary, His blessed mother.

I. I said, that in the first part of the "Hail Mary" all the privileges and glories which made the blessed Virgin so worthy of praise are contained. A closer examination will show us how true this is. Let us transport ourselves in spirit to Nazareth, to the quiet little room where Mary is praying in deepest devotion. Suddenly there enters this room one of the most exalted spirits that stand at the throne of the Creator. What does this messenger from heaven desire of this humble virgin, unknown to the world? He desires no less than her participation in our redemption. The only begotten Son of God, in His infinite love for mankind, has offered to take upon Himself human nature, to atone for our sins and to redeem us. The time appointed by God's providence, when this great work was to be consummated, had now come. Mary, in the divine counsels, is destined to be the mother of the Saviour. The celestial messenger appears to bring this message to her, and to obtain her consent. God desired that Mary should voluntarily cooperate in the redemption.

Mary cooperated in our redemption by proving herself worthy to be called to the divine motherhood, as far as this is possible for a human being. This she did by cooperating faithfully with the abundance of grace granted her by God, and thus proving herself worthy to become the mother of the Saviour. Through her virginity she rendered herself worthy according to the body, and through her most profound piety and humility according to the spirit. Both virtues stand forth most brilliantly in the annunciation of the angel. But she wished rather to forego the exalted dignity of divine motherhood, than relinquish the virginity which she had dedicated to God. And when the highest dignity which can be bestowed upon a creature was announced to her, she called herself the handmaid of the Lord. Mary, when convinced of the will of God, humbly consented, saying, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word."

Through this consent Mary conferred upon the world an unspeakable great blessing, for which we should be eternally grateful to her. By this consent she became the second Eve, me spiritual first parent of the redeemed race.

The angel, recognizing in Mary his future queen, now reverently set forth in brief words all the prerogatives which God had granted her, and was about to bestow upon her. These prerogatives are: (1) the fulness of grace which God had already granted unto her; (2) the dignity of mother of God which He now granted her, and, finally (3), the veneration and glorification which on account of this fulness of grace and this dignity she would partake of in heaven and earth.

The first privilege, fulness of grace, which she had received from God, the angel expressed with the words "full of grace." These words mean: thou art filled with all the divine graces in a measure possible to no other creature; thou hast received to the full all graces. As God will exalt thee to a dignity beyond that of the most exalted spirits of heaven, so He has granted you more and greater graces than even to the Seraphim and Cherubim. Now since thou hast cooperated in a perfect manner with all these graces, thou hast become the most virtuous, the holiest, the most perfect of all creatures. Therefore, art thou worthy to become the mother of the Most High.

Mary's second privilege which the angel mentioned was her elevation to the dignity of mother of God. "The Lord is with thee," that is, God has bestowed upon thee every grace, and, finding thee worthy, thou art to be the mother of His Son, to cooperate in the redemption and the salvation of the world.

In the words "The Lord is with thee" is expressed the intimate relationship of Mary to God, accomplished by the Incarnation. Not merely through the fulness of His grace and love is God with her, but even according to the flesh God is intimately united to her.

Mary's third privilege announced by the angel is the exalted veneration which she merits for her dignity and sanctity. The angel expresses this in the words "Blessed art thou among women." The angel had reference to the promise given by God in Paradise, that there would come a woman who should crush the serpent's head. He had in mind also the renowned women of the old law who had rescued the people of God from peril and oppression, and who were for this reason blessed by the people, such as Judith and Esther. These heroic women were glorious prototypes, pointing to Mary who was to crush the serpent's head, to destroy the designs of Lucifer, and to save the human race from destruction. Yes, truly, Mary is blessed by God among all women, and is herself an infinite blessing for the entire world. The Lord hath done great things in her. She realized this herself, in those prophetic words, "Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, for he that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is his name." And so it has been, and ever will be, as long as the sun illumines the earth. For more than nineteen centuries the people and nations have joyfully repeated the angel's words, "Blessed art thou among women." By precept of the Church we add the words "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus," in order to join to our praise of Mary that of Jesus, from whom and on whose account she received all her privileges, and for whose sake she receives all this praise.

II. After the prayer of praise in the "Hail Mary" there follows the prayer of supplication which the Church has added. This supplication is "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen." A short petition, but a significant one by which we invoke Mary's intercession in all our needs. The words holy Mary, mother of God, form the opening of this petition. They repeat the truth contained in the prayer of praise, and are at the same time calculated to arouse our confidence in Mary. The name "Mary" alone should awaken our confidence in the blessed Virgin, because the name Mary means sovereign. Mary, is indeed a sovereign, a ruler. As mother of the King of heaven and earth, she is the Queen of heaven and earth, and our lady, our queen as well. Mary means also star of the sea. As star of the sea Mary is to mankind what a kindly star is to the sailor who finds himself on the stormy waters. This world resembles an ocean, where storms and perils abound to the menace of body and soul. The winds and storms of temptations rise, the dangerous rocks of oppression threaten, the stormy waves of passion, of pride, of ambition, of avarice, of anger, envy, revenge, avidity beat upon us. All these dangers trouble the heart and fill it with sorrow and fear. And as the star leads the sailor to a safe haven, so Mary is to us the kindly star that inspires us with consolation and confidence and brings us rescue.

Holy Mary, mother of God! As mother of God Mary possesses the power of mediation with her divine Son. The angels and saints all together can not have the influence that Mary exercises. The holy fathers and teachers refer to this power, when they say Mary is omnipotent through her intercession, as God is omnipotent in Himself. Thus the opening of the supplication inspires veneration and confidence in Mary. With this veneration and confidence then we ask, "Pray for us sinners." Thou, the holy one, the powerful and good, pray for us miserable sinners, not worthy to approach God and be heard. Pray for us in all our temporal and spiritual necessities, in every danger of body and soul. Pray above all, to obtain for us the grace of a perfect conversion and repentance, and the grace of perseverance until the end of life. Pray for us, holy Mary, mother of God, now, while it is yet time for us to merit salvation, but pray for us especially when that solemn and sad hour of death has arrived. In that dark hour will be decided our eternal destiny; at that dread hour forsake us not, Pray for us now, and at the hour of our death.

We have seen what an excellent prayer the Hail Mary is. It follows that it is also an efficacious prayer. When the Hail Mary was uttered for the first time by the Archangel it ushered in the most stupendous of all miracles. And whenever we devoutly repeat this salutation with faith and confidence, it will be for us also a means of grace and blessing. Whenever you salute Mary, says St. Bernard, she returns the greeting, she gives you in return consolation and blessing.

Let us then recite this beautiful and excellent prayer most diligently and piously, and let us give special preference to the devotion of the Rosary which is a garland woven to blessed Mary from this prayer of praise. The quarter of an hour spent in reciting the beads will bring us blessings in life and a happy death. How we shall rejoice when we behold Mary face to face and greet her with the words: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, to whom be praise for all eternity. Amen.


"And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity."—I. Cor. xiii, 13.

Dear brethren, in beginning the Rosary one Our Father and three Hail Marys are said in supplication for the three divine virtues. These virtues are called divine because they have God for their Author or their object. In Baptism these virtues are infused into the soul together with sanctifying grace. Through sanctifying grace, received in Baptism, we are made children of God. From that moment there is imposed upon us the duty, as soon as we shall be able to use our reason, of thinking, speaking and acting as behooves the true children of God. This duty we perform if we imitate the example of Jesus Christ, and if we endeavor to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. But as this cannot be done by human power, the Holy Ghost has willed to enable us to do so, by imparting to us, in Baptism, the three divine virtues. By the infused grace of faith God gives us a supernatural light, in addition to the natural light of our reason, with the aid of which we may comprehend His revelations. God bestows upon us thus, through the virtue of faith, a share in His own wisdom. The supernatural grace of hope turns our thought heavenward, gives us an incentive to co-operate with grace.

The supernatural virtue of charity renders us capable of loving God in a worthy and meritorious manner and of loving that which God loves.

As the child arrives at the age of discretion, and obtains the right use of reason, he is obliged to practise these virtues, and thus I strengthen his soul and grow in grace.

We are obliged to awaken frequently faith, hope, and charity towards God and our neighbor, in a practical manner. By the possession, practise and application of these three divine virtues we attain to Christian perfection. The more we learn to know these virtues, the more zealous we shall be in practising them, the more earnestly we shall strive for their increase, the more incessantly shall we pray for them.

Let us, therefore, take these three divine virtues for the subject of our consideration.

I. Faith is the first of the three divine virtues; it is the foundation of the other virtues. Without faith in God, in His revelations and promises, there can be no Christian hope, no Christian charity. For this reason faith is the foundation of virtuous living: Christian faith is a virtue infused by God into our souls by which we are enabled to believe firmly all that which God has revealed and which the infallible Catholic Church proposes for our belief.

An act of faith requires the use of the understanding and the use of the will. The mysteries surpass our natural understanding; they are, furthermore, to be believed in a supernatural manner, and we require, therefore, the supernatural light of faith, added to the natural light of our understanding, and we require also that our natural willpower be strengthened by the supernatural power of grace. This light and this power we receive in Baptism. The supernatural light of faith qualifies us to understand that the truths revealed by God are divine.

In order to believe it does not suffice to know the divine truths as the Church teaches them, we must also, of our own free will, assent to them, and acknowledge as divine truths even those mysteries which surpass our human understanding. To that extent faith is a matter of the will. God, through the light and the power of the grace of faith, comes to the assistance of our reason and will, in order that we may confidently submit both to divine revelation, that is, to God. In order that the infused virtue of faith may be meritorious for us, we must co-operate with grace by readily submitting our understanding and our will to divine revelation. Then this virtue of faith will not only be an infused one but, also, will be an acquired one and thus become a meritorious virtue. This actual and acquired virtue is for every adult the first condition of salvation. Still the acceptance of the divine doctrine is alone not sufficient for salvation. We must live in accordance with our faith; we must do good and shun evil. Such is the teaching of faith. "He truly believes who practises what believes," says St. Gregory, and St. James tells us that "Faith without works is a dead faith and avails nothing to salvation." A living faith is the first condition and the beginning of salvation. Eternal happiness consists, as we are aware, in the vision of God. The living faith is a beginning of this vision. We know God through the Christian faith, but only as in a mirror. "Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known" (I. Cor. xiii, 12).

II. The second of the divine virtues is hope. Christian hope is a virtue infused into our souls by which we confidently expect of God everything which He has promised us through the merits of Christ. God has promised us eternal happiness, also all things which we stand in need of, and that are profitable for us in our endeavor to attain eternal happiness. Jesus has merited these for us, and God has promised them to us for the sake of the merits of Jesus Christ. And because God has promised them to us we must confidently expect and hope for them, because God is omnipotent, merciful and faithful to His promises.

This Christian confidence in God is bestowed by the virtue of hope, infused into our souls at Baptism. We must frequently exercise it in order to make it conducive to salvation.

The virtue of hope is based upon the virtue of faith. Faith informs us of the promises of God, and that He is all-powerful and faithful in fulfilling His promises. Without faith Christian hope would not be possible. This the Apostle Paul teaches in his Epistle to the Corinthians, in plain words: "Faith," he writes, "is the substance of things hoped for" (Heb. xi, i). Hope is really, therefore, an active faith in the mercy and generosity of God. Christian hope is just as necessary for salvation as faith. "For we are saved by hope." Thus the Apostle writes in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. viii, 24). Hence, when we lose hope we forfeit our salvation.

Christian hope is in part desire, in part confidence. It is a lively desire for eternal happiness, for the possession of God and for the means which aid us in gaining salvation. It contains in itself a heartfelt desire for forgiveness of sins, and for liberation from the punishment due to sins. It includes an ardent longing for a virtuous Christian life. It is that hunger and thirst for justice of which Christ speaks in the eight Beatitudes. As God is the supreme good, combining every other good, so our desire for the blessed possession of God must be the sincerest, indeed, the sole, desire of our hearts. All other things we may desire only on God's account, and only in so far as they are the means to help us to the possession of God. Whoever experiences this desire will zealously pray for all things; he will be a man of prayer.

Christian hope is not only desire, but also confidence. God has promised us forgiveness of our sins and the grace to do the good that is required of us. He has promised us after a Christian life the eternal happiness of heaven. He is ready to fulfil His promises. The fulfillment of the divine promise depends, however, upon our own co-operation, upon our sincere good-will, upon our co-operation with grace. Our confidence must, therefore, never become presumption. The Apostle admonishes us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. St. Francis de Sales calls confidence in God and distrust in ourselves the two balancing poles by the help of which we are enabled to keep our equilibrium. To distrust ourselves, and to have the fullest trust in God, this is the essence of Christian hope.

Christian hope is an essential condition for eternal happiness. By hope we anticipate life eternal. It is to us a pledge and a foretaste, and when we shall pass into eternity with this living hope, our hope will be transformed into possession of that which we have hoped for the possession of God, the supreme good.

III. Charity, the third of the divine virtues, is the virtue infused by God into our souls which enables us to love God above all things, and for His sake to love our neighbor as ourselves. That such divine charity surpasses human power is quite evident. It is inseparably united to sanctifying grace. He who possesses sanctifying grace possesses also the virtue of divine charity. He who loses sanctifying grace through mortal sin, loses also divine charity. The virtue of charity is a participation in the divine charity with which God loves us. It is a divine commandment that we must love God with our whole heart, with our whole soul, with our whole strength, and that we must love our neighbor as ourselves, for God's sake. To give oneself wholly to God, to prefer Him to all things, rather lose all things than offend Him, to seek to accomplish His holy will in all things, to observe His commandments, to offer up to God every thought, word, and deed, to work and suffer for God, to live and die for God, this is the true love of God.

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me." Thus speaks the Son of God (John xiv, 21). To love God in this manner is made possible for us by the divine virtue of charity, received in Baptism. We may, however, co-operate with it and so fulfil God's commandments. Only in this manner does the infused virtue become an acquired and meritorious virtue. The Christian virtue of charity is the greatest of all virtues. It presupposes faith and hope because we must believe and hope in God before we can love Him: charity gives life to faith and hope. Without charity, faith and hope are dead and avail not for salvation. Who so loves not remains in death. Charity is not merely the greatest of all virtues, but it contains all Christian virtues; it is the essence of the Christian life. Through Christian faith we participate in the divine knowledge, through hope in the divine power, and through charity we participate in the divine justice and sanctity. Christian charity renders us holy, as the heavenly Father is holy, and perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. It is charity which here on earth unites us with God. "He who abides in charity abides in God and God in him." It is a virtue which continues for all eternity, when faith has become the vision, and hope the possession, of God.

The love of God is inseparably united to the love of our neighbor; for, as St. Augustine says, there are two commandments but only one charity, because there is no other charity with which we love our neighbor than that with which we love God. Who so says that he loves God, but does not love his neighbor, in him there is no divine charity.

We have seen, therefore, how the three divine virtues are the foundation of the Christian life, and that their practise constitutes Christian life. The true worship of God consists in practising these virtues which, at the same time, are the sole way to eternal bliss. Progress in the Christian life keeps pace with the activity of these virtues. This increase of virtue is, likewise, a gracious gift of God. We are ever obliged to co-operate with grace. We must strive for the increase of our faith, hope, and charity, by frequently practising these virtues, by the worthy reception of the holy Sacraments, by attentively contemplating the divine truths and, especially, by humble and heartfelt prayer.

How feeble, indeed, is our faith, how wavering our hope, how insufficient our love of God and our neighbor. They need the strengthening grace of God.

To pray rightly, and to be worthy of being heard, we must awaken these fundamental virtues. Therefore, at the beginning of the Rosary we say devoutly one Our Father and three Hail Marys to ask God for an increase of these virtues. Because faith, hope, and charity should be both the basis and the fruit of the Rosary. Amen.


"She reacheth therefore from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly."—Wisdom viii, 1.

The disposition of the heart is in prayer of more consequence than the manner of expression. Yet an appropriate form of prayer is helpful in avoiding distraction and in inducing devotion. Our Divine Saviour taught His disciples to make use of a special form of prayer, the "Our Father."

The form of the Rosary helps appreciably in rendering the Rosary the great prayer it is. The Rosary has been aptly called the "lay breviary." For many centuries the faithful joined in the reciting of the breviary. As late as in the eleventh century St. Peter Damian urgently exhorted the faithful to participate in the ecclesiastical "hours" of prayer. And when gradually participation in the ecclesiastical prayer ceased, Divine Providence supplied the Rosary to take for the laity the place of the breviary. It may thus properly be called the "lay breviary." In fact it reminds of the breviary of priests, for it contains verbal prayer and meditation, and the hundred and fifty "Hail Marys" of the Rosary correspond to the hundred and fifty psalms of the breviary.

Let us now consider how appropriate the form of the Rosary is, and how it renders the Rosary a perfect prayer.

The form makes the Rosary both an excellent devotion and a perfect prayer. Prayer is the first duty of all men. It is an article of faith that no man can work out his salvation without prayer. The real essence of prayer consists in the union of vocal prayer with meditation, or interior prayer. The true prayer is a conversation, or intercourse, of man with God. The combination of meditating with vocal prayer is an excellent means of participating in Divine grace. Meditation makes us realize our needs, the faults which we should lay aside, and the virtues which we must acquire. Sin makes man blind, meditation opens his eyes. Vocal prayer alone is not of itself a protection from sin, daily experience teaches this. There are many who say vocal prayers and yet fall into grievous sin and remain in that state. The reason is because they omit the contemplative prayer. Those who combine vocal prayer with meditation do not easily incur God's disfavor, or if they do they at once resolve to amend and they lose no time in returning to God. A combination of meditation and vocal prayer is therefore calculated to preserve us from sin, and to rescue us from that state, if unfortunately we find ourselves in it. It is also the most effective means for us to reach Christian perfection and eternal salvation.

We should therefore combine with vocal prayers proper meditation if we desire our prayers to be more perfect. When we say the "Our Father," or the "Hail Mary," we should not merely utter the words with our lips, but should contemplate the purport of the words, lifting the mind to God, to whom we are praying, otherwise our prayer will be merely a prayer of the lips. Remember the words of our Divine Saviour: "These people glorify Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me."

In saying the Rosary we combine vocal prayer with meditation upon the Sacred Mysteries. Where there is time for it a longer meditation is very beneficial and of great spiritual advantage. But if time is lacking, or when the Rosary is said in common with others, one should at least at every decade briefly put the mystery before the mind. Pondering upon the mysteries whilst saying the prayers is ordinarily requisite to gain the indulgences attached to the Rosary.

The Rosary in its union of vocal prayer and meditation is a perfect prayer. The parts of the Rosary so appropriately succeed one another as to form a beautiful chain of prayers. We begin the prayers of the Rosary with the sign of the Cross, with which the Church commences all her prayers. This sign reminds us of the Most Holy Trinity in whose Name we were baptized, and to whom we belong absolutely, through creation, redemption, and sanctification. By making the sign of the Cross we place ourselves vividly in the presence of God, to whom we are praying, and awaken within us acts of faith, reverence, love, and confidence. Through the sign of the Cross there are dedicated to God in prayer the thoughts of the mind, the words of our lips, and the sentiments and feelings of the heart. Most assuredly the devout signing ourselves with the Cross is an excellent introduction and preparation for prayer.

Then follows most appropriately the Apostle's Creed. It declares more fully that which the sign of the Cross indicates. The twelve articles of the Creed contain that which we must firmly believe if we would be saved.

The Creed most properly opens the Rosary because it is the basis of our faith. The Joyful Rosary expounds the article of faith: "Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary." The Sorrowful Rosary is a commemoration of the article: "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried." The glorious is founded upon the article: "Rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God." Thus the entire Rosary is in truth a prayer of faith, and draws from the faith its force and efficacy.

After the Creed follows "Glory be to the Father," which is repeated at every decade of the Rosary as it is also said in the ecclesiastical "hours" after every Psalm. To give glory to God is our chief duty, it must be our intention in all our words and works. To give glory to God must also be our principal intention in saying the Rosary. As we repeat this doxology at the end of each decade, we should again raise up our mind and heart to God with fresh sentiments of faith, love, and confidence. This preserves us from distraction and gives new zeal to our prayers.

After the first "Glory be to God" we say one Our Father and three Hail Marys for the increase of the three divine virtues. The three divine virtues are the foundation of the right disposition which we must have, in order truly and worthily to honor God. St. Augustine says: "God is to be glorified through faith, hope, and charity. They are the corner- stone of the Christian life." And the Apostle says: "The just man liveth by faith" (Heb. x, 38), meaning that man lays the foundation for his justification through faith, receives the life of justification from faith, perseveres in this just life through faith, perfects this life through the light and the power of faith whence hope and charity proceed.

To promote this kind of life is the aim of the devotion of the Rosary. The more pious and virtuous we become, the more we glorify God and assure our temporal and eternal happiness.

These prayers are the introduction and preparation to the prayer of the Rosary, which combines meditation of the Mysteries with the recital of the Our Fathers and Hail Marys. The Rosary is a prayer indeed for the glory of God and for honoring and invoking Mary the Mother of God. The Mysteries of the Rosary contain that which God has done in order to glorify Himself and to redeem, sanctify, and save mankind. At the same time these mysteries from the lives of Jesus and Mary are fraught with touching examples for our own lives. In the devout contemplation of these mysteries, and in the application of the same to our own religious moral life, lie the gist of the prayers of the Rosary and the chief fruits which we should draw from this saving devotion.

Certain critics of the Rosary cannot understand why the Hail Mary is so frequently repeated. But in the repetition lies the strength of the prayer, for holy perseverance is expressed by this repetition. The psalmist in the one hundredth and thirty-fifth Psalm repeats twenty-six times the words: "For his mercy endureth forever." And the heavenly hosts proclaim their "Thrice Holy" for ever and ever.

We are perfectly right, therefore, in declaring that the Rosary is a thoroughly practical prayer, corresponding exactly to the necessities and peculiarities of our minds and hearts.

We might challenge the world to name a more beautiful, a more excellent prayer. The Church therefore numbers the Rosary amongst her most efficacious prayers, and she has endowed it richly with indulgences to induce the faithful to say it frequently.


"Unless thy law had been my meditation, I had then perhaps perished in my abjection."—Ps. cxviii, 92.

Dear Brethren: In our former considerations of the Rosary we have discussed the prayers of which the Rosary is composed. The second chief part of the Rosary is the fifteen Mysteries. They are called Mysteries because the truths which they contain are hidden and cannot be comprehended except by Divine revelation. These Mysteries and their significance will be the subject of our discourse to-day. It is the spirit and intention of the Church that these Mysteries be properly meditated upon while saying the Rosary. This we do by reflecting upon them, by applying to ourselves the lesson drawn! from them, and by resolving to amend our life or to perfect it according to this lesson.

I. The consideration of the Divine truths of salvation is absolutely necessary for all mankind, for no one can be saved who is not mindful of his salvation. We cannot attain happiness without serving and loving God. Yet he knows not God who does not give any thought to things divine. In order to learn to know God and to make progress in this knowledge we must contemplate the Divine attributes and perfections, and the works which proclaim them. The whole universe is preaching to us God's omnipotence, wisdom, and love. The heavens tell of God's glory, and the firmament proclaims the works of His hands. The tiny flowers in field and meadow, the birds in the tree, the stars in the sky, they all remind us of God and of His Omnipotence and Goodness. We ought not regard these things thoughtlessly, they give us food for salutary thought and meditation. They exhort us to show love and gratitude towards God, the merciful Father who has created all these things for us.

God so loved the world as to sacrifice for it His only begotten Son. The Son so loved Mankind that He became Man, suffered for us and died upon the Cross, in order to ransom us from sin and ruin. We learn to know not only the malice, horror, and guilt of sin, but also the infinite mercy and love of God by pondering on the works of God.

In the work of sanctification, specially ascribed to the Holy Ghost, we perceive fresh wonders of God's love. The Holy Ghost cleanses us from our sins and transforms us into children of God. He consoles us with heavenly consolation, and leads us with His hand, conducting us to Christian perfection and to life eternal. By considering these divine works, often and earnestly, we learn to know God, and become desirous of loving Him and serving Him faithfully. To make progress in the knowledge of these divine things is the sacred duty of a Christian. But in order to be saved it is not sufficient to know God; we must also know ourselves. For this reason St. Augustine besought God: "Let me know myself, and let me know Thee." We must learn to know our faults in order to correct them, and our evil inclinations so as to fight against them. We must ascertain what virtues we are lacking in so that we may strive to acquire them. We must understand the gravity of our sins to repent of them sincerely. Finally, we must understand our inability to acquire merit, so that we may seek from God grace, strength, and help.

It is necessary also that we understand clearly the duties which we have to perform.

If we were profoundly impressed by the excellence of the Divine Laws, of the magnificent rewards that will be the share of those who observe the Commandments, and of the terrible chastisement awaiting the transgressor, who would ever presume to transgress these Divine Commandments? And what is calculated to impress us with these truths if not serious reflection upon them?

The royal Prophet exclaims: "Blessed are they that search his testimonies; that seek him with their whole heart" (Ps. cxviii, 2).

Meditation has drawn numberless sinners from the depths of sin and protected untold numbers against sin. It is also, as St. Ignatius remarks, the shortest way to Christian perfection. Hence St. Teresa implores those who have not yet begun this meditative prayer, to do so in the name of God, and through the love of Christ, and no longer deprive themselves of this most precious and necessary good.

Objection may be made by some that they cannot meditate, that they have not the ability to do so. The reply is that for meditation no skill or science is required. When you reflect upon an article of faith, upon a commandment of God, upon sin or virtue, upon God, your duties, and then awaken acts of faith, hope and charity, contrition, and thanksgiving, followed by resolutions of amendment, petitions to God for His grace and assistance to keep these resolutions, you have made a very good meditation. This much any one can do.

Another objection may be advanced, that one has no time for it. A man living in the world has many business cares, but then the salvation of the soul is the chief business of man. Our Divine Saviour has said that one thing only is necessary, and this one thing is solicitude for the soul's welfare. David had the cares of governing a great kingdom, and yet he said: "O how have I loved thy law, O Lord, it is my meditation all the day." (Ps. cxviii, 97.) No, my brethren, time and ability are not lacking. If anything is lacking, it is the good will. Therefore let us all make the firm resolution to give in the future due consideration to Christian meditation so as to place our soul's welfare in safety.

II. The Mysteries of the Rosary offer us an easy method and material for our meditation. They give us a brief sketch of the life, passion, and death of Jesus Christ and the sorrows and joys of our Mother Mary. The fifteen Mysteries are divided into three parts: the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious Mysteries.

The joyful Mysteries of the Rosary contain events from the youthful life of Jesus. These are the Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary, the Nativity of Christ, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. These five Mysteries comprise the foundation of the work of the redemption. With all of them is intimately connected Mary, the Blessed Mother of the Redeemer.

These five Mysteries set before us the example of Jesus and Mary. To make of us children of God, the Son of God became incarnate, and He is for us the model of a child of God. Mary, His holy Mother, is in all things His faithful likeness and thus the model for us in the imitation of Christ.

The sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary remind us of the work of redemption, through the passion and death of Jesus Christ. He begins His passion in the garden of Olives in an agony of sorrow. By the scourging He did penance for our sins of the flesh, and by the crowning with thorns, for our sins of the mind. Then He bore His Cross to the place of execution, and with it the sins of the world, in order to efface our debt upon this Cross. These Mysteries teach us how to partake of the merits of the redemption. The consideration of our sins, of their malice and guilt, and a sincere contrition for them is the first step. The second is the discipline of our flesh and its evil desires by temperance, chastity, and mortification. The third step is the discipline of the spirit by humble obedience towards God and His holy law. The fourth is the patient bearing of our cross, and the last is that we die completely to sin, and live only for Christ.

The glorious Mysteries of the Rosary tell us of the glorious fruits of the redemption. These are a new life of grace, resurrection from the dead, and admittance into heaven. They speak to us also of the mission of the Holy Ghost, whose work is to sanctify us. In Mary's assumption into Heaven we behold the most sublime work of the Holy Spirit, viz., her holy life here upon earth and her coronation in Heaven, the reward of this holy life for all eternity. All these things are calculated to induce in us a devout Christian life. We behold what God has prepared for those who love Him, who live for Him, who work and suffer and die in His grace and love.

Thus the fifteen Mysteries give us a short summary of the lives of Jesus and Mary. The events selected are best calculated to awaken our faith, to strengthen our hope, to inflame our hearts with love for Jesus and Mary, and to animate us to imitate the lives of Jesus and Mary.

These Mysteries thus offer most excellent material for our meditations. They are so simple that every believing Christian may understand them, yet so profound and full of meaning that those most learned and advanced in the spiritual life may find therein ample food for edification. The public life of Jesus and Mary pass, as it were, before our eyes.

How fortunate did the Apostles esteem themselves to have known Jesus by sight, to have listened to the teachings from His own lips, to have gazed and meditated upon His holy life! We may draw the same profit from the diligent and devout meditation of the Mysteries of the Rosary.

If we daily say the Rosary, and picture the mysteries to ourselves, what advantage may we not draw from them for our life! It will be for us a daily intercourse and association with Jesus and Mary that will enlighten our minds, elevate and ennoble our hearts, and powerfully invite our will to a true life of virtue. The Rosary is, therefore, an admirable means to lead a truly Christian life, and an admirable means, consequently to attain eternal salvation. Let us all be zealous to avail ourselves of it and the Rosary will become a bond uniting us intimately with Jesus and Mary, and conducting us to the participation of their glory and happiness for all eternity. Amen.


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