Feast of the Holy Rosary
All of Catholic Europe prayed the Rosary when Sultan Selim assembled a great armada to overwhelm Italy and the West. On October 7, 1571 the Christian fleet under Don John of Austria and Andre Doria smashed theTurkish threat at Lepanto. Pope St. Pius V made that day the Feast of the Holy Rosary.
In our time Pope John Paul II inserted the Five Lightsome Mysteries into the Rosary for our contemplation. For the Rosary is not a mumbling of Hail Mary’s. It is an invitation to come to know and absorb the light and strength that Christ continues to share with us. In the Rosary, we share Mary’s insights into the redemptive love of Christ.
Pope John Paul II suggested that we contemplate the Baptism of Christ as he embraced his call to be a victim for our sins. At Cana he advances "his hour" at the request of his Mother. He ministered to the multitude in the wearying work of proclaiming the Kingdom of God pouring out forgiveness and healing ills of soul and body.
The Transfiguration reminds us that the Lamb to be slain is truly the Son of God. The Institution of the Eucharist gives us Christ our Life. All these Mysteries give us light and hope as we see the Love of God poured out for us. These events took place long ago in a far away land, but they become alive within us as we murmur our prayers.
"As I live, you shall live." Jesus is totally present in each mystery. If the repetition of the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries have become a bit dull for us, perhaps probing these Mysteries of Light can waken us to the many ways in which Christ loves us now as he did when he celebrated these events in Galilee and came to the aid of a trembling Europe at Lepanto. The grace and power of Christ are there for us even amidst the new perils of the 21st century.
Fr. Fred Sucher, C.P. is retired and lives in the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky. For many years he taught philosophy to Passionist seminarians.