Fidentem poumque animum is another encyclical on the Rosary by Pope Leo XIII. This one is pretty short and simple one. It starts with the whole general idea of Pope Leo reminding everyone that we’ve sent out numerous Encyclicals about how important the Rosary is and how everyone should be praying it especially in the month of October. This turns into a look at how important prayer in general is everything. Leo notes “The Fathers and Doctors in subsequent times have taught that this is a matter of such grave necessity, that if men neglect it they hope in vain for eternal salvation.” Leo continues that the Rosary is a deeply Christ-centric prayer. It concludes with the request to pray the Rosary during October. This is basically the entirety of the Encyclical
This is the last of the apparitions of Our lady to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. Over the evening of 12 October it rained throughout the night and on the morning of the 13th the skies were overcast. Once again there were crowds of people at the Cova. When they first arrived the Lady appeared and Lucia asked “What do you want of me?” The Lady responded that she wanted a chapel built here and continue to pray the Rosary everyday. She also revealed that she is The Lady of the Rosary. As the Lady of the Rosary rose toward the east she turned the palms of her hands toward the dark sky. and the sun busted through the clouds and is seen to be a soft spinning disk of silver. This is where we have two different apparitions as the spectators saw the miracle of the sun while the children saw as Lucia recalls St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. Joseph and the Child traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. After this disappeared Our Lord and Our lady it seemed that it was Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and Lucia herself saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel (foreshadowing her vocation). As for the Miracle of the Sun the reports of what happened vary between the different observers some say that the Sun danced others say that their previously wet clothes along with the wet muddy ground became completely dry. People could look up at the sun without burning their eyes, the sun was yellow, blue, orange. Scientist say it was the atmospheric optical phenomenon known as a sundog.
If you have a chance pull out a Rosary and pray it. This is the repeated message of Our Lady pray the Rosary and too many of us can’t even take the time to pray it.
Quamquam Pluries is an Encyclical by Leo XIII on the Devotion of Saint Joseph. I know you might be asking isn’t this supposed to be about the Rosary since it is October now, well yes you are right but this concerns the Rosary as well. The Encyclical begins although we’ve said it before yet again it seems like it is necessary for special prayers to be offered up “chiefly when every lawlessness of act seems permitted to the powers of darkness” we turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Leo urges praying the Rosary as it turns us to Mary. We should also remember Joseph, the Patron of the Church, for his dignity, holiness, and glory. Since in the ties of marriage, Mary and Joseph became one and “its essence imparts a community of gifts between those that by it are joined together. Therefore God appointed him as a participator in Mary’s sublime dignity. It goes on like this talking about Joseph, how work is a vocation and that the family is the foundation of Christianity and society. These topic were picked up again in Rerum Novarum, which I’ll get to later on. Leo ends this Encyclical by asking for the Rosary to be prayed but to end it with a prayer to St. Joseph in the month of October. It also made his feast day, 19 March, a Holy Day of Obligation. St. Joseph’s feast day is still a Holy Day in some places as it is one of the ten set forth in canon 1246.
The prayer is as followed I think that during this month I will be adding it.
Prayer to Saint Joseph
To thee, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we now, with hearts filled with confidence, earnestly beg thee also to take us under thy protection. By that charity wherewith thou wert united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly love with which thou didst cherish the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray that thou wilt look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and wilt succor us in our need by thy power and strength.
Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen off-spring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving Father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, that, following thine example and strengthened by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.
Over the month of October I will be taking a break from the decades of the Rosary and turn to some of the Encyclicals on the Rosary. It’s going to be Pope Leo XIII centric since he has written the most on the Rosary. October is the month of the Rosary because of the Battle of Lepanto took place in October in which the Holy League fleet defeated the vastly superior Ottoman fleet. Pope Pius V urged praying the Rosary for a victory in this battle. Since the Christian fleet defeated the Ottoman fleet the day of the battle became the feast to Our Lady of Victory, this feast has been renamed to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. This is why the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary.
The final sorrowful mystery is the Crucifixion and death of Our Lord. The fruit of this mystery is Perseverance in faith, grace for a holy death and Forgiveness. This story is found in all the Gospels and if you can’t find it it’s rather easy and throughout the epistles it is mentioned as well. We are all well aware of this story or you could check out the film mother! if you need a refresher (please don’t). Jesus is crucified between two thieves one berates him to “He helped other but can’t save himself” the other asks “Don’t you fear God, for we are all suffering the same fate although we have been fairly judges for the crimes we’ve done this man (Jesus) did nothing.” He continues to Jesus saying “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replies “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This is what is so special about our faith not matter when or where if you but ask it shall be given unto you. Forgiveness is a huge topic and even Pope Francis talked about it this past Sunday’s Angelus (17 Sept) where he said “Forgiveness does not deny the injustice one has been subjected to, but it acknowledges the fact that the human being, created in the image of God, is always superior to the wrong that is committed.” This is what we need to keep in mind for even in the Our Father we say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” the second part is the important one.
We’ve almost made it all the way through all the apparitions. This is the fifth time it happened it was a rather short vision. More than 30,000 people gathered together in Cova. They prayed the rosary while they waited for the Fatima children to arrive. When the vision begins Lucia asks what they need to do Continue praying the Rosary every day to end the war and in October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.
The fourth sorrowful mystery we focus on the carrying of the cross. It is mentioned in passing in all the Gospels and is the entirety of the Stations of the Cross. The fruit of this mystery is patience. Carrying the cross is a task that we are all called to do and it take patience. Jesus calls us all in the Gospel “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” This is difficult for many of us to do denying ourselves and then taking up a cross to follow Jesus. So many of us struggle with both or either one, we need to be willing to risk everything. Pope John Paul II has a wonderful message on this for the 16th World Youth Day back in 2001 in which he reflects on this quote. John Paul breaks it down into easy pieces to deny oneself giving up one’s own plans that are trite while accepting God’s plan. He continues talking about taking up our crosses doesn’t have to mean a physical thing that leads to death but it is the ultimate sign of love that is the cross that we should bear. There is nothing else of more importance beside love and it is a lasting thing as well unlike the ephemeral nature of everything with instant gratification especially with all the social media where things don’t mean anything. As St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians (13:4-8) “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” This is how we should be living our lives, I hope that we can all strive for this simple little thing.
The third sorrowful mystery is the Crowning with Thorns it really isn’t that big of a thing in the Gospels it is mentioned in passing in Matthew, Mark and John around the scourging which were mentioned last week. There are a bunch of relics which are thorns from the crown around the world so If you want to go see one you are in luck, Notre Dame in Paris has a portion which they bring every first Friday during the year and all Fridays in Lent. The fruit of this mystery is Contempt of the World (moral courage). This is a difficult fruit since it seems like it’s going against the world itself but it is more about the things of the world that we get all caught up in. We need to be able to separate ourselves from the things of the world, since we cannot serve both God and mammon. Sure the idea is simple and sure is a place where many people want to be especially with the world currently. However we need to be humble all too often in the world today that is obsessed with what people have done more than the person themselves, yet we read in the Bible “whomever exalts themselves will be humbled and whomever humbles themselves will be exalted”. Let us all try to be more humble in general.
The second Sorrowful Mystery is the Flagellation of Christ, the Scourging at the pillar is one of the early parts of the Passion Narrative. The fruit of the mystery is Purity and mortification.
This is the sixth station is the Scriptural Stations of the Cross and the fourth of the New Stations of the Cross used in the Philippines which is also based on the Scriptures but I’ll get to these during Lent. The event appears in all the Gospels but in different ways Mark and Luke have it taking place with the High Priest guards blindfolding and spitting on Jesus asking “Who hit you?”, while Matthew and John have it take place after Pilate had Jesus who had him flogged. This happens immediately before the next mystery with the Crowing with Thorns. It’s more about looking inward than outward we’ve got to forget about the things of this world as Louis de Montfort put it we need “to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite”. Sure we in general are good at doing this in Lent with our fasting and giving something up but perhaps we should be doing this more often. Most of the time when you hear mortification your mind turns to the extremes the lashing oneself and wearing a hairshirt, yet there is joy in suffering as John Paul II points out Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow, it is supposed to be struggle. Let us all reflect on how we struggle at carrying our crosses and what we can do to try and lead a more pure life.
We’ve reached the Sorrowful mysteries this time around. These chronicle the events of the Passion of Jesus. These can be found in all the Gospels but the synoptic ones (Mark, Luke, Matthew) have a more agony since in John’s Gospel Judas was there soon after they arrived. The fruit of this decade is uniformity to the will of God and Sorrow for sin, as the disciple couldn’t stay awake for an hour while Jesus prayed that the cup would pass him by. The Agony is often depicted in art but has also made it into the musical Jesus Christ Superstar with a whole song, and Beethoveen also wrote an oratorio about this event in opus 85 Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives). It is Beethoven’s only oratorio. If you have about an hour take a listen to the oratorio. Let us all try to stay bound to the will of God and remember to go to confession.