On Saturday, the Vatican (Holy See) Press Office released an official communique about the upcoming month of October. In it Pope Francis expresses his wishes that all the faithful, of all the world, pray the Holy Rosary every day, during the entire Marian month of October. This is a regular request so it wasn’t really that much of surprise. His Holiness also added that we add at the end of the recitation of the Rosary with the ancient invocation “Sub tuum praesídium”, and with the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. The Sub Tuum is one of the most ancient prayers to Mary, it was originally in Greek and it dates to the fourth century. The hymn is still used in modern time in both East (mostly during Great Lent or on the Eve of Theophany) and West (Little Office of Mary or Liturgy of Hours), the Marists and Salesians hold it a special place. The Latin version has been set to music numerous times.
The prayer is nice I’m putting the Greek translation and the Latin one here Greek first.
- Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one.
- the Latin one
- We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen
The Prayer to St. Michael was written by Pope Leo XIII in 1886. It used to be recited at the end of Low Mass, although depending where you are it might be recited at the end of like Daily Mass and in some dioceses it has has re-emerged in light of the recent scandal have reintroduced it to all masses.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Since we recently celebrated Father’s Day in America it seems fitting to turn to Joseph, spouse of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron saint of the universal Church. Back in 1889 Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Quamquam Pluries, asked the faithful to add a prayer to Saint Joseph to the end of the Rosary, especially during the month of October. Sure I pointed this out back in October but It is a nice prayer, there are many others to St. Joseph and over the next couple of weeks we will have some more. This first one written by Leo XIII is added to the end of the Rosary and it follows
To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.
Through that charity which bound you
to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
and through the paternal love
with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance
which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father, ward off from us
every contagion of error and corrupting influence;
O our most mighty protector, be kind to us
and from heaven assist us in our struggle
with the power of darkness.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God’s Holy Church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity;
shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,
so that, supported by your example and your aid,
we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness,
and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.
The Crowning of Mary is the final Glorious Mystery, to some it is the last one in the whole Rosary. This is another one of the mysteries that isn’t a story directly in the Bible. There is some glancing at the idea in the Bible notably in Revelation 12:1-7. This is the decade where Mary is crowned as Queen of Heaven. The fruit of this mystery is perseverance and increase in virtue, trust in Mary’s intercession. This is important and we tend to neglect it at time but Mary is one of the best individual to ask to intercede on our behalf with our prayers and concerns to our heavenly father. I hope that we all can turn to Mary at some time this month and pray a Rosary when we’ve got a free moment.
The fourth Glorious Mystery is when we get back to Mary and it is not an event which happens in the Bible, sure Pius XII pointed to Genesis 3:15 and 1 Corinthians 15:54 in Munificentissimus Deus, the Apostolic constitution which declared the dogma of the Assumption. You can also point toward Revelation 12 with the woman clothed in the sun stepping on a serpent’s head. After many years Mary was taken into heaven, some say she died other she fell asleep either way she was taken into heaven. The fruit of this mystery is Grace of a Happy Death and True Devotion towards Mary.
This past Sunday during the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis asked us to join with him this May in praying the Rosary for peace in the world, specifically in Syria. May is one of the two Marian months, the other being October which is dedicated to the Rosary. So I hope that we all can pick up a Rosary sometime this May in join in the prayers of the Holy Father.
The third Glorious mystery is the Decent of the Holy Spirit which happened at Pentecost fifty days after Easter. It is when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Disciples. The fruit of the mystery is Love of God, Holy Wisdom to know the truth and share with everyone, Divine Charity, Worship of the Holy Spirit. This is a lot of things but it is very important when Jesus left he said God would send another advocate to help you and be with you forever. This second part is the most important part the Holy Spirit is with us today we need to remember this all to often we tend to forget that the Spirit is with us and we can/should be asking for help of the Spirit through discernment. I hope that we all can turn to the Holy Spirit at all time in our lives.
The second Glorious mystery is The Ascension it is found in the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke. Forty days after Easter Jesus and the Apostles gather on the Mount of Olives and Jesus ascends into heaven and tells them to not leave Jerusalem until after the Holy Spirit comes. The fruit of the mystery is Hope and Desire for ascension to Heaven. Hope is something we all can have and we all hope for more than we can get. We also have a desire for all of us to go heaven in the long run.
The first Glorious Mystery is The Resurrection. It appears in all the Gospels and I am positive that it is mentioned in a couple of other New Testament books as well. The fruit of this mystery is faith. Jesus after dying on Good Friday and being placed in a tomb on the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, women came to anoint the body, but the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. They were told to go tell of the good news. We should be reminded of the Story of Doubting Thomas, who wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen until Thomas himself could see the hands and put his hand in the side. When Jesus finally appeared that second time with Thomas in the room Jesus said to him “because you’ve seen you believe. Blessed are those who have not see but believe.” This is faith, it is one of the theological virtues written about in the Encyclical Lumen Fidei.
The final Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion of the Lord and focuses on the death of Jesus. It can be found in all the Gospels and it is mentioned several times in the Letters as well. This can also be found in some other non-Biblical books like Tacitus and Josephus as well as in the Babylonian Talmud, it is also mentioned in the Koran where Jesus isn’t Crucified but raised by Allah unto heaven. So Jesus carried the cross and we have the Stations of the Cross which highlight these events, eventually getting to Calvary or Golgotha where he was stripped from his clothes and offered wine mixed with myrrh or gall to drink. Jesus was hung between two thieves with a sign saying Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.
The fruit of the mystery is Perseverance in faith, grace for a holy death and Forgiveness. This has quite a few fruits. We touch on the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude as well as the Gift of from the Holy Spirit. It’s pretty great let us all pray for a holy death. As well as the courage to ask for forgiveness of all that we’ve done wrong in our lives to others and what not.
The fourth sorrowful mystery is Carrying the Cross it can be found in all the Gospels (Matthew 27:31–33, Mark 15:20–22, Luke 23:26–32 and John 19:16–18), but only John specifically mentions a cross and all but John mention Simon the Cyrene, who helped carry the cross. In a couple of weeks we will hear this story at Church several time. Jesus takes the cross, although there is some disagreement as to if it was a whole cross as we see in art or rather just the crossbar as many modern scholars believe. Jesus takes the cross and then we have the whole Stations of the Cross, more on that later.
The fruit of this mystery is Patience. This is something that we all could use a lot more of in the world today. All to often do we need/want everything to be done immediately. Society has trained us to want everything done as quick as possible but we need to take some time. Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and we should continue to ask for patience in our lives.
In this third week of Lent we look at the third sorrowful mystery the Crowning with Thorns. This was another event surrounding the Passion narrative. It can be found in three of the Gospels Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17 and John 19:2-5. The soldiers who just scourged Jesus made a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head mocking him as the King of the Jews. The fruit of the mystery is Contempt of the world (moral courage). This is a bit with the Intimation of Christ as you look at it, the world continually wants us to ignore anything that cares about religion or really anything but the things of the world. Let’s all take some time to reflect on what role religion plays in our lives, do we make time for it more than an hour on Sunday. It’s sort of like the show Living Biblically based on the book A Year of Living Biblically, sure there are lots of rules in the Bible but it’s like how all to often we tend to be more focused on our electronic devices than on other people and diminishing the experience of going to such events. To put it in other terms it’s like going to a sporting event and not watching the game in front of you but worrying about the outcome of the Battle of the Ironclads (Monitor vs Merrimack) and who benefited the most from the results of the Battle.