Diuturni Temporis is Pope Leo XIII’s last encyclical on Mary and the Rosary. This came out only a year since the previous one Augustissimae Virginis Mariae, and sort of continues on with the same themes. The second paragraph is one of my favorites as it reminds us that “have never ceased to encourage the constant use of the Rosary among Christians, by publishing every year since September 1, 1883, an Encyclical Letter on this subject, besides frequently issuing Decrees, as is well known.” Pope Leo then given an overview on all that’s been said on the Rosary so far “We first of all pointed out that the origin of this form of prayer is divine rather than human,showing it to be an admirable garland woven from the Angelic Salutation, together with the Lord’s Prayer, joined to meditation, and that this form of prayer was most powerful and particularly efficacious for attaining eternal life. For besides the special excellence of the prayers, it affords a powerful protection to faith and conspicuous models of virtue in the mysteries proposed for contemplation. We showed also how easy the devotion is and how suited to the people, offering an absolutely perfect model of domestic life in meditation on the Holy Family at Nazareth, and that therefore Christendom had never failed to experience its salutary effects.” This is a wonderful summation of the previous teaching on the Rosary.
Pope Leo continues offering history of how different Popes have evolved the idea of praying the Rosary from the dates of Gregory XIII and Sixtus V to today (1898). This document itself is just a big old teaser for an Apostolic Constitution Ubi primum, which was on the laws, rights and privileges of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary issued about a month later. I’ll get to this next week.
Augustissimae Virginis Mariae (Of the Most August Virgin Mary) is another encyclical from Pope Leo XIII about the Rosary, this one however talks about the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary.
This Encyclical start off as so many of the other one about the Rosary with a plea for more devotion to the Most August Virgin Mary, daily and for public and private benefit. It also highlights the role of Mary in the Incarnation and Redemption as well as pointing toward Christ’s example. As well as calling for individuals to pray the Rosary in October. Now this is the first half which we’ve read before and since.
Pope Leo continues turning the conversation to the gathering of humanity into pious associations. He specifically talks about the Confraternity of the Rosary. This is a group under the care and guidance of the Dominican order. The members of the Confraternity strive to pray the Rosary of weekly. It goes on to point to the power of the Rosary with the Battle of Lepanto and the victory of the Catholic fleet. This continues with a discussion of the prayers to God and prayers to the saints. All too often we pray to Mary and not God, for many individuals we turn to the saints and other rather than talking with God about what our troubles are yet as we pray to the saints and Mary we are asking through their prayers and merits our prayers may be efficacious. Then in turning to the communal prayer as that of the Angels. It end with a nice ending in which Leo asks that more people join in this Solidarity for the usefulness of our salvation and talks of the living Rosary.
So pick up a Rosary in this final week of the month of the Rosary and pray it.
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
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.
Auspicia Quaedam is one of the Encyclicals from Pope Pius XII. The focus is public prayer for world peace as well as a solution of the problem of Palestine. It was written back in 1948, so World Peace was still something that people cared about not wanting to have another World War. Sure this was during the Cold War but according to the Pope a vast community of nations are turning towards the path of peace. Pius says that we need to first turn to God in prayer then as in previous Encyclicals turn to Mary asking for “mutual, fraternal and complete peace among all nations and the longed for harmony among all social classes.” Pius consecrated the world ti the Immaculate Heart of Mary following the lead of Leo XIII, who consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pius points out some significant things that we should pray for
“Let there be an end to dissensions that redound to no one’s advantage.
Let there be a reconciliation of disputes that often sow the seeds of further misfortunes.
Let international relations, public and private, be fittingly strengthened.
Let religion, the foster mother of all virtues, enjoy the liberty to which she is entitled.
And let men set about their peaceful work of abundant production for the common welfare – with justice their guide and charity their motive.”
The second part of the Encyclical is a bit funny as we are still dealing with the “problem of Palestine” today we are still dealing with the problems but it’s a bit more complicated now and this was before Israel became a Nation so it the the Palestine Region that Pius is talk about. However, Pius is more concerned about the Holy Sites and that they become safe places.
So pray to Mary especially if you are a child and let us take up the prayers for World Peace as it seems like we are always on the brink of War nowadays.
Ubi Primum and Deiparae Virginis Mariae are a unique set Encyclical since it isn’t a typical Encyclical but in it the Pope asking the bishops of the world along with all the clergy and lay people if it is wise and prudent that the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption should become Dogma. It is pretty cool to see some “working documents” on these points of dogma.
In Ubi Primum Pius IX in 1849 writes to the bishops of the increase of Marian devotion both public and privately took place during Pope Gregory XVI’s reign (Pope before Pius). Gregory’s reign was also a time when people began pressing for a definition of Immaculate Mary. Yet the entirety of the Encyclical is asking if the Immaculate Conception should be made dogma.
In Deiparae Virginis Mariae Pius XII in 1946 almost 100 year later begins that there have been calls about making the Assumption dogma for about the same amount of time, Pius notes that there are several petitions from 1849-1940 have been compiled in a two volume and these came from just about everyone. So in the steps of Pius IX he thought to ask if the Assumption should be made dogma
Magnae Dei Matris is another encyclical of Pope Leo XIII focusing on the Rosary this one is a bit more indepth than other which are basically asking/reminding people to pray the Rosary in October.
Magnae Dei Matris (Great Mother of God) begins like the other encyclicals on the Rosary saying that at a certain time “occasion arises to stimulate and intensify the love and veneration of the Christian people for Mary”. It then turn to our Heavenly Father, who was the first to love Mary and raised her above all creation naming her his mother. This is key concept of the Encyclical. We in turn must put all of our filial trust in her. Here is where we get the classic pray the Rosary since October is coming up soon, Pope Leo gives some reason why we need to turn to the Rosary in which he mentions public institutions that science and art where there is hardly a mention of God as well as “the consequent laxity and apathy in the practice of the Catholic religion”, this sounds like something that some super conservative would say knocking on the Cafeteria and Secular Christianity that has grown up in the US and Europe. Pope Leo insists that the remedy for this is praying the Rosary. As we pray through the events of Mary’s life we grow closer to Jesus. It goes on and reflects on the idea that Mary is the perfect model of living the Christian life. It continues talking about how constantly praying the Rosary serves piety and is a source of comfort. Eventually the encyclical ends with Pope Leo once again asking (us) his brother bishops to pray the Rosary.
Vi e Ben Noto is one of Pope Leo’s encyclicals on the Rosary it’s focus is on the Rosary and Public Life, it is addressed to the Bishops of Italy. Like many other of Leo’s rosary encyclicals it is a gentle reminder from His Holiness to pray the Rosary during the month of October. Sure it is addressed to those in Italy but just like other it seems like it could have been written a fortnight ago. ” We find . . . much to sadden Our souls. Faith and Christian morals, the precious inheritance bequeathed by Our ancestors, and in all past times the glory of Our country and of Italy’s great ones, are being attacked artfully and in covert ways, or even openly, with cynicism that is revolting, by a handful of men who seek to rob others of that faith and morality they have themselves lost.” This can be said of many places around the world today where so many of us care more about what’s happening in the world but not to the world. It’s complex but are we a Christian more than on Sunday, do we take what we hear and synthesize it. As Pope Leo states to his fellow bishops “Let it be your work, venerable brethren, to revive this Christian feeling among your people, an interest in the Catholic cause, a confidence in Our Lady’s help, and a spirit of prayer.” Let us all take some time this week and pray the rosary or some other form of prayer this week.
Since October is the month of the Rosary, I will be looking at some of the many Encyclicals and other Church Documents that focus on the Rosary over the next couple of weeks. The first two weeks are going to look at some of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclicals including Octobri Mense and Vi e ben noto. Leo XIII is known as the Rosary Pope and wrote eleven Encyclicals on the Rosary. The following two weeks are up in the air currently but might be more of Pope Leo. If you are looking for something to do perhaps pick up a rosary at some point in this upcoming month and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the voters in the United States to choose the candidate who will lead justly.