On October 7, the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The feast commemorates the victory of the Christian over the Turkish fleets in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. With the Christian forces vastly outnumbered, Pope Pius V urged the faithful to take up the rosary and pray for a Christian victory. Then as now, the rosary proved a powerful weapon against forces that seek to destroy the Church.
Devotion to our Blessed Mother under the title Our Lady of the Rosary grew from there. In 1883, Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the entire month of October to the Rosary, making it henceforward the Month of the Rosary.
Well, it’s still October, which means it’s still the Month of the Rosary.
If you haven’t yet been doing anything special, now’s the time to start. Or, perhaps you were doing something special but have lost your momentum. Now’s the time to change your game plan and pick up the pace.
Either way, here are three ways to generate or keep the momentum going.
Take a Rosary Walk
The Rosary is often referred to as “Mary’s Psalter.” It’s became a substitute for the breviary in praying the Divine Office for those who hadn’t the time or education to do so. It’s also Christocentric in that it follows the life of Christ from Birth to Resurrection. In Medieval times, it became a handy catechism for the peasants, since it was simple, easy to remember, and could be recited just about anywhere at anytime.
That’s why many, many people have found it fruitful to take Rosary walks – the custom of praying the Rosary while walking for leisure and/or meditation. Studies have shown that physical activity enhances cognitive processing. So, you might say that walking and praying the Rosary go hand-in-hand.
Try it for yourself, at least once before the end of the month. Who knows? You may decide to make it part of your daily routine!
Adopt a Non-Believer
At Fatima, Mary encouraged devotion to the Rosary and requested that we pray and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.
She told Lucia, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.”
That message is as pertinent today as it was in 1917.
There are countless sinners in need of conversion. Most of us have at least one person in our lives who lives a life of sin. Often, this is because he or she doesn’t believe in God’s unbounded love and mercy. So, why not – for at least the duration of October – commit to this person’s conversion? Pray the Rosary (or at least a decade) for this person daily.
Do an Act of Faith, Hope and Charity in Mary’s honor
The three beads of the Rosary immediately following the Creed and Our Father are prayed while meditating on the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. These are known as the theological virtues.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.” For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God’s will. “The righteous shall live by faith.” Living faith “work[s] through charity.” (CCC, 1814)
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” “The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” (CCC, 1817)
Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. (CCC, 1822)
Why not put our words into action?
Between now and October 31, commit to performing one act of faith, hope and charity daily if possible, but at least one of each before the month’s end. Then do it in Mary’s honor.
For example, you can make an act of faith by dropping into Eucharistic Adoration or taking time ourtto read from Scripture. Assuring someone who’s struggling of God’s love for them and pledging your prayers for them can be a simple act of hope. Charity can be exercised in many ways – from sending a cheery card to an elderly relative or neighbor to contributing to the local food pantry.
There’s still time to make October the Month of the Rosary, and plenty of ways you can make it special. Let’s work together to keep the momentum going!