Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary / Our Lady of Victory
Commemoration of the Battle of Lepanto
Saint Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary
Twentieth Rose: The Hail Mary—Explanation
Are you in the miserable state of sin? Then call on the divine1 Mary and say to her: Ave, which means “I salute thee with the most profound respect, thou who art without sin” and she will deliver you from the evil of your sins.
Are you groping in the darkness of ignorance and error? Go to Mary and say to her: Hail Mary; which means “Hail thou who art bathed in the light of the Sun of Justice” — and she will give you some of her light.
Have you strayed from the path leading to Heaven? Then call on Mary, for her name means “Star of the Sea, the North Star which guides the ships of our souls during the voyage of this life,” and she will guide you to the harbor of eternal salvation.
Are you in sorrow? Turn to Mary, for her name means also “Sea of Bitterness which has been filled with sharp pain in this world but which is now turned into a Sea of the Purest Joy in Heaven” and she will turn your sorrow to joy and your afflictions into consolation.
Have you lost the state of grace? Praise and honor the numberless graces with which God has filled the Blessed Virgin and say to her: Thou art full of grace and filled with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and she will give you some of these graces.
Are you all alone, having lost God’s protection? Pray to Mary, and say: “The Lord is with thee — and this union is far nobler and more intimate than that which He has with Saints and the just — because thou art one with Him. He is thy Son and His Flesh is thy flesh; thou art united to the Lord because of thy perfect likeness to Him and by your mutual love — for thou art His Mother.” And then say to her: “The Three Persons of the Godhead are with thee because thou art the Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity,” and she will place you once more under the protection and care of Almighty God.
Have you become an outcast and have you been accursed by God? Then say to Our Lady: “Blessed art thou above all women and above all nations, by thy purity and fertility; thou hast turned God’s maledictions into blessings for us,” and she will bless you.
Do you hunger for the bread of grace and the bread of life? Draw near to her who bore the Living Bread Which came down from Heaven, and say to her: Blessed be the Fruit of thy womb Whom thou hast conceived without the slightest loss of thy virginity, Whom thou didst carry without discomfort and to Whom thou didst give birth without pain. Blessed be Jesus Who has redeemed our suffering world when we were in the bondage of sin, Who has healed the world of its sickness, Who has raised the dead to life, brought home the banished, restored sinners to a life of grace and Who has saved men from damnation.” Without doubt, your soul will be filled with the bread of grace in this life and of eternal glory in the next. Amen.
Then, at the end of your prayer, pray thus with Holy Mother Church:
Holy in body and in soul
Holy because of thy incomparable
And eternal devotion
To the service of God —
Holy in thy great rank
Of Mother of God
Who has endowed thee
With eminent holiness,
A worthy attribute
Of this great dignity.
Mother of God —
And our Mother —
Our Advocate and Mediatrix
Thou who art the Treasurer of God’s graces
And who dost dispense them
As thou seest fit —
Oh, we beg of thee
Obtain for us
The forgiveness of our sins —
And grant that we may be reconciled
With God’s infinite Majesty.
Pray for us, sinners —
Thou who art always filled with compassion
For those in need —
Thou who wilt never despise sinners
Or turn them away —
For but for them
Thou woulds’t never have been
Mother of the Redeemer,
Pray for us
During this short life
So fraught with sorrow and uncertainty.
Pray for us now,
Now — because we can be sure of nothing
Except the present moment.
Pray for us now
That we are being attacked night and day
By powerful and ruthless enemies . . .
Pray for us now
And at the hour of our death,
So terrible and full of danger,
When our strength is waning
And our spirits are sinking
And our souls and bodies
Are worn out with fear and pain
Pray for us then
At the hour of our death
When the devil is working
With might and main
To ensnare us and cast us into perdition.
Pray for us
At the turning point
When the die will be cast once and for all
And our lot for ever and ever
Will be Heaven —
Come to the help of thy poor children,
Gentle Mother of pity:
And, oh, Advocate and Refuge of Sinners,
At the hour of our death
And drive far from us
Our bitter enemies,
The devils our accusers,
Those with frightful presence
Fills us with dread.
Light our path
Through the valley of the shadow of death.
To thy Son’s
And do not forsake us there.
Intercede for us
And ask thy Son to forgive us
And let us into the ranks of the blessed
In the realm of everlasting glory.
Amen. So be it.”
No one could help admiring the beauty of the Holy Rosary which is made up of two heavenly things: the Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation. How could there possibly be any prayers more pleasing to Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin, or any that are easier, more precious or more helpful than these two prayers? We should always have them in our hearts and on our lips to honor the Most Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ our Savior, and His Most Holy Mother.
In addition, at the end of each decade it is very good to add a Gloria Patri2. . . that is to say: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
1. ” . . . the word divine may be used without attributing the nature of Divinity to the person or thing thus qualified. We speak of our own prayers, whether addressed to God or to His Saints, as a divine service. The Psalmist speaks of us all as being gods and sons of the Most High; and yet no one takes offense, because the sense given to the words uttered is understood. Mary may be called divine because Divinely chosen for the divine office of Mother of a Divine Person, Jesus Christ (Cardinal Vaughan, preface to “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort).”
2. The “Gloria Patri” was a happy innovation in the recitation of the Rosary. It’s quite probably that it can be attributed to Saint Louis de Montfort himself.
Just a Few Papal Writings on the Rosary
- Read Rosarium Virginis Mariae (apostolic letter of Pope Saint John Paul II, 2002)
- Read On Devotion to the Holy Rosary (Pope Leo XIII, 1883)
- Read Consueverant Romani (Pope Saint Pius V, 1569)