The Society of Saint Gregory the Great is a membership association of Catholic laity formed in 2008 to promote divine worship in accordance with the Supreme Magisterium of the Church. The Society has its own schola cantorum, and regularly sponsors presentations and workshops on the Sacred Liturgy, Gregorian chant, and sacred polyphony.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Feast of the Most Holy Rosary
These are some of the readings from the office of Matins for the feast of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
When the heresy of the Albigenses was making head against God in the County of Toulouse, and striking deeper roots every day, the holy Dominick, who had but just laid the foundations of the Order of Friars Preachers, threw his whole strength into the travail of plucking these blasphemies up.
That he might be fitter for the work, he cried for help with his whole soul to that Blessed Maiden, whose glory the falsehoods of the heretics so insolently assailed, and to whom it hath been granted to trample down every heresy throughout the whole earth. It is said that he had from her a word, bidding him preach up the saying of the Rosary among the people, as a strong help against heresy and sin, and it is wonderful with how stout an heart and how good a success he did the work laid upon him.
This Rose-garden (or Rosary) is a certain form of prayer, wherein we say one-hundred-and-fifty times the salutation of the Angel, and the Lord's Prayer between every ten times, and, each of the fifteen times that we say the Lord's Prayer, and repeat tenfold the salutation, think of one of fifteen great events in the history of our Redemption. From that time forth this form of godly prayer was extraordinarily spread about by holy Dominick, and waxed common. That this same Dominick was the founder and prime mover thereof hath been said by Popes in divers letters of the Apostolic See.
From this healthy exercise have grown up numberless good fruits in the Christian Commonwealth. Among these deserveth well to be named that great victory over the Sultan of Turkey, which the most holy Pope Pius V, and the Christian Princes whom he had roused, won at Lepanto, (on the 7th day of October, the first Lord's Day in the month, in the year of our Lord 1571).
The day whereon this victory was gained was the very one whereon the Guildbrethren of the most holy Rosary, throughout the whole world, were used to offer their accustomed prayers and appointed supplications, and the event therefore was not unnaturally connected therewith. This being the avowed opinion of Gregory XIII, he ordered that in all Churches where there was, or should be, an Altar of the Rosary, a Feast, in the form of a Greater Double, should be kept forever upon the first Lord's Day of the month of October, to give unceasing thanks to the Blessed Virgin, under her style of (Queen of) the (Most Holy) Rosary, for that extraordinary mercy of God. Other Popes also have granted almost numberless Indulgences to those who say the Rosary, and to those who join its Guilds.
In the year 1716, Charles VI., Elect- Emperor of the Romans, won a famous victory over countless hordes of Turks, [near Temeswar] in the kingdom of Hungary, upon the day when the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of St Mary of the Snows was being kept, and almost at the very moment when the Guildbrethren of the most holy Rosary were moving through the streets of Rome in public and solemn procession, amid vast multitudes, all filled the deepest enthusiasm, calling vehemently upon God for the defeat of the Turks, and entreating the Virgin Mother of God to bring the might of her succour to the help of the Christians.
A few days later, (upon the Octave of the Feast of the Assumption,) the Turks raised the siege of Corfu. These mercies Clement XI devoutly ascribed to the helpful prayers of the Blessed Virgin, and that the memory and the sweetness of such a blessing might for all time coming endure gloriously, he extended to the whole Church the observance of the Feast of the most holy Rosary, for the same day and of the same rank, (as it had already been in the places before mentioned.)
Benedict XIII commanded the record of all these things to be given a place in the Service-book of the Church of Rome; and Leo XIII, in the most troublous times of the Church and the cruel storm of long pressing evils, by fresh Apostolic letters vehemently urged upon all the faithful throughout the earth the often saying of the Rosary of (the Blessed Virgin) Mary, raised the dignity of the yearly festival, added to the Litany of Loretto the Invocation Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and granted to the whole Church a special Office for this solemn occasion. Let us all then be earnest in honouring the most holy Mother of God in this form which she liketh so well, that even as the entreaties of Christ's faithful people, approaching her in her Garden of Roses, have so often won her to scatter and destroy their earthly foes, so she may gain for them the victory over their hellish foes likewise.
Homily by St Bernard, Abbot (of Clairvaux) Homily on Holy Mary
To commend His Own love towards us, and to bring to nought the wisdom of men, God was pleased to take flesh of a woman, albeit a virgin, that He might bring like against like, heal by opposites, pluck out the poisonous thorn, and blot out mightily the handwriting of our sin that was against us. Eve was a thorn, Mary is a rose. Eve is a thorn that pierceth, Mary is a rose that charmeth all the senses. Eve was a thorn that fixed death into all, Mary is a rose that bringeth health to all. Mary was a white rose through her virginity, and a red rose through her love. She was white in her flesh, red in her mind; white in that she followed the path of grace, red in that she trod down sin; white by the purity of her affections, red by the mortification of her body; white by her love for God, red by her compassion for her neighbour.
Reading 8 Homily on the water course.
The Word was made flesh, and dwelleth even now among us. He dwelleth in our memory. He dwelleth in our thought. He hath come down even unto our imagination; and how sayest thou doth he so? By lying in the manger, by nestling in His mother's breast, by preaching upon the mountain, by remaining all night in prayer to God, by hanging upon the Cross, by turning pale in death, by going down free among the dead and triumphing in hell, by rising again the third day, by showing to the Apostles the places of the nails the marks of his victory, by ascending up into heaven while they all beheld Him, of which of these things think we not with truth, with godliness, with holiness?
If I think of any of these, I think of God, and He is my God through them all. To think of these things I have decreed to be wisdom, and to set forth the memory of their sweetness I have judged to be prudence. The rod of Aaron the Priest brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds; but these things are the almonds of that Rod which came forth out of the stem of Jesse, the Rod whereof sprang the flower, a Rod which was raised in Mary into places higher than the earthly tabernacle, higher indeed, even into places higher than angels, since she received the Word into herself out of the very heart of the Eternal Father.