You all have probably heard about the excellent work of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort entitled ‘The Secret of the Rosary’. In fact the exact and entire title is: The Admirable Secret of the Rosary for Conversion and Salvation. The Saint tells us, with this title, the purpose of the Rosary: Our conversion and finally our salvation.
Then, he goes on to explain how the Rosary helps to bring about our conversion and our salvation. The first way it assists us by the prayers it is composed of. It begins with the Creed which is the holy summary of all Christian truths. Saint Louis de Montfort says: "it is a prayer that has great merit because faith is the root, foundation and beginning of all Christian virtues, of all eternal virtues and also of all prayers that are pleasing to Almighty God." The Epistle to Hebrews indeed states: "But without faith it is impossible to please God."
Just think about the three first words of the Creed: Credo in Deum! Saint Louis says again: “ I cannot resist saying that the first few words ‘I believe in God’ are marvelously effective as a means of sanctifying our souls and of putting devils to rout, because these three words contain the acts of the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.” How many temptations we can forcefully reject just by saying these words: I believe in God!
Finally, Faith allow us to understand, as far as we are able, the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary we meditate on during the Rosary. So, it is good to start this beautiful prayer by an act of Faith.
After the Creed, we pray the Our Father. The excellence of this prayers is that it was taught, by Our Lord directly. It is a perfect prayer and, as Tertullian says, a summary of the New Testament.
After the Our Father we pray the Angelic Salutation: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.”
“Its enormous value is due, first of all, to Our Lady to whom it was addressed, to the purpose of the Incarnation of the Word for which reason this prayer was brought from heaven, and also to the Archangel Gabriel who was the first ever to say it.”
Now, certain things have to be said about this prayer. They express the opinions of many Saints and wise spiritual writers. Saint Louis de Montfort relays these writings to us, from the testimony of Blessed Alain de la Roche who was granted by revelations of Our Lady. The first thing is that “ if people fail to say the Hail Mary out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is a sign that they will probably and indeed shortly be condemned to eternal punishment.”
The second truth, which is a corollary of the first one, is that “those who love this divine salutation bear the very special stamp of predestination.”
And the third is that “those to whom God has given the signal grace of loving Our Lady and of serving her out of love must take very great care to continue to love and serve her until the time when she shall have had them placed in heaven by her divine Son in the degree of glory which they have earned.”
Now listen to these words which were written almost three centuries ago but are still as urgent and profound today:
“The heretics, all of whom are children of the devil and clearly bear the sign of God's reprobation, have a horror of the Hail Mary. They still say the Our Father but never the Hail Mary; they would rather wear a poisonous snake around their necks than wear a scapular or carry a rosary.
Among Catholics those who bear the mark of God's reprobation think but little of the rosary (whether that of five decades or fifteen). They either fail to say it or only say it very quickly and in a lukewarm manner.
Even if I did not believe that which has been revealed to Blessed Alan de la Roche, even then my own experience would be enough to convince me of this terrible but consoling truth. I do now know, nor do I see clearly, how it can be that a devotion which seems to be so small can be the infallible sign of eternal salvation and how its absence can be the sign of God's eternal displeasure; nevertheless, nothing could possibly be more true.
In our own day we see that people who hold new doctrines that have been condemned by Holy Mother Church may have quite a bit of surface piety, but they scorn the Rosary, and often dissuade their acquaintances from saying it, by destroying their love of it and their faith in it. In doing this they make elaborate excuses which are plausible in the eyes of the world. They are very careful not to condemn the Rosary and Scapular as the Calvinist do - but the way they set about attacking them is all the more deadly because it is the more cunning.”
Dear brethren, you can see now that it is not without reasons that Saint Louis speaks of the Rosary as a secret for conversion and salvation. Today we are celebrating Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Of course, she is not the Redeemer, who is her Son, but the fact is that Jesus wanted to associate His Mother in the work for Salvation. Recognizing her as Coredemptrix is not usurping the title of Our Lord, but simply acknowledging that God is the Author of great things. Mary is the purest and the most perfect creature who ever came from God’s hands. Honoring her is giving justice to God, her Creator and Father.
So, let us turn to her. Let us invoke Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and let us pray the Holy Rosary in her honor. This prayer can change our life and can bring us to justification and then, if we are faithful, salvation. Let us not neglect such a secret, which is simply and purely the expression of our love for our Mother.
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!