Fr. Mike’s Homily for the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary

Fr. Mike’s Homily for the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary

Theme: The rosary; powerful and effective

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Thursday October 7 2021

Lk 1:26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

St. Dominic de Guzman is the saint to whom Our Lady appeared in a small town in southern France. In that apparition, Our Lady gave the devotion of the Holy Rosary to assist him in fighting against the Albigensian heresy. The Blessed Mother assured St. Dominic that if he would preach her rosary and its meditations on the life of Christ, many souls would be converted from their error and saved through her intercession. The Blessed Virgin said to him:
“Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors. You have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.”

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was formerly known as Our Lady of Victory. Pope Pius V instituted this feast to commemorate the victory of Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet at the naval battle of Lepanto on the 7th of October 1571. The Pope organized a rosary procession on that day in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Though heavily outnumbered, the Christian forces won over the Muslim forces, preventing them from overrunning Western Europe. The victory was generally attributed to the heavenly intervention and intercession of the Mother of God.

A similar event took place in the Philippines in 1646. That year, naval forces of the Protestant Dutch Republic made several repeated attempts to conquer the Philippines in order to take control over the trade routes in Asia. The combined Spanish and Filipino forces fought against the superior Dutch fleet in five major battles now known as the Battles of La Naval de Manila. Before going to battle, the Christian forces requested the intercession of the Virgin through the statue of Our Lady by repeatedly praying the rosary. They defeated and drove away the Dutch invaders. This image is now enshrined in the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

There was another battle in Hungary on the 6th of August 1716. The Christians, led by Prince Eugene, defeated the Muslims. After this victory, Pope Clement XII decreed that the Feast of the Rosary be celebrated by the whole Church on the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to October 7, and in 1969, Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to “Our Lady of the Rosary”.

Sister Lucia, one of the visionaries at the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, said, ʺIn these last times in which we live, the Most Holy Virgin has given a new power to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. There is no problem that cannot be solved by the Rosary; no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations.ʺ

Why is the holy rosary so powerful and effective? There are two main reasons for this. First, because it is a simple and humble prayer Those who pray it are formed spiritually in littleness, in meekness, in simplicity of heart. This is precisely the weapon against the pride and arrogance of the devil. In her message, the Blessed Mother said, “Satan’s pride will again be conquered by the humility of little ones, and the Red Dragon will find himself decisively humiliated and defeated when I bind him, not by a great chain, but by a very frail cord: the holy rosary.” (To The Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Msg 275).

And second, the rosary is powerful because it is a prayer that is said together with the Mother of God herself. When we pray the rosary, we do not pray to Mary; rather, we pray together with her. In the same message, she said, “When you invite me to pray for you, I accede to your request and mingle my voice with yours, and I unite my prayer to yours. Consequently it becomes more and more efficacious. What I ask for I always obtain, because Jesus can never say no to what his Mother requests of Him.”

In the many apparitions of the Blessed Mother all over the world, she would invariably ask: “Please pray the Rosary.” In one of her messages, she said, “I request it from all with solicitude and maternal preoccupation.” Obviously, it is the prayer that she particularly likes. Let us always remember this. There are many novenas and devotions that we can use in our daily prayers. But the prayer that the Blessed Mother expressly requested for and which surely pleases and makes her happy is the rosary.

Let me illustrate this with an example: If a mother sends her child to the store to buy milk, and he returns with ice cream, will she be pleased? Of course, ice cream is better than milk, but it is not what she asked for.ʺ This is similar with her request for us to pray the rosary. And if we want to please Jesus, we must do what His Mother asks.

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