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St. Dominic and the Rosary

The story is that Our Blessed Mother gave St. Dominic the Rosary and asked him to spread devotion to Christ through it.  Many Catholics  will say that this is just a pius legend.  They point to the fact that the practice of saying 150 Hail Mary’s  predates St. Dominic and therefore this story, they claim, is false.

St. Dominic by Monsignor Anthony La Femina


The Hail Mary was shorter back then, not including the
"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
The saying of the 150 Hail Mary’s had grown out of the devotion of the priests who recited the 150 Psalms.  Since the lay people could not read they said the Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s.

However, the other side of the story is that the  *Rosary is*   identified with the   *meditation*    on the Fifteen Mysteries of Christís life while saying, or rather praying, the Hail Maryís and the Our Fatherís.  ( Now, thanks to Blessed Pope John Paul II who was so devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary we now have 20 mysteries of Christ to meditate on.)



And so perhaps Our Lady did instruct St. Dominic to attach these 15 meditations to the reciting of the prayers.  It is these meditations that make up the most important part of what we call the Rosary.  In this case, we could legitimately attributed to her and her influence with St. Dominic this venerable and time tested prayer we call the Rosary.   No one denies that she promoted the Rosary at Fatima, so it is not hard to imagine her telling St. Dominic about it.

So, if this true, then it would be right to say Mary did give Saint Dominic the Rosary.

I have to admit I have been slow to really appreciate this prayer.  But, the little things just kept adding up.   I can no longer ignore the importance of this powerful prayer.  Most, if not all, of the recent saints have had a deep devotion to Mary and the Rosary, whereas most of the dissenters do not.   Our Holy Father John Paul II is very devoted to the Rosary.  He even put the bullet that he was shot with in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, to whom he attributes the miraculous intervention that saved his life when he was shot at point blank range on May 13, 1981, the Feast of Fatima.  Mother Angelica was healed while saying the Rosary after decades of suffering.  We could go on and on with miracles of the Rosary.

I used to think that it was only nice, cute, and generous of the Holy Father when he would give a Rosary to each child that would come up to the Altar to meet him.   But after years and years of seeing him give away the Rosary, I have to ask,  "Is he trying to send a message with this gift ?   If he wanted to promote the Rosary, what other method would be more profound, yet subtle ?   Sincere, yet humble ?

Anyway, I see a lot of people, even in the Church, thinking that they are doing the right thing, yet making terrible and sinful choices.  Yet, I have to hasten to add that I see more culpability in my own sins since I see what is only a glimmer of my own guilt.  And I cannot judge the guilt of others.   I to often do things that I know are wrong.   This world has terrible pitfalls, yet I am a man with a fallen human nature.  I decided that I better play it safe, and say the Rosary, meditating on the life of Christ, each and every day.

Back to St. Dominic: His life was very interesting.

Saint Dominic and his role in the Rosary

St. Dominic had a great devotion to the Mother of God. And she did use him to inspire others to know and follow the One True Lord, Jesus Christ, through devotion to the Holy Rosary.

The Albigensian Heresy

The Albigensian heresy had plagued southern France in St. Dominicís time, the 13th century. It was based on the belief that there were two supreme beings, a good God who created the spirit world, and an evil god who created the material world.
The proponents of this heresy also taught the following:

that the spiritual world is essentially good, and the material world (including the human body) is essentially evil,

that the evil god (Satan) imprisoned spirits in material bodies, so whatever one can do to be released from that prison (including suicide) is good,

that since matter is evil, marriage and the procreation of mankind is evil,

that that Christ was not truly a man, and therefore, neither was Mary truly the Mother of God,

and that the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ were only illusions, and consequently the whole concept of the cross in the Christian life was rejected.

To combat this great evil the Blessed Virgin Mary chose Saint Dominic to spread the Good News of her Son, Jesus Christ, by his preaching and by promoting the Rosary.   The combining of the Hail Mary, as it existed then, with the reflection on the mysteries of our salvation, brought about the prayer called the Rosary.  Mary worked through Saint Dominic and the Rosary to rescue her children from the powers of Satan and into the abundant life found in Christ our Savior.




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