The Rosary is a beautiful way to pray the mysteries of the Gospel. To pray the Rosary well is to involve the whole person in prayer: the body through the fingering of the beads and speaking the vocal prayers; the mind by meditating on the mysteries; the heart as through the prayer, the affections are stirred and devotion is increased. The mysteries, or meditations, of the Rosary walk through the life of Christ, his death and resurrection, through the eyes of the one who knew Him best on earth – His mother. Who better than a mother to share about the life of her own son? And so, the mother leads us to the Son – to know Him better, love Him more, and follow Him more perfectly.
The Dominicans devotion to Mary and preaching the Gospel makes it natural that the Order should protect and promote praying the Rosary. And for Ven. Timothy Ricci, OP, the Rosary opened the door to more transformation. His eloquence was sufficiently mediocre, yet became truly remarkable when discussing and following the indications of grace. He set himself to preach the Rosary in a popular manner. At times he caused it to be gravely chanted in two choirs by the faithful, or he taught them to say it with the family at home. At Bologna, during the plague, he had it recited most fruitfully on the threshold of the church, so that it might be followed not only by all the faithful assembled within, but also by the sick gathered together in the square.
These precious results inspired him with the idea of organizing everywhere the perpetual recitation of the Rosary, which he did with such success that he got as many as sixteen persons inscribed for each hour, although the associated where charged with one hour only in the year. This made a total of 140,200 associates!
Several miracles reward his zeal; but the sweetest reward bestowed upon him came in 1643 when he died with the greatest confidence in Jesus through Mary. Since then the perpetual monthly Rosary is the form recognized as best, thanks to its good organization, and this has been extended the furthest throughout the world. Pius IX has enriched it with very precious spiritual graces, and Leo XIII, so justly styled the “Pope of the Rosary,” has recommended it in an Encyclical in these terms: “We bless it, and desire supremely that the sacred pastors should encourage its growth with all their hearts.”
Prayer: Mary, bless the families and communities where the Rosary is recited in common.
Practice: Say a Rosary for the preachers, promoters and associates of the Perpetual Rosary.
Ven. Timothy Ricci, pray for us.
In part, from “Saints and Saintly Dominicans: Daily Reflections on Their Lives”, edited by Rev. Thomas a Kempis Reilly, O.P. (1915).