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Friday, August 18, 2017

The feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by St. Pius V in commemoration of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 against the Turks who were threatening Europe. In 1716, the feast was extended to the entire Church in thanksgiving for the defeat of the Muslim Crescent in Hungary.

Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret, in 1213, which has been attributed to the recitation of the Rosary by St. Dominic, it is believed that Heaven has, on many occasions, rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto, gained by Don John of Austria, over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571, responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity. 

We know that the victory of the Battle of Lepanto was achieved when St. Pius V interrupted a meeting with Cardinals at the Vatican and went to a window and started to pray the Rosary. He was deeply concerned about the future of the Church and Christendom that was being decided in those Mediterranean waters. After the Pontiff finished praying the Rosary, he returned to the meeting and told the Cardinals that the Catholic fleet had been victorious. That is, he had a revelation while he was praying the Rosary. It was the way Our Lady showed him that she linked that victory to his praying of the Rosary. Understanding this, St. Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which was extended to the whole Church in commemoration for another great victory over the Mohammedans in 1716. 

St. Pius V thereupon ordered that a commemoration of the Rosary should be made upon that day, and at the request of the Dominican Order Gregory XIII in 1573 allowed this feast to be kept in all churches which possessed an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Abbot Orsini wrote: “In the year 723, in the night following the day when the prince of the Saracens had unjustly ordered the hand of Saint John Damascen to be cut off, Our Lady reunited it miraculously to his wrist, after this faithful servant had prayed to her for it with the design of continuing to write in defense of holy images.”

Saint John of Damascus (645-749), also known as Saint John Damascene, was a priest and Doctor of the Church, who is sometimes also referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption, as he wrote on the Assumption of Mary into heaven. During the time of the iconoclasm in the east, Saint John Damascene also wrote in defense of holy images.

According to tradition, a Muslim caliph unjustly ordered that Saint John’s right hand should be cut off and hung up for public display. Some days after this despicable act took place, Saint John prayed for the restoration of his hand. Saint John had an icon of the Blessed Virgin before which he fervently prayed, and soon his hand is said to have been miraculously restored. To recognize the miracle, and in appreciation for the return of his right hand, Saint John had a replica of his restored hand produced in silver, which he then placed at the bottom of the icon. Those who came after him, and saw the third hand on the icon, subsequently named it “Three-handed,” or Tricheirousa.

The Bogorodica Trojerucica is considered the most important icon of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It is currently located in a monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos, Greece. The portrait is of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Divine Child in her right arm. It is thought to have possibly been painted by Saint John Damascene himself, but however that may be, it is the very same image before which he prayed for the restoration of his severed hand.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This feast, observed throughout the Western Church on October 11, honor Mary as Mother of God, and bears the same sort of relation to the Annunciation and to Christmas as does the Synaxis of Our Lady in the Byzantine rite. It was long known in Portugal and elsewhere, but was finally instituted in 1931 by Pope Pius XI in view of the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus.

At the same time the Pope ordered at his own cost the restoration of the Marian mosaics in Saint Mary Major, much decayed through age. He issued an encyclical letter, “Lux veritatis.” In this, among the objects of the new festival, is named one truth that was particularly close to the heart of Pius XI, “…that Mary, who is loved and revered so warmly by the separated Christians of the East, would not suffer them to wander and be unhappily led further away from the unity of the Church, and therefore from her Son, whose vicar on earth we are.”

“On this occasion the heavenly Lady was full of the Holy Ghost and moreover bore within Her, as His Mother, the Divine Word, who proceeds from the Father and the Holy Ghost. Saint Joseph received special enlightenment and the plenitude of divine graces, and altogether renewed in fervor of spirit he said:

“Blessed art Thou, Lady, among all women, fortunate and preferred before all nations and generations. May the Creator of heaven and earth be extolled with eternal praise, since from his exalted kingly throne He has looked upon Thee and chosen Thee for his dwelling place and in Thee alone has fulfilled the ancient promises made to the Patriarchs and Prophets. Let all generations bless Him: for in no one has He magnified his name as He has done in thy humility; and me, the most insignificant of the living, He has in his divine condescension selected for thy servant.

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