On this glorious Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, let us meditate on the words of Saint Louis de Montfort, who, in his The Secret of the Rosary, implores us to pray the Rosary with great fervor every day of our lives, no matter how bored we may be, or how heavily the Crosses lovingly fashioned for us from all eternity weigh on our souls. Let us also strive to tear ourselves away from the world and its ways, separating ourselves from those who are well on their way to being damned so that we may pray the full fifteen decades of the Most Holy Rosary each and every day and work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us!
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!
On the Most Holy Rosary
It is not so much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred fifty that are badly said. Most Catholics say the Rosary, the whole fifteen mysteries or five of them anyway, or least a few decades. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy.
To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin. This we know because all our theology teaches us that good works and prayers are only dead works if they are done in a state of mortal sin. Therefore they can neither be pleasing to God nor help us gain eternal life. This is why Ecclesiastes says: “Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner.” Praise of God and the salutation of an angel and the very Prayer of Jesus Christ are not pleasing to God when they are said by unrepentant sinners.
Our Lord said: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” It is as though He was saying: “Those who join My Confraternity and say their Rosary every day (even perhaps the fifteen decades), but without being sorry for their sins offer Me lip service only and their hearts are far from me.”
I have just said that to say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace “or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin;” first of all, because if it were true that God only heard the prayers of those in a state of grace it would follow that people in a state of mortal sin should not pray at all. This is an erroneous teaching which has been condemned by Holy Mother Church, because of course sinners need to pray far more than good people do. Were this horrible doctrine true, it would then be useless and futile to tell a sinner to say all, or even part of his Rosary, because it would never help him.
Secondly, because if they join one of Our Lady’s confraternities and recite the Rosary or some other prayer, but without having the slightest intention of giving up sin, they join the ranks of her false devotees. These presumptuous and impenitent devotees, hiding under her mantle, wearing the scapular and with rosary in hand, cry out: “Blessed Virgin, good Mother–Hail, Mary! . . .” And yet at the same time, by their sins, they are crucifying Our Lord Jesus Christ and tearing His flesh anew. It is a a great tragedy, but from the very ranks of Our Lady’s most holy Confraternities souls are falling into the fires of hell.
We earnestly beg everyone to say the Holy Rosary: the just that they may persevere and grow in God’s grace; the sinners that they may rise from their sins. But God forbid that we should ever encourage a sinner to think that Our Lady will protect him with Her mantle if he continues to love sin, for then it will only turn into a mantle of damnation which will hide his sins from the public eye. The Rosary, which is a cure for all our ills, would then be turned into deadly poison. “A corruption of what is best is worst.”
The learned Cardinal Hughes says: “One should really be as pure as an angel to approach the Blessed Virgin and to say the Angelic Salutation.” One day Our Lady appeared to an immoral man who used to always say his Rosary every day. She showed him a bowl of beautiful fruit, but the bowl itself was covered with filth. The man was horrified to see this, and Our Lady said: “This is the way you are honoring me! You are giving me beautiful roses in a filthy bowl. Do you think that I can accept presents of this kind?” — Saint Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary
Predestinate souls, you who are of God, cut yourselves adrift from those who are damning themselves by their impious lives, laziness and lack of devotion–and, without delay, recite often your Rosary, with faith, with humility, with confidence and with perseverance. . . .
Dear Rosary Confraternity members, if you want to lead a fashionable life and belong to the world–by this I mean if you do not mind falling into mortal sin from time to time and then going to Confession, and if you with to avoid conspicuous sins which the world considers vile and yet at the same time commit “respectable sins”–then, of course, there is no need for you to say many prayers and Rosaries. You only need to do very little be “respectable”: a tiny prayer at night and morning, an occasional Rosary which may be given to you for your penance, a few decades of Hail Marys said on your Rosary (but haphazardly and without concentration) when it suits your fancy to say them–this is quite enough. If you did less, you might be branded as a freethinker or a profligate; if you did more, you would be eccentric and a fanatic. But if you want to lead a true Christian life and genuinely want to save your soul and walk in the saints’ footsteps and never, never, fall into mortal sin–if you wish to break Satan’s traps and divert his flaming darts, you must always pray as Our Lord taught and commanded you to do.
If you really have this wish at heart, then you must at least say your Rosary or the equivalent, every day. I have said “at least” because probably all that you will accomplish through your Rosary will be to avoid mortal sin and to overcome temptation. This is because you are so exposed to the strong current of the world’s wickedness by which many a strong soul is swept away; you are in the midst of the thick, clinging darkness which often blinds even the most enlightened souls; you are surrounded by evil spirits who being more experienced than ever and knowing that their time is short are more cunning and more effective in tempting you.
It will indeed be a marvel of grace wrought by the Most Holy Rosary if you manage to keep out of the clutches of the world, the devil and the flesh and avoid mortal sin and gain heaven! If you do not want to believe me, at least learn from your own experience. I should like to ask you, if when you were in the habit of saying no more prayers than people usually say in the world and saying them they way they usually say them, you were able to avid serious faults and sins that were grievous but which seemed nothing much to you in your blindness. Now at last you must wake up, and if you want to live and die without sin, at least mortal sin, pray unceasingly; say your Rosary every day as members always used to do in the early days of the Confraternity. . . .
Even if you suffer from dryness of soul, boredom and interior discouragement, never give up even the least little bit of your Rosary–for this would be a sure sign of pride and faithlessness. On the contrary, like a real champion of Jesus and Mary, you should say your Our Fathers and Hail Marys quite drily if you have to, without seeing, hearing or feeling any consolation whatsoever, and concentrating as best you can on the mysteries. You ought not to look for candy or jam to eat with your daily bread, as children do–but you should even say your Rosary more slowly sometimes when you particularly find it hard to say. Do this to imitate Our Lord more perfectly in His agony in the garden: “Being in agony, he prayed the longer,” so that what was said of Our Lord (when He was in His agony of prayer) may be said of you too: He prayed even longer.
Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray. The Eternal Father yearns for nothing so much as to share the life-giving waters of His grace and mercy with us. He is entreating us: “All you that thirst, come to the waters . . .” This means “Come and drink of My spring through prayer,” and when we do not pray to Him He sorrowfully says that we are forsaking Him: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water.” — Saint Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary