The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
DEVOTION III. OF THE ROSARY AND OFFICE
THE devotion of the most holy Rosary is known to have been revealed to St. Dominic by the divine mother herself, when the saint, being in affliction, and bewailing to his Lady the conduct of the Albigensian heretics, who at that time were doing great injury to the Church, the Virgin said to him: "This earth will always be barren, until the rain falls on it." St. Dominic was then given to understand that this rain was to be the devotion of the Rosary, and that he was to publish it. And indeed the saint preached it everywhere, and this devotion was embraced by all Catholics, so that, at the present day, there is no devotion more practised by the faithful of every condition, than that of the most holy Rosary. What have not modern heretics, as Calvin, Bucer, and others said, to bring into contempt the use of the Rosary? But the great good is well known, which this noble devotion has brought to the world. How many by its means have been freed from sin! How many led to a holy life! How many have had a good death and are now saved! Let us read the various books which treat of it; it is enough to know that this devotion has been approved by the holy Church, and the sovereign Pontiffs have attached indulgences to it. To him who recites the third part of the Rosary, the indulgence of seventy thousand years is granted, and to him who recites it entire, eighty thousand, and yet more to him who recites it in the chapel of the Rosary. Benedict XIII. at length annexed to the Rosary (for him at least who recites the third part of the Rosary which has been blessed by the Dominican Fathers) all the indulgences which are attached to the Rosaries of St. Bridget, namely, one hundred days for every "Hail Mary," and "Our Father" that is repeated. And, moreover, those who recite the Rosary gain the plenary indulgence on all the principal feasts of Mary and of the holy Church, and also of the Dominican Saints, if they visit their churches after confession and communion. But let it be remarked that this is understood of those whose names are inscribed in the book of the Rosary, to whom a plenary indulgence is also granted on the day when their names are inscribed, provided they have made their confession, and communion, and one hundred years if they wear the Rosary; and to those who make mental prayer once a day, seven years each time, and a plenary indulgence at the end of the month.
In order to gain the indulgences attached to the recitation of the Rosary, it is necessary to meditate on the mysteries which are to be found recorded in many books; but it is sufficient for those who do not know them to contemplate any one of the mysteries of the passion of Jesus Christ, as the scourging, death, &c. The Rosary must be recited with devotion; and here call to mind what the holy Virgin said to St. Eulalia, namely, that she was better pleased with five decades said with pauses and devotion, than with fifteen in haste and with less devotion. On this account it is well to say the Rosary kneeling, and before some image of Mary, and at the beginning of every decade to make an act of love to Jesus and Mary, by asking some favor. And, moreover, let it be remarked that it is more efficacious to say the Rosary in company with others, than to say it alone.
Urban II. attached many indulgences to the recitation of the little office of our Lady, which is said to have been composed by St. Peter Damian; and the holy Virgin has often made known how pleasing to her was this devotion, as we learn from Father Auriemma. The Litanies are also very pleasing to her, and an indulgence of two hundred days is granted every time they are recited; also the hymn, "Hail, star of the sea," "Ave Maris stella," which the divine mother ordered St. Bridget to repeat every day; and more than all, the "Magnificat," for with this we praise her in the very words with which she praised God.