The Rosary is the precious chain that links us to Mary. It keeps us united to her by the sweet repetition of the Hail Mary while we think about the heavenly Mother with Jesus in the fifteen scenes that make up the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries.
The Rosary is love’s bond, it is love’s welcome, it is love’s respite, in which we tell Our Lady many times over, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” To clasp our beads is like clasping Our Lady’s hand. Also, it is like offering, one by one, a bundle of roses to our sweet Mother and Queen.
The Rosary can be recited by everyone, old and young, learned and unlearned. Any time and place can be suited to reciting the Rosary. Think about the three little shepherds of Fatima, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, humble and eager in saying many Rosaries, whether out in the pastures or at home, whether in good health or sick. We recall the Servant of God, Father Anselm M. Treves, who recited Rosaries everywhere, and said many of them “to satisfy his hunger for the Hail Mary” and to “sow Hail Marys” along the highways. Worth remembering is the Servant of God Giacomino Gaglione, with a Rosary always around his neck, a visible sign of his fervent devotion. Recall, also, the Servant of God Don Dolindo Ruotolo, always with the Rosary in his hands, whether in church, or in his house, or in the pulpit, or on the street.
Any place is good for saying the Rosary; but the ideal place is before the tabernacle or before Our Lady’s altar. One should not forget about the plenary Indulgence he may gain when he says the Rosary in church or with his family or in a group, provided one goes to Confession and holy Communion.
Any worthy occasion, circumstance, or cause is suitable for the Rosary — times of joy, times of sorrow, times of success or of failure, when seeking bodily or spiritual health, when one wants to ask graces, or to give thanks, or seek the salvation of souls, or seek the deliverance of souls from Purgatory. Sister Lucia of Fatima said, “From the moment that Our Lady gave importance to the Rosary, there is no problem, material or spiritual, national or international, which cannot be solved.”
Therefore the Saints have been fervent lovers of the Rosary. It would seem that they found no better means to express their ardent devotion for Our Lady. Ever since Our Lady gave the Rosary to the human race, Saints of old as well as modern Saints have not only taken pains to recite it themselves, but they have made every effort to get others to say it too.
Consider St. Paschal Baylon, who used to make Rosary beads out of cords, putting in knots for the Hail Marys. He would give them away to people to entice them to recite the Rosary.
St. Pompilio Pirrotti was so devoted to the holy Rosary that the quantity of them he made constituted, of itself, a miracle. Word was passed that at night he worked in company with Our Lady so that he could produce this huge supply of Rosary beads which he in turn would give away, and someone even managed to observe this heavenly scene one night through a keyhole.
The Curé of Ars’ last act when he was on his deathbed was to give a Rosary to somebody.
We need to mention also St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Anthony M. Claret, Bl. Bartolo Longo, and many others who were lovers of the Rosary. And let us recall St. Pio of Pietrelcina, the humble but great Capuchin, who used to say every day up to a hundred Rosaries and more, who passed out a countless number of them to the faithful, and who left his spiritual children the Rosary as their “inheritance,” which he entrusted to them before his death with the words, “Always recite the Rosary.”
Following Our Lady’s counsel at Lourdes and Fatima, and following the example of so many Saints, let us also take upon ourselves the daily task of giving at least a quarter of an hour (How little that is!) to saying a Rosary. It would be giving up a quarter of an hour every day for love of Our Lady, a quarter of an hour for the sake of grace for our soul. It would be better yet if we said the Rosary together with others, especially with our family, as Pope Paul VI strongly recommended. We might then see the whole family united in their love for Our Lady, gathered under her mantle, as was the family of Bl. Anna Maria Taigi.
Precious is the advice of Pope Paul VI that we link the Rosary with the Liturgy, using the Rosary, for example, as a preparation and as a thanksgiving for Holy mass and holy Communion. This was the practice of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, who would get up when it was still night to prepare for holy Mass by reciting many Rosaries.
Consider how fitting and effective the Sorrowful Mysteries are as a preparation for holy Mass, in which the Passion and Death of Jesus are re-enacted. For it is these same mysteries that are meditated upon during the Rosary. Consider how the Joyful Mysteries make a beautiful thanksgiving after holy Communion; for, like Our Lady at the Annunciation, we, too, have Jesus physically present in our souls and bodies. This presence lasts as long as the sacred Host keeps the form of bread — that is, about a quarter of an hour. Like Our Lady, we, too, can adore Jesus our Incarnate God within us during that time. And as Our Lady carried Jesus about, we, by our Rosaries may keep Him in our affections when we go home, or through the streets, and amongst men, and to our place of work. And we can, so to speak, bring Him forth by acts of sacrifice, by giving an edifying example of charity, of frugality, of angelic purity, of humility and of detachment — virtues of which the Joyful Mysteries should remind us.
Together with the Rosary, other Marian beads (or Crowns) deserve recommendation too, such as the Crown of the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows, which have nurtured the Marian devotion of many favored souls. (From Devotion to Our Lady by Fr. Stefano Manelli, FI)