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A vessel for your soul

Life is one storm after another. The Rosary is a great vessel of obedience.

The most common representations of Our Lady of the Rosary show the Blessed Mother handing over her chain of prayers to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena. According to tradition, Dominic, the founder of the Dominicans, received the Rosary from Our Lady to aid him in his preaching work in medieval France. Saint Catherine of Siena, another great medieval Dominican saint, was a proponent of reform and widely known for her piety and devotion.

The Battle of Lepanto

But today’s feast has a connection with another Dominican saint. 450 years ago, in 1571, Pope Saint Pius V (a Dominican!) called on the Christian West to recite the Rosary. The opportunity? The pope had assembled a naval force, the Holy League, to meet the Ottoman navy off the Greek coast at Lepanto.

Despite some strategic advantages, including a new type of floating fortress called galleasses, the Christian fleet was outnumbered and faced other significant disadvantages.

Our Lady of Victory

As history tells us, the Christian fleet won the battle that day. Saint Pius V had a vision that relayed the success of the Holy League. He attributed the victory to the intercession of Our Lady, having asked Christians everywhere to have recourse to the Rosary.

Saint Pius then inaugurated today’s feast, Our Lady of the Rosary (once known as “Our Lady of Victory”) in commemoration of her protection.

A vessel for souls

Today we must consider the Rosary as a great vessel for souls. This traditional prayer to Our Lady is a vessel that can carry us through the stormy seas of life.

Catherine of Siena once described the Order as a ship. His Dialogue tells of Jesus the teacher,

Now that suitable places for obedience have been found, namely those vessels commanded by the Holy Spirit through their superiors, for, as I told you, the Holy Spirit is the true Master of these ships, which are built in the light of the most holy faith by those who have the light of knowing that My mercy, the Holy Spirit, will lead them.

The Rosary is another great vessel of obedience. Praying the Rosary faithfully shapes the heart. The examples of Jesus, Mary and other great saints included in his mysteries show the way to Christian life.

Praying the Rosary faithfully shapes the heart.

The mysteries are the veils, providing the means to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit. The chains of the Ave Maria are the rigging, binding the wind of the Holy Spirit to the bridge of our hearts. And finally, the cross is the anchor, the true source of our hope.