On this vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, I have to relay some bad news.
Some people question whether Our Blessed Mother gave the Rosary to St Dominic, as is traditionally believed.
Modern day theologians are attempting to re-interpret and reconstruct the story of St Dominic and the Rosary.
A certain priest had this to say about the origin of the Rosary:
|“The origins of the rosary are “sketchy” at best. The use of “prayer beads” and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and has roots in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middle Ages that strings of beads were used to count Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Actually, these strings of beads became known as “Paternosters,” the Latin for “Our Father.” ‘ Source.|
But, wait for it.
Even some DOMINICANS no longer believe the traditional story.
Taylor Marshall, a wonderful theologian of our time, says in his article, “Did Mary Give the Rosary to St Dominic“?
|“These moderns observe that the practice of praying Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s on beads is a practice that predates Saint Dominic, and that this “Rosary” gradually evolved. This fact, they claim, further substantiates the conclusion that the Holy Rosary is not a revealed gift given directly to Dominic by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.
While it is certain that many (East and West) prayed on beads prior to Saint Dominic, the original claim is that the Holy Rosary as a collection of 150 Hail Mary’s with the 15 Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious) was literally and historically given to Saint Dominic by the Immaculate Mother herself.”
Why do you suppose people no longer believe? I offer some reasons:
- They are afraid of being ridiculed for these pious beliefs.
- They feel they are too educated to believe such a story.
- They are ready for the Catholic Church to “get with the times.”
If we are too educated to believe the story of how St Dominic received the Rosary, then maybe we are too educated to imagine that 2,000 years ago, a being who was both God and man existed.
We might be too intellectual to believe that this same man rose from the dead and ascended into heaven too.
Where does it stop?
According to tradition, our Mother Mary appeared to St Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans.
At this point in his life, he was getting discouraged that he was not doing enough to convert the Albigenses.
He complained to our Lady and she appeared to him and offered him a solution to his problem.
|‘Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine Grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.”|
So we can determine here that Mary told St Dominic to pray the rosary; however, the disbelief starts when we state that she gave him the rosary, pretty much in the form we know now with very minor changes.
Did Mary’s Psalter Exist Before St Dominic?
Yes it did.
In the book, “Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon, Fr Calloway states:
|“Saint Dominic was not the founder of the monastic Marian Psalter; that already existed before his vision. Rather, he was chosen to be the founder and the father of a new way of praying the Marian Psalter, an evangelical way, infused with meditation on the sacred mysteries… The Church has always stated that when Mary exhorted St Dominic to preach her Psalter, she also revealed to him specific mysteries that were to be associated with it.”
“Accordingly, when she gave him the mysteries, the Queen of Heaven instructed St Dominic to divide the 150 Hail Marys of the Marian Psalter into 10 Hail Marys with each decade to a particularly mystery. Source: Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon
Pope Leo XIII Believed Mary Gave St Dominic the Rosary
Pope Leo XIII also believed the Rosary was given to St Dominic. In his encyclical, on the Rosary, “Octobri Mense “, he refers to the “great mysteries of Jesus and Mary united in joys, sorrows and triumphs.
He goes on to say:
|“Moreover, we may well believe that the Queen of Heaven herself has granted an especial efficacy to this mode of supplication, for it was by her command and counsel that the devotion was begun and spread abroad by the holy Patriarch Dominic as a most potent weapon against the enemies of the faith…”|
There are countless other orthodox Catholics who continue to believe that the 15 decades of the Rosary were given to St Dominic by our Lady herself.
On this eve of the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary, let us remember that the world does not change the Church.
The Church changes the world.
Do you believe the Rosary was given to St Dominic by our Lady, Mary?