The Rosary (Forrest)/Chapter IV

IV. What “The Pontiff of the Rosary” Tells Us

I have said previously that Pope Leo XIII is known as “The Pontiff of the Rosary.” I cannot refrain from quoting a portion of the touching Encyclical which that great Pontiff directed to the Universal Church on September 8th, The Feast of Our Blessed Mother’s Nativity, 1892. Space allows me to give but a few extracts from that celebrated Encyclical, the burning words of which should sink deeply into every Catholic heart.

To show the excellence of the Rosary from its very nature. Pope Leo XIII wrote: “When in our prayers we fly to Mary, we fly to the Mother of Mercy, who is so disposed towards us that in whatever necessity we are struggling, especially in our striving after the attainment of life eternal, she is at once by our side, and indeed, quite spontaneously—without awaiting our appeal—and lavishes upon us gifts from the treasury of that grace of which she received from the beginning a full supply from God, Whose Mother she was worthy to be. . . . When, using the words of the Angel, we salute her as full of grace, and weave that repeated salutation into a wreath, it is almost impossible to tell what pleasure and delight we give her, for thus often we revive the remembrance both of her exalted dignity and of the beginning of mankind's redemption through her. Thereby we also commemorate that Divine and perpetual bond by which she is linked with Christ in His joys and sorrows, in His humiliation and triumph, in ruling men and helping them unto their eternal destiny.

“If we owe it to Christ that He has communicated in a certain manner to us the right that belongs to Himself of calling and having God as Father, we likewise owe to Him the right He has most lovingly communicated of calling and having Mary as Mother. Now, since nature itself has made the name of mother the sweetest name and in her has established the pattern, as it were, of tender and provident love, our tongue can scarcely express, though pious souls can truly feel, the intense flame of benevolent and active love that burns in the heart of Mary—in her who has been given to us not by men, but by Christ, as our Mother.

“And much more does she know and clearly see all our needs—what helps we need in life; what dangers, public and private, threaten us; in what straits and evils we are oppressed, how keen especially is the conflict with the bitterest enemies of our salvation; in these, as well as in the other difficulties of life, she has a most beneficent power, and she most ardently desires to bring us comfort, strength and health of every kind.

“Therefore, let us go to Mary, not timidly nor carelessly, and implore her by those maternal bonds, by which she is most closely united to Jesus and to us. Let us most religiously invoke her immediate aid in that form of prayer (the Rosary) which she personally designated and holds most dear. Then we can rightly rest secure and happy under the protection of this excellent Mother.”