By Robin Gomes
Marking the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Wednesday, Pope Francis urged Catholics to pray the Marian prayer, especially amid the “looming threats to the world”, such as the pandemic. He made the call during his first General Audience in October, the month traditionally dedicated to the rosary.
He spoke about the Marian prayer while addressing the various language groups present at the audience in the Vatican, as well as those following him on the media.
“In her apparitions, Our Lady often exhorted the recitation of the rosary, especially in the face of looming threats to the world,” he told Polish-speaking pilgrims. “Even today, in this time of the pandemic, it is necessary to hold the rosary in our hands and pray for us, our loved ones and all people,” he said.
Addressing Spanish-speaking pilgrims, the Holy Father prayed that through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Lord might make “our life, in the midst of this time of the pandemic, a loving service to all our brothers and sisters, especially those who feel abandoned and unprotected.”
Mysteries of salvation
Greeting the Arabic-speaking faithful, he invited them to pray the rosary and carry it in their hands or pockets. The rosary, he explained, is the most beautiful prayer that we can offer to the Virgin Mary. “It is a contemplation of the stages of the life of Jesus the Saviour with his Mother Mary and it is a weapon that protects us from evil and temptation.”
The Pope also spoke about the rosary as a “contemplative prayer”, saying that, in meditating on the mysteries of salvation, “the loving face of God Himself, whom we are called to contemplate in eternity, is increasingly revealed to us.”
The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on 7 October, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined fleet of the Holy League of 1571 over the invading Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle with the rosary.