ELEISON COMMENTS DCCCXLIV (Sept. 16, 2023) : ROSARY DEVOTION
In October of last year these “Comments”, following the example of an SSPX priest in France, presented an overview of the 13 Encyclical Letters written by Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) between 1883 and 1898 as a remedy for a Church and world moving away from God towards the century of the two World Wars. Now we are in the 21st century, and Leo’s Encyclicals can be more precious than ever, if we pay attention to them. Here below is a brief summary of Laetitiae Sanctae from 1893, in which Leo shows how the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary successively brighten, console and support us against the miseries of our age. Leo’s general considerations can open out on many particular applications in praying the Rosary.
Joyful Mysteries –
Modern society is threatened with a growing contempt of the homely duties and virtues which make up the beauty of a humble life. To this cause, we may trace in the home, the readiness of children to withdraw themselves from the natural obligation of obedience to the parents, and their impatience of any form of treatment which is not of the indulgent and effeminate kind.
* For evils such as these let us seek a remedy in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Let us take our stand in front of that earthly and divine home of holiness, the House of Nazareth. Here we behold simplicity and purity of conduct, mutual respect and love – not of the false and fleeting kind – but that which finds both its life and charm in devotedness of service.
Sorrowful Mysteries –
A second evil characteristic of our time is to be found in repugnance to suffering and eagerness to escape whatever is hard or painful to endure. The greater number dream of a fantastical civilization in which all that is unpleasant shall be removed, and all that is pleasant shall be supplied. By this unbridled desire of living a life of pleasure, the minds of men are weakened, and if they do not entirely succumb, they become demoralized and sink under the hardships of the battle of life.
* A powerful means of renewing our courage will undoubtedly be found in dwelling upon the Sorrowful Mysteries of Our Lord’s life. In them we behold Christ overwhelmed with sadness, so that drops of blood ooze like sweat from His veins. We see Him torn with scourges, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross, and condemned by the voice of the multitude as deserving of death. Here, too, we contemplate the grief of the most Holy Mother, whose soul was pierced by the sword of sorrow. Witnessing these examples of fortitude, who is there who will not feel his heart grow warm with the desire of imitating them?
Glorious Mysteries –
The third evil is one which is chiefly characteristic of the times in which we live. Men of our day pursue the false goods of this world in such wise that the thought of their true Fatherland is not only set aside but banished and entirely erased from memory. Men of carnal mind, who love nothing but themselves, lose sight altogether of the world which is to come, and sink to the lowest depths of degradation.
* It is from this danger that they will be happily rescued, who keep before their minds the Glorious Mysteries. Here alone we discover the true relation between time and eternity, between our life on earth and our life in heaven; and it is thus that are formed strong and noble characters.
Leo’s Conclusion – Then amid the manifold evils which beset modern society and press on our lives, the Holy Rosary is as if tailor-made to brighten, console, and support us on our way to Heaven. May Mary, the Mother of God and of men, herself the authoress and teacher of the Rosary, procure for Us its happy fulfilment.
The Rosary has for centuries been around.
No Saint to disapprove it has been found.