In the universal Church, the month of October is devoted to the Holy Rosary. October 7 is the Feast of the Holy Rosary, commemorating the naval victory over the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Soon after, the Feast of Our Lady of Victory was instituted by Pope Pius V. In 1573, though, Pope Gregory XIII transferred it to the first Sunday in October under the title Feast the Most Holy Rosary since the victory was won through the invocation of Our Lady of the Rosary.
I remember vividly the day my paternal grandfather died at Saint Dominic Hospital in Jackson. I was blessed to be at his bedside with my parents and others. As we could see his breathing begin to fail, I couldn’t help but cling to my rosary while staring at the crucifix on the wall, pleading for his sufferings to end. As I walked closer at one point, I remember his caretaker, who was there with him at his side, noticed my rosary in my hands and asked me why we Catholics do “that stuff.” My response was that it’s a meditation on our Lord’s life, which was quite fitting in the moment—I was meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries, recalling Jesus’ Passion and death. These great mysteries gave meaning to my grandfather’s suffering as well as hope to all of us watching.
As Jesus hung upon the cross, He gave his mother to the beloved disciple, representing His Church (Jn 19:26-27). In this, we were given a spiritual Mother to look after us and plead for us before God in Heaven. And in turn, as a loving Mother, she has given us the Rosary as a guide to the life of Christ.
I’m not much of the rosary-praying type. If you’re like me, you tend to fall asleep praying it. Nevertheless, ever since my freshman year of college, I’ve kept a rosary in my pocket everywhere I go. You never know when you’ll need a weapon against evil or just a physical reminder that you have a loving Mother and merciful Savior watching over you, protecting you. What better way to pray at the birth of a new child, the beginning of a new home, or the death of a loved one than reflecting on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary?