A vast Ottoman navy was poised to invade Europe in 1571. The Christian forces had already suffered numerous defeats as the Ottomans expanded across the Mediterranean. Putting his support behind a coalition of naval forces, Pope Pius V called all Christendom to pray the Rosary. When the invading forces were overcome in the Battle of Lepanto, it was attributed to the intercession of Mary and the feast of Our Lady of Victories was established in thanksgiving. Later renamed Our Lady of the Rosary, it has become a permanent fixture on the Catholic calendar and was commemorated last Friday as part of the month of the Holy Rosary each October.
When facing perilous circumstances the Rosary is likened to a spiritual weapon. Indeed, images of Mary serenely crushing the head of the serpent under her foot is a common theme in Christian artwork. While the Battle of Lepanto was a literal war, there are many occasions where we face spiritual peril or opposition. This is especially true in our human relationships. Arguments and discord, rebellion and life-long disputes plague our relationships, causing hurt and trauma to all involved. Such division is never part of God’s plan. We seek forgiveness (sometimes!) … but we don’t always do what we know we should – how often do we step into the space of heartache and do the internal healing and external reconciling?
The Rosary is a powerful way to bring peace into our hearts, homes and relationships. When it’s a regular feature of our prayer, hardened hearts can soften and a sense of reverence for what we are about increases. The Rosary can help create a spiritual breathing space in our homes, a kind of holy ground where humility is our natural posture. There are many ways to pray the Rosary – CathFamily has some ideas for families and children. St Edward’s will be praying the Rosary each day in October, starting 30 minutes before Masses (except 8.30am).