The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It was the custom in the Middle Age, as formerly among the Romans, for noble personages to wear crowns of flowers called chaplets. These crowns were offered to persons of distinction as a feudal due.
The Blessed Virgin, as Queen of heaven and of souls, has a right to the same homage; wherefore the Church asks us to recognize the title of Mary as Queen of the Holy Rosary, and she exhorts us to offer to her as daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Holy Ghost a triple chaplet or three crowns of roses, of which she shows us all the beauties in to-day's office, and to which she has given the name of Rosary.
The Collect reminds us that the recitation of the Rosary is a mental prayer in which we meditate on the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; with these Mary was intimately associated.
The Gospel, which gives us the chief part of the angelical salutation, shows us that the Rosary is a vocal prayer. The Pater, Credo and the Gloria, which are recited with the Ave Marias, are also found in the Mass or in the Divine Office.
The Rosary, as a private devotion, consists therefore of elements taken from the liturgical Cycle, and the feast of the Rosary forms part of the Cycle.
The feast of the Most Holy Rosary is a summary of the liturgical year, as we meditate on the mysteries, and also of the breviary, as we recite hundred-fifty Ave Marias corresponding to hundred-fifty psalms ending by Gloria Patri: it shows in an admirable triptych the joyful, sorrowful and glorious events in the lives of Jesus and Mary which are recalled in succession in the Catholic calendar. In the Christmas Cycle the soul, plunged in an atmosphere of Joy, meditates on the five joyful mysteries, on Wednesdays and Fridays of Ember Week in Winter, on Christmas Day, on February 2 and on the Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany. Again she contemplates, during the season of the Passion, the five sorrowful mysteries on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Lastly, she sympathizes amid the joys of the Paschal Season and Pentecost with the five glorious mysteries at the feasts of Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and the Assumption of the Virgin. There is a plenary indulgence similar to that of the Portiuncula to be gained on the day of this feast by all the faithful who visit a church where the Archconfraternity of the Rosary is established.