Rosary Advice from Louis de Montfort (part 1)
Study the lives of the saints and you will discover each had a sincere devotion to the mother of God. Their expression of devotion may come from their prayers, homilies, or treatises. Of the great Marian saints, St. Louis de Montfort, should come to mind, who died on this date 300 years ago (April 28, 1716). De Montfort’s greatest and well known contribution was his classic True Devotion to Mary, revered most especially by St. John Paul II, who claimed that reading True Devotion changed his life. In this work, De Montfort lays the foundation for Marian consecration and many people to this day use his treatise in the preparation for total consecration to the Mother of God. Perhaps less well known are two other works focusing on the mother of God from the hand of De Montfort: The Secret of Mary, the sequel or companion to True Devotion, and another work, The Secret of the Rosary. The De Montfort Fathers have published the collected writings of St. Louis De Montfort in one volume, God Alone.
The Secret of the Rosary
This small little work, has sold over 5 million copies and ranks in the top five best sellers in the Mariology section of Amazon. St. John Paul II called De Montfort’s book an excellent work on the rosary in Rosarium Virginis Mariae paragraph 8. Every time I read The Secret of the Rosary, I fall in love with the rosary all over again! It renews my fervor and dedication to this wonderful devotion. In this book, De Montfort relates the significance of the rosary through fifty roses, divided into five decades focusing on the origin and meaning of the rosary, its prayers, mysteries, and marvelous effects. The last decade provides insight into how to better pray the rosary.
I’m always mesmerized by the stories De Montfort relates about the power and efficacy of the rosary. To borrow the title of Fr. Donald Calloway’s soon to be released book on the rosary, De Montfort emphasizes the great Champions of the Rosary through story telling by focusing principally on St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche. Additionally, De Montfort shares stories about the miraculous nature of the rosary, which offer compelling reasons to be devoted to Mary through rosary recitation. Rightfully so, De Montfort makes distinctions regarding the faith accorded to such stories. The Holy Scriptures require divine faith; to non-faith based stories we give human faith; and to stories recorded in The Secret of the Rosary, we give pious faith, meaning the subjects are not contrary to reason, faith or morals (cf. Tenth Rose). Every time I re-read this rosary classic, I never regret it. The stories are powerful and from them I always gain new insight regarding the rosary.
Rosary Advice from St. Louis De Montfort
In the last ten roses of The Secret of the Rosary, De Montfort teaches people how to pray the rosary. Praying the rosary might seem basic: begin with the Apostles Creed, pray one Our Father, Three Hail Mary’s and a Glory Be, and then pray each mystery and corresponding decade. While that is the practical how-to of saying the rosary, De Montfort takes it one step further and focuses on how to recite the rosary better in terms of interior disposition. Many people find the rosary difficult, so De Montfort seeks to make it more accessible to any devotee.
Purity of Intention (Forty-First Rose)
Over and over again throughout the work, De Montfort emphasizes how those devoted to the rosary overcome sin in their lives. When one prays the rosary, De Montfort speaks of the efficacy of praying it in the state of grace or at the very least with the desire to give up mortal sin. It is important to have contriteness for sin, otherwise, he calls its mere lip service which takes on the form of false devotion by hiding in Mary’s mantle while crucifying the Lord by not amending one’s life. By reflecting on the life of Jesus, especially the sorrowful mysteries, we must be moved to repentance for sin. To pray the rosary well and receive the graces it affords, one must have pure intentions of abandoning sin and turning to God with one’s whole heart. (continued tomorrow)