Pope St. Pius V started this feast day in 1573. He wanted the Church to join in prayer in thanking God, through the intercession of Mary, for the victory of the Christians who defeated the Muslim Turks at Lepantoj on October 7, 1571. The victory was credited to Mary's intercession because a rosary had been offered for the success of the battle at St. Peter's in Rome before the battle started.
The Rosary has long been one of my favorite ways to pray and is part of my daily prayer. It is a meditation on the life of Christ and the mysteries of our faith, while we ask the Virgin Mary to pray with us and for us. It is both simple in style and difficult to master.
My love for the rosary grew even more when John Paul II issued his document on the Rosary - Rosarium Virginis Mariae. He writes the following in this document:
The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayerof Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.What a prayer! It is powerful. It is a school of prayer. It is a means of grace for us. At the center of the rosary is the face of Christ. I can't encourage you enough to pray a rosary today - and every day if you feel so called.
Taylor Marshall, an Aggie Catholic author and former Episcopal priest, challenges us to all be two-percenters, when it comes to praying the rosary:
When I attended Texas A&M University there was a derogatory term that you wanted to avoid at all costs. No matter what, you didn't want anyone to call you a "two-percenter."
The reference "two-percenter" was an analogy to "2% milk," which is inferior to "whole milk."
Aggies (i.e. students at Texas A&M) were labeled "two-percenters" if they didn't have school spirit and didn't partake in the university's rich traditions. "Ah, you're being a two-percenter!" was enough to jumpstart an Aggie and get them to volunteer for something.
So here's a challenge for everyone on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary: Try to become at least a two-percenter when it comes to the Holy Rosary!
It takes about 15 minutes to pray the Holy Rosary. Given that there are 1440 minutes in each day, 15 minutes is just barely more than 1% of your day.
Will you give 1% of 1440 minutes each day to God?
If so, pray the daily Rosary in 15 minutes - 1% of 24 hours.
Yet my challenge for you is to be a "Two-Percenter"! Why not pray the Rosary twice (10 decades} every day and give 2% of your day to God through the Holy Rosary?
Come on, be a Two-Percenter and watch your life, your family, and the Church explode with grace and sanctity. Mary can obtain for you through Christ her Son, the King of endless ages.