+JMJ+ It’s the month of the Rosary (and speaking of the Rosary, don’t forget to enter the Fall Giveaway for 2021 for a beautiful handmade rosary and matching hand-decorated tin!) and our Catholic Book of the Month is Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP. Seems like a very good time for a book like this or a very good book for a time like this, either one. Fr. Hugon’s book is not a history of the Rosary but gives us a way of using the Rosary to help us attain the goal of the Christian life: perfection in the Christian sense and eternal life, which begins here and now with baptism. (By the way, the image in the banner is just one that I wanted to use, it’s not on any covers of our book of the month, but it would make a good one.)
I have only read the first few pages but I knew when I found the book that I wanted to share it here on the blog. After reading those first few pages I knew it would be perfect for October but we had two feast days (St. Francis and Our Lady of the Rosary) the first week so I’m just now beginning to post it.
And since it’s such an important topic, we may explore it for more than one month. November is for the Holy Souls so perhaps we can blend the two. The books by Susan Tassone (the “Purgatory Lady”) will be helpful. I can’t quote a bunch of material from her books as they are still in print (thanks be to God!) but I can tie in some ideas and a brief quote or two. I don’t know, it’s just an idea at this point.
I like what Fr. Hugon says here about prayer. He’ll then go on to make an analogy between the Sacraments and the Rosary.
“In the same way true prayer engages the whole man. Now the Rosary is composed of a soul and a body; the body of the Rosary is the vocal prayer; its soul is the considera- tion of each mystery and the spiritual energy which results from this consideration. Like the Sacraments, the Rosary has, as it were, matter and form. It puts before our imagination the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord and in this way speaks to our bodily nature. By its sublime mysteries the divinity of Christ is set before us and in this way it appeals to our higher nature, wherein we resemble the angels and are like to God Himself.”
Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP. Pg. Vi.
Here’s the analogy between the Sacrament and the Rosary.
“In the Rosary also it is Jesus Who comes to us. At the commencement of each mystery we can say in all truth that the Son of David is about to pass by. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
“The Sacraments are those outward marks which distinguish the Christian from the infidel; the Rosary is the distinctive devotion of every true Catholic. The Sacraments are the sweet yet powerful bonds that unite the Children of Christ; by partaking of the same Sacraments the faithful evince their communion in the same faith, the same hope, the same love. By means of the Rosary the children of Mary unite throughout the world and blend their voices in the expression of their common hope and love. The Rosary is like the standard which God raises up before the nations to assemble them from every corner of the universe. Elevabit signum in nationibus…et…colliget a quatuor plagis terrae. He shall set up a standard unto the nations…and gather together the dispersed from the four quarters of the earth.“
“Again the Rosary is the epitome of all Christianity. All that we believe is contained in it. In the very first Mysteries we meet with the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation. The Rosary is, like the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Mass, the memorial of the life, passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord. We dwell on the truths of our last end in the Glorious Mysteries, where they are unfolded in a striking and practical manner. The Rosary, then, is theology, but theology which prays, adores, and says by each of its dogmas: Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
“Moral theology which treats of sin and virtue is, in a sense, epitomised in this great devotion. We cannot truly realise the infinite malice of mortal sin until we see, by meditation on the Sorrowful Mysteries, at how fearful a cost the innocent Christ satisfied the demands of divine justice, what a terrible penalty He had to pay on the Cross, how He was forced to cry out under the weight of our sins My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Each one of these Mysteries contains for us a sublime lesson of virtue. They are not merely examples of heroism; they are the very highest points of the mystical life. The Rosary, then, is moral theology which prays, weeps, expiates, rises to heroism in crying out to Christ: Thou hast redeemed us to God in Thy Blood, and hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests.”
“All history we find recapitulated in the Rosary, because the object of this devotion is He to Whom all history points, Whose radiant figure dominates every page of the Old and the New Testament. Therefore, the Rosary is history, but history that prays and leads all nations to Christ, Who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”Ibid., viii-ix.
“Even the social question itself has been solved by the Rosary, as Leo XIII [in his encyclical Laetitiae Sanctae] so eloquently proved.6 Why are the nations in fear and in trembling? The answer is threefold, according to the Sovereign Pontiff. The first cause is a growing dislike of a simple and laborious life. The remedy for this evil we find in the Joyful Mysteries. The second cause is repugnance to suffering of any kind. The remedy for this evil is found in the Sorrowful Mysteries. The third cause is forgetfulness of our future life and destiny, which ought to be ever present in our minds to inspire us with hope and courage. The remedy for this evil appears in the Glorious Mysteries. Yes, the Rosary gives us the answer to the social problem in that cry of victory: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat! Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules.”
The book will be divided into three parts:
- The Rosary and the Author of holiness: Jesus.
- The Rosary and models of holiness: Mary and Joseph.
- The Rosary and the practice of holiness. (Ibid., xi.)
Argh! I want to share the whole book with you, but I can’t pour it all into one post or even several, it’s so rich. I do hope you’ll get a copy (free PDF or paperback book, links below) and see for yourself. I’m looking forward to looking at this one with you.
Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. I pray that you and I will stay holy and virtuous, and help each other to become who the Lord intends us to be: SAINTS. God bless you and may His Peace be always with you.
Perhaps you will consider joining me on Fridays at 7pm CDT for the Rosary Project Live on Twitter. I start posting some preliminary stuff at about 6:45pm CDT and then the Rosary proper begins at 7pm. Hope to see you there! See the Rosary Project and the Rosary Project Live Archives pages for more. +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP: Paperback, Paperback (different edition) (Amazon affiliate links, see Full Disclosure below).
- Free PDFs of Sanctity Through the Rosary via the Internet Archive: PDF, black and white PDF. Other formats are available there, too.
- The PDF of the English translation I’m using has an imprimatur dated 1955 but the author died in 1929, and I have also seen a publication date of 1900 for the French edition, so I’m going with that for now.
- Pope Leo XIII, Laetitiae Sanctae (Holy Joy), Commending devotion to the Rosary, encyclical.
PS: While you’re here, don’t forget to enter the Fall Giveaway for 2021.
Image in the banner: Our Lady of the Rosary or Madonna of the Rosary, by Luca Giordano, 1657. Via Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Sailko, license: CC BY-SA 3.0, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Screenshot: Table of Contents for Sanctity Through the Rosary by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP.
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