Welcome to part 4 of our Catholic Book of the Month (corrected link) for October, Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP. You can get a printed copy or a PDF using the links at the end of this post and view other parts of the series on the Book of the Month Table of Contents (corrected link) page.
Our book is broken into these three main 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. (From Ibid., pg xi.)
These three main parts of the book contain sections (the book calls them parts, but I think that gets too confusing, so I’ll call them sections instead). We’re going through Part One now. Last week we looked at the section on the Rosary and the Knowledge of Jesus. This week’s section is the Rosary and the Grace of Jesus.
“It is grace, above all, which produces beauty in beings. One of the saints has remarked that if we were to see a soul in the state of grace we should die of wonder and joy; and according to St. Thomas the bestowal of grace on a sinner is, in a certain sense, a greater act than the creation of heaven and earth. To describe, then, the beauties of grace is to describe the splendours of the soul of Jesus and it is impossible for us to surmise the treasures of this adorable soul, unless we realise the value or the worth of grace. For that reason, we shall endeavour to describe in outline the marvellous operations of grace in the soul of Our Saviour. We shall finally indicate how the grace of Christ is communicated to us by the Rosary.
“Grace is a heavenly gift which makes us supernatural beings, God-like and the abode of God Himself. First of all, it widens the narrow confines of our nature and raises us above humanity and even above the angelic nature.
“If grace had not been bestowed on the angels, they would be on a lower plane than man; and in heaven the saints, who have attained to a greater degree of grace than the angels, will surpass them in glory. Should God have created more perfect beings even than the Seraphim and not have endowed them with the gift of grace, we should still have to exclaim: higher! higher! this is not the supernatural.”Ibid., 15-16.
“The supernatural raises us to the level of God Himself, it is a second nature added to our first nature. In the natural order we have a soul; in the supernatural order we also have a soul. Grace, says St. Augustine, is the soul of our soul. In the natural order we have faculties: understanding, a will, the senses. Our faculties in the supernatural order are the infused virtues. There are, first of all, the theological virtues reaching out to lay hold on God Himself; then, the cardinal virtues with all their various divisions; still higher, the gifts of the Holy Spirit which implant in us the seeds of heroism. But this is not all; the virtues and the gifts are crowned by the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost and by what are called the evangelical beatitudes. Such then, in a few words, is the wonderful supernatural organism. At the foundation is grace; then, the infused virtues; higher, the seven gifts; still higher, the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit; at the very summit, the evangelical beatitudes.
“As yet, however, we have said nothing. Grace actually makes us divine, God-like. Ego dixi, dii estis! I have said: You are Gods. If we were able to penetrate into the souls of the just, we should perceive there the divine characteristics and, so to speak, the features of God. Grace, to use the expression of the holy Doctors, is that bright mirror in which God contemplates Himself and sees His image. But God cannot recognise Himself except in that which is divine. If we are the mirror of the Lord, we should reflect and show forth divine traits in ourselves. When we salute a soul in the state of grace, let us inwardly salute the image of God! Divinae consortes naturae, says St. Peter. Grace makes us partakers of the divine nature. [2 Peter 1:4]
“When gold is plunged into a furnace it takes on the colour, heat and flame of fire, whilst at the same time retaining all its own properties. Grace plunges us into the divine essence, and man, without ceasing to be man, is filled with God! He thinks in God, he acts in God, he loves in God. Kings are proud of their royal lineage. There flows in the veins of all the just a royal blood, a divine blood which has come to us from Jesus Christ, just as the vine transmits life and growth even to the furthermost offshoots. The heroes of pagan antiquity wished to be considered sons of God. That was a sacriligious fable, but for us it is a reality. Our genealogy is truly celestial; we can say with St. Paul: Genus sumus Dei: we are the offspring of God. This is our claim to nobility, we have the right to glory in it.”Ibid., 16-17.
“Finally grace gives us the very person of God Himself. It is that adorable mystery which theologians call the in-dwelling of the Blessed Trinity.
“Grace consecrates our soul by its invisible anointing and makes of it a temple wherein God takes His delight. Vos estis Templum Dei Vivi: You are the temple of the Living God, says St. Paul, and St. Bernard remarks that the ceremonies of baptism very closely resemble the ceremonies prescribed for the consecration of a church. But a temple or a church is built precisely that God may dwell therein. The three divine persons come into the soul and make their abode in it. Ad eum veniemus et mansionem apud eum faciemus. [See John 14:23.] The Trinity, then, is truly present in the souls of the just. As the Chalice really contains the blood of Jesus, so also does our soul possess the Holy Spirit. Both the chalice of the altar and the chalice of a holy soul shelter God.”Ibid., 17-18.
“The indwelling of the Trinity is the presence of a friend with a friend, of a spouse with a spouse. If we are in trouble there is no need to go far in order to find a consoler. All we have to do is to enter into the sanctuary of our soul, and the Three Divine Persons are always there to banish our sorrows and dry our tears. They transform our outlook and make us see everything from the point of view of eternity, so that in all the events of life we see but the fulfilment of the divine plan. As Holy Scripture says Ecce Dominus transit! Behold the Lord passeth! [See 1 Kings 19:11 in our modern translations.] They transform our will, so that we perceive the will of God in whatever befalls us; trials, even death itself, become a beverage which we drink with eagerness and delight.
“Finally, they transform our body. In truth, the bodies of the saints possess a secret beauty, a hidden splendour, which sometimes is revealed at the hour of death. Even in the tomb, our very dust is overshadowed by the majesty of the divinity. Even in corruption, our members bear, as it were, an invisible inscription which declares that these members were once the temple of the Trinity. They are sacred until the resurrection.”Ibid., 18.
“In speaking of grace, we have not departed from the consideration of Our Blessed Lord because on His soul alone were lavished all the treasures of grace. All these supernatural wonders we have touched on were found in Hun in an eminent degree. From the very first instant of His creation, His blessed soul was inundated with torrents of grace. Wherever there is a source or cause we find that its influence on other things increases according as they draw near to it. The nearer we draw to a furnace, the more we feel the effects of its heat. God is the fountain, the ocean of grace, the hearth, home, the sun of love. But is it possible to be united more closely to God than was the soul of Our Redeemer? The divinity and His most holy soul were united in an embrace so ineffable and intimate, that there resulted therefrom but one person. His soul, coming into such close contact with the ocean of grace, was deluged by it; the ocean poured in and filled up all its depths, even to overflowing. When plenitude overflows, it is impossible to add any more. What can one add to an abyss when that abyss is filled?
“Under the influence of this grace, all the virtues expanded in the soul of the Word, all blossomed forth into the exquisite flower of heroism. The vices which belong to the state of imperfection found no place in that garden. But the natural virtues, the infused virtues, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, the power of miracles and the gift of prophecy blossomed forth as on virgin soil fertilized by the sun of eternity. Nature and grace reached their full perfection in the soul of Jesus. Were we to behold that soul, we should fall into an ecstasy of admiration, rapture and love. God reserves this ravishment for eternity, but we can get a foretaste of it by means of the Rosary.
“In order to get a true revelation of a soul, we must be able to study and see it in all those circumstances and occasions which are likely to bring to light its real nature. But, what incidents reflect more clearly the depths of the soul of Jesus than those recalled in the Mysteries of the Rosary? Grace shone in each of the Mysteries through the transparent veil of His flesh. It was enough to see Jesus working, speaking, teaching, to catch a glimpse of the brightness of His hidden grace. So also, in silent meditation on the Rosary, the soul of Christ passes before our eyes. His grace once again shines through the mystery. He makes His presence felt by us. We draw near to Him. The Rosary is the living revelation of the soul of Christ and of its divine riches.”Ibid., 18-20.
“We should like to show, above all, that the Rosary actually applies to us the grace of Our Redeemer. The grace Christ received constituted Him the spiritual head of all humanity and rendered Him capable of meriting for us. We do not receive a single supernatural thing which does not accrue to us from this first principle. Jesus is the great reservoir from which all men must draw if they wish to be saved. He is the vast ocean of grace. We draw from it unceasingly and this profound abyss remains always full. But the humanity of the Word merited this grace for us by each one of His Mysteries. We see, then, how meditation on the Rosary brings us into contact with the source, whence salvation comes to us. Communication is established between Christ and us. His divine life bursts in upon our soul. According to one holy Doctor, each Mystery is as a fruitful breast, from which flows the milk of grace. While reciting the decades we, so to speak, drink the milk of heaven.
“We must be careful, no doubt, to avoid exaggeration in this matter. We do not mean to say that the Rosary directly applies sanctifying grace to our souls after the manner of the Sacraments. [Emphasis mine.] Such efficacy is not proper to the Rosary or to any other devotion. It would be an error to assert that the recitation suffices of itself to give us an increase of grace; but we are labouring under no illusion whatever, if we believe that through uniting ourselves piously with the Mysteries which have worked out our salvation, God will grant many actual graces to our souls. As the Gospel points out, it was sufficient to touch the garments of the Saviour in order to be healed. In the Rosary we touch, as it were, the mantle of Jesus. May we not hope that a virtue which heals will escape from it? Virtus de Mo exibat et sanabat omnes. [See Luke 6:19.]
“The Mystery which expiated our sins of pride will help us especially in the practice of humility; the Mystery which expiated impure vice will help us in the practice of the virtue of chastity, and likewise with the other Mysteries.”Ibid., 20-21.
“Our Blessed Lord is the light, the sun, which enlightens every man coming into the world; the Rosary exposes us to its heat and light. We assist at the rising of the sun of justice in the Mysteries of the Annunciation and the Nativity; we contemplate it at noon, in all its glory, while we meditate on the Glorious Mysteries. Its rays beam down on us, we reflect its brilliance. Our soul is rekindled by the fire of the divinity. Oh! if we only knew how to profit by this precious devotion, how quickly we would advance in the spiritual life! In the Rosary the greatest saints of the Order of St. Dominic found the secret of their holiness. (Br. M. Raphael Meysson, O.P., of holy memory used to call the Rosary the secret of holiness.) Hidden in the adorable soul of their God, they drank deeply from the source of all grace and obtained a little of that heroism which detaches us from earth. They tasted a little of that ineffable rapture which is a foretaste of heaven. Let us like these privileged souls descend every day into the depths of the soul of our Well-Beloved, to the source of salvation and happiness. The enemy cannot violate this sanctuary; the evil one, who finds easy entrance into worldly-minded souls, will never get access into those luminous depths where reigns a perpetual calm.”
The next post in this series will be on the Rosary and the Divinity of Jesus.
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.
The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times. — Padre Pio.
A Rosary a day keeps the devil away! It’s true!
Catholic Book of the Month TOC, Annotated
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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, but I usually stick with the PDFs. There are usually fewer formatting problems with them.
Images: 1) 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. 2) Angels worshipping, by Benozzo Gozzoli, via WikiArt, public domain. 3) Adoration of the Trinity, by Vicente López Y Portaña, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. 4) Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, by Mattia Preti, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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