Rosary Crusade Clarion
Devotional bulletin of the Rosary Crusade in Canada

March 2001 Issue #3

Papal tributes to the Rosary

Urban IV testified that "every day the Rosary obtained fresh blessings for Christianity." Sixtus IV declared that this method of prayer "redounded to the honour of God and the Blessed Virgin, and was well suited to ward off impending dangers," and Leo X that "it was instituted to oppose pernicious heresiarchs and heresies"; while Julius III called it "the glory of the Church." St. Pius V said that "with the spread of this devotion the meditations of the faithful have become more ardent ^and their prayers more fervent, and they have quickly become different men; the darkness of ) (heresy has been dissipated, and the light of Catholic faith has broken forth in renewed glory." ^Lastly, in his turn Gregory XIII pronounced that "the Rosary has been instituted by St Dominic to appease the anger of God and to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

from Supremi Apostolatus, an Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII.


The Blessed Virgin


During this penitential time of Lent, it is customary to make good resolutions. We are much encouraged to this, that we might cut with our bad habits and inclinations, and advance in virtue. When Easter comes we would all wish to find in ourselves a closer resemblance to our Divine Lord.

How will we know if we bear a closer resemblance to Jesus Christ? Look in the mirror; look in the mirror of justice, and she who is the "mirror of justice" will show us our interior life. Look at the Blessed Virgin by prayer and meditation on her life. Especially during this month meditate on her sublime privilege to be the Mother of God. When we think of Mary, let us not think only in a speculative way of her remote and illustrious virtues, but also let us compare our own lives to this model, in order to imitate her.

It is important to meditate in this manner, to draw profit from the time we spend in prayer. During this time of Lent, I urge you all to make the resolution to pray well the Rosary, which we have pledged to pray. Let the rosary be both verbal prayer and meditation, and we will find in ourselves a closer resemblance to our Lord, after these 40 days.

United to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,
Emanuel Herkel
Rev. Mr. Herkel


The Annunciation - Humility and Purity

Let us imagine we see the humble home of Mary and Joseph, and enter the little chamber of the Holy Virgin. Let us follow her in her different occupations; she prays, she works, she employs herself in household cares, for the Queen of heaven and of earth lived in humble obscurity, hiding from all eyes the incomparable beauty of her soul which spread its radiance over her whole person. And now let us lift our thoughts to heaven, and behold the Most High fix His regards on this lowly dwelling, on this little chamber, on this Virgin so humble and unknown.

Hither God sends one of the princes of the heavenly court to announce the great message of Salvation; it is in this poor cottage the Son of God chooses to dwell, for it is here that He will find the angelic purity and the profound humility which attract Him to earth.

the annunciation

With the exception of a very small number of souls, all men at this time lived in a complete forgetfulness of God and of the salvation of their souls. The evil one was adored by all the nations of the earth; pride, sensuality, avarice, reigned in all hearts, and knowledge of the true God was becoming every day more obliterated from their minds. In one word there was hardly any one knew, loved, or served God on the earth, and, daily, souls without number were engulfed in perdition. In this state of degradation and misery, man no more lifted his eyes to heav en; all his cares, all his affections were for this world, and God, had He listened only to justice, would have treated him as He did the rebellious angels, and forever abandoned him to vengeance. But the voice of mercy made itself heard above that of anger, and God resolved to save the human race by a miracle of goodness and love. In a little comer of the world, this world so corrupt, in a small town called Nazareth, in a mean looking house, lived the wife of a poor workman. This humble matron, this pure Virgin gave to the world Him who was to be its saviour.

The Angel Gabriel, sent by Almighty God, drew near with veneration to this lowly dwelling. He came in a human form but all radiant with heavenly beauty, and presented himself before the most holy Virgin: "Hail," said he most reverently, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Attend closely to this salutation so reverent, and recollect it is an angel of God, and envoy from Heaven, who speaks thus to this humble Virgin. Not as we too often do, without attention and without respect, did the Archangel of God speak these words: "Hail Mary!"

The Gospel tells us Mary was troubled at these words. Whence comes her trouble? "Mary," says St. Athanasius, "saw clearly, notwithstanding his human form, that it was an angel who spoke, and this address should rather have caused her joy and peace than trouble; but Mary was the most humble of all creatures; she saw herself saluted, she heard herself praised by an angel, and her humility was alarmed." "Fear not, Mary," said the Angel. 'Thou hast found grace in the sight of God. Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son, whom thou shalt call Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the Most High!"

How came it that the trouble of the Blessed Virgin still continued after these words of the angel: "Fear not, Mary!" We need not feel astonished, for the humility of Mary rendered her surprise and confusion yet greater when the Angel declared to her the grandeurs with which God purposed to overwhelm her. 'Thou shalt bear a Son," said the Angel, "and He shall be called the Son of the Most High!" How could it be but that so wonderful an honour should trouble the humility of Mary? But if humility is one cause of her trouble, we find also another in her incomparable purity. She had consecrated her virginity to God by a vow, and she heard it said she was to be a mother! She trembled, for how could this be without her ceasing to be a virgin? It did not suffice to reassure her to be told that she was to be the Mother of God, because if it would cause her to lose her stainless virginity, she preferred rather to renounce this sublime dignity of becoming Mother of the Saviour!

Yet Mary is as submissive and obedient as she is pure, and desiring only to learn the will of God, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?" Instantly the Angel restores her peace, by making known that this mystery of love should be the work of the Holy Ghost, and that she would become Mother of God without ceasing to be a virgin.  It is then only that Mary gives her consent in the words "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."

Christian maidens, who regard the holy Virgin as the honour of your sex; you who profess to love and imitate her, behold here what an admirable example she gives you. Her humility, her purity made her tremble even in the presence of an angel, and when he speaks to her of becoming a mother, even though it be the Mother of God, she trembles yet more! What a price did she attach to these two virtues of humility and purity! With what zeal, what love, what fidelity did she seek to preserve them. St. Bernard said it was these two virtues which attracted to her the eyes of God, and that merited for her to be chosen among all other creatures to be the Mother of Jesus Christ. Remember then that you should cherish these two virtues above all others, and that they are inseparable; if you lose the one the other is in great danger; if you are not humble you will not long be pure. The evil one when he seeks to destroy chastity, first endeavors to overthrow humility. This wretched being when he desires to cast some poor creature into the depths of infamy, commences by praises, and flatteries addressed to her vanity; he knows well if he can inspire her with sentiments of pride, he will very soon make a conquest of her modesty; and that when once a young girl becomes coquettish and ambitious to be admired, she is not far from losing her innocence and her honour. Be humble then, humility is the virtue most suited to us. Let us often recall to ourselves that the Blessed Virgin at the moment when an angel comes to declare to her she is the Mother of God, humbly calls herself the handmaid of the Lord. If you then have received from God any particular grace, be it either exterior or interior, thank Him without glorifying self in it, and never forget that you must always be humble if you would continue to be pure.

From Ave Maria, May 2,1868


Ave Regina caelorum

Hail, O Queen of heaven enthroned! Hail, by Angels Mistress owned!
Root of Jesse, gate of morn, whence the world's true Light was born:
Glorious Virgin, joy to thee, loveliest whom in heaven they see:
Fairest thou where all are fair, plead with Christ our sins to spare.

(Hymn from the Roman Breviary for septuagesima and lent)