Champions of the Rosary

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Happy Birthday, Mother Mary!

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By Melanie Williams (Sep 8, 2016)
Wow, that went by fast! It's been nine months since the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, nine months since the opening of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Today, Sept. 8, we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when Mary was born of her mother, Anne.

The Byzantine Liturgy says, "Today the barren Anna claps her hands for joy, the earth radiates with light, kings sing their happiness, priests enjoy every blessing, the entire universe rejoices, for she who is queen and the Father's immaculate bride buds forth from the stem of Jesse"

Scripture has no account of Mary's birth, but tradition holds that Mary was born to Anne and Joachim who were barren, not unlike many other Scriptural couples who became parents by the grace of God. This child born to them was to be known as "blessed" for all ages, as later proclaimed by Mary in her Magnificat (see Lk 1:48).

Saint Andrew of Crete, whose discourse on the birth of Mary is included in today's Office of Readings, says that by Mary's birth, the created world is now elevated into a holy dwelling place for the Lord, the Creator of all things. Saint Andrew said, "Darkness yields before the coming of the light ... the old is replaced by the new." Mary is the first human to be redeemed and saved from sin, as she was even preserved from original sin, so as to be a fitting dwelling place for the Word made flesh.

Mary is the model Christian, the example of where God's grace can bring us, if only we cooperate. We all are to be made immaculate by the Lord's grace and purification. We are to become new creations, fitting dwelling places for the Lord.

Blessed Alan de la Roche (c. 1428-1475) is unofficially honored by the Church today, as well. He is a witness to the power of Our Lady's intercession, which helps us become fitting dwelling places for the Lord. He had a great devotion to Our Lady, and died on the Feast of her Nativity. Blessed Alan is featured in the latest book by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, Champions of the Rosary.

Having fallen to many temptations and living a sinful life, Blessed Alan had a miraculous conversion through Our Lady's intercession. He became a Dominican friar and priest, and received many visions and messages from Jesus, Mary, and St. Dominic. His love for Mary was so intense that he was given the title "New Spouse of Mary." Blessed Alan even had a mystical vision in which Mary gave him a necklace made of her hair and a ring that symbolized the spiritual marriage between himself and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Jesus and Mary commanded and commissioned Blessed Alan to restore devotion to the Rosary. As recorded in St. Louis de Montfort's book The Secret of the Rosary, at first Blessed Alan was reluctant to perform such a task. Then Jesus rebuked him, speaking from the consecrated Host to Blessed Alan one day. Jesus asked him, "How can you crucify me so soon?" Blessed Alan was horrified and questioned the Lord about His words.

Jesus replied, "You crucified me once by your sins, and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have my Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach my mother's rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this you could teach many souls the right path and lead them away from sin — but you are not doing it."

Blessed Alan then let go of all his fears and decided he would renew devotion to Our Lady, particularly by promoting the Rosary. He preached on the Rosary in his sermons and delivered many people from demonic possession by placing rosaries around their necks, telling them to pray it.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, whose birthday we celebrate today, is a powerful intercessor for all of humanity, particularly through the prayer of the Rosary. Let us all take up the devotion of praying the Rosary, as Blessed Alan did, and call upon our Immaculate Mother for her intercession for our souls and those of the whole world.

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Elizabeth - Sep 9, 2016

Happy Birthday, dear Mother Mary!