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The Litany Continues

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This is the 17th article in a series on the Litany of Loreto. Every month, I will explain this popular prayer line by line, providing you with spiritual and theological insights.

By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

View the previous article in this series.

Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us.

On Nov. 1, 1950, infallibly speaking ex cathedra, Pope Pius XII defined as dogma the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A good summary of the meaning of the Assumption was included in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations ):

Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death (59).

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they brought death into the world. God had warned them, "From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die" (Gen 2:17). Of course, we know that they ate from it. After they disobeyed, God told them, "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:19). In other words, they would suffer, die, and their bodies would become dust — they would decay. If they hadn't sinned, this never would have happened.

By the grace of her Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin. Since the Blessed Mother never sinned, the Lord preserved her from any sort of bodily decay and assumed her directly into Heaven when her earthly life was over. In Mary, we can hope in our own Resurrection. Though we're not immaculate like her, by the Sacrament of Baptism, we have been washed clean from the stain of original sin.

Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.

In the 16th century, Muslim Turks were on the verge of toppling all of Western Civilization. As they made their way toward Rome, St. Pope Pius V assembled an army, the Holy League, led by Don Juan of Austria, to try to defeat the Muslims in battle. Don Juan distributed a Rosary to each man in his armada and had them pray it on the eve of battle. Meanwhile, St. Pope Pius V assembled a spiritual army of prayer warriors to recite the Rosary for victory, too.

Even though they were outnumbered, on Oct. 7, 1571, the Holy League defeated the Muslim Turks and Western Civilization was saved. Pope Pius V and all Catholics who had prayed for victory attributed their success to the recitation of the Rosary. In Venice, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary was built. One inscription there reads, "Neither valor, nor arms, nor armies, but Our Lady of the Rosary gave us victory."

We commemorate this victory every Oct. 7: The Feast of Our Lady of Victory, also known as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Also, in the 20th century, Pope Leo XIII added "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary" to the Litany of Loreto. There is no problem too big or too small for the Queen of the Holy Rosary!

View the next article in this series.

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