The Secret of the Rosary
Publisher: TAN Books
Publication Date: 1993-08-01
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Transcript for Video
(Slightly abridged and paraphrased for brevity and clarity)
Vincent: We’ve got 2 books that talk about the rosary. We’ve got The Thought of their Heart by Solange Hertz on devotion to the Sacred Heart and devotion to the holy rosary. And more importantly, we got The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort. We have a very old copy here, maybe you guys can’t see it, but it says fifty cents.
Charles: Fifty cents. And this is the edition… when I was young, and I was long ago, this was at the back of most churches, these cheap editions. I grew up with this. But it is THE way to say the rosary.
Vincent: Is this as possible of a book as True Devotion to Mary? Most people regard that as St. Louis’s magnum opus.
Charles: I would say that this is probably the most popular of his books because it’s short.
Vincent: Oh really? It’s more popular than True Devotion?
Charles: Yeah, I would say. See, it was everywhere. As I say, when I was a kid, I don’t know how many churches I saw that in the back of, for sale. And it wouldn’t have been there if people weren’t buying it. At 50 cents a copy, and a bargain at the price.
Vincent: So I assume you’ve read this book?
Charles: Oh yeah!
Vincent: Pretty good?
Charles: Well, let me tell you something: you’ll feel guilty about the way you say the rosary when you read this book because you’ll realize you aren’t saying it well.
Vincent: That’s true!
Charles: And believe me, I’m a long way away from doing a good job at it. But you will also learn that saying the rosary is also an art form in itself.
Vincent: Absolutely! It has profoundly changed the way I say the rosary. I used to do it pretty normally. Nothing exotic. But after reading this book, what I do now as part of the contemplative side, I picture myself as a knight and I’m in some queen’s court of old, and Our Lady is before us, and as I’m saying the rosary, I’m visualizing kneeling before her and saying it, and I have next to me a basket of flowers, which I’m handing to her.
I do this meditation because I think Our Lady in a lot of encounters with the saints, she uses this metaphor, that it’s a basket of flowers. So if you say the rosary poorly, it’s an ugly basket, but if you say it well, it’s a pretty basket. So Our Lady used that metaphor as a way to grade the saying of your rosary.
So if you think about the Hail Mary, and what is actually being said, it is like you’re addressing a queen. Think of it like an earthly queen. OK, I want something from the queen. You kneel before her, you say how wonderful she is, and you ask for this thing. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in the Hail Mary. At the end we say “Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” That’s what we’re asking for.
Charles: And notice too, the thing about the Hail Mary, which we repeat endlessly in the rosary, is it’s primarily a scriptural prayer. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. That’s what the angel Gabriel said to Mary at the Annunciation. Then “Holy Mary Mother of God”, you’re just addressing her, “pray for us now and at the hour of hour death.”
The other thing is it requires you to meditate on the mysteries of our Lord’s life as seen by His mother. That’s the funny thing about the rosary. It’s about Christ from Mary’s point of view.
Vincent: Another thing, I’m sure you remember this as well, another important tip in the book is St. Louis de Montfort says to slow it down. Slow it down. Pause it. You don’t want to run through this thing without a pause, and you’re just mouthing the words.
Charles: Although we do.
Vincent: Well that’s the human tendency, as he points it out. We all do it.
Charles: And he gives you tips on how to slow it down.
Vincent: He tells you where to pause.
Charles: So really it’s an amazing book!
Vincent: Another thing in the book that made me very fervent. He’s encouraging public recitation of the rosary and he acknowledges it’s hard to say. But he says that when you say it with the public, you say it better. Because the devil is trying distract you to prevent an effective saying of it, and mess you up. But de Montfort explains it through metaphor. How easy is it to break a stick when it stands alone?
Charles: Very easy.
Vincent: Now how easy is it to break a bundle of sticks wrapped together? It’s so much harder to break them. So that’s the metaphor St. Louis de Montfort used that I felt was incredibly powerful.
The other thing that he said that’s even more exciting that will get you fervent, is that there is a multiplier of sorts. If you say it with 30 people, the efficaciousness is 30 times more effective. So I don’t even want to say the rosary alone anymore. I want to go to daily Mass and say the rosary with the people before the Mass.
Oh one last thing about the public recitation, he says you get it based off the person who says the rosary the best. It’s not based on your own
Charles: So if you’re a weakling like me… You know you got the little old ladies saying the rosary before or after the Mass… Mama Petrillo knows what she’s doing.
Vincent: And we’re not even touching the surface of the rosary. So we also have questions relating to the book. Anthony writes in saying “Hello Charles and Vincent, would you please explain the efficacy and the power of the Holy Rosary. I am the only Catholic in my family and they think I am practicing superstition or vain repetitions. How would you respond to this?”
Charles: Well I would ask them how long have they hated God.
Charles: Well I say that because it’s not simple the saying of the prayers, it’s also a meditation on the mysteries they’re of. Remember what the mysteries are, stop and thinking about this. The Annunciation – when Our Lord was first incarnate. The Visitation – when a child of earth first acknowledges His divinity. The Nativity – Christmas, when our Lord was born. The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple – Candlemas – notice how they all have feasts of their own. And lastly, the Finding of the Temple. Those are the Joyous Mysteries. Then come the sorrowful – not pleasant. The first is The Agony in the Garden where Our Lord literally sweats blood. Then comes the Scourging at the Pillar, again not pleasant. The Crowning of Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and then His Crucifixion and Death. Those are the Sorrowful Mysteries. Then lastly the Glorious Mysteries. Without the sorrowful, you can’t get to the joyful and the glorious. You have the Resurrection, his Ascension into heaven, the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven, and her Coronation as queen of heaven and earth.
Now in all of that, it encompasses the life of Christ and our salvation’s history. Because the crown that Our Lady assumes, is one that is, in a sense, waiting for us all. It’s not the same level of power and degree and dignity that she receives, of course, but it’s pretty good.
So what I would tell you to tell them is, if they really want to know the life of Christ, the rosary is the best way to do this?
Vincent: Are they against meditating against these things?
Charles: Only if they hate God. It may be a lot of his family are apostate Catholics. Believe me, if it weren’t for the rosary, they’d have to come up with something else. You have to bear that in mind: apostates, as a rule, are bitter. So if you knockdown the objection to the repetitious prayer, they’d come up with something else. Not to bag on your family, I don’t know them from Adam or Eve, but there you go.
Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (31 January 1673 - 28 April 1716) was a French Roman Catholic priest and Confessor. He was known in his time as a preacher and was made a missionary apostolic by Pope Clement XI. As well as preaching, Montfort found time to write a number of books which went on to become classic Catholic titles and influenced several popes. Montfort is known for his particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the practice of praying the Rosary. Montfort is considered as one of the early writers in the field of Mariology. His most notable works regarding Marian devotions are contained in The Secret of Mary and the True Devotion to Mary. The Roman Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII canonized Montfort on July 20, 1947.
This book totally made me fervent about saying the rosary and especially in public with others. The book is very easy to read, and St. Louis's words will have a huge impact on you. This book is an absolute must-buy for anyone who is serious about developing their spiritual life and their prayer life.
A wonderful book to help one pray the Rosary with greater devotion and thereby become closer to Our Lord and Our Lady. St. Louis De Monfort provides many examples of how lives were changed for the better through faithful recitation of the Rosary.
I haven't read anything else by Monfort as of this review, but I had heard prior to picking up this book that the author is a very enthusiastic proponent of Marian devotion. I was pleased to see that Montfort's enthusiasm is rich with practical advice on how to say the Rosary. Not only does he assuage your doubts, he also challenges you to strive to say the Rosary better and seems to answer any excuse you might be able to offer for negligence in this devotion. You will want to say the Rosary better after reading this.
Written by one of the greatest Marian saints of all time, this book is an invaluable resource if you want to increase your devotion to the Rosary. It was recommended to me multiple times by a number of different priests. It contains exhortations as to why we should pray the rosary, how we should increase our devotion during the rosary, and even some methods of prayer (particular virtues to ask for and some additional intercessory prayers) that have enriched my time with this ancient devotion.
Learn to pray the rosary from a "master" of the rosary. Enjoyed some exegesis on basic prayers. I wish this book were preached more often on Marian feast days.