When I was on my journey from Protestantism to Catholicism over five years ago, Mary was my biggest stumbling block to coming into the Church. It’s that way for many converts. I did not see her importance in Scripture and probably would have told you that the “Hail Holy Queen” prayer was a certain form of blasphemy. Alas, seeing Mary in the Scriptures as the “New Eve”, “New Ark of the Covenant”, and “New Queen Mother” overcame my discomfort with devotion to her.
Though I was comfortable enough with the Church’s teaching about Mary to join the Catholic Church, it took a severe trial in my life a year later to get me to pray the rosary on a daily basis. For the first few months, the rosary seemed burdensome, cumbersome, and not very fun at all. Yet, through the grace of God, I persevered in praying my rosary and it has since become my absolute favorite form of prayer.
Much could be said about Mary in this wonderful month of May, which is dedicated to her honor. For my part, I will leave you with ten quotes by St. Louis De Montfort from his book called, The Secret of the Holy Rosary.
1. “Our Lady… revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose, and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses.”
2. “The Angelic Salutation . . . is the new hymn of the law of grace, the joy of angels and men, and the hymn which terrifies devils and puts them to shame.”
3. “It is not so much the length of a prayer as the fervor with which it is said which pleases God and touches his heart. A single Hail Mary said properly is worth more than a hundred and fifty said badly.”
4. “When the rosary is well said, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer. But it is also the hardest prayer to say well and to persevere in owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words.”
5. “What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst! And all we have to do to have him with us is to come together to say the rosary. That is why the first Christians met so often to pray together, in spite of the persecutions of the emperors, who had forbidden them to assemble. They preferred to risk death rather than to miss their gatherings where our Lord was present.”
6. “To imitate Jesus more perfectly in his agony you could say your rosary more slowly sometimes when you find it particularly hard to say, so that what was said of our Lord when he was in his agony of prayer may be said of you: he prayed all the longer.”
7. “Only he who perseveres in asking, seeking, and knocking, will receive, will find and will enter. It is not enough to ask God for certain graces for a month, a year, ten or twenty years; we must never tire of asking.”
8. “These crowns are not for the timid who are afraid of this world’s taunts and threats, neither are they for the lazy and indolent who only say their rosary carelessly, or hastily, just for the sake of getting it over with. . . . These crowns are not for cowards who lose heart and lay down their arms as soon as they see hell is let loose against their rosary.”
9. “Your closest enemies will attack you all the more cruelly because they are within you. I mean the powers of your soul and your bodily senses, the distractions of the mind, distress and uncertainty of the will, dryness of the heart, exhaustion and illness of the body—all that will combine with the evil spirits who say to you, ‘Give up your rosary, that is what is giving you such a headache; give up your rosary, there is no obligation under pain of sin; at least say only a part of it; the difficulties you are having are a sign that God does not want you to say it; you can say it tomorrow when you are more in the mood.’ And so on.”
10.“Finally, my dear brothers and sisters, the daily Rosary has so many enemies that I look upon the grace of persevering in it until death as one of the greatest favors God can give us.”
I hope that these words help you to persevere in praying the rosary and being devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary so that our sole worship to God may be magnified.