By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira February 12th 1964
As we all know, one great value of devotion to the Rosary is that it was revealed by Our Lady to Saint Dominic as a means for reviving the Faith in regions heavily devastated by the Albigensian heresy.
Indeed, the general practice of the Rosary revived the Faith. With this the Rosary came to be, in epochs when there was true faith in the world, one of the classic Catholic devotions. This was to such a point that not only were images of Our Lady spread throughout the world, but also the practice of this devotion became common among the faithful. Moreover, the rosary hanging from the waist became an official part of the habits of many religious orders.
Among a thousand things that can be said in this respect, I would like to emphasize exactly this connection between the origin of the Rosary and the virtue of Faith, between the Rosary and the defeat of the heretics.
The Rosary had always been considered a most powerful weapon of the Faith. We know that the virtue of Faith is the root of all virtues; the other virtues must blossom from a lively faith, otherwise they are not authentic virtues. Therefore, we will not forge ahead cultivating other virtues while neglecting the Faith.
For us, who live a combative life in favor of orthodoxy and who consider the victory of orthodoxy and the Counter-Revolution in the world an ideal for our lives, this devotion speaks volumes. It is precisely because it establishes a link between our lives and devotion to Our Lady that this is so. Our Lady clearly appears here as the one who single-handedly smashed all heresies, as is said in the liturgy. And, to a great extent, they were smashed by the Rosary.
The Rosary is a weapon of orthodoxy, a weapon of ultramontanism; it is a devotion through which we smash the roots of evil and heresy that we might have within us, and through which we defeat the heresy and evil in the fight they wage against us. Thus, the Rosary is a typical devotion for us, and it is for this reason that we insist so much on it. This is so true, that one can only consider the life of a member of the Group as being normal, upright when, among other things, he prays the full Rosary every day.
It does not make sense for someone to say, “I prefer to pray five decades well than a full Rosary like a parrot.” There was a saint to whom someone said this, and the saint responded, “Well then, pray one Hail Mary with all recollection.” The person tried, but was not able to. Someone told me that Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus was never able to pray one Hail Mary in her entire life without distraction.
The truth is that to pray a Hail Mary without distraction is no small feat. Once one is limited to praying just a single Hail Mary with difficulty, even with a certain distraction, it is better to make up for the lack of quality with quantity. If all I can do is to pray Hail Marys distractedly, it is better to pray 50 Hail Mary’s distractedly than one Hail Mary distractedly. This is evident.
Despite this [deficiency], praying the Rosary has great value. It is a prayer of humility; it is not presumptuous, it is free from the Protestant mania of paying excessive attention to things. On the contrary, it understands human frailty and propels things forward. As a result, the repetition in the Rosary is far, very far, from being sterile. It has the great merit of insistence. Our Lord Himself recommended, as one of the qualities of prayer, that it should be insistent. Persistent prayer obtains things. If we insist, be it just verbally, we will obtain grace.
Therefore, I recommend praying the Rosary as a weapon for the counter-revolutionary to persevere, to sanctify oneself, and to defeat heresies.