Historians largely agree that the most important naval battle in human history happened at Lepanto, off the coast of Greece, in October 1571. It marked a decisive defeat of the advance of the Ottoman Empire into the Christian West. The Christians fighting at Lepanto to defend their land — and their faith — were not armed with modern weaponry or more advanced ships. Instead, each fighter was given just one special tool. They were armed with a rosary.
Five centuries later, Catholics throughout the world still celebrate October as a month dedicated to the rosary. Today, it is in honor not simply of a military victory centuries ago but the honest recognition of the fact that devotion to Mary — especially in the rosary — remains a weapon against trial and a strength for the journey.
The recommendations of popes and saints to pray the rosary could fill volumes. The rosary, based on the events of sacred scripture, is a wonderful prayer, meditating on the life of Christ with Mary who knows and loves Him best. In the rosary, we enter the rhythm of Jesus’ life, seen through the eyes of faith — which are Mary’s eyes. We look at Him with her.
Devotion to Our Lady — tender love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, manifest in regular contact with her in the rosary— is not an option of Catholic piety. This month of October is a chance to rediscover the rosary and its indispensable place in Catholic life.