by Saint Louis de Montfort
While Saint Dominic was preaching the Rosary in Carcassone, a heretic made fun of the miracles and the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and this prevented other heretics from being converted. As a punishment, God suffered fifteen thousand devils to enter the man’s body.
His parents took him to Father Dominic to be delivered from the evil spirits. He started to pray and begged everyone who was there to say the Rosary out loud with him, and at each Hail Mary Our Lady drove one hundred devils out of the heretic’s body, and they came out in the form of red-hot coals.
After he had been delivered, he abjured his former errors, was converted and joined the Rosary Confraternity. Several of his associates did the same, having been greatly moved by his punishment and by the power of the Rosary.
The learned Franciscan, Carthagena, as well as several other authors, says that an extraordinary event took place in 1482: The Venerable James Sprenger and other religious of his order were zealously working to re-establish devotion to the Holy Rosary and also to erect a Confraternity in the city of Cologne.
Unfortunately, two priests who were famous for their preaching ability were jealous of the great influence these religious were exerting through preaching the Rosary. So these two Fathers spoke against this devotion whenever they had a chance, and as they were very eloquent and had a great reputation, they persuaded many people not to join the Confraternity.
One of them, bound and determined to achieve his wicked end, wrote a special sermon against the Rosary and planned to give it the following Sunday. But when it came time for the sermon he never appeared and, after a certain amount of waiting, somebody went to fetch him. He was found dead, and evidently had died all alone without any one to help him and without seeing a priest.
After convincing himself that death had been due to natural causes, the other priest decided to carry out his friend’s plan and to give a similar sermon on another day. In this way he hoped to put an end to the Confraternity of the Rosary. However, when the day came for him to preach and it was time to give the sermon, God punished him by striking him down with a paralysis which deprived him both of the use of his limbs and of his power of speech.
At last he admitted his sin and likewise that of his friend and immediately, in his heart of hearts, he silently besought Our Lady to help him. He promised Her that if She would only cure him he would preach the Holy Rosary with as much zeal as that with which he had formerly fought against it. For this end he implored Her to restore his health and speech, which She did, and finding himself instantaneously cured, he rose up like another Saul, a persecutor turned defender of the Holy Rosary. He publicly acknowledged his former error and ever after preached the wonders of the Most Holy Rosary with great zeal and eloquence.
I am quite sure that freethinkers and ultra-critical people of today will question the truth of the stories in this little book, The Secret of the Rosary, in the very same way that they have always questioned most things, but all that I have done has been to copy them from very good contemporary writers and also, in part, from a book that was written only a short time ago: The Mystical Rose Tree, by the Reverend Antonin Thomas, O.P.
Everyone knows that there are three different kinds of faith by which we believe different kinds of stories:
To stories of Holy Scripture we owe divine faith;
To stories concerning other than religious subjects, which do not militate against common sense and which are written by trustworthy authors, we pay the tribute of human faith; whereas
To stories about holy subjects which are told by good authors and are not in the slightest degree contrary to reason, faith or morals (even though they may sometimes deal with happenings which are above the ordinary run of events) we pay the tribute of pious faith.
I agree that we must be neither too credulous nor too critical and that we should remember that “virtue takes the middle course” – keeping a happy medium in all things in order to find just where truth and virtue lie. But, on the other hand, I know equally well that charity easily leads us to believe all that is not contrary to faith or morals: “Charity ... believeth all things”; in the same way pride induces us to doubt even well-authenticated stories on the plea that they are not to be found in the Bible.
This is one of the devil’s traps; heretics of the past who denied Tradition have fallen into it and over-critical people of today are falling into it too, without even realizing it.
People of this kind refuse to believe what they do not understand or what is not to their liking, simply because of their own spirit of pride and independence.