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37 - FOURTH DECADE - The surpassing
merit of the holy Rosary as seen in the wonders God has worked through
When St. Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone, an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. The Saint exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him speak. The devils who were in possession of this wretched man were forced to answer St. Dominic's questions in spite of themselves. They said:
At this they let out such unearthly screams that most of the people fell to the ground, seized with fear. Then, using all their cunning so as not to answer, the devils wept and wailed in such a pitiful way that many of the people wept also, out of pure natural pity. The devils, speaking through the mouth of the Albigensian, pleaded in a heart-rending voice, "Dominic, Dominic, have pity on us, we promise you we will never harm you.
"You have always had compassion for sinners and those in distress; have pity on us, for we are in grievous straits. We are suffering so much already, why do you delight in increasing our pains? Can't you be satisfied with the pains we now endure? Have mercy on us, have mercy on us!"
St. Dominic was not in the least moved by the pathetic words of those wretched spirits, and told them he would not let them alone until they had answered his question. Then they said they would whisper the answer in such a way that only St. Dominic would be able to hear. The latter firmly insisted upon their answering clearly and audibly. Then the devils kept quiet and would not say another word, completely disregarding St. Dominic's orders.
So he knelt down and said this prayer to our Lady: "Oh, most glorious Virgin Mary, I implore you by the power of the holy Rosary command these enemies of the human race to answer my question."
No sooner had he said this
prayer than a glowing flame leaped out of the ears, nostrils and mouth
of the possessed man. Everyone shook with fear, but the fire did not hurt
anyone. Then the devils cried, "Dominic, we beseech you, by the passion
of Jesus Christ and the merits of his holy Mother and of all the
"Woe to you, wretched spirits, who do not deserve to be heard," St. Dominic said, and kneeling down he prayed to the Blessed Virgin: "O most worthy Mother of Wisdom, I am praying for the people assembled here, who have already learned how to say the Angelic Salutation properly. I beg you for the salvation of those here present, compel these adversaries of yours to proclaim the whole truth here and now before the people."
St. Dominic had scarcely finished this prayer when he saw the Blessed Virgin near at hand surrounded by a multitude of angels. She struck the possessed man with a golden rod that she held and said, "Answer my servant Dominic at once." (It must be noted that the people neither saw nor heard our Lady, only St. Dominic.)
Then the devils started screaming:
"Oh, you who are enemy, our downfall and our destruction, why have you come from heaven to torture us so grievously? O advocate of sinners, you who snatch them from the very jaws of hell, you who are a most sure path to heaven, must we, in spite of ourselves, tell the whole truth and confess before everyone who it is who is the cause of our shame and our ruin? Oh, woe to us, princes of darkness.
"Then listen, you Christians. This Mother of Jesus is most powerful in saving her servants from falling into hell. She is like the sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares, and makes our temptations useless and ineffective.
"We have to say, however, reluctantly, that no soul who has really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that she offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires, and aspirations of all the saints. We fear her more than all the other saints in heaven together, and we have no success with her faithful servants.
"Many Christians who call
on her at the hour of death and who really ought to be damned according
to our ordinary standards are saved by her intercession. And if that Marietta
(it is thus in their fury they called her) did not counter our plans and
our efforts, we should have overcome the Church and destroyed it long
"Now that we are forced to speak, we must also tell you that nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because she obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins by which they obtain pardon and mercy."
Then St. Dominic had all the people say the Rosary very slowly and with great devotion, and a wonderful thing happened: at each Hail Mary which he and the people said, a large number of devils issued forth from the wretched man's body under the guise of red-hot coals. When the devils had all been expelled and the heretic completely delivered from them, our Lady, although invisible, gave her blessing to the assembled company, and they were filled with joy.
A large number of heretics were converted because of this miracle and joined the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary.
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