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De Dignitate Psalterii: A Medieval Book on the Power and Beauty of the Rosary
The Rosary is one of the most popular and beloved devotions in the Catholic Church. It is a prayer that combines vocal and mental recitation of the Our Father and the Hail Mary, while meditating on the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus and Mary. The Rosary has been a source of grace, comfort and inspiration for countless Christians throughout history.
But where did the Rosary come from? How did it develop into its current form? And what are the benefits and fruits of praying it? These are some of the questions that a medieval book called De Dignitate Psalterii (On the Dignity of the Psalter) tries to answer. This book, written by Blessed Alan de la Roche, a French Dominican friar and preacher, is one of the most influential and authoritative sources on the origin, history and spirituality of the Rosary.
Who was Blessed Alan de la Roche?
Blessed Alan de la Roche was born in Brittany, France, in 1428. He joined the Dominican Order at the age of 15 and became a renowned preacher, theologian and mystic. He was also a devoted son of Mary and a zealous promoter of the Rosary. He claimed to have received many visions and revelations from Our Lady, who entrusted him with the mission of reviving and spreading the devotion to the Rosary, which had fallen into neglect and oblivion after the Black Death and the Great Schism.
Blessed Alan travelled throughout Europe, preaching and teaching about the Rosary. He founded several confraternities and sodalities dedicated to this devotion. He also wrote several books and treatises on the Rosary, among which De Dignitate Psalterii is the most famous and comprehensive. He died in 1475 and was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1874.
What is De Dignitate Psalterii?
De Dignitate Psalterii (On the Dignity of the Psalter) is a book that consists of 86 chapters, divided into four parts. The first part deals with the origin and name of the Rosary, tracing it back to Saint Dominic, who received it from Our Lady as a weapon against the Albigensian heresy in the 13th century. The second part explains the structure and method of praying the Rosary, as well as its various benefits and fruits for those who practice it faithfully. The third part contains stories and examples of miracles, conversions, graces and favors obtained through the Rosary. The fourth part offers some advice and exhortations on how to pray the Rosary well and avoid distractions and negligence.
The book is written in a simple and eloquent style, full of quotations from Scripture, Church Fathers, saints and theologians. It also contains many prayers, hymns and meditations that enrich the devotion to the Rosary. The book is not only a historical and doctrinal account of the Rosary, but also a spiritual guide that invites the reader to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus and Mary through this prayer.
Why is De Dignitate Psalterii important?
De Dignitate Psalterii is important for several reasons. First, it is one of the oldest and most reliable sources on the origin and history of the Rosary. It preserves the tradition that Saint Dominic received the Rosary from Our Lady, which has been challenged by some modern scholars. It also provides many details about how Saint Dominic and his followers preached and practiced the Rosary in their apostolic work.
Second, it is a rich and profound exposition of the theology and spirituality of the Rosary. It shows how the Rosary is based on Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium, how it honors Christ and Mary, how it fosters virtue and holiness, how it combats sin and evil, how it obtains mercy and grace, how it leads to salvation and glory. It also offers practical tips on how to pray the Rosary well, with attention, devotion and perseverance.
Third, it is a powerful testimony of the wonders that God has worked through the Rosary in history. It narrates many stories of miracles, conversions, healings, victories, protections and favors that have been granted to those who prayed the Rosary with faith and love. It also encourages the reader to trust in the intercession of Mary and the power of the Rosary in their own lives.
How can I read De Dignitate Psalterii?
Unfortunately, De Dignitate Psalterii is not widely available in print or online. The original Latin text can be found in some libraries and archives, but it has not been translated into English or other modern languages. However, there are some books and websites that contain excerpts or summaries of the book, such as:
The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis de Montfort, which is a classic book on the Rosary that draws heavily from De Dignitate Psalterii.
The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, which is another famous book on the Rosary that quotes extensively from De Dignitate Psalterii.
The Rosary Center & Confraternity website, which is a website dedicated to the promotion of the Rosary that has a section on the history of the Rosary that includes some passages from De Dignitate Psalterii.
Alternatively, you can try to find a PDF version of De Dignitate Psalterii for free online, but be careful of the quality and accuracy of the document. Some websites may offer corrupted or incomplete files, or files that contain viruses or malware. Always check the source and reputation of the website before downloading anything.
De Dignitate Psalterii is a medieval book on the power and beauty of the Rosary, written by Blessed Alan de la Roche, a Dominican friar and mystic. It is one of the most authoritative and influential sources on the origin, history and spirituality of the Rosary. It is also a spiritual treasure that can inspire and enrich our devotion to Jesus and Mary through this prayer. If you love the Rosary, or want to learn more about it, you may want to read this book or some of its extracts. You will discover how the Rosary is a gift from Heaven, a weapon against Hell, and a path to Heaven.