Saturday, October 14, 2006

How the Rosary draws us closer to Jesus Christ

Part 2 of an October "Month of the Rosary" special:

Understanding the Holy Rosary with Pope John Paul II

You might have wondered, "why should I pray the rosary?" "What does Mary have to do with praying to Jesus?" Sometimes Catholics are falsely accused of "worshipping Mary"! As this is the month of the Rosary, I thought that I would add another article on how the rosary is a Christ-centered prayer. The following are some points from Pope John Paul II's beautiful apostolic letter on the Rosary entitled Rosarium Virginis Mariae (Oct. 2002) (here after cited as RV). [To read the entire letter, go to
] Consider some of these points when you talk to your students about the spirituality of the rosary.

  • When we pray the rosary, we contemplate the mysteries of Christ with Mary. You can almost imagine Mary seated next to you as you contemplate the mysteries of Christ together.
  • "In the recitation of the Rosary, the Christian community enters into contact with the memories and the contemplative gaze of Mary" (RV #11) Upon witnessing the wonderful actions of Christ Mary "kept all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Lk 2:19). All through her life, she contemplated the life of her son--even at the foot of the cross.
  • In the rosary, we meditate on the mysteries of Christ with Mary and through her perspective (as his mother, as his most faithful disciple, as the one who received the incredible promises from God's angel, etc.)
  • To "remember" the salvific mysteries is to make them present (RV#13). When the Israelites celebrated the Passover feast, they remembered the Lord ransoming His people from slavery in Egypt... any by remembering this great event, they made it present once again. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Calvary is made present again (although, this is unique--because the body and blood of Christ is also made substantially present on the altar). The concept is the same. To remember the mysteries of salvation is to make them present to us in the here and now. This is what we do when we pray the rosary.
  • "Contemplating the scenes of the Rosary in union with Mary is a means of learning from her to 'read' Christ, to discover his secrets and to understand his message." (RV #14)
  • When 2 friends spend time together, they tend to develop similar habits--so too do we learn humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience, and perfection by praying with Mary and through her perspective (RV#15).
  • Of all creatures, Mary was most conformed to Christ. So, of devotions which seek to conform us to Christ, a devotion to Our Lady should be foremost (Mary lives only in Christ and for Christ) (RV#15).
  • Jesus is the Way, Mary is the sign which shows us the Way (because, she is His purest and most transparent reflection) (RV#16). At the wedding feast in Cana, Mary urged Jesus to work his first miracle. She did not wait to hear whether he would answer her prayer or not, she focused on God's will being done and told his disciples: "Do whatever He tells you" (Jn 2).
  • The Bible warns us against mindless repetition in prayer (babbling like the pagans - Mt 6:7). For this reason, praying the rosary should never be just a rote, mechanical spitting out of Our Fathers and Hail Mary's just for the sake of "saying the rosary" out of some feeling of obligation. The rosary should be prayed slowly, reverently, and as a deep contemplation on the mysteries of Christ.

To see how to use Scripture when praying the Rosary, check out my article on the Scriptural Rosary:

Other articles on the Rosary that you can check out:

A brief history of the rosary:

The new mysteries of light:

ACTIVITIES: Mysteries of the Rosary Activity and Coloring Book


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