Sunday, October 7, 2012

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Proverbs 8:22-35 / Luke 1:26-38

What could be a more obvious sign of our Catholic faith and devotion than the praying of the Rosary? What devotion in that Roman Catholic Church can compare to the Rosary that binds in one men, women and children from across the world, from every language and people, from the most powerful and learned to the humblest and simplest among us?

Yet, what is it we think we are doing when we pray the Rosary? Why do we assert with such confidence that this devotion should be so privileged above others, should be so filled with assurances of drawing us closer to the heart of divine charity, to the union with the Holy Trinity which is the goal and vocation of every human life?

On the face of it, the Rosary seems not to be about us at all. After all, our meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries, does not direct us to consider what God has done is our own lives. Instead, when we pray the Rosary, we are asked to dwell upon the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ, or rather, to dwell upon Our Blessed Mother’s experience of these mysteries. That is, the Rosary directs our minds to the story of her vocation, her share in the life of Christ, her joys, her sorrows, and her glories and she is led from the glorious message of the angel which we heard in the Gospel to her even more glorious coronation as Queen of Heaven, where she is raised in honor over every created person, greater in honor than the cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the seraphim.

It is, of course, a good and noble thing to share in the joys, the sorrows and the glories of those whom we love. We do not truly need to excuse our devotion. The Virgin Mary is our Mother, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. She is loved by God more than any other person he created, and because her has loved her so much, we should surely do the same.

Nevertheless, why should the meditation on the mysteries of someone else, however glorious and however loved, be the source of such powerful blessing for all the faithful? Why should our sharing in the joys, the sorrows, and the glories of someone else bring us any closer of our vocation, to our life in Jesus Christ?

The answer is found in the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, alone among all the saints and among all of the members of the Body of Christ, whether men or angels, can be called totally relational. Mary, and Mary alone among God’s creatures, relates in the most intimate way with the Most Holy Trinity as made in the divine image, with the Incarnate Word as one whom he redeemed, with the Church striving here on earth, with the Church awaiting glory in Purgatory, and with the Church in heaven as a fellow disciple of Jesus Christ, with the whole of the human race as one of the daughters of Adam and Eve, and with the whole of the cosmos itself as our fellow creature. She can relate in so many ways and so intimately because of her unique role and because of her unique gifts in the history of salvation.

It is certainly true that everyone whom God has called has a unique role in God’s providence. The witness of Saint Paul, for example, as a teacher of the faith will forever play a role for every Christian. The four evangelists will give witness to the life, teaching, and saving work of Jesus Christ in a way no one else will ever be able to imitate. However, it belongs to Mary, and to Mary alone, to be present to Almighty God in the fullness of her person, body and soul. She alone has been called to share even now the full glory of the Resurrection which even the greatest saints must await until the end of the world. Moreover, because she is fully present to God, she is therefore fully present to each one of us, and in the fulness of her presence to us, she both shares with us the fulness of her whole life with God, which life we celebrate in the mysteries of the Rosary, and brings us to partake in the blessings which those mysteries have blessed her and continue to bless her.

And so, with this confidence we are able to pray the Rosary. We can trust in the mysteries of the Rosary because these mysteries are nothing other than the life of the Virgin Mary in Christ Jesus, a life which was set up from eternity and of old before the earth was made because it has been configured to the life of Christ, a life in which we too can find life and salvation from the Lord. Let us pray, brothers and sisters, and hearken to the mysteries of the Rosary. Blessed are those that keep the ways of the Virgin, that is, the ways of discipleship in Christ Jesus, and find in them their most profound hope, eternal life with the Most Holy Trinity.

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