Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Rosary: Light on the Face of Christ

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. October is loaded with saints and feasts if you haven't noticed. It's like the Church gets a B12 shot before moving into the cold of winter (respectively, to our non-eastern USA friends!)

One of the last letters our beloved Pope John Paul II wrote before he left us was devoted to this favorite prayer of his. Here are a few choice quotes from it:

"The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.

It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love."

Wow. What a powerful hymn to the power of the rosary. A compendium of the Gospel? That's quite a tribute. And the point of the rosary is to focus our gaze onto the Face of Christ. The Pope said we can follow and learn from Mary's gaze by praying the rosary:

"Thereafter Mary's gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: "Son, why have you treated us so?" (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of a mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14)."

The rosary is a repetitive prayer, and this can be difficult for many to enter into. Others may feel it focuses too much on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. But here we should allow ourselves a moment to rest, to let go, and to listen to the rhythm of the saints. If we let ourselves feel the great heartbeat of the Church, catching its warmth, we find the words are meant to be like music, a soundtrack behind the drama of the gospel scenes. They offer us a rhythm, a beat, and if we step in time to that beat, we enter into the mysteries, the Great Dance. And through Mary's sweet heart, and the mysteries of her life, we see not a stumbling block but a stained glass window. And streaming through this heart like light is the Face of Jesus, Son of Mary and Light of our Days!

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!


Bill Donaghy

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

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