Thursday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Malachi 3:13-20 & Luke 1: 26 – 38
Reflection Date: October 7, 2021
Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
The Bible gives us ample examples of God, who is constantly in commune with His Creation, especially His epitome of love: human beings. In His time and space, God chose men and women and sent them to fulfill His covenant and thereby manifested His Will in the salvific plan of humanity. God sought human co-operation in His redemptive plan. In the New Testament, God chose Mary as a fitting instrument to reveal His plan. And Mary by her co-operation with God, is the best example of humble submission to the invitation of God.
In that process, she became the mother of the Saviour and mother of the whole human race. She was as ordinary as any other woman of her time, but she differentiated from them all by her humility, self-sacrifice and humble submission to the Will of God. Till her last moment, she remained faithful to God's plan which was envisaged for her. Even at the most painful moments (recall Seven Sorrows of Mary), Mary was unwavering in her faith in God.
When His own chosen Apostles deserted Him at the crucial moments of His life and when Jesus was rejected, condemned to death and crucified, Mary was there with Jesus. Even after the death of Jesus, she brought the disciples together and strengthened them in faith. In every respect, she perfectly played the role of a Mother. Rightly, Jesus gave her as the Mother of all humanity (Jn. 19: 26 – 27). Devotion to Mary is a sure guarantee of our salvation.
Nevertheless, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God. Pope Benedict XVI: "It is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound." The Rosary, a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of Sacred Scripture," is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary."
Moreover, in modern times successive popes have urged the faithful to pray the Rosary. It is a form of contemplative prayer, mental and vocal prayer, which brings down God's blessing on the Church. It is a biblically inspired prayer that is centered on meditation on the salvific mysteries of Christ in union with Mary, who was so closely associated with her Son in his redeeming activity.
Things we can do
- Pray the Rosary, or five decades of the Rosary tonight with our family. We could continue this practice through October, the month that is especially dedicated to the Rosary.
- Read the encyclicals on the Rosary and the latest apostolic letter.
- Learn the Luminous Mysteries. For families with younger children, it helps to have visual aids for the mysteries. Have a picture to flip at the beginning of each decade for the family Rosary.
- Learn about the great victory of Our Lady at the Battle of Lepanto. You can also read more about Pope St. Pius V, who instituted the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
- "The Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God." Read the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy on the Rosary, particularly encouraging the practices of:
- The recitation of the Rosary could be made more solemn in tone "by introducing those Scriptural passages corresponding with the various mysteries, some parts could be sung, roles could be distributed, and by solemnly opening and closing of prayer."
- St. Pius V, who wore his scratchy habit underneath his papal robes and walked around Rome barefoot. He ate just to sustain himself and fasted frequently. We should use his example and remember to fast and pray the Rosary for the conversion of Islam.
The Rosary becomes in this way the ladder to heaven, as Jesus told Nathaniel that he would see "greater things than this, even the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." It is an interesting thing to note that every single saint, for the last however many generations and centuries, that has started a religious order has required that the nuns and the monks and the priests all pray the Rosary. It is not an option. I do not know any religious orders in their foundation that did not pray the Rosary.
If the Mother of God is asking this of us, if God Himself is asking it of us, if the Church is asking it of us – there are more encyclical letters written by the Popes over the centuries on the Rosary than on any other topic – then we need to realize that the wisdom of the saints and the wisdom of the Church is directed at us that we need to recognize, like little children, the simplicity of this prayer and the love which we can pour into it and the power which flows from it.
- If your children have wandered from the Church, pray the Rosary.
- If your family is being torn apart, pray the Rosary.
- If you are struggling in your life, pray the Rosary.
It is precisely the prayer that the angels pray. It is precisely the prayer that the saints have prayed. It is the prayer that Our Lady has asked us to pray, and Our Lady will be faithful to all the promises she has made with regard to the Rosary.
We simply need to have a childlike trust and take up our weapon, the weapon of peace, with the greatest power. All things will be ours if we can come before Our Lord – in the Blessed Sacrament, especially – with Rosary in hand.
We are surely fortunate to have Mary as our Mother. Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!!!
Joseph Cardozo SJ | Contributor