The Rosary

The Rosary in the Catechism
In paragraph 971 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church we find the following
"All generations will call me blessed": The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honours "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honoured with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. This very special devotion differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

ImageThe Rosary in our spiritual life
Prayer of the heart as well as vocal prayer is an integral part of the Rosary. In saying each decade, we should try to keep in mind the particular mystery commemorated by it. While it remains a private devotion in honour of Mary, the Mother of God, the Rosary is like a book of Christian doctrine and spirituality. In its twenty mysteries we consider the four great aspects of salvation; the Incarnation in the joyful mysteries, the Redemption in the sorrowful, the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus in the luminous and the life beyond the grave in the glorious mysteries The very words of the Hail Mary are the story of God's plan to redeem mankind.

Thinking of these mysteries helps us to greater union with God. In the spiritual life there are four stages: The first, that of knowledge, is represented by the joyful mysteries, which contain the good news of the Incarnation and open to us the path of salvation; the second is one of effort and labour and often suffering, following the example of our Divine Master portrayed in the sorrowful mysteries; thirdly the foretaste of heaven we experience in the in breaking of the Kingdom of God into our life and the final, rests in the possession of eternal life, is the promise of the glorious mysteries.

The Rosary today is the most popular and widespread of private devotion among Catholics. On a number of occasions, the Blessed Virgin has asked people to say it. It is held that she commanded St Dominic (1170-1221) to preach the devotion of the Rosary to the people of troubled France. Through it peace was restored. In the nineteenth century people of fashion scoffed at belief in the supernatural. At Lourdes, Mary gave a necessary lesson through St Bernadette. She taught the little peasant girl how to say the Rosary. She emphasized the lesson by miracles, which are a guarantee of the existence of a supernatural world. The miracles have continued at Lourdes. Those who go there sceptical often remain to pray.

In the twentieth century, as a remedy for the pagan cult of material prosperity and spiritual despair, Mary recalled mankind to prayer and penance. They are essential to spiritual progress. This was Fatima in Portugal in 1917.

Devotion to the Mother of God springs from the scriptures with the instruction of Jesus to Mary from the cross “Woman this is your son” in relation to the apostle John and to John “This is your mother” (Jn 19:26-27).Mary was also held a special place amongst the disciples gathered when the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost (Acts 1: 14-2:13) and has continued throughout the life of the Church

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