October – a Month Dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary

October Month of the RosaryIn a cold cave in a Palestinian backwater, she cradled her newborn. After a long, hard journey, despite the strain of a first and unexpected pregnancy, she joyfully welcomed the child Messiah. In creating a cradle for God, the circle of her arms changed this lost, sorrowful world forever.

Years later, on that horrible Friday, she stood by her son in the final moments of his agony. Betrayed and abandoned by his friends, abused and condemned for daring to speak of a loving God, he was hung on a tree. Mary of Nazareth completed the journey with her son to the bitter end. Before the body was consigned to a cave, she cradled his broken body one last time.

“The mother of God becomes the daughter of God. The God she welcomed into the world now welcomes her into His. The Christ who held her hand as a boy now takes her hand and leads her to the dwelling place of His Father. Her son, her lullaby that rocked the Christ child to sleep, the lullaby she whispered as she said goodbye, now comforts this confused, lost, angry world. She who gave life to the Christ child is now reborn in Christ’s resurrection.”

I believe the prayerful reflection you just read, freely composed by Caryll Houselander, speaks of the mystery of the devotion the Church invites us to pray during the month of October, the rosary.

Many of the appearances of Mary, especially at Lourdes and Fatima, have been associated with praying the rosary. Numerous popes and saints have urged us to pray the rosary. The popularity of the rosary has been attributed to Saint Dominic and the Dominican Order. It grew out of the laity’s desire to have 150 prayers to match the 150 psalms chanted by the monks in monasteries. In 1569, Saint Pius V officially recommended the praying “of 150 angelic salutations . . . with the Lord’s prayer at each decade . . . while meditating on the mysteries which recall the entire life of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults provides a wonderful explanation of the Rosary. Here are some points for reflection that are lifted from that explanation. The rosary is a scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which is itself a summary of the great mysteries of Catholic faith, based on scripture – from creation through redemption and up to the Resurrection of the body and everlasting life. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is taken from the Gospel. The first part of the Hail Mary is composed from verses from the Gospel of Luke (1:28 and 1:42), the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. Saint Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The four Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. The repetition of the ten Hail Mary’s with each Mystery is meant to lead us to a restful and contemplative prayer related to the Mystery. Many who pray the Rosary think of the words as background music that leads them to rest in the divine presence. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s Spirit dwells.

Saint John Paul II, in his 2002 letter On the Most Holy Rosary, described the rosary as an “exquisitely contemplative prayer.” It starts with Mary’s human experience, and it encourages us to learn from our own. Another insight this well-known saint offered is that “each Mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man” and our pursuit of holiness.

In the Joyful Mysteries, contemplating Christ’s birth, we learn the sanctity of life; contemplating the household of Nazareth, we learn the original truth of family by God’s plan. The mysteries are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, and the Find of the child Jesus in the Temple.

According to the Mysteries of Luminous Mysteries, listening to the Master’s public teachings, we are enlightened to enter the Kingdom of God. The mysteries are the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordon, the Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist.

In the Sorrowful Mysteries, following Christ to Calvary, we learn the meaning of salvific suffering. The mysteries are the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion.

And according to the Glorious Mysteries, contemplating Christ and Mary in glory, we see the good toward which we are called if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. The mysteries are the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption, and the Coronation of Mary.

I encourage you to allow the month of October, which begins this Sunday, to be a time to grow in your appreciation of this great devotion. The contemplative praying of the rosary can result in a deeper understanding of ourselves and the marvelous blessings we have received. Consider joining us throughout the month of October at Saint John Bosco as we pray the rosary on weekday mornings after the 7:30 am Mass.

Question – How has your perception of the rosary changed over the years?

My next blog will be on October 11.


September 27th, 2017 |