Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Rosary--A Christocentric Prayer

The month of October is dedicated the the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At first look, the Rosary is all about Mary, right? 10 Hail Mary's for every 1 Our Father and Glory Be. The odds are in her favor.  But that would be looking at this powerful prayer through the wrong lenses.

The Rosary is Christ centered, from beginning to end, and the first place to find Christ is in that prayer, the Hail Mary. 

Hail Mary, full of Grace
the Lord is with you
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb,

Holy Mary, Mother of God
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.

The first stanza, if you will, comes from Luke 1:28.  Here's the KJ version.

"And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."

Was the angel complimenting her on her outfit? What a good housekeeper she was? No!  She was prepared by God, filled with grace and without original sin, to be the vessel for the Christ.  She was chosen among women to give birth to the Savior, and he was greeting the one who would shortly, upon her Fiat, become the mother of God.  It's all about Jesus

The second stanza comes from Luke 1:42

"And she (Elisabeth) spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."

Elisabeth was responding to her son, John's, sanctification in her womb upon beholding the Son of God in Mary's womb. Did Elisabeth have x-ray vision? No. God revealed to her that the baby carried by Mary was the Savior of the world. Her response to her cousin was all about Jesus

Holy Mary, Mother of God

That's who she was. 

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. 

We ask for her powerful intercession, just as she interceded for the wedding couple at Cana. We are asking her to pray for us. Jesus is our only intercessor to the Father, but Mary and the saints are intercessors to Jesus. (And that doesn't mean you should not pray directly to Jesus!)

This isn't an original idea of mine. Pope John Paul II laid it out in his apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae

God reveals tools that Christians can use on their path to holiness, and the Rosary is one of my favorites. And I have to believe that God favors it as well, since the purpose is to focus on the Mysteries of His life.  

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