Sunday, 7 October 2012

Our Lady of the Rosary

Traditionally October is one of the two months dedicated to Our Lady (along with May) and this one has a specific emphasis on the rosary. This is one of the few prayers that people from a secular or different religious background know that we pray although they don't always seem to know why or have a true understanding of what it even is. Some see the rosary as simply a thing, just a little string of beads which can be plain and plastic or ornate and made of precious metals and adorned with semi-precious stones. On one level that is, of course, correct; physically the rosary is just a little string of beads. But is that all there is to it? Is it simply an ornament of our faith, something we aimlessly carry around in our pocket or wear as jewellery?

Fra Angelico's Annunciation
What makes the rosary so appealing to us as Catholics is that there is so much beauty and depth in it that you can pray it for years and only partially enter into it. Each day we are given five different mysteries to contemplate, five different episodes from the life of our Lord and our Lady which open up to us the magnitude of God's love for us, what he has done for each of us and how he wants us to respond to him. Even though we have heard those passages from Scripture time and time again we get very little opportunity in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives to really let their message sink in, to take a few minutes to ponder what they mean (and what they mean for us as individuals; what is God asking of me today?) and in the rosary we are invited to do just that. In between our home and work life this may be the one time we get to really open ourselves up to God in this way and it is certainly never wasted.

And of course the real beauty in the rosary comes from whom we are praying with; the Blessed Virgin herself. At the annunciation she gave her soul-felt "yes!" which she meant not only then but continues to live on, her whole life and prayers are poured out in the service of God, she says "yes!" to him again and again as she, with motherly care, intercedes for us here on earth. And why would we not want her help? Who knew Jesus better than his mother? Who better is there to lead us into a greater understanding of who Christ is than the woman who carried him in her womb, who nursed him and watched him grow, followed him with the deepest humility and devotion, and stood by as he was nailed to the cross to reconcile us to the Father? And even though we may say 53 Hail Mary's in each rosary she takes no praise or glory for herself but offers our prayers to God.

If it were not a Sunday today would be the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. But even so, why not say one today yourself? And why not make the effort to make this October a special month of prayer with our Lady? There is a rosary being said at St. John's at 6pm this evening or there are the regular times on Fridays (after 10am Mass) and Saturdays (before 10am Mass).

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

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