From the pastor’s desk on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, year A
In Her many apparitions throughout the world, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary usually asked for two things: to pray the Rosary and to do acts of penance for the reparation of the sins of the world. Since the month of October is traditionally dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary I would like to expend on the role of Mary in Catholic Christian spirituality.
In the Catholic religiosity our relationship with the Blessed Mother should not be optional but essential, for it fosters the spiritual growth and wellbeing of the Church, of local communities, families, and individuals. In a particular way we enter the relationship with Mary while praying the Most Holy Rosary. By doing it we enter the mysteries of Christ with the mind of Mary, for as St. John Paul II wrote it, “among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother” (Rosarium Viriginis Mariae, par. 14).
The first request of Mary is the prayer itself – the Rosary on a daily basis. Just as a reminder, we must recall that prayer is lifting up of mind to God. So when we pray the Rosary, we not so much focus on Mary, but with Her we lift up our minds to God. By recitation of the Rosary we are being taught in the school of Mary. And “as we contemplate each mystery of her Son's life, She invites us to do as She did at the Annunciation: to ask humbly the questions which open us to the light, in order to end with the obedience of faith: ‘Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word’” (Rosarium Viriginis Mariae, par.14). In short, the Blessed Mother helps us to understand the great mysteries we profess in our creed. She was so close to Her Son Jesus that She is the only one among the creatures able to render proper love and respect for God. Besides, Mary was acknowledged as “the full of grace” so that all followers of Jesus might learn from Her how to be close to Her Blessed Son too.
There is a very curious correlation between devotion to the Blessed Mother and other Catholic practices. People, who show great piety towards Holy Mary and pray the Rosary, usually demonstrate more love and respect for the Church and they highly value the sacraments of the Eucharist and reconciliation. In consequence, Mary’s devotees more quickly advance on spiritual path to holiness.
Most of us know well this saying: The family that prays together stays together. Again, St. John Paul II emphasized this truth in his encyclical: “The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God” (Rosarium Viriginis Mariae, par. 41). I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to invite the Most Holy Virgin to our homes, families, prayer groups, and friendships. We will do that by engaging in daily recitation of the Most Holy Rosary. The Rosary should be a family prayer for all Catholic families. It is never too late to begin praying the rosary. I guarantee you that, if your start praying the Rosary together as a family, if you only do it with sincere heart, very soon you will feel Mary’s maternal protection and guidance. Moreover, your devotion and longing for the Holy Mass will increase too, for it is a longing for Christ, whom Mary presents to the World.
As our world is troubled by the pandemic and economic uncertainties let us have recourse to the Blessed Mother so that God’s peace may reign in our hearts, families, and society. Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us! St. Joseph, pray for us!
Have a wonderful week! Fr. Janusz Mocarski, pastor