Thursday, 12 July 2012

Holding Our Mother's Hand

A few years back, I wrote a series of posts on the Rosary at my other blog, Barque of Peter (scroll down the page of the first link until after the list of Common Catholic Prayers). In keeping with the more apologetic purpose of my other blog, they are written to highlight the historical and theological meaning of the Rosary, as well as detailing how to pray it. Here, though, I wanted to reflect on the more personal and spiritual elements.

When Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, in which he introduced the Luminous Mysteries to the meditations on the life of Christ that form the soul of the Rosary, he recommended introducing each mystery with a personal prayer offering each decade for a particular intention. Many materials explaining the Rosary offer suggested intentions for each mystery. In my own practice of this devotion, I have incorporated (and occasionally adapt) these suggestions. Recently in my prayer, I noticed how these intentions, beginning with the First Joyful Mystery, and ending with the Fifth Glorious Mystery, follow the pattern of the life of faith, just as the mysteries themselves follow the events of the lives of Jesus and Mary. It is this pattern, I think, that is what makes the Rosary such an effective devotion for growth in holiness--and this only makes sense, since holiness is nothing more than conformity to the life of Christ within us--a conformity that paradoxically brings out the best of our own uniqueness. The more the Saints were conformed to Jesus, the more boldly original and exciting each individual Saint became!

And we are led on this journey toward holiness by none other than the holiest of all God's creatures, Jesus' own Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Holding the beads in our hand becomes an action very like taking our Mother's hand in ours as she leads us down the Way--drawing us gently to Her Son, who Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (cf. John 14:6). This thought alone brings great comfort, for so many times we can ourselves do little more than cling tightly to those beads for dear life, trusting in Mary's loving care to guide us along the Way of Her Son.

Over the next couple weeks, I'll be writing a series of articles meditating on and examining the suggested intentions for each mystery of the Rosary, so that we might become better acquainted with Jesus, the Way. (Note: The suggested intentions on which this post is based come from the pamphlet, "Pray the Rosary Daily" published by the Ave Maria Centre of Peace, P.O. Box 489, Station U, Toronto, ON, M8Z 5Y8.)

God bless