Catholic Teachings - O'Brien: Queen of the Holy Rosary, Pray for Us

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If we dwell on the words of the Rosary we will soon understand that the Rosary is older than the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ Himself founded. Our Lord taught His apostles how to pray before he was delivered up for us. Our Father. The greeting of the angel Gabriel antecedes that. "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Luke 1:28). "...all generations will call me blessed: (Luke 1:48). "And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus" (Luke 1:31). At the time of the crucifixion the Lord Jesus said to Mary: "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" "And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." (John 19:26 - 27).

Just as the Apostle John took her into his own home we invite Mary into our hearts. What little child does not ask for help? And we ask her for help. "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen" And the Scriptures, which cannot be broken,tell us that the Apostles "devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" (Acts 1:14). She was the spiritual center around which Jesus' friends gather. She was not called one of the women but was singled out as the mother of Jesus.

The Rosary, then, is a prayer. In the early 15th century Dominic of Prussia saw the prayer as a rose garden (rosarium) because of the beautiful prayers of the Hail Mary and the Our Father.

What is the format of the Rosary? It is basically a meditation on the life of the Lord Jesus and ends with an homage to His mother. If we could do the same for our dear mothers would we not do so? And this clearly shows that Mary is not adored, because she is human; we carry out what the Holy Spirit inspired her to say when Elizabeth greeted her and when she answered the angel Gabriel: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord" (Luke 1:38). We ask her to pray for us now - because we are poor banished children of Eve and need help to avoid sin. She is our mother, because Jesus gave her to us. And not only now, but especially at the hour of our death. What a consolation to have our mother praying for us, for all God's children, she who was conceived without sin and is complemented by the poet William Wordsworth as "our tainted nature's solitary boast."

At another time we will continue to meditate on this great gift of God to us, but since the month of October is near, we will very briefly explain why the month of October is the month dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. On October 7, 1571, the fleets of Europe defeated the Turkish fleet. The people of Rome, together with Pope St. Pius V, had been praying for success and they attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. He established the feast of Our Lady of Victory which was changed by Gregory XIII to the feast of the Most Holy Rosary. The feast was extended to the whole Church in 1716 by Clement the 11th.

The Rosary: a meditation on the life of Christ: the joyful mysteries of the boyhood of Jesus; the sorrowful mysteries of His passion and death; the glorious mysteries of His resurrection and ascension into heaven; the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles; the assumption of Mary body and soul, a pledge of our own resurrection on the last day when Jesus Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and finally, the coronation of the humble peasant girl who said yes to God and served Him, always preserved from every sin by a singular grace of the Blessed Trinity.

--August 25, 2000