Monday, October 7, 2013

Devotion for today: The Rosary and the Circle of Life

Today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

Luke 1:28-39: And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen

“It could be said that each mystery of the rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. ‘Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you’ (Psalm 55:23). To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. The rosary does indeed ‘mark the rhythm of human life,’ bringing it into harmony with the ‘rhythm’ of God’s own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life’s destiny and deepest longing. Through the rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.” Blessed John Paul II (as printed in the October issue of The Magnificat, 2013).

As I mentioned before, I have just finished reading a wonderful book by Father Michael Gaitley, titled “The One Thing is Three” in which he reminds the reader over and over again that we as humans have come from the Trinity, and we must return to the Trinity some day. This is the great circle of life. This is the eternal truth. We came from God and we will one day return to Him, passing from life to death, to (hopefully) heavenly reward.

I contemplated on this truth today as I said my rosary. It dawned on me that all 20 decades of the rosary show this circle of life. To begin with, the rosary is shaped in a circle, beginning and ending at the Crucifix which is the source of our salvation.

 The Joyful Mysteries begin with the announcement of the coming of Jesus, just as our coming into the world was announced to our parents. It circles through Jesus’ birth, his presentation which would be similar to our baptism, and to his coming of age at 12 which is similar to our Confirmation.

We then circle through The Mysteries of Light which highlight the public ministry of Jesus, which for us is the role we play in the world through the career and life choices we make. Jesus is baptized in front of many people to begin his ministry, much like our graduation day where we announce our future plans to friends and family. Jesus performs his first miracle, something we will probably not do, but we will have our first “big day” right? The first day when our new skills are shown off to those around us. We move on to Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom, getting the job done so to speak, to his transformation, which is using all means possible to let the truth be known, as we have all had to do, and finally his gift of the Eucharist, bringing us the bread of eternal life. This took place at the Last Supper, where he prepared to say good-bye to his dearest friends. Having finished the job he started, it was time to move on to the next phase of the plan the Father had for his life. Sound familiar to any of you?

 We then wind our way through the Sorrowful mysteries, where we join Jesus in his agony in the garden every time we are suffering and beg for relief, yet prayerfully submit to the will of the Father. We share in his stripes at the scourging at the pillar every time we are attacked for what we believe, for who we are, and for the good we tried to do that was so misunderstood. We share the crown of thorns when our minds are tormented by thoughts and miseries that seem unbearable. We carry our crosses daily, and try to emulate Jesus in being accepting and uncomplaining about doing so. Finally, we die. Some of us will have difficult deaths; some of us will pass peacefully in our sleep. Yet each of us will place ourselves on that cross at the end and say, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Then we are thrilled to share in the Glorious Mysteries. Oh how wonderful for our spirits to rise out of our bodies, ascend to the Father, and share in the wisdom of life! How glorious to be like Mary, one day united with our earthly bodies in heaven, and to receive the crown of eternal life!

The Rosary brings us full circle from birth to death to eternal life. If we truly take the time to meditate on each mystery, we will find the stories of our lives in each of them. We are one with the Trinity. We were made by God the Father, redeemed by God the Son and filled with God the Holy Spirit. Use the Rosary to guide you through every day of your life. Meditate on each mystery and unite your life to Jesus’ and to Mary’s. If the repetition of saying so many Hail Mary’s bothers you, remember what Father de Foucauld once said, “Love is expressed with few words, always the same, and always repeated.” (found in the October issue of the Magnificat, 2013)

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