“We honour… the Blessed Virgin Mary, our most tender mother; we imitate her virtues, we continuously give her thanks for our gifts, we frequently receive in her honour the holy sacraments and do not forget that the rosary is one of the devotions that she likes most” (Carta Ascética… al presidente de uno de los coros de la Academia de San Miguel. Barcelona 1862, p. 45).
MARY, LISTENER AND PRAYER
Praying the rosary, so highly recommended by Claret as an effective Marian devotion for the apostolate, has been forgotten by many Christians. Perhaps because of this, the Magisterium of the Church has re-evaluated the rosary in several of its recent documents.
It is evident that the Church cannot relegate the Mother of her Lord. Nor should she exalt her too much by placing her almost at the same level as her Son. Always subordinate to Him, Mary has her place in the salvific mission of her Son; her function is motherly intervention.
Besides, she is a model for the faithful as one who welcomes the Word. In this context the rosary recovers its meaning, an evangelical prayer centred in the mystery of the redemptive incarnation and classified by Pius XII as a ‘compendium of the entire Gospel’. The rosary is a prayer-meditation of the mysteries of the life of the Son under the guidance of she who was united with him from Bethlehem to Calvary, events which she kept and meditated on in her heart (cf. Lk 2: 19, 51): ‘the joy of the messianic times, the salvific suffering of Christ and the glory of the Risen one that inundates the Church’ (Paul VI in 1974 in his encyclical Marialis cultus no. 49).
Paul VI recalled ‘On many occasions the Popes have recommended its frequent recitation, encouraged its diffusion, explained its nature, recognized its suitability for fostering contemplative prayer, prayer of both praise and petition, and recalled its intrinsic effectiveness for promoting Christian life and apostolic commitment’ (Marialis cultus nº 42). Claret encourages the apostle who has the task of identification with Christ in his service to the world. Contemplate the face of Christ, and contemplate it with Mary, was the programme that John Paul II indicated to the whole Church at the dawn of the third millennium, inviting her to face enthusiastically the new evangelization.
As an apostle, what quality of the Virgin Mary do I most admire and consider most necessary for me? Why?