The Month of Our Lady of the Rosary
©Catholic Online 2004
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
It is well-known that the Church "dedicates" both May and October to the remembrance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May's commemoration is more general--the Mother of God in all her splendor, whereas October's is quite specific--Mary under her glorious title of "Our Lady of the Rosary."
This makes eminent sense. Before we venerate the Madonna, we must first know who she is. Before we lift our voices in the prayerful recitation of the Holy Rosary, which is insightfully hailed as "the Gospel in miniature," we must know to whom we turn.
The focus on Mary during the second full month of spring may be likened to a student's first two years at the university where he is enrolled in certain "core" classes: English, history, science, etc. October's concentration on Our Lady and her Holy Rosary is similar to the business, philosophy or teaching-inclined collegian who "specializes" in his particular discipline during the last two years.
The Holy Rosary takes on deeper meaning when we come to acknowledge Our Blessed Mother and how she is related to her Divine Son and His Chosen Bride, the Church.
Father Luigi Gambero, an Italian Marianist priest who has considerable expertise in the study of the Fathers of the Church, identifies dozens of passages regarding Mary and her singular mission which were written in the early centuries immediately after the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Father Gambero demonstrates that our filial love for the Ever-Virgin Mother of the Savior and our sincere devotion to "telling the beads" are deeply rooted in the history, theology and practice of the Church.
For example, Saint Peter Chrysologus (c.380-c.450), Bishop and Doctor, whose Feast is July 30, was convinced of the necessity of devotion to Mary. He penned these words almost 1,600 years ago: "He who is not awestruck by this Virgin's spirit and who does not admire her soul is ignorant of how great God is. Heaven trembles, angels quake, creation cannot bear it, nature is helpless--yet a girl carries God in her womb; she receives Him into herself and offers Him a dwelling place."
For Saint Peter Chrysologus, such a truth evident in the following demands that the faithful everywhere honor that fair woman we salute in the Litany of Loreto as "the Cause of our Joy": "Truly blessed is she who was greater than the heavens, stronger than the earth, vaster than the globe. For she alone contained within herself that God Whom the world cannot contain: she bore Him Who bears the world; she gave birth to her Father; she nursed Him Who nurtures every living thing."
One may argue: "I don't find anything in this text--or, for that matter, in any works of the Church Fathers--which advocates the praying of the Rosary, which is, after all, a much later development in Christian piety."
Yes, the Rosary is a "later development." Nevertheless, Saint Peter Chrysologus and the other Fathers of the Church lay the essential foundation. It is right and just that we invoke the Mother of the Master. She is close to Him in Paradise as she was here on earth. The Rosary is the ideal prayer. Pope John Paul II has conceded that it is his "favorite" prayer.
This excellent book, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought provides salutary reflection especially in this month of Our Dear Mother whom we venerate with our Rosaries in hand.
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!
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Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
The Blessed Virgin Mary; The Holy Rosary
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