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What The Holy Rosary Means For Me
by Father Charles M. Mangan
October is almost finished for another year. But the devout recitation of that which the Church particularly recalls this month, the spiritual exercise we call the Rosary, is far from over.
As a priest, I have been asked dozens of questions about the Holy Rosary, perhaps the two most frequent being: How do I pray the Rosary? Why is it important?
During these final days of October, I ask myself: What does the Holy Rosary mean for me?
Thanks to my parents and teachers, I know how to pray the Rosary. I hope that I comprehend its timeless value.
But what does the Holy Rosary mean for me? This inquiry requires additional pondering.
After some head scratching, I came up with three responses out of a possible multitude, each of which cites a privileged "opportunity."
First, the Holy Rosary is for me an opportunity to adore the Most Blessed Trinity, thereby drawing closer to God and making progress along the challenging path to Paradise. Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus invited His Apostles to pray. Above all, praying is the offering of fitting worship and praise to our Creator. Had the Lord never demonstrated His amazing love and abiding compassion for us after the Fall of Adam and Eve, it still would be right--and absolutely necessary--for us to pray as an expression of laud for our Maker.
The Rosary helps me to adore my Beloved Father in Heaven Who constantly extends His unfathomable mercy towards me, my Savior and Brother Jesus Christ Who lives in Sacred Scripture and the Church's Apostolic Tradition--and is present in a most unique way, as the Prayer after the Divine Praises during Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament puts it, "in every Tabernacle throughout the world, even until the end of time," and my Counselor the Holy Spirit Who inspires me to embrace good fully and avoid evil.
Second, the Holy Rosary is for me an opportunity to answer the urgent summons of Our Lady of Fatima. Six times during 1917, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in Fatima, Portugal, encouraging them to pray the Rosary daily for "the end of the War" (World War I). Although that War has concluded, there are plenty of others that seek our attention and elicit our earnest prayers. And, of course, our prayer list filled with diverse needs never ends. Our Blessed Mother uses my humble prayers to work much benefit throughout the universe. The Mother of God knows better than any other human person that prayer is indispensable.
The Rosary helps me to reply affirmatively to Mary's request to pray her Rosary for all the intentions lodged deep in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Pure Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Third, the Holy Rosary is for me an opportunity to unite myself to all the holy men and women, boys and girls who are reciting (and who have recited) this prayer that Pope John Paul II hails as his "favorite." Imagine the Poor Souls in Purgatory ("The Church Suffering") who prayed the Rosary. Now they look to us to assist them in their plight as they continue onward to the Everlasting Kingdom. Imagine the Saints in Heaven ("The Church Triumphant") who recited the Rosary. With the abundant grace of God, they have achieved their goal of perfect union with Jesus in Paradise. Now they attentively await our arrival. Imagine the Faithful here on earth ("The Church Militant") who presently pray the Rosary. They are convinced of the intercessory power of Our Blessed Lady and recognize her God-given ability to change hearts and minds.
The Rosary helps me to remember always my strong solidarity especially with all the Christians in Heaven, Purgatory and on earth who had and have recourse to the Madonna through the recitation of her Holy Rosary.
All told, the Holy Rosary is an inestimable treasure that I, through no merit of my own, am delighted to possess. May I understand it better and pray it more!
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