by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.
Any expression of Christian spirituality gives prominent place to Mary, Mother of our Redeemer. Praying is at the heart of living the Gospel, and that normally includes praying her rosary. The rosary is a means of summarizing the Gospel. This enables us to live the rosary by entwining its prayers and mysteries into the very fabric of our lives.
In praying the rosary we offer our Spiritual Mother a garland of roses, our heartfelt conversation.
In the rosary we find a unique synthesis of the entire Gospel, both Scripture and Tradition, in a beautifully Marian format that is easily remembered as we implore God's grace.
Pope St. John Paul II taught that praying the rosary is "a most effective way of fostering among the faithful that commitment to contemplation of the Christian mystery and a genuine training in holiness." He regarded the rosary as "an exquisitely contemplative prayer" and "a treasure to be rediscovered."
More than one hundred official documents of the papal magisterium attest to the efficacy of the rosary as a school of virtue and contemplation and a means of obtaining divine graces. The rosary succeeds in protecting our gift of faith from all kinds of sin because it is a gift from God, the weapon chosen for us by Our Lady. The Servant of God, Frank Duff, reminded us that the rosary is our "prime devotion" because it contains Mary. Barbara Kloss, a twentieth century mystic of Poland, was told by Our Lady, "I am wholly in the rosary. Seek me there...find me there."
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once compared the rosary to the Eucharist: "What the Eucharist is in the order of the sacraments, the rosary is in the order of sacramentals." This means, he continues, "the rosary contains Mary."
For Maisie Ward, the noted British writer and publisher, the rosary is a guide to reality. If the rosary contains Mary, then it also contains the Holy Spirit, spouse of Mary and the Spirit of truth (Jn 16:13), the only true guide to reality.
Taking his cue from the Joyful Mysteries, Pope St. John Paul II tells how the rosary transports us to reality. "The rosary mystically transports us to Mary's side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Jesus in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and mold us with the same care until Christ is 'fully formed' in us (Gal 4:19). By immersing us in the Redeemer's life, the rosary insures that what Jesus has done and what the liturgy makes present is profoundly assimilated and shapes our existence."
Since our objective is to live the Gospel, we are called to live the rosary, an epitome of the Gospel, all the time. This requires skillfully entwining its mysteries in our lives. By doing so we become divinized by incorporating the virtues of Jesus and Mary by praying always with Mary. Living the rosary continually requires a deep respect and real love for the rosary by recognizing at its core Jesus, love incarnate -- "the way, the truth, and the life."
"Abide in me and I in you," says Jesus, because "without me you can do nothing."