Last Tuesday I went to Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation), as I always do on Tuesdays at a parish close to where I work in Scottsdale. For the past month, every Tuesday, I go to weekly Confession since I am fully aware of my own faults and weaknesses…and there are many! I enjoy the time in the Confessional and often go to a priest who I know pretty well.
Let’s be truthful – it’s not easy to go and admit your faults to someone else, but Jesus did give the Apostles the power to forgive sins (Jn 20:19-23) and with the grace that pours from the Sacrament, we should take advantage of God’s mercy and love for us as often as possible. The priest who hears my Confession gave me a high-five recently. He was happy to know that I go to weekly Confession. Another priest here in Phoenix also was happy to hear the same information. Both of these great men of God encourage their parishioners to attend frequently…because of the GRACE that comes from the Sacrament. St. Padre Pio would sit in the Confessional for hours, and even days on end, to hear Confessions and forgive in the name and power of Jesus Christ.
The reason I begin talking about Reconciliation was because while I was in line for Confession, there was an elderly couple in front of me (70-80 years old) who were praying the Holy Rosary as they waited in line. I remember I pulled out my Rosary and they both looked at me at the same time and nodded as to say – good job young man, the Rosary is important for our lives as Catholics. From my standpoint, I felt as if the three of us were united in our Catholicity praying the Holy Rosary together. As I stood there praying the Sorrowful Mysteries, it was great to know that others pray this great Marian prayer and that we were united in faith, even though we were generations apart in age. The Catholic Church and her prayers truly unite the faithful from age to age. (Paragraph #43 below will solidify my argument for you).
For this “Mondays with Mary”, I wanted to share with you the two paragraphs from above, but also wanted to provide some great excerpts from Blessed John Paul II and his Apostolic Letter – Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary). Blessed John Paul II said a few weeks after his Pontificate began in 1978 and in his document that the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary (official name) was his favorite prayer to pray. He prayed it daily. Below are some of his great words on the Most Holy Rosary. I hope you enjoy them, contemplate on them, and share them with your family and friends. I would also encourage you to read the document as well.
Paragraph #1 – “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a contemplation.”
Paragraph #3 – “The Rosary, reclaimed in its full meaning, goes to the very heart of the Christian life; it offers a familiar yet fruitful spiritual meaning and educational opportunity for personal contemplation, the formation of the People of God, and the new evangelization.”
Paragraph #14 – “Contemplating the scenes of the Rosary in union with Mary is a means of learning from her to “read” Christ, to discover his secrets and to understand his message.
Paragraph #16 – “In support of the prayer which Christ and the Spirit cause to rise in our hearts, Mary intervenes with her maternal intercession, “The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary.”…The Rosary is both meditation and supplication.”
Paragraph #21 – “In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments – “luminous” mysteries – during this phase of Christ’s life…each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus.”
Paragraph #25 – “…the Rosary does indeed “mark the rhythm of 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.”
Paragraph #30 – In order to supply a Biblical foundation and greater depth to our meditation, it is helpful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the proclamation of a related Biblical passage, long or short, depending on the circumstances.”
For my fellow teachers – paragraph #42 – “To pray the Rosary for children, and even more, with children, training them from their earliest years to experience this daily “pause for prayer” with the family, is admittedly not the solution to every problem, but it is a spiritual aid which should not be underestimated.”
Paragraph #43 – “I look to you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.”
During this month of the Holy Rosary, let us pray for Our Lady’s maternal and queenly intercession to our King and Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us also pray that we may find more time in our daily lives to offer up the Rosary and to ask for the intercession of Blessed John Paul II and the communion of saints and the divisions of angels to be with us always.