Monday, 7 October 2013
Dominicans today throughout the world and the Church Universal celebrate a Patronal Feast, Our Lady Immaculate, Queen of the Rosary.
Dominicans breathe with a love for the Virgin and treasure the gift we have received to spread devotion to the Rosary. The Rosary is simply for us the Gospel on the string that hangs from the left hand side of our religious habits. When the friar preacher rises from his study desk he is constantly reminded that his contemplation of mystery of Jesus Christ continues with him, for the gentle jingle of the beads that hang from the habit calls us to continual meditation and prayer in the presence of Lord’s mother. To sit or kneel with her, and look through her eyes, to ponder in our hearts what she pondered in her Immaculate heart. The life of the Virgin is completely absorbed and transfixed with Jesus her beloved Son, and it is to him alone that she draws those she received at the foot of the cross, when Our Lord said to her, Woman behold your son. Mary wishes to see her Son in us through a life of virtue and so she intercedes continually to bring us closer to him. We too are asked like St. John, “Behold your Mother,” to bring her to our homes, our hearts and our prayers and to our study for she is the most eminent of teachers. The Dominican life is an absorption in the contemplation of the Word made flesh, and that contemplation begins with Mary, who brought forth the word. The Rosary is an immersion in Jesus, making present in our minds and hearts the life of the Lord in any given moment of the day.
To pray the rosary is to be immersed into the mystery of Jesus Christ. These mysteries are of his life, the mysteries of his grace and the mysteries of his love for each one us. When the bead pass through our fingers the mind united with the soul is truly plunged into Jesus Himself. The Rosary therefore is Jesus filling our souls, our intelligence, our memory, our imagination, our vision. At each instant and in all the mysteries it is always His Person that comes to the fore, but the reality is always unique, always the same: it is Jesus.
The Rosary is not only Jesus filling the spirit; it is also Jesus penetrating and taking over the heart to warm it and set it afire. How can anyone one remain in front of a blazing fire, without being penetrated, in turn, by its warmth? And what comes forth from all the mysteries of the Rosary if not warmth, and the flame of love? How can we not love the One who lavishes such love on us? The One who gives Himself without reserve?
The Rosary therefore is time of intimacy with Jesus and Mary, during which all the rest is forgotten. It transports us into what is most intimate to the Christian life to penetrate us with its grace and to rekindle it ceaselessly within us. One who practices the Rosary in this way is at the wellspring of a true holiness, peace and joy.
Happy Feast Day.