Our Lady’s Favorite Prayer: The Rosary

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Ave Maria Meditations
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PRAYERS TO THE MOTHER OF JESUS

The Virgin always brings us to her Son.

Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people one day when a woman cried out: Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked! Jesus remembered very well the loving attention of his Mother. These words of praise for Jesus and Mary spring from the simple faith of an unknown woman. Moved to the very depth of her heart by the teachings and gentle figure of Jesus, she could no longer contain her admiration. In her words we recognize a genuine example of the popular piety that has always been alive among Christians throughout the centuries? On that very day the words of the Magnificat came to life: Henceforth all generations will call me blessed. That nknown woman had begun a litany of praise that would continue until the end of time.

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Jesus took these words of praise and made them even more profound: Blessed, rather, are those who hear the word of God and keep it! Undoubtedly, Mary is blessed for having borne in her womb the Son of God, for having nursed him and brought him up to manhood. But she is much more blessed for having fulfilled the word of God to perfection. In the course of her Son?s preaching she received the words whereby, in extolling a kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, he declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God as she was faith?fully doing (Luke 2:19; 51).

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This Gospel reading gives us an excellent prayer with which to honor the Son of God by venerating his Mother. Jesus is delighted to hear praises of Mary. This is why we pray the Holy Rosary with such devotion. In the words of Pope John Paul II: As the woman in the Gospel cried out full of admiration and blessing for Jesus and his Mother, you too usually unite Jesus and Mary in your devo?tion and love. You understand that the Blessed Virgin leads us to her divine Son, and that he always listens to his Mother?s requests. Having recourse to the Blessed Virgin is the shortest road to Jesus, and through him to the Holy Trin?ity: When we honor Mary we act as faithful children. We imitate Christ and in this we become like him. Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doc?trines of the faith: and when she is the subject of preaching and worship she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father. If we are with Mary we are certain to be on the sure path.

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The Holy Rosary, the Virgin’s favorite prayer.

Let us join our voices to that great chorus of voices of those who have praised Our Lady down through the centu?ries. We too want to learn how to go to Jesus through Mary. In this month we can follow the custom of the Church by putting more effort into the way we pray the Holy Rosary. The Roman Pontiff, John Paul II, ?has strongly encouraged us: I want to recommend to you in a special way the Rosary, ?a source of profound Christian life. Pray it every day, alone or with your family, repeating with great faith those basic prayers of the Christian: the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be to the Father. Meditate on those scenes of the life of Jesus and Mary of which the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries remind us. Thus you will learn in the joy?ful mysteries to think of Jesus who became poor and lowly, a child, for our sake, to serve us; you will feel encouraged to serve your neighbor in his needs. In the sorrowful mysteries you will realize that accepting the sufferings of this life with docility and love, like Christ in his Passion, leads to happi?ness and joy which is expressed in the glorious mysteries of Christ and Mary in the hope of eternal life.

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The Rosary is Our Lady’s favorite prayer. It always reaches her motherly heart. As a result, she obtains count?less graces and benefits for us. This devotion has been compared to a ladder that goes up rung by rung. We there?fore come closer and closer to Our Lady, which inevitably means a meeting with Christ her Son. This is one of the characteristics of the Rosary, the most beautiful and impor?tant characteristic of all. ?This Marian devotion brings us to Christ who is the goal of this long and repeated invocation to Mary. We speak to Mary so as to reach Christ himself. What peace the slow repetition of the Hail Mary gives us! We can stop, perhaps, to savor each one of its parts: ?Hail Mary That salutation which we have prayed so often with filial love: Holy Mary, Mother of God! pray for us now! She looks upon us with maternal affection. Just as with people in love, the pious Christian never tires of repeating the same words over and over again, because the fire of charity makes their content always new.

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The fruits of devotion to Our Lady.

True devotion to the Blessed Virgin can never consist in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity. The Second Vatican Council teaches us that true devotion proceeds from a true faith, by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love towards our Mother and to the imita?tion of her virtues. Our love for the Blessed Virgin inspires us to imitate her in the faithful fulfillment of our ordinary duties. She will move us to reject all sin, including venial sin. She will encourage us to struggle against our defects. To contemplate Mary’s docility to the Holy Spirit is to be inspired to do God’s will no matter what the cost. It is through this kind of love that we will overcome weak?ness and temptations to pride and sensuality.

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Whenever we make a pilgrimage or visit a Marian shrine we build up a great reserve of hope. She is Spes nosta, our hope! When we pray the Holy Rosary with attention we will find the strength to seek sanctity. It is not so much a matter of repeating formulas, but rather of speak?ing as living persons with another living person. Even though you do not see this person with the eyes of the body, you are able to see her with the eyes of faith. In fact, Our Lady and her Son Jesus live in heaven a life more alive than our mor?tal life here below on earth.

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The Rosary is a confidential conversation with Mary, a way of speaking to her with confidence and abandonment in it we entrust to her our sorrows, reveal our hopes and open our hearts. It is a way of declaring ourselves at her disposition for anything that she asks of us in the name of her Son. A way of promising her fidelity in every circumstance, even the most painful and difficult, sure of her protection, sure that if we ask her, she will always obtain for us from her Son all the graces necessary for our salva?tion.

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Let us resolve on this Saturday, Mary’s day of the week, to offer her a crown of roses with greater affection. This is where the name Rosary’ comes from. So let us not offer roses which have wilted or been soiled by neglect. The Holy Rosary: the joys, the sorrows, and the glories of the life of Our Lady weave a crown of praises, repeated ceaselessly by the Angels and the Saints in Heaven and by those who love our Mother here on earth. Practice this holy devotion every day, and spread it.

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Fr. Francis Fernandez (In Conversation with God)

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Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

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