“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother,’...”.
With these words, Christ gave us a spiritual mother. While she has a special spot in God’s eye because of her sinless state, she’s one of us. It makes her more relatable to the rest of us. The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops says of Mary:
“...Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth,” (USCCB).
Our Protestant brothers and sisters are really missing out on a beautiful gift from Christ in not venerating her as we do. The early Christian church venerated her and treated her with honor from even the get go. It’s a fundamental belief of Catholicism that Mary is one of us, yet set apart.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in the section titled, Devotion to the Blessed Virgin:
“...All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrin-sic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs....
This very special devotion ... differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.
"The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.’...”
We have such a gift in the Rosary. The prayers of the Rosary comes straight from the scriptures, the Apostles’ Creed is the summary of our Catholic beliefs; the Our Father comes from the gospels, and the mysteries center around events during Christ’s life.
There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Pope John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.
The repetition involved in the rosary is said by the USCCB to be, “... meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ's spirit dwells...” (USCCB).
Praying the Rosary is a peaceful time of thoughtful prayer, and can be a huge gift to us. Pope John Paul II wrote in Rosarium Virginis Mariae in 2002,
“The Rosary, though clearly Mari- an 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 compendium...With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love.
Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer...”
So not only do we have a tranquil prayer and opportunity to learn more about Christ and Mary through the rosary, we receive abundant graces from it, as well!
The gift we’ve been given of the rosary is one often taken for granted or forgotten about. Some- times it’s hard to remember the mysteries, the order of the prayers, or to keep track of which Hail Mary you’re on in a decade, but it’s a prayer worth practicing!
There are multiple Rosary apps as well as our Free Heart of Mary Audio Rosary one can download to help, and practice makes perfect!
When was the last time you prayed a full rosary?
What rosary mysteries call to your heart the most?
Try to make an effort to pray the rosary more often than you do. If you don’t often pray it, start out small. Maybe once a month, or once every other week. Once you become accustomed to the prayers and how cathartic it can be to pray to our Holy Mother with this wonderful gift, it’ll get easier and easier to make more time and pray it even more!