Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Jesus Through Mary

Why pray the Rosary? Why pray to Mary?

First, it is important to understand that Catholics do not WORSHIP Mary. We only worship the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity-- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. However, we HONOR Mary as the greatest of saints. She was chosen and created by God and was given the gift of a soul free from Original Sin from the first moment of her conception. Catholics refer to this as the Immaculate Conception, and we celebrate this event each year on December 8th.

Note: Many Catholics are confused by the Immaculate Conception and think that it is a celebration of the day that Mary conceived Jesus. This is actually called the Feast of the Annunciation (when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary) and is celebrated on March 25th, nine months before the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. The feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) honors the day that Mary was conceived, free of Original Sin, in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. Mary was given this special honor because she was to become the Mother of God (Theotokos, the Greek term). Certainly, the woman who was to conceive, bear and raise the Son of God could not be tainted by sin.

As the Mother of Jesus, Mary was also His first teacher. She taught Him how to walk, how to talk and all the other things a mother teaches a young child. She also teaches us through the Rosary. St. Luke tells us in his Gospel, "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) Through the Rosary, she guides us in reflecting on the events of her Son's life. The Rosary is not a path TO Mary, but a path THROUGH Mary to Jesus, and ultimately to our Heavenly Father.

Mary has appeared to many saints and visionaries, urging them to pray the Rosary. St. Dominic, St. Louis de Montfort, Blessed Alan de la Roche, and St. Lucia of Fatima are just a few of the many saints who spread devotion to the Rosary.

If you are interested in reading more about this subject, I highly recommend The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort:
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Monday, August 3, 2009

The Rosary and a Garden

I'm afraid that I've let this blog lie idle for too long. I apologize if you're interested in learning more and have been patiently waiting.

The following excerpt from my ebook, The Rosary Workout, compares the Rosary to a garden:

"The word 'Rosary' comes from the Latin word 'rosarium,' which means 'a rose garden, often circular'. In Catholicism, the images of a garden, a rose and a circle are rich in symbolism.

Place your Rosary in front of you in a circle with the crucifix pointing toward you. The short chain, known as the pendant chain, is like a pathway leading to a garden, which is represented by the circular part of the Rosary. The crucifix marks the opening prayer of the Rosary, The Apostles’ Creed. The Creed (and our corresponding faith) is the key to unlock the garden gate, where Our Blessed Mother will lead us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of the Rosary. The five beads on the pendant chain represent a pathway into the garden as we recite the prayers they represent: The Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Glory Be. The three Hail Mary are traditionally prayed for an increase in the three theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. The three beads are also said to honor the three persons of the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We enter the garden, or circle of beads, when we begin the first decade of the Rosary. While we’re in the garden, we meditate on five mysteries, leading us to a deeper understanding of the Gospels. We exit the garden after making a final prayer of praise and petition to our Blessed Mother, the Hail Holy Queen.

The Rosary is a path to the garden which we most long to enter: Paradise."