Prayer and Praying: October 2002 Archives

From Rosarium Virginis Mariae One


From Rosarium Virginis Mariae

One thing I find interesting is a constant reference to what appears to be "course correction" or "focus" constantly uttered by the Popes to the faithful. In the course of this letter, there must be dozens of references to the Christological aspects of the Rosary. I'm certain all the readers of things like blogs have the "proper" focus when praying the Rosary. However, I know of people for whom that focus is not so clear, and for whom, in fact, the communion of the Saints is not terribly clear. When St. Teresa or St. Anthony obtains something for these people, one gets the impression that the given saint is granting some gift, no matter how carefully worded the petition. If this is rampant in the total communion of Saints, how much more true for that greatest of Saints. The reiteration of the Christological focus of the Rosary is an anodyne to many of the anxieties about it that come from converts from more evangelical or fundamentalist mentalities. While the Rosary opens the opportunity to see Christ through the eyes not only of a loving mother but of his Chief disciple and primary Apostle, it remains intently, narrowly focused on the Life , Mission, Death, and Glories of Jesus Christ.

With regard to the new mysteries of the Rosary, to put everyone at ease, article 19 clearly spells out the Pope's intent in promulgating these:

from Rosarium Virginis Mariae
His Holiness Pope John Paul II

I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional lpattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities could broaden it to include the the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion.

(bold-face emphasis mine)

Thus, clearly delineated for even the most skeptical, our Pope makes clear he is offering new mysteries that do not have to be said. But I know that for me the proposed additions do precisely what the Pope would like them to do , "This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and glory."

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One place I am often remiss in my prayer is the proper sense of Gratitude. Sometimes I take for granted the wonderful privilege God has granted me in allowing direct communication with Him and with those who have gone before us. God need do no such thing. He could be the God envisioned by the Deists--the God who set the Universe in motion and forgot it entirely thereafter--the disinterested God, the Distant God.

But He is not. He is close. As close as a word turned His direction, as close as a thought. I need not go somewhere special. I need not do something special. Of course I can, should I choose to do so, but I need not.

I am not grateful enough. I recall the words of a priest who used to serve in the Parish I belong to. He said that a truly grateful person could not be unhappy. As a corollary, I am not certain that he spelled this out, much of our personal unhappiness spills out of a lack of gratitude. If I have a sense, even subconsciously, that I am owed something by the world, or that I have been cheated of something, or that I do not have enough--either spiritual or material good--I will be unhappy. No matter what the cause, much of my unhappiness flows from an inflated sense of self, by a lack of perception of my true worth. If I pause even for a short moment to consider the lot of the vast majority of humankind, I would realize what a truly privileged position I occupy. Compared to something on the order of 80% of humanity, I am in the position of the rich young man who approached Christ. Now, in my own society there is no way in which I could be considered rich and privileged; but, my own society is a distortion, an artificial construct.

I need to return to a prayer of gratitude and praise. I need to remember the purpose of many of my vocal prayers--they remind me that I am the creature and I speak to the creator. Praise and thanksgiving help me to place myself in proper perspective. They are the foundation of humility--a true understanding of my stature (or more properly lack thereof) before almighty God. These reminders, it seems to me, are as important as the Memento Mori of Elizabethan times. They choose the reminders of mortality for these purposes and perhaps they would serve the same today, although they would tend to draw attention to oneself. So rather than memento mori, perhaps a good substitute would be a good dose of conscious, deliberate, heart-felt gratitude for who we are, what we have, and the grace God has given us in allowing us to speak to Him.

Praise Him!

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Prayer and Praying category from October 2002.

Prayer and Praying: September 2002 is the previous archive.

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