Saturday, March 7, 2015

What is the Rosary?

The word "Rosary" comes from the Latin word "Rosarium" meaning "a garland of roses" or, as it is often referred to, a crown of roses. According to St. Louis de Montfort, “Every time people say the Rosary devoutly, they place a crown of one hundred and fifty three red roses and sixteen white roses upon the heads of Jesus and Mary.” 
The Rosary was described by St. John Paul II as a "prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.” His words echo those of other Pope’s that preceded him, such as Pope Leo XIII who emphasized the Rosary as an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society.  Indeed, in spending time reflecting and contemplating the mysteries of the Rosary, which follow the life of Jesus, we begin to take on more and more of the beautiful characteristics and virtues that Our Lord exemplified.  With His dear Mother watching over us, each of us is guided and protected in a path of holiness.  
Bringing our children to pray the Rosary is a beautiful way to encourage the development of virtue.  Our Blessed Mother explains this in the promises given to St. Dominic to those who faithfully pray the Rosary:
It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
The promises attached to the Rosary have an Imprimatur.  The promise listed above is just one of 15 promises to those who pray the Rosary.  The Rosary is a rich source of grace.  Each mystery of the Rosary has a spiritual fruit associated with it.  The Annunciation (the first joyful mystery) yields humility, the Visitation increases love of neighbor and the third joyful mystery the Nativity increases poverty of spirit.  Poverty of Spirit is the drawing of one’s desires away from the world and increasing desire of things above. It is an emptying of oneself and an allowing Our Lord to fill us. It is wonderful that this fruit helps us to seek that which awaits us in heaven.
As our first vocation in life is to holiness, prayer of the Rosary will help in this path.  Recently,  the Children’s Rosary® was formed.  It is an effort to begin Rosary prayer groups for children in Parishes and schools. These little groups meet weekly or monthly for approximately 30 minutes.  Yet this time in prayer has been so important for these children.  There are so few places that children today can come together to pray with other children and have other children pray for them.  For many children this grounding in prayer and fostering of love for Our Lord and their heavenly Mother will serve to help them for a lifetime.  
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