FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
THEME: THE GOSPEL OF THE ROSARY!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR OCTOBER 7
* Gal 2: 1 – 14, Lk 11: 1 – 4.0
The Rosary is also known as the ‘Psalter of Mary’. Its original form of 150 Hail Marys correspond to the number of psalms in the Bible. *It is a form of prayer predominantly made up of the OUR FATHER, HAIL MARY, GLORY BE and the meditations on the mysteries associated with the life of Christ.* This special prayer was handed over to St Dominic by our Lady in a vision during the battle of Lepato sometime around the 13th century. The mysteries of the Rosary are divided into the Joyful, luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. The *Joyful mysteries* are the Annunciation, Lk 1: 26 – 38, celebrated on March 25, the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, Lk 1: 39 – 56, celebrated on May 31, the Nativity, Lk 2: 1 – 20, celebrated on December 25, the Presentation of the child Jesus in the temple, Lk 2: 22 – 32, celebrated on February 2, and the finding of Jesus in the temple, Lk 2: 41 – 50. *The Luminous Mysteries*, as added by Pope John Paul II are; the Baptism of our Lord, Lk 3: 21 – 22, usually celebrated the Sunday after Epiphany, the Turning of water into wine, Jn 2: 1 – 11, the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom, Mk 1: 14 – 15, the Transfiguration, Matt 17: 1 – 8, and the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Lk 22: 20. *The Sorrowful mysteries* are the agony in the garden, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the Cross and the crucifixion, Lk 22: 39 – 23: 46. The *Glorious mysteries* are the Resurrection, Lk 24: 1 – 8, the Ascension, Act 1: 6 – 11, the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, Act 2: 1 – 13, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on August 15, and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven, celebrated on August 22. It is the prayerful/ contemplative reflection on these mysteries that constitute what we call the holy rosary. As Bridge McKenna put it, ‘The rosary is walking with Mary through the life of Jesus’.
The rosary is a perfect form of prayerful tribute to the Trinity. It usually begins with the recitation of the Apostolic Creed, followed by the Our Father, the Hail Mary thrice and the Doxology (Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The doxology is the followed by Mary’s own prayer at Fatima in 1917: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins! Save us from the fires of hell! Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who most need your mercy!”. Each set of 5 decades (called chaplet), however, concludes with the recitation of the ” Hail Holy Queen!” thus acknowledging Mary’s ongoing role in our salvation as next to Jesus in the heavenly hierarchy.
In today’s gospel, the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. *He simply taught them how to praise God, seek his kingdom, ask his favours, ask pardon for their sins and seek protection from temptations. All these are beautifully and perfectly executed in the Rosary*. Tertullian calls the rosary the summary of the whole gospel. St Thomas Aquinas calls it a perfect prayer. I call it “a new form of the gospel”. St Louis the Montfort says: “Never will anyone who prays his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood”. May our devotions to our blessed mother Mary, especially through the holy rosary produce in us deeper expressions of love for God and our neighbour. May God bless you today.
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