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Rosary Sunday

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary  |  Fr Leo Edgar, who is based in the Rosary Shrine in London, calls us back to Christ through Mary, and to pray especially for the family. 

Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – normally held on October 7th – and during the month of October the practice of saying the Rosary is recommended to us by the Church and especially by Pope Francis this year.

What makes this special for us here at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in London (Belsize Park) is that our parish is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and St Dominic, and so, throughout the world, wherever Dominicans gather, the Rosary will be recited, and the beads fingered, recalling the tradition that Our Lady, by tradition, gave St Dominic the Rosary as the prayer most pleasing to her, and in recognition that the Dominican Order takes Our Lady as its special Patroness, dating back to the very beginnings of the Order; Dominic chose Our Lady as the Protector of his newly established Order. 

Why should we then pray the Rosary in our daily lives? Prayer can take many forms in our lives. All prayer, even wordless prayer, can be enormously worthwhile. Conversation with God, talking and listening can be so beneficial to the furthering of our mystical life, a life of intercourse with God.

To quote Fr Henri Nouwen (1932 – 1996), a writer of deep spirituality in a most practical, human way: “Mary calls me back to where I most want to be”. 

What makes prayer to Mary so special? It seems fitting that as we celebrate this Feast of the Rosary, we recall that Mary was, above all, the Mother of Christ and the wife of Joseph, the three forming the model of a Holy Family. This is an additional reason why we should observe this feast as something special, because it helps us to reflect on the importance of families. Pope Francis embarked on the Synods of the Family, and currently of the Youth, with Bishops and lay people to discuss family life in the world today, and a group met recently in Dublin in September for further discussions on the same topic. 

What better way is there for us to support the discussions currently taking place in Rome and elsewhere to do with family life, than by reciting the Rosary? It helps us to visualise and contemplate the events of Christ’s life on this earth, from the angel Gabriel’s  Annunciation to Mary that she had been chosen by God to be the Mother of his divine Son, right through to the crowning of our Lady as Queen of Heaven.

The rose is perhaps the most beautiful of all the flowers, a symbol of love, and one that has a most beautiful scent. When roses are blessed in London at the end of Masses this weekend, they are distributed to all ‘lovers’ – lovers of the Rosary, lovers of Mary. Mary is referred to as the ‘Mystical Rose’ in one of the litanies used to honour her, and when we bless the roses we ask God, through the intercession of our heavenly Mother, to bless those who receive them, especially those who are sick, and in need of our prayers.

But in response to this gift we should endeavour to pray the Rosary regularly during this month of October, in particular for the success of the discussions on youth and family life currently taking place. The threat to family life in our society is perhaps greater than ever; there exist threats from every side on  marriage itself and on other traditional family values in our world, with a depressing lack of moral guidance on customs and tradition that have stood us in good stead over many generations.

The “call back” (expressed by Henry Nouwen) indicates the urgent need of a return to Christ’s compassionate love, expressed in the life of Our Blessed Lady, and expressed worldwide in the devotion shown to the Mother of God. This love, and the roses that remind us of it, directs each one of us to come close to the Sacred Heart of her Son – the heart that exudes God’s infinite love on a world that seems to ignore it in many ways. This is an individual and a collective “call back” to Christ, via the route of the Virgin Mary. Our devotion to Mary ensures for us a true encounter with Christ; an encounter that the whole world should recognise.

October is one of the months of Our Lady when all of us should strive to find that inner joy that comes from such an encounter.
“Go to Mary, and  learn from her how to live in this anguishing world as peace-bringing witnesses to her Son”, concludes Henri Nouwen.     Such very sound advice !

Zech 2:14-17  | Act 1:12-14  | Luke 1:39-47

Photograph by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP of the Rosary Altar in St Dominic's, London.

Leo Edgar O.P.

Leo Edgar Leo Edgar is an assistant priest at St Dominic's, London.


Anonymous commented on 07-Oct-2018 10:36 AM
Thank you fr Edgar for a very powerful reflection of the feast of our Lady of the Rosary. Wishing you God's blessings on your preaching

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