VATICAN - Ave Maria: Mgr. Luciano Alimandi -
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Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On October the 7th the Church celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary, a feast day dear to countless Catholics. The prayer of the Holy Rosary nourishes Marian devotion as it reveals the inseparable bond between Jesus and Mary, his Mother and an extraordinary gift for the whole of humanity. From the beginning the Church experienced this bond in all its abyssal profundity, contemplating and illuminating it down through the centuries. In this light of
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special beauty we understand the words of Pope Paul VI, the Pope of the document Marialis Cultus: “if we want to be Christians, we must understand the essential, vital and providential relationship which unites Our Lady with Jesus, and which opens for us the way which leads to Him” (Paul VI, homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, 24 April 1970).
The Rosary is truly a “way” of prayer along which the Mother leads us to her Son. The Rosary prayer might appear 'poor' or even, 'monotonous', but in actual fact the same could be said about our breathing: apparently feeble and repetitive, but so vital!
This most excellent of Marian prayers, apparently poor and monotonous, is so rich and never tedious. Recited with faith the Rosary gives the strength and the confidence to deal with daily difficulties.
The Rosary is so simple that even children learn to pray it. Families and communities reciting the rosary with children experience the same loving kindness of Jesus testified by the Gospels: “ 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' Then he embraced them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing. (Mk 10, 14-16). Jesus renews this blessing whenever children pray for the benefit of all as a sign of His special love for little ones.
How many graces the three shepherd children at Fatima, Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia received from God. Besides the graces those children received a heavenly mandate to recite many Rosaries for peace and Portugal was spared by the Great War.
The Holy Father Benedict XVI, on 7 October 2007, recalling that for Catholics the month of October is dedicated to praying the Rosary and renewing missionary commitment, mentioned, among other things, Our Lady's call at Fatima:
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"The traditional image of Our Lady of the Rosary portrays Mary who with one arm supports the Child Jesus and with the other is offering the rosary beads to St Dominic. This important iconography shows that the Rosary is a means given by the Virgin to contemplate Jesus and, in meditating on his life, to love him and follow him ever more faithfully. It is this message that Our Lady has also bequeathed to us in her various apparitions. I am thinking in particular of the apparition in Fatima that occurred 90 years ago. Presenting herself as "Our Lady of the Rosary", she insistently recommended the daily recitation of the Rosary to the three little shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, in order to obtain the end of the war. Let us also accept the Virgin's motherly request, pledging to recite the Rosary with faith for peace in families, nations and throughout world. ” (Benedict XVI, Angelus, 7 October 2007).
The message of Fatima reveals how important it is, especially for children, to say the Rosary. Trusting in the words of the Lord, “let little children come to me” and in the call of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, families can draw great benefit from praying the Rosary. For generations of believers this prayer, for many a daily practice, has obtained protection and countless graces! The Church never tires of urging the faithful to pray the Rosary especially within the “domestic church”, within the home, the first seminary for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
The Servant of God John Paul II, to re-launch this prayer at the universal level, called a “Year of the Rosary” (October 2002-October 2003). The Rosary was also the subject of a special Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, by John Paul II in which he wrote: “In my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I encouraged the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours by the lay faithful in the ordinary life of parish communities and Christian groups;(39) I now wish to do the same for the Rosary. These two paths of Christian contemplation are not mutually exclusive; they complement one another. I would therefore ask those who devote themselves to the pastoral care of families to recommend heartily the recitation of the Rosary.(...) The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the centre, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on. ” (John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 41).
(Agenzia Fides 9/10/2009)