Spiritual Powerhouse: Mary’s Rosary

The Rosary is principally composed of the Prayer of Christ, the Our Father, and the Angelic Salutation, the Hail Mary. In his 2002 apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary), Pope John Paul II develops this dynamic further:

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginning and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.”

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of redemptive Incarnation, which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty of the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary, the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 1)

I ardently testify that the Rosary is a spiritual powerhouse of prayer. Twenty-three years ago I had a profound conversion of heart through the Rosary, a reversion to the practice of the faith after seven years of spiritual mediocrity with little or no prayer. When I took up praying the Rosary it unlocked my mind and heart to an authentic experience of Jesus. The Rosary was an instrument of inner healing that helped reorient my mind to Christ so that I could leave behind the worldliness I had chosen for a time. When I began praying the Rosary daily for serious family situations, the fruit was miraculous in every case.

Never did the Rosary fail as intercessory prayer for my family as we went through a long period of intense suffering. Sometimes, it would take a year of praying the Rosary for a particular intention, but in the end the grace would come for every trial. Through the Rosary, peace and courage enabled me to carry my cross not with bitterness but rather abandonment to God. My family suffered a very heavy cross for many years but instead of being crushed by its weight, Jesus and Mary helped me trust that God would bring great good out of every suffering that is united to His Passion. The greatest solace came when I contemplated the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. I would see that my suffering, seemingly so great, was actually small in comparison with the Lord’s Passion. I was not crushed but transformed by suffering. But I needed an arsenal of prayer: the Mass, Holy Hours (sometimes many hours before the Tabernacle) and the Rosary (prayed as often as possible). Mary taught me to keep my eyes on Christ by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, pondering the Lord’s life, death and resurrection. There is not enough room here to share all the miraculousstories that came to our family through the prayers of the Rosary!

Pope John Paul II was often seen and pictured with the Rosary in his hand. I wonder how many thousands of Rosaries he gave to the faithful who came to his papal audiences? I know many people who cherish the Rosary he gave to them! The Polish Pope continues, writing from the heart about the personal impact of the Rosary and how it ties in with his pontificate:

I myself have often encouraged the frequent recitation of the Rosary. From my youthful years this prayer has held an important place in my spiritual life. I was powerfully reminded of this during my recent visit to Poland, and in particular at the Shrine of Kalwaria. The rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort. Twenty-four years ago, 29 October 1978, scarcely two weeks after my election to the See of Peter, I frankly admitted: ‘The Rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth!… Against the background of the words Ave Maria the principal events of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul. They take shape in the complete series of the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries, and they put us in living communion with Jesus through—we might say—the heart of his Mother. At the same time our hearts can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church, and all mankind; our personal concerns and those of our neighbor, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayers of the Rosary mark the rhythm of human life.”

…How many graces have I received in these from the Blessed Virgin through the Rosary: Magnificat anima mea Dominum! I wish to lift up my thanks to the Lord in the words of his Most Holy Mother, under whose protection I have placed my Petrine ministry: Totus Tuus!” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 2)

Pope John Paul II’s devotion to the rosary was deep and influential, and in 2005 was personally witnessed in a powerful way by none other than Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who we know today as Pope Francis:

If I remember well it was 1985. One evening I went to recite the Holy Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father. He was in front of everybody, on his knees. The group was numerous; I saw the Holy Father from the back and, little by little, I got lost in prayer. I was not alone: I was praying in the middle of the people of God to which I and all those there belonged, led by our Pastor.

In the middle of the prayer I became distracted, looking at the figure of the Pope: his pity, his devotion was a witness. As the time drifted away, and I began to imagine the young priest, the seminarian, the poet, the worker, the child from Wadowice… in the same position in which knelt at that moment, reciting Ave Maria after Ave Maria. His witness struck me. I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path up to his Mother in the sky, a path set out on from his childhood. And I became aware of the density of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego: “Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?” I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the Pope.

That testimony did not get forgotten in an instant. From that time on I have recited the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.

Mary, pray for us sinners who have recourse to you. Amen.

Editor’s note: Excerpt from Kathleen’s upcoming book by Sophia Institute Press: Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization. Watch this space for more information. 

image: Renata Sedmakova / Shutterstock.com

Kathleen Beckman

By

Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S., serves as Co-founder and President of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests (www.foundationforpriests.org). She is an author, radio host and retreat director who frequently speaks to priests, seminarians, religious and laity in the United States and abroad. Often featured on EWTN TV and radio, Kathleen hosts the weekly program Living Eucharist, which airs internationally on Radio Maria. She serves as spiritual director, advisory board member and faculty for the Pope Leo XIII Institute, and the Magnificat advisory team. Her new book, Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization, is available from Sophia Institute Press.

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  • JMC

    There is no prayer more powerful than the Rosary. I witnessed it myself several times in my live. One of five children in a severely dysfunctional family, I watched that dysfunction vanish on the occasions when my mother took up daily family Rosaries for various intentions. When those prayers were answered, the daily family prayer stopped, and the dysfunction returned.
    When I received my first set of beads at my First Holy Communion, I immediately took up the practice of daily Rosaries myself. With a bedtime of 8 p.m., but unable to get to sleep until nearly 11, I would lie in bed and pray the Rosary until I fell asleep. It was a habit I continued into my adult years. In my early 30s, I began dabbling in the New Age movement, yet those nightly Rosaries continued. I credit those Rosaries with the fact that it never got beyond dabbling, never completely drew me away from my faith, and ended after only ten years. (A number of the people I hung out with at that time have deepened their involvement over the past thirty years, becoming Wiccans, neo-pagans, and witches; I know two who claim to have “spirit guides.” If they do, I want nothing to do with those spirits!)
    Whoever originated the saying, “The family that prays together, stays together,” knew what he was talking about!

  • Riki

    Fatima, Hope of the world, Apocalyptic Vision

    O Woman, clothed with the sun

    the moon under Your feet

    You, in Whom Salvation begun

    O Mary, Mary name so sweet

    O heart so full of smarts

    come defeat our self-conceits

    renew our ungrateful hearts

    O Gateway that to Jesus leads

    O dearest Mother, Virgin pure

    upon your children blessings shower

    against the devil most effective cure

    O come to annihilate satan’s power

    O sing with us a whole new song

    of Unity and Godly Peace

    Awaiting your Triumph all along

    O help us fulfill the Heavenly pleas.

    Rita Biesemans, at Fatima May 13 1987

  • Riki

    MARY, THE MYSTICAL CITY

    Mary, Mystical City

    where Jesus, our Savior, resides

    look down on us with pity

    who are carried with the tides

    Will we ever fathom

    the greatness of Your being

    satan spitting his venom

    to prevent our souls from healing

    But You, God’s living Tabernacle

    are constantly pointing to Your Son

    to prevent us from sudden debacle

    to bring us the Victory already won

    We cry out to You, Oh Mystical City

    to pull us out of the dangerous sinkholes

    we are willing to be gritty

    to save our eternal souls

    Mary, our Mother spread Your Mantle over us to keep us safe in Your City.

    Rita Biesemans written 11-29-2013

  • Riki

    AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

    O Mary, your bitter tears

    my heart do pierce

    Our Mother is crying

    Her Son is dying

    to save us humanity

    from complete insanity.

    At the foot of the Cross

    for words I feel at a loss

    our sins are causing You distress

    I’m begging You for forgiveness

    I offer You my fears and mishap

    crawling on Your Mother’s lap

    O my Jesus, I need You, I need You

    satan plans coup after coup

    to destroy me, hoping I’d revolt

    he scares me like a thunderbolt

    but while walking in Your footstep

    on satan’s knuckles I will rap

    enough, enough, I do tell him

    the cup is stored unto the brim.

    Kneeling at His cross’s foot

    Jesus tells me to stay put

    “Let My Graces thee overflow

    My Cross gave satan the final blow”

    I love you so much My child

    and while dying He even smiled.

    Thank You, Mary for this gift,

    and by this my soul did lift.

    Rita Biesemans, Good Friday 3/29/2013

  • Riki

    THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE

    If you follow the Master

    the world will reject you

    as it rejects the Pastor

    with a lot of ballyhoo

    The disciple is NOT above the Master

    nor the servant above his Lord

    the world is heading for a disaster

    the Creator is ready to have it restored

    The Queen of Heaven comes to warn

    us poor children of naughty Eve

    if we don’t listen, we’ll surely mourn

    in an “eternity” full of grief

    Each one of us is free to decide

    whether to follow God or a worldly path

    whether to be humble or full of pride

    whether to be full of Love or full of wrath

    The Righteous Judge keeps patiently

    inviting His children to choose wisely

    but most of us refuse blatantly

    to follow His Commandments very precisely

    He who will not hear, will feel .

    Rita Biesemans, December 12 2013 Feast Day of Our lady of Guadalupe

  • Riki

    TO MARY, ARK OF THE NEW COVENANT

    O Mary, Daughter of Zion
    Mother of Judah’s Lion
    bring us, children of Your Tribe,
    to Your Son, God’s Divine Scribe

    Though being the chosen people
    we act as dumbed down sheeple
    if we keep rejecting Him
    our future looks extremely grim

    Some of us accepted the Messiah
    after prompts by Jeremiah
    but most descendants of Judea
    live as in the times of Hosea

    O Virgin of Israel
    bring the ones seduced by Samael
    to Jeshuah Savior and Son of God
    even “ceaselessly” us do prod.

    Rita Biesemans, July 16 2013
    Our Lady of the Mount Carmel lead us up the Mountain

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