“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)
Before ascending to Heaven, to the father, Jesus tells His Apostles to remain in Jerusalem to wait for the “promise of the Father,” the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:4). They went to the Upper Room where Jesus ordained them the first priests of the New Covenant and where Jesus instituted the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, the Most Holy Eucharist. There they remained for 9 days in prayer, with the other disciples and Our Blessed Mother Mary. Then at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came rushing down upon all those gathered in the Upper Room in prayer like a mighty wind (cf. Acts 2:2), through the Heart of Our Blessed Mother His Spouse and Mediatrix of all graces. Her prayers drew Him down powerfully upon the newborn Church gathered there in the Upper Room.
When we pray the Rosary, we are gathered around Our Blessed Mother as one priest said, just like the Apostles and disciples gathered in prayer with Her in the Upper Room in preparation for Pentecost. And the Holy Spirit descends into our hearts through the Heart of Our Blessed Mother Who is present with us when we pray. While we are praying the Our Father, which Jesus Himself taught us, and the Hail Mary containing the words God spoke to Our Blessed Mother through the Angel Gabriel, we are meditating on the Mysteries of the Life of Jesus. The Life of Jesus is profoundly and inseparably intertwined with that of Our Blessed Mother. These Mysteries are not merely past events. What happens to God, and Jesus is God, remains present for all eternity because God is the eternal present. His acts are theandric—they are acts of God, thus they remain eternally present in Him, and He in them. The Mysteries of His life remain ever present in Him, and He in them. As we meditate on these Mysteries then, we are gazing with Our Blessed Mother at Christ Who is present with us when we pray the Rosary as St. Louis de Montfort says. We are gazing at the Living God; we are in contact with Him. This contact purifies us since “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29). His gaze purifies us. In this prayer—the Rosary—we gaze at Christ through Mary, with Mary, and He gazes at us.
Every Mystery of Jesus’ Life has graces which He merited for us and these graces descend into our hearts as we pray. Jesus said: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49). This Fire of Love blazing in His Heart is cast into hearts (provided one is in the state of grace, that is, one does not have mortal sins on one’s conscience) as we pray the Rosary. The Fire of Love is cast into our Hearts through the Blessed Mother the Mediatrix of all graces. This Fire of Love is the Holy Spirit, and just as He descended upon the disciples gathered in prayer with Our Blessed Mother at Pentecost, so does He descend into our hearts as we are praying the Rosary with Her. St Louis de Montfort says in the “Secret of the Rosary” that these Mysteries will “help light the fire of love in our hearts.”
The Rosary sets our hearts and the world on fire with God’s love. Blessed Jane of Aza, the mother of Saint Dominic the founder of the Dominican Order, saw in a vision a dog coming forth from her with a torch in his mouth with which he set the world on fire. The dog represents Saint Dominic, whose preaching would set the world on fire. What was Saint Dominic preaching? In his excellent little book “The Secret of the Rosary” saint Louis de Montfort says: “Our Lady taught Saint Dominic this excellent method of praying and ordered him to preach it far and wide so as to awaken the fervor of Christians and to revive in their hearts a love for Our Blessed Lord.” Saint Louis de Montfort also says in this book: “Saint Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great results of his ministry: he had preached the Holy Rosary unceasingly, his sermons had borne great fruit and many people had been converted during his missions. He said to Blessed Alan: ‘See the wonderful results I have had through preaching the Holy Rosary! You and all those who love Our Lady ought to do the same so that, by means of this holy practice of the Rosary, you may draw all people to the real science of the virtues.’”
Yes, the Rosary sets the world on fire with the love of God. Let us pray the Rosary—in common in our parishes, in our families, in prayer groups, and individually. Let us pray it while we work, while we drive, while we do our daily duties. The Rosary can be prayed anywhere. As we work, we can pray a decade or two, or more, and offer these for the conversion of sinners, for our families, for ourselves, for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for the world so in need of peace. In His beautiful Apostolic Letter on the Rosary—Rosarium Virginis Mariae—Pope Saint John Paull II exhorts everyone to pray the Rosary. Scripture tells us to pray unceasingly, and he says the Rosary is part of this unceasing prayer we are called to. It is Our Blessed Mother’s special prayer, and She has asked for it repeatedly in Her apparitions approved by the Church. The Rosary’s power is incontestable, for it has been manifest time and time again in world events. The Rosary has changed the course of nations and even continents.
“I have come to cast fire upon the earth and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) Let us continue to cast this divine fire upon the earth, that is the Holy Spirit, by praying and spreading the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!