What was it like for Mary to receive the Archangel Gabriel’s greeting? What did she feel in her heart? What of that moment when, renouncing fear, she chose faith, and a surge of confidence arose in her heart, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
What thoughts did she ponder in her heart as she traveled to visit her cousin Elizabeth? What sentiments stirred in her soul when Elizabeth proclaimed, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”? (Luke 1:42)
What depth of tenderness was in her eyes–and her heart–as she gazed upon the newborn Christ in her arms with her beloved Joseph by her side?
What did she feel when in the Temple she heard Simeon say to her: “And you yourself a sword will pierce”? (Luke 2:35).
And what of the anxiety in her heart as she and Joseph searched for Jesus? And then the joy upon finding him?
These are just some of questions we can meditate upon as we pray the Rosary. These are the mysteries–at least the Joyful ones–which we are led to ponder ever more deeply as the beads slip through our fingers. And as we contemplate these mysteries we grow in knowledge and love of the Lord.
The rosary is not chatter. It is not rote repetition of words with our lips disconnected from our hearts. When prayed from the heart, the rosary becomes, as some popes have stated, a “compendium of the Gospel.” It brings the Gospel to life, because when we pray the Rosary we see Christ’s life through Mary’s eyes. As Pope John Paul II was fond of saying, when we pray the Rosary we enter the “School of Mary.”
To see with Mary’s eyes. To feel with her heart. This is the interior reality of the Rosary. Rather than being a devotion that leads us away from Christ, it leads us closer to Him–much closer. For who was closer to Jesus than His mother? Who knew Him better? Who better to teach us about His life?
To pray the Rosary, to pray with Mary, is to learn and to love the Lord more. And isn’t this the deepest desire of every human heart?
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