pray with Mary. We experience her practically, emotionally, and rationally. We feel confident in the truth of her existence. But there is so much more to think about, to say about the life of The Blessed Virgin. For whether one believes in her sanctity, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption into heaven, or even her glorious Coronation as Queen of Heaven and Earth, one must admit that historically speaking, Mary, the Mother of God, was unique. She was chosen to conceive, carry, and deliver Jesus Christ, Our Lord. She was chosen to raise Him as His mother for the first 30 years of His life. With Joseph, she was chosen to be the beginning of the earthly family of Christ.
And yet, there is still more. We will get to the Biblical foretelling of Queenship. We will eventually discuss the doctrine of her Assumption. But we are still setting the stage, so to speak, building the foundation of belief which is supported by the Word of God. And to do that, we must understand the personage of Mary. Who was she?
From the moment of Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary’s life changed from ordinary to unique, special, chosen. Her life as a mother was in reality the life of any mother, but also unlike any mother before or since. She knew, from the message of an angel, from her visitation with Elizabeth, from the prophesy of Simeon at the Presentation of Our Lord in the temple, that her child was special, that her child was destined for great things, and that in accomplishing those great things, she would suffer as no mother had ever suffered. Her heart would be pierced. A part of her would be lost.
For such a role, for such a weight to carry throughout life, for such suffering and anxiety, the Lord chose Mary. From all the women created in the course of human existence, it was Mary. From the moment of Annunciation, she suffered humiliation and hardship, and yet never wavered in her faith in God, her love for Jesus, and her hope in the future for all mankind. Her simple statement, “let it be done to me according to Your Word,” speaks volumes. Mary was undeniably unique. She was holy. She was chosen. And this tells us that there is much more to be said about Our Mother.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."