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."

Marian Mondays: "Praying With" & "Worshipping"

Posted by Jacob

A few weeks ago, I began a new weekly post, which I entitled Marian Mondays. In this weekly “column,” I write about my growing devotion to Our Blessed Mother, contemplating the questions “Why pray to Mary?” and “Why pray the Holy Rosary?” along the way. Last week, I wrote about practical, emotional, and rational considerations in approaching this topic. This week, I take a step back and look at the first question mentioned above: “Why pray to Mary?”
Perhaps this question is inflammatory in and of itself. As Catholics—indeed, as Christians—we pray to the Lord alone. We pray to Jesus Christ, and we ask for the blessings of the Holy Spirit. But do we pray to Mary? Rather, might we better describe this spiritual act as praying with Mary? It is a small word, but an important distinction. Praying to Mary would deify her, place her on a level equivalent to the Lord, who alone rests in the holy place of our hearts. Praying with Mary recognizes her deep connection to Christ, her free will and choice in accepting the calling of the Lord, her continuous prayer on the behalf of mankind from her place in heaven, and her maternal love and care for her Son—and by extension, for all of us.

So, as Catholics, we do not pray to Mary. We ask for her intercession, as Mediatrix of grace, based upon her deep connection to our Lord resulting from her willingness to serve as the vessel of the Incarnation. Nor do we “worship” Mary, in the commonly understood sense of the word. Ask most people, and the word "worship" means the adoration given to God alone. According to this definition, Catholics don't worship Mary (or any other saints, for that matter). Not surprisingly, the Church forbids adoration to anyone or anything that is not God.

Historically, however, the definition of worship is a bit stickier. In original usage, and certainly in Biblical times, “worship” was used to describe anyone or anything deserving of honor, respect, or dignity. This is, of course, not to be confused with idolatry. Whereas worship is defined as ascribing honor to something, idolatry is defined as giving the honor of adoration reserved for God alone to something other than God.

Countless examples of the use of the word worship occur throughout the Old Testament, one of which can be found in Exodus 18:7: "Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and worshipped him and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare, and went into the tent." Moses was not offering his father-in-law the worship of adoration reserved for the Lord alone, but rather the respect and honor he deserved as an elder.

So what of Mary, then? This Scripture, as well as many other passages, suggests, if we look to the Biblical definition of worship, that we can ascribe honor, respect, and dignity to Mary the Mother of God, while not idolizing her as equivalent to God. And this is what we do. We recognize the graces obtained via the intercession of the Mother of God. We pray with her to her Son and Master for redemption and forgiveness. We honor and venerate the Blessed Virgin, but we worship the Lord alone.


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