Since the time of early Christianity, there have been forms
of prayer that use breathing as a cadence for prayer. The Jesus
Prayer and the Rosary, along with various forms of contemplative
prayer, are all variations of this type of prayer. The real prayer
behind all of these methods is the prayer of surrender: “Into
your hands I commend my spirit.” This was the prayer that Jesus
prayed to the Father from the cross.
Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary. Click on the cover for more information.
The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.
Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].
As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.
In the Scriptures, a person is considered enslaved to the extent
that he or she is attached to anything that is not God. “No servant
can serve two masters,” Jesus says in Luke 16:13. “Either he
will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the
one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
When God is not master of a person’s life, other forces are
free to enslave him. A Christian must be especially careful not to
become encumbered by lesser “gods,” knowing the price Jesus
paid to set us free from the bondage of sin. In the passage quoted
above from the book of Romans, St. Paul speaks of the horrible
effects of this enslavement. Wretched man that I am! Who will
deliver me from this body of death?
Inevitably, the way of bondage is the way of death. However,
even at the moment of death, the liberation of the cross is possible.
Two men were crucified with Christ, one on each side of
him (the seats that James and John requested). Both prisoners
were guilty of the crimes for which they were being executed.
However, one admitted his guilt; from his cross, Jesus assured
that thief that they would soon be in paradise.
The St. Joseph Novena continues
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his Apostles to stay where they were and to “wait for the gift” that the Father had promised: the Holy Spirit. The Apostles did as the Lord commanded them. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14). Nine days passed; then, they received the gift of the Holy spirit, as had been promised. May we stay together with the church, awaiting in faith with Our Blessed Mother, as we trust entirely in God, who loves us more than we can ever know.
When we look back over our lives, we often find that every
event is intricately interwoven with another, and then another,
with bright spots of serendipity when we “just happened” to be
in the right spot at the right time at key moments. This realization
will deepen the mystery that is life; regardless how long or
short our life, our mission and purpose is God’s. If he seems slow
to respond, look to the cross of Christ, which illumines even the
lag time between the promise and the fulfillment.
St. Peter Chrysologus (the “golden-worded”) was known for
his clear and simple style of preaching. About the angel’s appearance
at the tomb, he preached, “Pray that the angel would
descend now and roll away all the hardness of our hearts and
open up our closed senses and declare to our minds that Christ
has risen, for just as the heart in which Christ lives and reigns is
heaven, so also in the heart in which Christ remains dead and
buried is a grave.”
For those who do not believe, life unfolds as a series of accidents.
When a follower of Christ sees his life in exactly the same
way, Jesus calls that person foolish, slow to believe. Someone like
that needs to redirect his attention to the cross.
Steps to Take as You Follow Christ
Ask—Do I reverence God?
Seek—Find a way to adore God today, be it in the Eucharist or
in the secrecy of your room, or anywhere. When you see the
shape of the cross, say the prayer that St. Francis instructed his
brothers and sisters to say, “We adore you O Christ. . .”
Knock—Meditate on Hebrews 12:28–29. What does it mean to
offer acceptable worship to God? How is the kingdom we are
offered by Christ unshakeable?
Transform Your Life—Make you life one of reverence toward
God at all times. Let your focus be on remaining in God’s presence,
rather than judging and criticizing those around you.