Apostolic Letter: Rosarium Virginis Mariae
(Pope John Paul II published the latest apostolic letter titled "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" Wednesday October 16, 2002. This is a pretty long document and we encourage everyone to read it although we highlight several points he made.)
October 2002 to October 2003: the Year of the Rosary
The Pope proclaimed this to emphasize and promote the rosary prompted by the forthcoming 120th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio.
"To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ."
Prayer for Peace and for Family
He started and concluded this letter by entrusting to the power of the Rosary, "the cause of peace in the world and the cause of the family." At this difficult time, "to rediscover the rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who is our peace" and "the revival of the rosary in Christian families will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effect of this crisis typical of our age."
Addition of new Mysteries
To bring out fully the Christological depth of the rosary, the Pope proposed the addition of the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion called the Mysteries of Light.
The five mysteries are:
(1) Christ's Baptism in the Jordan
(2) His self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana
(3) His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion
(4) His Transfiguration
(5) His institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery
He suggested that these new Mysteries could be prayed on Thursday instead of the Joyful Mysteries and the Joyful Mysteries on Saturday instead of Glorious Mysteries with Sunday dedicated to Glorious Mysteries. So the new weekly distribution of the Mysteries is:
|Thursday||Mysteries of Light||(Joyful Mysteries)|
|Saturday||Joyful Mysteries||(Glorious Mysteries)|
|Sunday||Glorious Mysteries||(Shared among three Mysteries according to the season|
at least here in the U.S.)
Other Suggestions to improve the Rosary
By proclaiming a related Biblical passage after announcing each mystery, "the word of God can become part of the rosary's methodology of repetition without giving rise to the ennui derived from the simple recollection of something already well known. It is not a matter of recalling information but of allowing God to speak."
"Listening and meditation are nourished by silence." The Pope recommended pausing and focusing on the mystery after the announcement and proclamation before moving into vocal prayer.
The Pope emphasized that the rosary "serves as an excellent introduction and a faithful echo of the Liturgy, enabling people to participate fully and interiorly in it and to reap its fruits in their daily lives" and that the rosary "represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery".
He did not forget to mention the apparitions of Lourdes and of Fatima through which the Blessed Virgin desires to exercise her maternal concern and exhort the people of God to this form of contemplative prayer.
He emphasized the contemplative dimension of the rosary "remembering" Christ with Mary, and warned us of the risk of a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ citing Pope Paul VI's insight. "By its nature, the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life as seen through the eyes of Mary."
No one, the Pope says, can be a better teacher than Mary to "learn Christ" and introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery than his mother. She teaches us by obtaining for us in abundance the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even as she offers us the incomparable example of her own "pilgrimage of faith". The rosary mystically transports us to Mary's side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ and enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is "fully formed" in us.
Updated on May 7, 2016
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