The Father and the Rosary

I don’t know about you, but in the back of my mind, I have always wondered why the Rosary is structured the way it is…I mean, it is obviously not random but seems a bit odd…one Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, a Glory be, and the O My Jesus…very odd.

But the Holy Spirit, designer par excellence, of course knew and knew that I wanted to know and the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. [Rom 8:28] [1] And so, just as in macro Salvation History, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption, [Gal 4:4-5] so when the fullness of time had come, the Holy Spirit let me in on the rationale behind His design.

Just as in Jesus life, everything is centered around the Father, I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me [Jn 6:38], so the Rosary is actually a huge prayer in honor of the Father and the Trinity.

We start out with its sign, the sign of the Cross, doing all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostles Creed summarizes the workings of the Trinity in Salvation History. Then the initial Our Father acknowledges that all comes from and flows back to the Father. The three Hail Mary’s acknowledge our way to the Father following Mary in her humility who, throughout her life live out her initial Fiat: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. [Lk 1:38] We break it down a bit so that we can better realize the entire import of her great “Unto.” We ask in humility for faith, for hope, for true charity which is done, not for my glory, but for the Glory of God, a sentiment about which we remind ourselves by reciting the Glory be at then end of the triplet.

And then on to the real stuff: note the five or fifteen or twenty, depending on your rosary, decades are all structured exactly the same way…for a purpose. We start with the Our Father to remind us that the Father is behind, in front of, over and in everything. What is about to be recalled, He planned and knew from eternity, every minute detail was providentially worked out, not for elegance, though it has that, not for magnificence, though it has that, but for me, for you, for each and every human being that ever was, is or will be on the face of this earth and elsewhere. He did it because He loves us and what we are about to witness again in memory is that love written in our history, our nitty-gritty day-to-day on-going history, to remind us that every moment of existence is a moment of Salvation History and we’re a part of it…so let’s get on with it!

The memorial drama then unfolds through the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, each portraying a selected moment in the life, death and resurrection of the God-Man, Jesus, our Christ. We need the time of 10 Hail Mary’s to explore, examine and appreciate this facet of the jewel of God’s love. We need Mary to remind us that she kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart;[Lk 2:19] that we won’t get it in one or one thousand recitations, but we can keep them and reflect on them forever.

Fittingly, at the end of each decade, we come back up for air, and realize again that all that we have seen, all that we have heard, all that has been done unto us is due to and gives Glory “to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.”

Finally, following Mary’s request at Fatima, we pray: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen,” a testimony to the validity of Tradition, of the sensus fidei, of the ongoing care and concern God reveals to us, of the reality of the memories in our life, in the never-ending until eternity drama of Salvation History worked out in me and in you, of the horrific reality of the stakes and of my inability to save myself, and of my constant and critical need to cast myself upon the mercy of the Father, for only by His continual love and forgiveness manifested this day will the rest of the Rosary make any sense. Amen. Alleluia!!!

 [1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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