from Catholic Update The
Rosary: A Gospel Prayer, by Thomas A. Thompson, S.M.,
and Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
quick look at the structure of the rosary shows it to be truly
a Scripture-based prayer drawing especially upon the Gospels.
The Apostles' Creed itself, leading off the rosary, is nothing
other than a summary of the great mysteries of the Catholic
faith, most of which are standard Gospel teachings. Each decade
is preceded by the Our Father, a prayer straight from the
Gospels and taught by Jesus himself as a model of all prayer.
The first part of the Hail Mary is composed
of verses from the Gospel of Luke (1:28 and 1:42): the angel's
words announcing Christ's birth and Elizabeth's greeting to
Mary. Both of these gospel passages are rich in meaning and
point to the central mystery of our faith, the incarnation
of the Messiah.
New translations of these verses and recent
studies indicate that the angel's greeting to Mary is one
of joy announcing the "breakthrough" of a new age:
"Rejoice, God's favored one, the Lord is with you."
Gabriel's greeting recalls the Prophet Zephaniah's description
of the joy which would accompany the Messiah's coming: "Rejoice,
exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! Yahweh has
repealed your sentence: He has turned your enemy away. Yahweh
is king among you, Israel, you have nothing to fear"
(Zephaniah 3:14-15). At the moment of the Annunciation, Marythe
Daughter of Zion and the Mother of the Churchrepresents
both those who have awaited the Savior and those who now accept
him in faith.
Mary's key role in the mystery of Christ is
not a rosary invention. Rather, it is a vital part of the
Gospel that is simply reflected in the rosary. The sense of
the faithful that the rosary is a prayer of confidence in
Mary's love and intercession for us is rooted in the Good
News of the Gospel.
The Gospel passages from which the Hail Mary
was drawn, moreover, reveal the virgin as a dynamic, grace-filled
woman to whom God offered a pivotal and active role in the
drama of salvation. Pope Paul VI saw this clearly when he
wrote: "Mary...gives her active and responsible consent...to
the 'event of the ages,' as the Incarnation of the Word has
been rightly called....The modern woman will note with glad
surprise that Mary of Nazareth, while completely devoted to
the will of God, was far from being a timidly submissive woman
or one whose piety was repellent to others; on the contrary,
she did not hesitate to proclaim [in the Magnificat by which
she responds to Elizabeth's greeting] that God vindicates
the humble and the oppressed and removes the powerful people
of this world from their privileged positions" (On Devotion
to the Blessed Virgin, #37).
Expanding on this theme, Pope John Paul II wrote
in Mother of the Redeemer (#37): "The Church's love of
preference for the poor is wonderfully inscribed in Mary's
Magnificat....Mary is deeply imbued with the spirit of the
'poor of Yahweh' and truly proclaims the coming of the 'Messiah
of the poor'" (Isaiah 11:4).
If the rosary is truly to reflect the spirit
of the Gospel and that of the Virgin Mary as portrayed there,
then it must encourage, among other things, dynamic responsibility
on the part of both women and men as well as a commitment
to walking with God's poor.
from Catholic Update The
Rosary: A Gospel Prayer
Return to Praying the Rosary