Rosarium Virginis Mariae: an overview

In the most recent Marian centric document issued by the Vatican, Rosarium Virginis Mariae issued in 2002, Pope John Paul II brings up a key point that the Rosary although “clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer…it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.” and with the Rosary, we are able to sit “at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love.”

In this letter John Paul offers a reflection on the Rosary, as he puts it “a kind of Marian complement to that Letter and an exhortation to contemplate the face of Christ in union with, and at the school of, his Most Holy Mother. To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.”  John Paul begins with highlighting earlier Popes who have also had a strong Mary connection, notably Leo III who encourage people to pray the Rosary.

In the first chapter of the letter Pope John Paul looks at how through Mary we can grow closer to Christ. In the second chapter Pope John Paul II goes through the mysteries and offers a reflection on each and he also adds the Luminous mysteries. In the third chapter he goes on to reflect upon the prayers involved and how people pray the Rosary. The letter concludes with Pope John Paul II reiterating his call from earlier in the letter that the Rosary is a prayer for Peace. As the beginnings of the new Millennium haven’t been the nicest, with all the violence and our only hope rest above. John Paul also notes that the Rosary is a prayer for the family as well. Finally he goes on to say that the Rosary needs to be rediscovered by the christian community as it is a simple prayer but it carries so much weight.

Take some time and pray the Rosary. Over the next couple of week I will be going deeper into this Apostolic Letter.


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