Laetitae Sanctae is another one of Leo XIII encyclical on the Rosary it is like several of the others which are implore the praying of the rosary in October. Pope Leo notes that the praying of the rosary devoutly not only helps the individual but also but society as a whole as well. His holiness goes on to say that there are three obstacles that arise in the world “first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.” These are tied to the mysteries of the Rosary.
The first, the distaste for poverty relates to the joyful mysteries where we focus on Christ as a child. So much of society says that we need to amass riches so we can buy this or that to become a better person and we should “work smarter not hard”. However it takes hard work to get rich. As we look at these mysteries we see “simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love – not of the false and fleeting kind – but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service.” This is what we need to bring into the world.
The second, repugnance to suffering relates to the sorrowful mysteries where we focus on the Passion of Christ. It is sad that violence has become so pervasive that in just about every movie it seem features some horrible act of violence, or really just turning on the news we hear of some murder. Society as a whole has become desensitized to it even when most of us haven’t seen it in person we’ve all seen it in the movie and television programs we watch. Sure we understand that violence is bad but we often forget about the suffering and grief left behind. Yet we must remember the actions of Jesus and follow in his footsteps, as St. Thomas says in the gospel “Let us also go, that we might die with him” (John 11:16)
The third and last one, forgetfulness of the future relates to the glorious mysteries where the focus turns to the resurrection and life in heaven. All too often we look to the future and our own personal safety with a mix of materialism and nationalism. Here is where the problem arises the militarization of individuals to serve their nation, but at the neglect of the world as a whole. We are all in the same boat and the more people rocking it the sooner we will capsize. Pope Leo put is as we may doubt if “God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.” Let us remember the eternal banquet that awaits us all.
Pope Leo then talks a bit about Rosary confraternities calling them the battalions who fight the battle of Christ under the direction of the Virgin Mother noting the victory at Lepanto. This, the rosary, is the Hope of the Church. Let us all take some time and pull out a rosary and pray it.
If you remember last week I said this is often combined with Assumption or done instead of it. The Coronation is one of those events that some say is only alluded to in the Bible in Revelation with the Mary as the woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”. So after Mary had gone up to heaven she is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Let us remember this and try to take care of the world around us in honor of our holy mother. During the month of May local parishes might hold a May Crowning. The feast of the Coronation is on August 22nd. This is the final Glorious mystery and the final Joy of the virgin.
The fruit of this mystery is Perseverance and Crown of Glory, Trust in Mary’s Intercession.
As we enter into the month of May we turn our focus on Mary our mother and Queen. She is someone that we should be able to turn to when we are in trouble and need some help, as Mary will help like she did at Cana. Since most everything to Jesus through Mary, at Cana she told the stewards to listen to Jesus and there was the best wine of the evening. Mary needs to have role in our lives, be it simply praying a Hail Mary during the day or going all out and praying a whole Rosary. It is only through Mary that we eventually get to Jesus. As Pope Francis said on Sunday “May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome with meekness the Holy Spirit as the interior Master and as a living memory of Christ in our daily journey.” I hope that we all can add some sort of additional devotion to Mary or read up on one of the many titles of Mary during this month.
The fruit of this mystery is Grace of a Happy Death and True Devotion towards Mary.
As we near the month of May we turn our focus to Mary. When the time came for Mary to die she fell asleep and her body was brought into heaven like Jesus. This should be a goal for all. We need to be willing to emulate Mary in the world, be willing to say “Yes” when we face difficulty. Mary is our mother, Jesus while he was on the Cross gave his mother to his beloved disciple, we are that beloved daughter/son. Although at time we might not always be happy with our mothers they would give everything for you to succeed in life Mary did this for Jesus at the Wedding at Cana where she told the stewards to do whatever he (Jesus) tells you. Mary point us toward Christ and by following Mary we will be on the path.
The fruit of this mystery is Holy Wisdom to know the truth and share with everyone, Divine Charity and Love of God.
After the Ascension of Jesus the Apostles were still in the “keep this a secret from everyone” phase they were all scared and locked up in a room when a howling wind came through the house and flung the windows open. The Apostles were filled with the spirit, they went out and spread the message and baptized many that day. We need to remember that the Holy Spirit is with us at all times and we only need to ask for some help from the Spirit so that we can be like the Apostles on Pentecost, being inspired and going out bringing the message to the world.
The fruit of this mystery is Hope and Desire for Ascension to heaven.
Hope is one of the three Theological Virtues along with Faith and Love and Pope Benedict wrote an Encyclical about Hope. Benedict also nicely summarized the idea in a homily saying “Whoever believes in Christ has a future. For God has no desire for what is withered, dead, ersatz, and finally discarded: he wants what is fruitful and alive, he wants life in its fullness and he gives us life in its fullness.” This is the Hope that we all have it was used by Barack Obama when he ran for President in 2008 notably in Shepard Fairley’s poster. We all have hopes for the future but we can be instrumental in making our hopes reality.
This time around we have separate mysteries for both orders which are added to the end of the other mysteries. The Brigittines add The Patronage of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and The Carmelites add The Patronage of Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel. Both orders hold Mary in great honor, the Brigittines as the order is subject to the local bishop and the honor of Mary, and the Carmelites are considered to be under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin, and have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Once again they add Mary to the Rosary, but The Patronage of Mary is a better mystery than like the Institution of the Rosary since Mary is the Patroness of all humanity and I believe that we’ve turned to Mary even before the Rosary was first introduced to us. This is a prefect way to end the Rosary as it ends with a final focus on Mary who we often turn to as our Heavenly Mother. So in these six mystery rosaries we begin with the Immaculate Conception highlighting the beginning of Mary life and through her life all the way to the present and the future with Mary sitting in Heaven and us asking for help from her.
In the final decade of the Rosary we have once again an extra-biblical event. Mary after her Assumption is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth. We are reminded of this in May during the May crowning when in some parishes Mary is crowned with a crown of flowers or a real crown. This is also a popular event in the life of Mary for artist to depict. I think that one of the important things in this whole mystery is that Mary is just a regular person whom God asked a questions and she answered “Yes” just imagine what will happen when we arrive in heaven could we be crowned Princesses and Princes of Heaven or something to that effect. This decade should also remind us all that we have royal blood as daughters and son of God.
At the Assumption, Mary is taken body and soul into heaven, there is some debate about if Mary died or not but that has no real impact on this mystery. This is the fulfillment of Mary and is a reminder to all of us to reflect on our desire to get into heaven. To get into heaven should be the goal for everyone, and to get there we’ve been given the Great Commandment, love your neighbor as yourself, and the Shema, Love God with all your heart soul and mind. For many of us the greatest (shema) is easy we can love God since God isn’t that difficult to love as we don’t deal with God as often as other people. Mary is a great example of following these two commandments, she loved God so much that she said yes to the biggest question ever, and we don’t hear much about Mary not liking other people. What is our answer to the questions that God poses to us, do we even answer them or do we ignore them. The other is more difficult for us in the real world to deal with loving our neighbors is so hard as people are all different and we have to work with each other to help build the Kingdom of God here on Earth. On Sunday, Pope Francis asked “… do you believe in the beauty of love? Do you believe in the greatness of love? Do you have faith in this? This is a daily faith.” As Adam Guettel puts it in his musical Light in the Piazza “Love if you can and be loved.” I think that this does a great job to sum up the Greatest Commandment. Mary is a great example of this love.
This is otherwise know as Pentecost, this happened a couple of weeks ago so click on the link and read up on the readings for that Sunday. Mary and the Apostles/disciples and various others were all gathered together in the Upper Room, the same place the Last Supper took place. The door and windows are closed out of fear when all of a sudden a strong wind or to be more accurate, in Hebrew, ruach or to the more New Testament minded, in Greek, pneuma comes and envelops the room. I don’t have a Greek New Testament so I can say for sure what the word is. However this echos the ruach from the beginning of Genesis as a ruach of Adonai covered the world. Ruach mean breath, spirit or wind as does the Greek pneuma with the added meaning of soul.
I think that this might be a reminder to all of us that the Spirit of the Lord is still here on Earth and we just need to recognize it. As we read in Genesis 1:2 “the Spirit of the Lord moved on the face of the waters”, however we never read that the Spirit of the Lord ever left. We could recognize the wind as a reminder of the Spirit in our lives. Sure we remember the Spirit once a year and that year in preparation for Confirmation but the Spirit is the one person of the Trinity that many have trouble connecting with. I hope that we can use this week and try to find the Spirit in our lives, and if we can’t find the Spirit what is the reason its missing in our lives.