LITTLE HISTORY OF THE ROSARY
Apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae

of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II



The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn”.(1)

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.(2)
It is an echo of the prayerof Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits 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. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.

  Numerous predecessors of mine attributed great importance to this prayer. Worthy of special note in this regard is Pope Leo XIII who on 1 September 1883 promulgated the Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio,(3) a document of great worth, the first of his many statements about this prayer, in which he proposed the Rosary as an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society.

Among the more recent Popes who, from the time of the Second Vatican Council, have distinguished themselves in promoting the Rosary I would mention Blessed John XXIII(4) and above all Pope Paul VI, who in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus emphasized, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, the Rosary's evangelical character and its Christocentric inspiration.


I myself have often encouraged the frequent recitation of the Rosary. From my youthful years this prayer has held an important place in my spiritual life.I was powerfully reminded of this during my recent visit to Poland, and in particular at the Shrine of Kalwaria.




The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort. Twenty-four years ago, on 29 October 1978, scarcely two weeks after my election to the See of Peter, I frankly admitted: “The Rosary is my favourite prayer. A marvellous prayer! Marvellous in its simplicity and its depth. [...]. It can be said that the Rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter which discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church. Against the background of the words Ave Maria the principal events of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul.

They take shape in the complete series of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries, and they put us in living communion with Jesus through – we might say – the heart of his Mother. At the same time our heart can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church, and all mankind. Our personal concerns and those of our neighbour, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life”.(5) With these words, dear brothers and sisters, I set the first year of my Pontificate within the daily rhythm of the Rosary. Today, as I begin the twenty-fifth year of my service as the Successor of Peter, I wish to do the same. How many graces have I received in these years from the Blessed Virgin through the Rosary: Magnificat anima mea Dominum! I wish to lift up my thanks to the Lord in the words of his Most Holy Mother, under whose protection I have placed my Petrine ministry: Totus Tuus! October 2002 – October 2003: The Year of the Rosary.

Therefore, in continuity with my reflection in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which, after the experience of the Jubilee, I invited the people of God to “start afresh from Christ”,(6) I have felt drawn to offer a reflection on the Rosary, as 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. As a way of highlighting this invitation, prompted by the forthcoming 120th anniversary of the aforementioned Encyclical of Leo XIII, I desire that during the course of this year the Rosary should be especially emphasized and promoted in the various Christian communities. I therefore proclaim the year from October 2002 to October 2003 the Year of the Rosary. I leave this pastoral proposal to the initiative of each ecclesial community.
It is not my intention to encumber but rather to complete and consolidate pastoral programmes of the Particular Churches. I am confident that the proposal will find a ready and generous reception. The Rosary, reclaimed in its full meaning, goes to the very heart of Christian life; it offers a familiar yet fruitful spiritual and educational opportunity for personal contemplation, the formation of the People of God, and the new evangelization. I am pleased to reaffirm this also in the joyful remembrance of another anniversary: the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on October 11, 1962, the “great grace” disposed by the Spirit of God for the Church in our time.

This is very good but not sufficient: personal conversation with God is also necessary. Second impression. When we speak of "adult Christians" in prayer, at times we exaggerate. Personally when I speak tête-à-tête with God or with the Blessed Virgin Mary, more than an adult I prefer to think of myself as a child. The mitre, skullcap and ring disappear; I give a holiday to the adult and the bishop and also to heavy burdens, sober and pondered, and let myself go with the spontaneous tenderness of a child in front of his papá or mamma.

To be – at least for half an hour – before God as I truly am with my wretchedness and also with the best of myself: to feel rising from the depths of my being the child of other days who wants to talk and chat with the Lord and love him and who sometimes feels the need to cry that he may be granted mercy, all this helps me to pray. The rosary, a simple and easy prayer, helps me to be at times a child again and of this I am not in the least ashamed. The rosary a prayer of repetition ? Père de Foucauld used to say : "Love is expressed in a few words, always the same, repeated time and time again ".



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The Rosary is made up of twenty "mysteries" (significant events or moments in the life of Jesus and Mary), which, following the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, are grouped into four series.

The first contains "This indication is not intended to limit a rightful freedom in personal and community prayer, where account needs to be taken of spiritual and pastoral needs and of the occurrence of particular liturgical celebrations which might call for suitable adaptations" (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 38). As an aid to the meditative and contemplative journey of the Rosary, two texts are given for each 'mystery': one from Sacred Scripture, the other from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY
Joyful mysteries (recited on Mondays and Saturdays);
The mysteries of light (Thursdays);
The sorrowful mysteries (Tuesdays and Fridays);
The glorious mysteries (Wednesdays and Sundays).






 

 

 

 

 

THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
The manifestation of sanctifying grace

Scott P. Richert

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3. They are present in their fullness in Jesus Christ ...to be continued

 

NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST:
For the gifts of the Holy Spirit

Scott P. Richert

The Novena to the Holy Ghost (also known as the Novena to the Holy Spirit) has a long and beautiful history. A novena is ...to be continued

 

LIKE BARTOLOMEA I PRAY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE
The pupils of class 4

The pupils of class 4 of «istituto Margherita», after reflecting on the prayer of Bartolomea, wrote their own prayer: it is ...to be continued

 

PRAYER: HOLY ROSARY
We ask Mary the gift of being WITNESSES OF MERCY

«We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy...», but «At times we are called to gaze even more ...to be continued

 

HOLY ROSARY

As the Beatification of Pope Paul VI is getting near, let us ask him to accompany us with his words and exhortations, in order to revive our devotion to Mary, the Queen of Holy Rosary, and to intensify our prayer for the Church and for all mankind.

 

MARIALIS CULTUS, Apostolic Exhortation, February 2, 1974
CHRISTI MATRI; Encyclical on prayers during October, September 15, 1966 MENSE MAIO; Encyclical On PrayersDuring May, April 29, 1965

 

LITTLE HISTORY OF THE ROSARY

"All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship ...to be continued

 

LITTLE MEDITATION a unique school of prayer

Jhon Paul II

Kneeling here, before the grotto of Massabielle, I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This ...to be continued

 

LITTLE MEDITAION Mary's steadfast faith throughout her life

John Paul II

The first beatitude cited in the Gospel is that of faith, and it refers to Mary: “Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45). These ...to be continued

 

LITTLE HISTORY OF THE ROSARY Apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae

of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II
The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God ...to be continued

 

 

 

 

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