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An Invitation to Pray the Rosary

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Downloadable PDF copy 

An Invitation to Pray the Rosary

As recommended in the Apostolic Letter -
Rosary of the Virgin Mary
- by Pope John Paul II

This Apostolic Letter on the Rosary by Pope John Paul is very beautiful and contains many wonderful insights. The 23-page letter is an easy letter to read. He emphasizes that, while Marian in character, the Rosary is centered on Christ. This explains why he added a fourth set of 5 mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, focusing on the public ministry of Jesus. There are three other sets of mysteries: the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries, with ten Hail Mary’s each to meditate on.

• The Pope hopes the Mysteries of Light will help to give the Rosary fresh life. He says the Rosary still remains, at the start of the third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.

• Reflecting on the mysteries of the Rosary allow us to contemplate the face of Christ. He says that no one has been devoted to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. Her experiences with Jesus were kept and pondered in her heart. (Lk.2:19) Mary’s memories were to be the rosary that she recited uninterruptedly all her earthly life.

• The Rosary helps us to be conformed to Christ, because no one was more conformed to Him than Mary. Just as two friends tend to develop similar habits, we can become similar to Jesus and Mary.

• To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Jesus and his Mother. It should help us see the face of Christ in others, especially in the most afflicted.

• The Pope points out that the West has a renewed demand for meditation and an increased interest in other religions. Most young persons have not been taught the Rosary and yet it provides a great source of contemplation.

• He said, if the Rosary is properly revitalized, it will help ecumenism. It is a great act of charity to speak about Mary to non-Catholics, because this is such Good News to share with every person you meet, because it is a truth about a treasure – Mary – who is truly humble and who always draws us and our attention to Jesus, not to herself.

The Blessed Virgin Mary invites ALL PEOPLE to pray the Rosary

• Anyone can pray the Rosary, since it focuses on what Jesus Christ did for Mary and for all of us. The Rosary is a beautiful and powerful prayer. The reflections on the life of Christ, or mysteries, are given to us to help us immerse our thoughts in the Lord, while reciting prayers that are based in the Scriptures. The prayers are like background music for the mysteries of the Rosary and the great drama of salvation which continues to unfold and reach out to all of humanity.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) contains many paragraphs about mysteries: Christ’s whole life is a mystery. (512ff), our communion in the mysteries of Christ (519ff), the mysteries of Christ’s public life. (535ff)

• We invite you to pray the Rosary with your heart, which means praying with the knowledge that we are truly speaking to God and God is really hearing us. It means praying in a thoughtful way, without rushing or with just a superficial recitation. It means keeping our heart and mind focused on God, so that even when distractions occur we can include them by offering special prayers and blessings on anyone or anything which comes to mind.

• Reflecting on the Mysteries means entering into the events, being present there, seeing how God was working in those days, as he does today, experiencing the sights, sounds, and feelings of the people involved, and thinking about how we have acted in unison or contrary to the Gospels.

• Enter into the Rosary, even daily if possible, and you will enter into union with Christ in ways that many holy saints before you have been able to do. Pope John Paul II said the Rosary was his favorite prayer.

• May Jesus and Mary hold your hands and help you along on the great and sublime paths that the Rosary has to offer!

Let NOT Your Heart Be Troubled about Repetition - We urge you to not let repetition be an obstacle to any prayers, such as liturgies like the Mass or prayer services, or the Rosary. Repetition is characteristic of all prayers, liturgies, and Sunday services. Many former pastors of other churches, who have entered the Catholic Church, have said they have always prayed in repetitive ways - praising God, thanking Him, presenting their situations, and asking God’s help and guidance. Jesus praised sincere prayer, even repetitious prayer. He praised the publican who repeated be merciful to me. (Lk. 18:13) During His agony, Jesus prayed a third time, saying the same words as before. (Mt.26:44) After His Resurrection, Jesus asked Peter the same question three times and Peter responded three times: Lord, you know that I love you (cf. Jn 21:15-17). This triple repetition is an expression of great mercy and love. St. Paul said to pray without ceasing. (1 Thes.5:17) The heavenly creatures sing without pause: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.... (Rev.4:8)

Catholic Teaching on Mary Illuminates Our Faith in Christ - What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 487)

NOTE: The Apostolic letter on the Rosary by Pope John Paul II should be shared with everyone. You may obtain a copy of the letter, as well as information about how to pray the Rosary from various websites. Just do a search for Rosary of the Virgin Mary or Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

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