As we continue our Advent journey, in the Scriptures for the Fourth Sunday of Advent we hear the wondrous prophecy in Isaiah of the Virgin who will bear the great Immanuel, “God with us” and then in the Gospel, we hear unfolding of that prophecy, as Joseph is brought ‘on board’ to share in the great mystery of what is taking place with his betrothed—she bears Immanuel; He is truly with us.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent focuses on the gift of the Mother of God’s role in our lives and in the great actions of salvation history that brought about our redemption. She said “Yes” in an amazing way to an unprecedented invitation: be the Mother of God! Her faith in the Holy One of Israel empowered her to take on this role, and her role as Mother did not stop with His birth. Indeed, for us her role as Mother was highlighted on the Cross, as the Lord Jesus Himself, as one of His last acts, gives her to us to be our Mother as well. St. John both records this gift, and then also describes the on-going reality, when, as he notes in Revelations 12, those who are followers of the Lord Jesus are described as “her offspring.”
As her offspring, we have an obligation, literally, a Commandment, to honor her. We do this by living out what she told the servants at Cana–that we also would respond to her Son and “do whatever He tells you.” Thus we echo her own words to St. Gabriel, as we also pray that it would be done to us according to His Word. Part of honoring our heavenly Mother involves getting to know her, and no method for doing that equals the gift of the Rosary, involving both meditating on the greatest mysteries of the Christian life as well as calling on her for her intercession, both now, and at that very crucial hour of our death.
There are two ways the Rosary can be very fruitfully used. The first is to use it as an enhancement for our meditation. As we pray each Rosary, we take time to prayerfully reflect on the content of each Mystery, reflecting on its meaning, its application for our lives, etc. As we prayerfully do this, we engage that gift of meditation that we are called to as disciples, which will hopefully grow in us, leading us to that deeper contemplative union that the King of Kings has for all of us. Doing this kind of meditation before the Blessed Sacrament is a particularly powerful combination, as nothing enhances our prayer more than being in the very presence of the Sacred Humanity of the Lord Jesus!
Another way that we can fruitfully meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary is by utilizing the Scriptural Rosary, a wonderful tool that provides a Scripture passage for every Hail Mary as we pray them. To let the very Word of God address us as we pray makes this prayer a dialogue in a very special way.
We can also very fruitfully pray the Rosary as a means of intercession. The example I used in the homily was how I pray a daily Rosary for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ the King, e.g. on Sunday, each of the glorious mysteries are prayed for you, e.g. May the Lord Jesus fill all my brothers and sisters with the power of His Resurrection, may they be visited by the Ascended Lord, may the Holy Spirit descend more fully upon them, etc. This approach can and should be used for our families, parents especially praying for their children, that the great graces of these mysteries continue to touch their lives. The Mother of God is given to us, during this Holy Season, let us take advantage of so great a gift! — Fr. Ed