Our mother in heaven is the quintessential mother…she wants to rescue us, her children from the darkness in our lives. And her special prayer—the rosary—is like a rope dangling down from heaven. In fact, Michelangelo painted it just that way! In his Last Judgment painting, two souls hold onto rosary beads. They are pulled into heaven by an angel!
Why is the rosary so special? It is condemned by Protestants for being repetitive and “worshipping Mary.” And some of us remember saying it on our knees every night as children, and wanting it to be over! “Mommy, my knees hurt. Are we done yet?”
Why is the Rosary truly a lifeline?
- Repetition is used in many cultures. It helps take us out of the fast pace of our culture. When the rosary is said slowly, the process of fingering the beads and repeating the prayers, takes us into another realm—the realm of spirit.
- We don’t “worship” Mary, but Jesus did give her to us as our spiritual mother (John 19:27). It is good to call on her and through these prayers, we focus on the significant events in salvation history. In reviewing the 20 Mysteries, we have a complete overview of the life of Jesus.
- The image of a ladder, or a rope, reminds us that the spiritual life takes effort. We pull ourselves up, one step, or bead, at a time. And Mary, out Mother, lets us struggle while offering as much support as she can. All mothers know—as much as we would like to do it for them, our kids have to do it on their own….learning to walk, learning to sound out words and learning by mistakes.
- The Biblical prayers of the rosary seem to be very special to our Mother. Just as I like it when my children create cards for me that express gratitude, Mary likes this prayer and responds.
During a naval battle near Lepanto in 1571, the soldiers who were defending Europe against Muslim invaders prayed the rosary. Although they were outnumbered, they were victorious and they gave credit for that important victory to the Blessed Mother. Since that time thousands of people have testified that they received help after praying the rosary.
In our diocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, our bishops have held Rosary Rallies for the past 42 years. These events gather Catholics from miles around at a stadium. Young people represent the beads of the rosary. As the Hail Marys are said, the students step forward to place a flower in a large vase. It’s a beautiful, inspiring event that brings a feeling of being Home…safe, comforted, nurtured.
Home is where our spiritual Mother resides. Pray the rosary!