So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rose Garden

Mary is the most beautiful flower that ever was seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God's grace that from this barren and desolate earth there have ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory. And Mary is the Queen of them. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore she is called the Rose, for the rose is fitly called of all flowers the most beautiful.—Bl. John Henry Newman
The First Rose. The Credo or Creed is a summary of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. Immediately following the prayer of the Credo is the Our Father (Pater Noster), a summary of the Gospel. The law of prayer is the law of belief (lex orandi lex credendi). What we believe conditions how we pray and how we pray reveals and conditions what we believe. If we believe in a wrathful, vengeful God, then our prayer life will be marred by demands for revenge, which is not what Christians do. Christians believe God is Love. With God's help, we love even our enemies and desire their temporal and eternal well being. The Christian learns from the praying of the Our Father that to be forgiven we must also forgive those who trespass against us. Thus, entrance to the Garden requires humility.

The Second Rose. The Rosary is a garden of prayer from which we receive the sustenance of the Holy Spirit Who nurtures us with life sustaining grace to help us mature in likeness to God. The strength we receive from the Holy Spirit points us to the Holy Eucharist, the very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
CCC1832 The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: "charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity."
The Third Rose. The Rosary is an entire symphony of prayer: adoration of God, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication. When we place our prayers in the hands of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, she joins her prayers to ours and leads us to Jesus. The angelic salutation uttered by St. Gabriel (St Luke 1:28) forms the first part of the Ave Maria. Our own guardian angel participates in this symphony of prayer.

The Fourth Rose. The Rosary is a rope tossed to us to rescue us from turbulent seas, a lifeline extended to us to save us from false spiritualities that merely lead to vanity and spiritual narcissism. The Rosary requires training, a training aided by the grace of God that is given to those who embrace daily trials and, making their daily examen, allow themselves to be taken up into the wounds of Christ.

The Fifth Rose. Long before movies and online distractions dominated the imagination, the Rosary formed the imagination so as to both recognize true art and to create it. Art moves the mind toward the Creator of all good and beautiful things. The "artful" soul attracts others to the glory of God.

The Sixth Rose. Praying the Rosary protects the mind from infection by pernicious temptations that can lead to the deadly sins, for example, of lust and pride. The devil is shut out from the Garden of Roses by a wall of prayer, a wall guarded by angels. Within the sanctuary, a mystical Eden awaits those who trust in Jesus.

The Seventh Rose. Love is a rose. As we ponder the mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we might imagine placing a rose at her feet at the beginning of each Hail Mary. We imagine, too, Mary with hands extended to earth from her heavenly home with God. Through her hands God pours grace upon the world. How might we better serve God with the gifts He gives us?

The Eighth Rose. Mary, the Mystical Rose, stands waiting for us at the heart of the Garden. Dr. Taylor Marshall reminds us that
(t)he Litany of Loreto invokes our Immaculate and Blessed Virgin Mary as the Rosa Mystica or “Mystical Rose.” What is meant by this phrase?
In the inspired Canticle of Canticles, the Holy Ghost refers to His bride as the “enclosed garden” of God. This image describes Mary’s virginity (“enclosed”) and that she herself is the new garden of Eden – the place where God Himself dwells.
Through the Holy Rosary, a loving heart enters into communion with the Blessed Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ the Lord. Remember, at the marriage feast at Cana (St John 2:1-12), Mary at the heart of the feast beckoned her son to help, and so He provided wine. His first miracle. Mary intercedes with her son on our behalf. Mary is, after all, our mother (St John 19:26-27). She was there present when Jesus wrought His first miracle. When our "wine" runs out, Mary asks on our behalf for Jesus to give us His life sustaining wine, the wine that is His very Blood that we receive with His Precious Body in every Holy Mass.

Mary welcomes us into the great mysteries of the Faith. Mary was there during Jesus' torturous passion and death. Mary was present at Jesus' ascension into heaven and among the apostles in the Upper Room during the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

The Holy Rosary is a perfect catechesis that immerses us in a mystagogy of the Incarnate Word. Mary is the mystagogue par excellence of the spiritual life. Her "Amen" led to the conception and birth of the Saviour. Mary's "yes" reminds us that we, too, must say 'yes' to God and to allow Him to fill our lives with His word of Truth and Love.

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