He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. - Aeschylus

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Eucharistic Rosary

The last time I wrote about the Rosary, it was to point out how effectively it reminds us over and over of our own deaths and the importance of the grace of final perseverance.  This constant reminder of death is not some morbid practice of building up a fear of death, but rather it increases our focus on what is important in life.

When we see our lives in the light of our inevitable deaths, we have perspective about what we should put first in our daily lives.  We Christians know that what we should put first is of course Christ Himself, the first-born of the dead who rose to new life at the day of His Resurrection.

When we do as St. Benedict advises in his Rule and keep death daily before our eyes, remembering both our own death and the death of Christ on the cross as we pray the Rosary, we deepen our appreciation for the great gift of eternal life which was offered to us through Christ's life, death, and resurrection to His new life in the glory of God the Father.

In contemplating the Joyful Mysteries as we pray aloud the Hail Mary, we remember that God the Father brought divine life into the world, and in contemplating the Sorrowful Mysteries we remember that the Son of God sacrificed His life by dying brutally on the cross so that we might share in the divine life of love.

In contemplating the Glorious Mysteries as we pray aloud the Glory Be, we remember that the Son of God descended into Hades to liberate the righteous dead and was resurrected to new life, ascending into Heaven to take His place with the God the Father and making a place there for us who do not deserve it because of His great mercy.

In contemplating the Luminous Mysteries as we pray aloud the Our Father, we remember the baptism of Christ, the wedding at Cana, His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, His Holy Transfiguration on the mount, and finally His institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper with the twelve Apostles, the Eucharist from which we receive our daily bread.  At the end of the Luminous Mysteries, we contemplate the source and summit of the Christian life, the totality of Christ's sacrifice of love.

This contemplating of the profound gift of His Eucharist is a preparation for receiving the Holy Body and Holy Blood because it reminds us of His great love for us and our great love for Him who has given us all.  After we have received His great gift of Himself, this contemplation of the Eucharist along with the rest of his life revealed to us in the Gospels helps us to give praise and thanks for such a gift which is so great that it is the ultimate mystery to us.

His holy life, His holy death, and His resurrection are all parts of the one gift of God's love to the world, and they all flow inevitably toward His glory in Heaven; this glory is shown to us in the humble offering of bread and wine as we obey His command to do this in remembrance of Him.  In the Eucharist, all the Mysteries we contemplate in praying the Holy Rosary are summed up, the fullness of His sacrifice of love present to us unto ages of ages.

It is both right and just that we pray the Holy Rosary as we adore Him in the Eucharist, contemplating both our inevitable death and the great hope of eternal life given to us by Christ who died so that we might have the eternal life He so desires for us because of His great love.

We are called to accept our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the Eucharist, so that we sinners might experience His mercy and have life within us, so that we might not perish, but have everlasting life in the divine household of the Father.

As we pray the Rosary, may we not forget that our death is ever near to us and that Christ our hope for eternal life is never far from us, His Precious Body and Precious Blood given up for us in death so that we might have His life within us.

Note:  The image directly above is of my memento mori rosary, which is named after the Latin phrase, "Remember your death" because the rosary has skulls marking off the decades that are intended to help us keep St. Benedict's rule to keep death daily before our eyes.

The image at the beginning of the article is what I call my Celtic Blood rosary.  For more information on these rosaries, see the related article:  Why do I have skull beads on my rosaries?

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