Holy Mass begins today on a note of irrepressible joy:
Gaudeámus omnes in Dómino, diem festum celebrántes sub honóre beátæ Maríæ Vírginis: de cuius sollemnitáte gaudent Angeli et colláudant Fílium Dei. V. Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea Regi (Ps 44:2).
The Introit, originally composed for the feast of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, and later adapted for use on many other feasts, echoes the words of Saint Paul to the Philippians: «Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice» or, in Monsignor Knox’s translation, «Joy to you in the Lord at all times; once again I wish you joy» (Philippians 4:4).
Lovelier Words Never Spoken
Saint Paul’s words to the Philippians, in turn, send us back to the Angelic Salutation, repeated 150 times in Our Lady’s Psalter: «Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee» (Luke 1:28). The Greek gives, «χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ». Lovelier words were never spoken, not since the dawn of time: joy, and grace, and beauty, and loveliness upon thee, O thou who art full of joy and grace, and beauty, and loveliness!
Take Up the Beads
If the Rosary were no more than this, the Angelic Salutation, repeated as many times are there are psalms in David’s Psalter, it would be sufficient to infuse rivers of heavenly joy into souls weighed down by earthly sorrows; to send the vigour of grace into souls laid low by the disgrace of sin; to beautify souls disfigured by disobedience; to make lovable again souls fallen into every unlovely distortion of love. All of this the Rosary has done, and still does, and will always do for souls who are humble enough to take up the beads and begin the circle of repetition by which the mothering embrace of the Virgin wraps itself round our human frailty.
Decapitates Spiritual Pride
The Rosary confounds complexity and decapitates spiritual pride. There is no problem or difficulty that cannot be solved or resolved by faithful persevering recourse to Mary’s Psalter. The Rosary is the gift of the Mother of God to the poor and the powerless, who alone are capable of hearing the Gospel in all its purity, and of responding to it with a generous heart. It is to such as these — the childlike and the weak, the poor and the trusting — that the Rosary is given. It is to such as these that the Rosary belongs.
Over and Over Again
There are no sufferings that cannot be borne peacefully so long as a soul is praying the Rosary. Through the Rosary all the grace and power of the mysteries passes through Mary’s Immaculate Heart into the hearts of the little ones who invoke her, repeating the Angel’s « Ave » over and over again.
There are illnesses that can be cured through the Rosary. There are clouds of darkness and confusion that only the Rosary can disperse. Why? Simply because it is the favourite prayer of the Mother of God, a prayer that originated in the heights of heaven and was carried to earth by an Archangel, a prayer echoed and amplified in the Church through the ages, a prayer loved by the saints, a prayer of disarming power and of immense depth. There are those who find the Rosary difficult; the difficulty lies not in the Rosary but in the complexity of those who struggle to enter into its simplicity.
Grace Did More Abound
Through the Rosary, Mary, Health of the Sick, heals the sick of mind and body. Through the Rosary, Mary, Queen of Peace, gives peace where there is conflict. Through the Rosary, Mary, Refuge of Sinners, makes saints out of poor sinners, for through Mary full of grace, «where sin abounded, grace did more abound» (Romans 5:20). Through the Rosary, Mary, Queen of the Cenacle, illumines priests in darkness, gives joy to struggling monks, and everywhere raises up vocations in abundance.
The Works of the King
Listen, then, to the plea of the Mother of God in so many places. What did Mary sing in the Psalm Verse of the Introit? Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea Regi (Ps 44:2). «Joyful the thoughts that well up from my heart, mine it is to speak of the works of the King». If we pray the Rosary, the thoughts of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, thoughts of joy, will become the thoughts of our hearts. If we pray the Rosary, ours it will be to speak of the works of the King, for with the Mother of God we shall begin to see and to say: «He whose name is holy, has wrought for me His wonders» (Luke 1:49).