Cloister of Fontfroide Abbey – France
31 May 2009
The cards for the General Promotion of the Rosary have been distributed by tens of thousands. On the front they show a photograph taken by Brother Louis-Marie Ariño-Durand, OP, and can be used as a simple and evocative sermon. Be they large or small, they are all the same overleaf: you will find the site’s slogan in the three official languages of the Dominican Order, “Pray, preach, live… the Rosary!”
I so love to walk while saying my rosary. And in a cloister you can meditate and walk at the same time. As it is a place open to the exterior, there is interplay of light and shade under the arches. And he who wanders here passes through light and shadows.
Light and shadows: that’s life! Walking and praying in a cloister, I pass through light and shadow. I pass through what makes up my life. For existence is not just light or just obscurity.
To pray your rosary in a cloister is to pass with your prayer through life. Walking while praying is a reminder that we have a body…and the Rosary is such an embodiment of prayer! It quite simply resembles life, with its joys and sorrows.
The cloister also aims to be a reproduction in miniature of the earthly paradise: a perfect form, the square, is usually chosen. A carefully tended natural interior space is reminiscent of the original garden. The presence of a fountain or a well further reinforces this evocation.
In the cloister, we learn to rub shoulders with paradise. Through meditation of the mysteries of the Rosary, we spend time with Jesus and his Mother and, finally, almost unconsciously, we learn to be like them because they become our travelling companions.
We just need to find a cloister, in a monastery, perhaps, but also in our hearts. It is in this silent place that God will make his home.
That’s the Rosary: a terrestrial path to heaven, with Mary who reveals to us her Son.
You just need to walk, patiently, in silence, through the shadows and light of life and open wide your heart.
And God will quite simply come to meet us…so simply!
Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP
General Promoter of the Rosary