Remember

The Rosary is a prayer in which we remember and meditate with Mary and in Mary the saving work of Christ, of which we have become beneficiaries. In Holy Scripture the term ‘remember’ is more than a mere bringing to memory. There are very many passages in scripture which urge the people of God to ‘remember’ the words and deeds of the Lord. Because the words and deeds of the Lord are a living message, when we ‘remember’, it affects us in the here and now. It rejuvenates faith and our actions flow from our faith.

That is why in the book of Exodus and Deuteronomy Yahweh is constantly asking the Israelites to remember the deeds of the Lord in bringing them out of Egypt, so that they may keep trusting the Lord. Prophets Jeremiah tells the remnant of Israel who had escaped the sword of the Babylonians into Egypt to remember the Lord from afar, and let Jerusalem come to your mind so that they don’t get tempted to act like the Egyptians (Jer 51:50). And Psalms 119:55 would tell us “O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law”. Therefore if the Rosary is prayer where we remember the saving words and works of Christ with Mary and in Mary, then it means that the rosary is a powerful prayer that rejuvenates our faith in Jesus and conforms us into the image of Jesus in the school of Mary the mother of Jesus.

But then you may want to ask me why Mary? Our readings of today give us the answer to that question. In the Gospel, the angel Gabriel greets Mary saying; Hail! you who is full of grace for the Lord is with you. This greeting of the angel to Mary forms the first part of the prayer of ‘Hail Mary’ which we constantly repeat in the prayer of the Rosary. The angel goes ahead to tell Mary that having found favor with God, she will bear a Son (the Word of God) in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, before God sent his eternally begotten son to be born of a woman in this world, God the Father first of all began by preparing this woman as a stainless innocent ark that would receive the Word. If you go back to old testament, the ark of the covenant where the tablets of the Torah (‘Word of God’) was, the ark was kept in the Holy of Holies (most sacred part of the temple) where only the high priest could enter once a year to offer incense (it was before the ark of the covenant where Zacharia got a vision of the Birth of John the Baptist). Mary is the new ark of the covenant because in her womb she received the eternal word of the father (Jesus) whom she gave birth. Remember that it before Mary (the new ark carrying Jesus) that John the Baptist leapt for joy in womb of her mother! Therefore in the rosary we meditate the salvation of Christ with Mary because she is the first one to do this meditation, and of all human beings, she is the one most intimately united with Jesus. No wonder Luke 2:19 tells us; ‘and Mary kept all these things reflecting them in her heart’ – her son is messiah and Lord.

We meditate the salvation of Christ in Mary because, because Mary is a model of the Church. What Mary has become is what the whole Church will become in the last day, when evil will be defeated and only love will remain. The Magnificat we read in the responsorial psalm, Mary says that ‘my heart magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices…’. To magnify is to exalt and make big. Therefore watching Jesus through Mary does not diminish Jesus but on the contrary it makes Jesus bigger. All generations call her blessed (again as we read in the gospel of Luke) because she has magnified the Lord for all generations. Therefore in the Rosary we meditate the salvation of Christ in Mary because in Mary we see an exemplar of faith and trust in the Lord (I am the handmaid of the Lord…), we meet our mother and the mother of the Church (Son behold your mother...(Jn 19:26)) and in Mary, Jesus gets magnified.

The first reading tells us that Mary and the apostles waited and prayed in the upper room for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Mary herself had already received the Holy Spirit at annunciation as we learn from scripture. But in her motherliness she needed to wait with the Church so that what has been fulfilled in her may be fulfilled in the whole Church. In the prayer of the rosary we watch with Mary and pray. What do we pray for? We pray for the quick coming of the promise. What promise? Promise of the complete realization of the Kingdom of God, so that His will may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. It is a promise of the glorification of the Church. Just like in the upper room in Jerusalem, in Mary the Church is fully glorified but in her motherliness she has to wait with us for all the promises of God to be fulfilled. She is with us because she needs to show us the way she has already walked.

Therefore brothers and sisters, let’s be close to Mary because closeness to Mary means even greater closeness to Jesus. Let us pray the rosary because the rosary changes us to become better lovers of Jesus.

AMEN.

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