The Prayer, Preaching, and Promotion of the Rosary
For over 800 years now, the men and women of the Order of Preachers have been praying, preaching, and promoting the Rosary in new and creative ways. There are many ways of praying in our Dominican tradition and the one of these is using the crucifix or cross, beads, and string or wire forming what we can hold in our hands to pray the Rosary. Let us consider the image of the diamond once again. For there to be reflections coming from the diamond there must be a source of light, and so it is with the Rosary as well. The Source of the light causing the Rosary to come alive is Jesus Christ Himself: “I am the light of the world.”, Jesus said (John 8.12a).
For those who pray the Rosary, the light then comes when we pray the mysteries of the Incarnation, that is, the events of the life of Jesus Christ, of God becoming human. The light of Christ, by entering these mysteries, illuminates the joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries of our own lives, to be combined with and transformed by the mysteries of Christ in all of His humanity and divinity. The Rosary must be prayed therefore from a human heart vulnerable and open to belong to Christ’s own heart and life.
This belonging to Christ also includes a human heart willing to be sent out on mission for this is the way of the true disciple of Christ, as our guide in the prayer of the Rosary, Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, most certainly is. She offers us hope in her guidance through the mysteries we enter; Mary encourages us to know her Son intimately as our Savior and as our friend.
At times, the prayer of the Rosary is like entering a garden replete with flowers, rose bushes, ponds, and fauna where we can experience solace and refreshment for body and soul. At other times, the prayer of the Rosary is like entering the Garden of Gethsemane, with its fears and agonizing moments. It is in this way that the prayer of the Rosary brings up into contact with Jesus Christ in the present, living with us in this world. When we contemplate the second joyous mystery, we are moved to be with Mary and Elizabeth and the infants forming in their wombs, not only as a sacred memory in our faith, but also in the living present with those in our lives who want us to share in their joy. Can we take the risk to do so? When we contemplate any of the mysteries of the Rosary, can we take the risk to envision ourselves with Christ in the present who is hungry for our presence in loving accompaniment in action on mission? Each human person has her or his joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries. Each one carries the God-given grace to evangelize as well.
When we are on mission, sent out by Christ in cooperation with the prayer of the Rosary, we are preaching. When we say, “Dominicans preach the Rosary,” we are really saying, “We preach the Word of God, the Living God.” Preaching the Rosary is certainly accomplished in Rosary pilgrimages, processions, prayer gatherings, conferences, confraternities, and many other forms of devotion using the prayer of the Rosary. The good of this over the centuries, including in our own time, is incalculable. We stand at a Springtime moment in the Proclamation of the Reign of God in our time by using the Rosary in our ways of Holy Preaching. Preaching the Rosary is a preaching of the Order of Preachers. With this truth we are able, all by the grace of God, to develop new strategies for preaching the heart of the Rosary which is found in the encounter with Christ in the Mysteries of the Incarnation. The Rosary is an evangelizing prayer which has everything to do with relationship with Christ and with one another. It is also a locus for our own conversion.
Together let us evangelize with the prayer, preaching, and promotion of the Rosary, a holy prayer, a prayer of love, a prayer directly from Sacred Scripture. Out from one decade of the Rosary, prayed with love in the heart, can come forth a plentiful sea of missionary life. Listening to the voices from the living scenes of the mysteries of the Incarnation, we can pay attention to Jesus’ Mother Mary, saying to the stewards at the wedding feast in Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2.5.