The Most Holy Rosary
I preached last weekend on the Holy Rosary, and I thought that it might be a nice thing to have the Rosary bubbling in the background of these bulletins. So week by week I will take the mysteries and write something about each of them. Of course other things will intervene, but that is alright. The Rosary follows a sequence of the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord, but we know it well enough to be able to dip in and out.
Some people know the Rosary inside out, but it is one of those things that seems to have fallen out of fashion recently, so I will try to make sure that there are leaflets on how to say the Rosary in St Michael’s and Our Lady’s. If you have forgotten, or want a refresher, just take one.
The Rosary was revealed to St Dominic in 1214 to fight against the Albigensian heresy. This was a complex series of beliefs, but at the core it rejected the sacramental life of the Church (including Holy Mass), and believed that once individuals had received a full remission of their sins, then they became perfect. They believed that the world was evil, so ate only the plainest of foods, and rejected marriage and all that went with it. It may seem strange to us that anyone was attracted to this kind of life, but in the Middle Ages it provided a way for someone to escape the harsh realities of life by being a member of something special and extraordinary, something perfect. If we are honest, there is always a temptation in Christianity to make it a holy huddle of the elect. But this is not Catholic. We, with our faults and failings are called to a life of perfection, yes; but with the sure knowledge that God will forgive our sins. Perhaps that was the worst part of the Albigensian heresy. Once your sins were forgiven (though really they were not), then that was it. With then you only got one chance. But God’s love is infinite, and He waits for us to turn to Him again and again.
So how was the Rosary a weapon in the war against this corruption of the faith? Well, it made us meditate on the life of Christ and showed us that if God Himself took human flesh, then flesh could not be corrupt and wicked. And that if Our Lord loved His mother (the highest honour of our race) with a perfect love, then how could we spurn the delight of life? The Rosary reconnects the soul with the world, and with God. It shows His humanity and His abiding love for us. It tells us that we are always part of His creation - to love, and to be loved.