Tuesday, February 22, 2005
From the Year of the Rosary to the Year of the Eucharist
In his apostolic letter for the Year of the Eucharist, Mane Nobiscum
, the Holy Father sees the current Year of the Eucharist as arising organically from a chain of calendrical events in the last decade of his pontificate. Specifically, he links it to the momentum of the Great Jubilee Year in 2000, and even more recently, to The Year of the Rosary (October 2002 - October 2003) announced in the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae
, in which he "returned to the theme of contemplating the face of Christ, now from a Marian perspective, by encouraging once more the recitation of the Rosary":
This traditional prayer, so highly recommended by the Magisterium and so dear to the People of God, has a markedly biblical and evangelical character, focused on the name and the face of Jesus as contemplated in the mysteries and by the repetition of the 'Hail Mary'. In its flow of repetitions, it represents a kind of pedagogy of love, aimed at evoking within our hearts the same love that Mary bore for her Son. For this reason, developing a centuries-old tradition by the addition of the mysteries of light, I sought to make this privileged form of contemplation an even more complete 'compendium of the Gospel'. And how could the mysteries of light not culminate in the Holy Eucharist?
The Pope notes that in his recent Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia
he also "suggested once again the need for a Eucharistic spirituality and pointed to Mary, 'woman of the Eucharist', as its model."
"The Year of the Eucharist takes place against a background which has been enriched by the passage of the years, while remaining ever rooted in the theme of Christ and the contemplation of his face. In a certain sense, it is meant to be a year of synthesis, the high-point of a journey in progress."
I am find myself especially drawn to the link between the Year of the Rosary and the Year of the Eucharist. If Rosarium Virginis Mariae
had any overriding theme, it was that the contemplation of Mary is in fact nothing other than the contemplation of Christ, and that all Marian devotion finds its culmination in a closer union with her Son. (Incidentally, Disputations had an interesting discussion
earlier this month regarding a critique of recent Marian teaching.) The image of Mary as the 'woman of the Eucharist' is provides plenty of theological capital.
I must include the following excerpt from my current reading project, Romano Guardini's The Rosary of Our Lady:
Who is Mary? Let us say it as simply as it can possibly be said: she is the woman for whom Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our Redeemer, became the main purpose of life. The fact is as simple and at the same time as far beyond all human understanding as is the mystery of our Lord's Incarnation.
Jesus is the substance of Mary's life, just as the child is the lifeblood of its mother, for whom it is the one and all. But, at the same time, He is also her Redeemer, and that another child cannot be for its mother. Speaking of another child and mother in such a manner is like 'making conversation': as soon as the speech takes a serious turn, it borders on blasphemy. Not only was Mary's existence as a human mother achieved in her relation to Jesus, but also her redemption. By becoming a mother, she became a Christian. By living with her Child, she lived with the God whose living revelation He is. Growing humanly along with the Child, as do all mothers who really love, releasing Him on the road of life with so much resignation and pain, she ripened in God's divine grace and truth.
For this reason, Mary is not only a great Christian, one among a number of saints, but she is unique. No one is like her, because what happened to her happened to no other human being. Here lies the authentic root of all exaggeration about her. If people cannot be extravagant enough in their praises of Mary, and even say reckless and foolish things, they are still right in one respect: even though the means are faulty, they seek to express a fact, the tremendous depth of which must overwhelm everyone who realizes it. But exaggerations are useless and harmful, because the simpler the word expressing a truth, the more tremendous and at the same time the more deeply realized do the facts become.
It is Mary on whom the Rosary is centered in a focus ever new. This prayer means a lingering in the world of Mary, whose essence was Christ. In this way, the Rosary is, in its deepest sense, a prayer of Christ.
# posted by Jamie : 12:20 PM