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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

Why Pray the Rosary? - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

My dear sisters and brothers, welcome to my Monthly Reflections column. Let us pray for a moment - that we may be anointed with the Holy Spirit to experience the power and the joy of prayer. Spirit of God, come into us. Overshadow us, anoint us with Your Wisdom, that we may understand God's Word Amen. My dear friends, this month is the Month of the Rosary - a time when all Catholics are called by the Church to experience in a new and fresh way - the power and beauty of praying the Rosary in our families and communities. Down the centuries, the Church has always encouraged and instructed her sons and daughters to pray the Rosary.

Why is the importance given to this prayer? I believe there is a very special reason for this. The Rosary is at the same time a contemplative prayer and a vocal prayer. We pray vocally, and as we pray vocally, we contemplate the mysteries of our own salvation. The mystery of salvation is divided into the four sets of Mysteries: the Joyful Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. In fact, through these four sets of Mysteries, the Church sets before us the whole mystery of salvation. And we contemplate this mystery of salvation together with Mother Mary. Now, you might wonder, why together with Mother Mary? It is because Mother Mary is the on who understood the mystery of salvation the best way. Why? Because it is she who accepted this mystery - the mystery of salvation in the best way.

Whom did God turn to when He wanted to save the world? God turned to Mary, the virgin girl from Nazareth. God sent his angel. God asked for her consent to become the mother of the Redeemer. In the plan of God, it was the Son of God who should be coming down as man to redeem mankind. But then, for God to become man, God needed a woman - a mother, and for this purpose God chose Mary. She accepted wholeheartedly. She surrendered her life into the hands of God and said, "Here am I your handmaid, let it be done to me as you said, according to Your Word." She became the humble servant of God as planned and so God could use her in the best, the most perfect way. God could use her in the mystery of salvation as she understood and accepted the mystery of salvation from God. That is why when we contemplate with Mother Mary the mysteries of salvation, we will understand the mysteries of salvation in the best way. That is why the Church declares that Mother Mary is the first believer and the best believer.

With her, we contemplate the mysteries of salvation. But then, in our daily routine, when we are busy with a lot of things in our lives, we are not able to concentrate on our contemplation all the time. We need help to concentrate on our contemplation on the mystery of salvation and for that we pray vocally. And what are we praying vocally? We are praying in the first part of the Hail Mary, the Word of God. "Hail Mary! Full of grace, The Lord is with you." It is all the Word of God as mentioned in Luke 1:28. It is what the Angel Gabriel said. "Hail Mary!" greeting Mary. "Full of grace" - there was no sin in her. She was all the time full of God's favour and full of God's grace. There was not a single moment in her life when she rebelled against God. No! In every moment, she was the handmaid of the Lord. That is why the angel said "full of grace" - a greeting so true and so inspiring that when we say that in "Hail Mary! Full of grace," we understand how sinful we are and we repent over our sins. We ask God for the grace to remain full of grace - never to rebel against God. Therefore, at the beginning of our prayer, we keep Mother Mary before us. We want to be like Mother Mary - always, always as the handmaid of the Lord. Never to rebel against God's Word. So with that spirit of repentance, we begin our prayer, asking for God's pardon and before we lost the grace of our God.

"Hail Mary! Full of grace. The Lord is with you." The Lord came into her and she accepted God's Word into her. God's Word became flesh in her. Well, that is what should be happening to you and to me all the time - God's Word becoming flesh in us. Every time, every moment, every experience in our lives, it is God's Word that should become flesh in our lives. "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Jesus." That is the greeting Elizabeth (Luke 1:42) said when Mary went to visit her and to serve her. She became a handmaid to the Lord and she became a handmaid to everyone. Ready for humble service and that is why Elizabeth greets her, "Blessed are you among women."

There is a beautiful event in the gospel of Luke 11:27-28 - As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breast that you sucked." But he said, "Blessed rather those who hear the Word of God and keep it." What is the meaning of this event? What was the woman saying? The woman was saying that the Mother of Jesus was blessed. Great - a wonderful exclamation! And then Jesus is adding something to it. "O Woman, you understand my mother in q very natural way - that she gave birth to me, that in her arms, I grew up. But then, my mother was something more than that. My mother was blessed because she heard God's Word and kept it. It was a beautiful tribute that Jesus gave to His mother in her absence. Jesus was saying that Mary is blessed because she believed in the Word. She heard God's Word, she believed in God's word and she kept God's Word.

When we recite the Rosary, and when we say "Blessed are you among women," we want to understand this blessedness came to her because she believed. She believed as Elizabeth said in Luke 1:46, "Blessed are you because you believed." And Jesus also said it. Jesus knew his mother so well. And so when we pray the Rosary, we make a decision. We make a decision t o become blessed like Mother Mary To become blessed by doing God's Will at all times. Never to do our own will, never to go our own way, never to go the way of the world but to go in God's Way as Mother Mary did.

The second part of the Hail Mary is an intercessory prayer. "Holy Mary, Mother of God. Pray for us sinners." Well, we know we are sinners. When we have Mother Mary before us, we realize how blessed she was, how blessed her life was, how she became a handmaid of the Lord at all times. Then we understand how sinful we are and we pray to blessed Mary. "Pray for us sinners, now, at all times, especially at the moment of death." Yes, especially at the moment of death - before we enter our heavenly bliss. The Hail Marys' that we recite, that we pray, enable us to understand and accept God's Will at all times.

My dear brothers and sisters, let us accept this beautiful prayer that our fathers and mothers have taught us. This simple prayer - that the whole family can recite together. I am sure that in our families, we have prayed the Rosary and we are the richer, the more blessed for that.

There is one event that I want to point out. That of Mother Mary with the early Church. We are told that the disciples were gathered together in the upper room. And what were they doing? They were praying in one heart, of one mind. They were united in the presence of the Mother. And this is what Mother Mary will do to you and to us - to our families, she will unite us. Unite us to do God's Will. The one thing Mother Mary always tells us to do was what she said at Cana, "Do as he tells you to do." It is what Mother Mary tells everyone, she takes us to Jesus. In John 2:1-11, we read about the event in Cana. The family was in trouble. They had no more wine. Mother Mary saw the trouble. Nobody knew where to turn to and nobody knew who could help. Only Mother Mary knew - she turned to Jesus. She turned the whole family to Jesus, 'Do as he tells you to do." And then there was the miraculous intervention of Jesus into that family's lives.

In our families, we are often confused. We are sick. We are facing problems - financial crisis, disturbances in our marriage, anxieties about our children and another 101 other problems! We do not know where to turn to. If we tangibly experience the presence of the Mother in our family, we will know where to turn to. Mother Mary will turn us to Jesus. And we will experience the intervention of Jesus into our problems and into our troubles. Down the centuries, thousands of families have experienced the powerful intercession of Mother Mary. They have turned to Mother Mary and together with Mother Mary, they have turned to Jesus and experienced salvation. That is what the Rosary is going to do to your family.

Let us pray together:
O God, we thank you for giving us such a wonderful Mother.
A Mother to understand us. A Mother to be with us.
A Mother to take all our tears, all our problems, all our sins, all our sufferings to Jesus.
Mother Mary, pray for us at all times.
And together with you, Mother, we want to go to Jesus. Amen
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