Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
October 7, 2015
Prayer and study, the two pillars of any vocation to the consecrated life, but most especially for those called to be students. Yet often it can seem that these two pillars are opposed or at least pulling in opposite directions. Yes, we can feel like Samson tethered to these two columns, ready to tear them down along with the rest of the building. After all prayer is a matter of the will and study of the intellect.
In prayer, cor ad cor loquitur, heart speaks to heart, desires are shared and revealed, and in an intimate exchange of love a covenantal bond is forged. In study, fides quaerens intellectum, faith seeks understanding, questions meet answers or questions lead to deeper and deeper questions leading us ever more into the mystery, and we learn. These two pillars, the activities of our lives here, can seem as different as that questioning and doubting Thomas (who would not believe until he could see it) was from that clinging and ever searching Mary Magdalene in the garden before the tomb. Or as different as that Mary of "the better part" was from that ever serving and active Martha.
Yet if we doubt in any way the connection between these two pillars, notice the subtle question posed by the disciples today: “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Lk 11:2). As if to say that this act of the will, this confluence of hearts in love which we call prayer can be taught; and furthermore, that those desirous of such a relationship must learn how to do it.
Enter the school of Mary which we celebrate today enshrined n the gift of the Holy Rosary. Mary, the first disciple or student of Christ her very own son, understood well the communion—dare we say—between intellect and will, study and prayer, keeping all these things in her heart. And she desires us to do the same by contemplating with her the most sacred mysteries of her son in the Rosary.
Indeed, we want both prayer and study to be an encounter with Christ, to insert us ever more fully into the mystery of His passion, death, and resurrection. The Rosary does just that. As we prayed in the opening collect so familiar to us from the Angelus: “Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel—the Joyful mysteries—may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by his Passion and Cross—the Sorrowful mysteries—be brought to the glory of his Resurrection—the Glorious mysteries.
The Rosary at Mary’s request places before our minds eye the life of Christ, and by stirring the affections of our hearts, seeks to delve us deeper and deeper into the sacred mysteries we are now celebrating.