Scripture: Lectionary 653. Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Acts 1:12-14. Magnificat 1:46-55.  Luke 1:16-38:

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On this Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, the most recent lectionary takes all three readings from St. Luke, the Evangelist of Mary and the Holy Spirit.  It is he who gives us the fullest narratives about Mary and paints with his pen a literary portrait of the Mother of God, Mary of Nazareth.  It is he who tell us of the Virgin Birth, the Annunciation, Visitation, Presentation in the Temple, and the Finding in the Temple.  It is he who gives us the last mention of Mary in his Acts of the Apostles.  The Rosary is simply an outline of Luke’s first two chapters and also the scene in the Upper Room—all based on the primary inspired text of Luke.  The other mysteries in which Mary is involved with Jesus come from scenes in the other Gospels especially those of John. The Rosary is therefore a biblical prayer based on the Evangelists who mention Mary and also on the living Tradition of the Catholic Church. It is Pope John who gives us the most recent theological and scriptural reflections on the Rosary and it is he who added the mysteries of the active ministry of Jesus to them. (Encyclical on the Rosary) The scenes about Cana and the foot of the Cross are from John; one is found in the Luminous Mysteries (Cana), the other in the Sorrowful Mysteries (John).

On this feast we are offered three of the principal passages that speak of Mary and one which allows her to speak for herself in her magnificent Magnificat (Luke 1:46-56).  We are able to meditate on these three events which come first in her response to the angel at the Annunciation and last in her again receiving the gift of the Spirit so that the Church like Jesus could be born. Thus Paul VI gave her the title Mother of the Church at the end of the Vatican II Council.

Central in our Liturgy of the Word is Mary’s hymn which is chanted or prayed each day at Vespers or Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.  This song of Mary takes place at the Visitation and is Mary’s song of total self-giving to the Lord whom she magnifies.  She sings of the history of her people and moves with courage to pray for the freedom of God for all peoples.  She is most concerned about the poor and the lowly and identifies herself with them. Luke did us a great favor by having Mary speak for the first time in the New Testament at the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Finding in the Temple—all mysteries to be contemplated while saying the rosary.

In my opinion, the greatest scriptural passage about Mary is the Annunciation Narrative of Luke 1:26-38.  It is the beginning of the mystery of Jesus coming among us in the same flesh through the Virgin Mary.  She is called Blessed by her cousin Elizabeth who even says, “How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me!” Elizabeth adds, “Blessed are you who have believed.”  In the Annunciation we have the faith of Mary conceiving Jesus by her Yes to the Lord. She also shows her prudence, intelligence, and trust as a woman of courage and faith.  She meets all the characteristics of a disciple of Jesus as life moves on for her. She is called by her name by Gabriel and by St. Mark (6:3).Mark; she is woman, mother, virgin, spouse, and is called Blessed Mother, Blessed Virgin, and Mother of the Lord.  Mary’s response is totally given from her heart which is filled with the Holy Spirit.  She is single-minded in always make God first in her life’s choices, and is full of virginal and motherly love for her Son Jesus.  She says, “Let it be done to me according to your word” to the Angel and God follows up with the miracle of  The Word become flesh within her.  What can we say or better what can we express in prayer?   Only this , “Holy Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.