Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Our Lady of the Rosary

I've blogged in the past about G.K. Chesterton's poem Lepanto. Today's feast commemorates the famous victory in that gulf off the coast of Greece when the fleet of Christendom defeated the Turks in a battle that decided the future of Europe. Originally, today's memorial was dedicated to Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Victory. However, it was through the rosary, prayed by Catholics across Europe, that the victory was wrought.

Among the many devotional practices frequently recommended in the seminary is the daily rosary. And though there is certainly no requirement of the Church to take up the practice, I find that many of my brother seminarians have made it an integral part of their daily round of prayer. This string of beads has been called the "poor man's psalter" not in an effort to be insulting but merely in an effort to capture the true history of the thing. Between the 150 psalms and the 15 decades there is an intended correlation. Largely illiterate Early Christendom struggled to find a way to spread a devotional life. This was not an age when pamphlets would find much success. So, the devotion of the rosary with its simple repetition of prayers came as the solution. It was, more properly, the poor man's Liturgy of the Hours.

As seminarians, we pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily, but, as I observed above, many seminarians pray the rosary as well. John Paul II, it is worth noting, held the rosary as his favorite prayer. The rosary has, in a sense, come into its own as a daily meditation on the gospel, and prayer of great efficacy. Certainly, it is simpler than the Liturgy of the Hours. And, unlike the Liturgy, the rosary is not required of clergy and seminarians. There is a certain favor God shows to the small, the poor, the weak. Whether it was the alien, orphan, and widow dwelling in the land of Israel or a poor girl of Nazareth, God tends to bring about the greatest by the workings of the least. In an image suggested by Marmion, the rosary can be likened to the 5 smooth stones pulled from the wadi by David when he slew Goliath of Gath. This simple string of Pater Noster and Ave Maria defeated the Turkish fleet. It seems to be in keeping with God's preferences that it should accomplish other great things in the history of Salvation, like bringing men through to ordination.