The New Mysteries of the Rosary
Meditations On the Mysteries of the Rosary
Why is the Immaculate Heart so Important?
THE ROSARY IN THE BIBLE
by Richard P. Salbato
The Greatest Prayer of the Bible is the the Mass
The Second Greatest Prayer of the Bible is the Rosary
We have come a long way just to get to the subject matter of this essay. We will now address the question of the second greatest prayer of the Bible. If I had placed this first, you would have just skipped over to the most important prayer. Now we can concentrate on the subject at hand.
It all starts with the Apostles asking Christ how to pray.
"Lord! Teach us to pray."(Luke 11:1)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was attending a large gathering of religious leaders from all over the world. They were asking and answering the same question, "How to pray?"
After many of them had expounded on their different ways of praying, Mother Teresa was asked to give her opinion.
She said she didn't agree with any of the methods she had heard thus far, and she would stick with the prayer the Lord, Himself, had taught. She said no personal prayer could equal The Lord's Prayer, also known as "The Our Father".
THE LORD'S PRAYER
The Lord's Prayer has been written about by hundreds of saints using thousands of words. Never can enough be said about it. I would like only to touch on it briefly.
The prayer is divided into two parts just like the Tablets of the Ten Commandments. The first part is praise and honor of God.
"Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
What we need to understand here is that we honor the first three commandments of God, which were on the first of the two tablets. We pray for both the spiritual and the physical.
We pray that neither our minds nor our words will ever take God lightly. We pray that the Will of God will be accomplished in our hearts and in our actions. We pray that the Kingdom of God [the Church] will always be holy as it is in Heaven, and that it will someday encompass the entire world, as it does in Heaven.
"Give us this day our daily bread."
This is also to be understood both spiritually and physically. We are praying for the bread of life and our daily needs, but not more than our daily needs.
"And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."
Think about that!
This is a very dangerous thing to pray, for we are telling God to do to us as we do to others. This is the key to all the commandments. We are telling God to treat us the way we treat His Commandments.
"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen!
Of course, God doesn't tempt us to sin, but He does allow it. Here, too, we are praying for the spiritual and the physical. We want God to deliver us from the evils of sin and the evils of the world.
Since God knows everything, He knows what we want before we ask for it. He knows what we need better than we do. He knows our minds and our hearts. So why should we pray at all? Because God commands us to pray. God knows that we need to pray for our own good. Prayer teaches us more about God than all the books we could ever read, even the Bible. Prayer forms in us a PROPER CONSCIENCE.
If God didn't WAIT for our prayers, we would never know God was the one answering them. If we didn't pray, we could not know God.
How would we know our friends, if we never talked to them? The more we talk with them, the better we know them. It is in prayer that we get to know God, not in books.
Prayer is for our good, not God's good. Our prayers should help us to KNOW HIM and to KNOW HIS WILL. All a true Christian wants is the grace to do God's Will. Anything beyond that is from our pride and our weakness.
If, then, we learn from prayer, let us learn prayer.
Before the question of prayer was asked of Christ by the Apostles, we find Him in the house of Martha and Mary. In this little lesson we learn the first rule of prayer. We learn to simply be still and adore God, think about God, look at God, get to know God.
Before you ever say a word of prayer you should place yourself at the foot of God just the way Mary did. Of course, you must know Him first by reading or hearing about Him, and then you should meditate on His life and His Words everyday. This meditation is the heart of all prayer.
Padre Pio, in teaching people to pray, always said to first place yourself [mentally] in the presence of God. Once our meditation has placed us in the presence of God, we should pray the way Christ taught us to pray.
Right after Christ taught the people the Lord's Prayer, He told them a parable about the friend asking for three loaves of bread and He ends by saying:
"I say to you, although he will not get up and give to him because he is his FRIEND, yet because of his PERSISTENCE he will get up and give him ALL HE NEEDS." (Luke 11:5-8)
What we learn here is persistence in prayer. Keep in mind, though, that God said "FRIEND", and in John's Gospel He explains,
"You are my friends IF you do the things I command you." (John 15:14)
Again Christ emphasizes persistence in prayer with the story of the godless judge:
"Although I do not fear God, nor even respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will do her justice, lest by her continual coming she finally wear me out.
"And the Lord said, 'Hear what the unjust judge says; and will not God avenge his elect, who cry to him day and night? And will He be slow to act in their case?" (Luke 18:4-7)
In this passage, Christ not only teaches us persistence but He is also referring to the saints in Heaven, who are praying night and day on our behalf.
"How long, O Lord, Holy and true, do you refrain from judging and from avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth." (Apoc. 6:10)
Then Christ goes on with another parable emphasizing the difference between MULTIPLYING WORDS and PERSISTENCE in prayer.
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, the one a PHARISEE and the other a PUBLICAN. The Pharisee stood and began to pray thus within himself:
'O God, I thank thee that I am not like the rest of men, robbers, dishonest, adulterers, or even like this Publican. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes of all that I possess.'
But the Publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes to Heaven, but kept striking his breast,[OVER AND OVER] saying,
'O God, be merciful to me THE SINNER.'
I tell you, this man went back to his home JUSTIFIED rather that the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who HUMBLES himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14)
So far we learn that: we must be a friend of God by keeping His Commandments, we must recognize our sins [the first sign of the Holy Spirit is the recognition of sin], we must be humble, and we must ask over and over again.
"Amen I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it." (Luke 18:17)
A child is [or has become] innocent of the experience of sin. We must be blameless or exonerated before we present our requests to the Lord.
"Watch, then, praying at ALL TIMES, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)
What do we make of all these parables on prayer? Can we learn how to pray from these passages? We find Christ praising the man who had his head bowed [afraid to even face God] and who REPEATED OVER AND OVER AND OVER, "Lord, forgive me, the SINNER."
That is REPETITION.
Repetition is not the same as multiplying words. Repetition is saying a prayer over and over again [as in the case of the Publican or in the case of the woman before the unjust judge]. Multiplying words is like trying to convince God of something, as if He didn't know all things. Repetition is a form of chanting, like in the Canticles or the Psalms.
What then should we be repeating, if not our own words as the Pharisee did? God knows our wants, our needs, our faults, and He knows what is good for us.
What kind of prayer then? The "Lord's Prayer" is one form of prayer, and in my opinion, all other prayer should be like it, since God said, "PRAY LIKE THIS."
It is a formal prayer, in that we have not thought it up ourselves. It is a perfect prayer, as it praises God, asks only for our basic needs and the needs of our brother [everything is said in the plural], it asks forgiveness of sins, and help not to sin again.
Who do we find today saying the Lord's Prayer in the style of the Publican, over and over again, with persistence, in humility, and in a sort of chant? Is there anyone or any group of people, who pray in this manner anywhere in the world?
Yes, there are. From the very earliest times of the Church the followers of Christ prayed in this manner. In Ephesus, Thyatira, Jerusalem and Syria the very earliest fathers tied ropes into one hundred knots. They divided these knots into three groups of thirty-three and a large tassle. Then on each knot they prayed,
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Somewhere in the eighth century the knotted rope became one hundred and fifty prayers and it was changed to the "Ave". St. Seraphim of Sarov, Russia, revived the prayer, and it has continued in the east to this day. These prayers were repeated while meditating on the mysteries of Our Lord.
It was from this Komvoskhimion or Chotki rope that the Eastern Christians and Moslems derived the kombaloi or masbaha [worry beads].
The Western Churches have been praying in this manner for a few hundred years, but the Byzantine, Syrian, Armenian, Russian Catholic, and Orthodox Churches have been praying like this from the time of the Apostles.
Yes! There are still people who pray in this historic style. There are millions of Christians who pray just like this. They pray the Rosary.
They say more of the Lord's Prayer than any other group of people in the world. But they also say over and over and over again, "pray for us sinners", just like the Publican.
Let me say, unhesitatingly, that the Rosary [whether in the Western style or in the Eastern style] is the Second Greatest Prayer in the Bible.
It is known as the Psalter of the New Testament. Mary introduced it as Her "Battering Ram" first in the eighth century and later again to St. Dominic. A battering ram was used to knock down the doors of the castles so the soldiers could enter and win the Kingdom.
Christ said to KNOCK and it shall be opened, so we use Mary's battering ram to KNOCK AND KNOCK AND KNOCK.
This knocking is done with a Bible prayer taught by the Angel Gabriel and by the Holy Spirit who inspired Elizabeth. The angel taught us the first part and Elizabeth the second part of this "battering ram". After every ten knocks, we petition the Lord with His own prayer. Christ said,
"And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find, KNOCK, and it shall be OPENED to you, for everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who KNOCKS it shall be opened." (Luke 11:9-10)
If you pray and don't receive, if you seek God and don't find Him, maybe its because you aren't KNOCKING. If you are properly knocking, perhaps its because you are not keeping God's Commandments.
"If you abide in me, and if my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done to you." (John 15:7)
If you don't receive, you might be asking for the wrong things.
"And as for you, do not seek what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; and do not exalt yourselves (for after all these things the world seeks); but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the KINGDOM OF GOD, and all these things shall be given you besides." (Luke 12:29-31)
The Kingdom of God is the Church. Can your prayers be heard if you refuse to belong to the Kingdom, the Body of Christ?
Unless you SEEK the Kingdom on earth, you will never enter the Kingdom in Heaven. If you are truly SEEKING upon death and have not found, you have already found. But only God knows if you are TRULY seeking.
It is strange that Christian book stores do not allow Catholic books. Is that TRULY SEEKING? Or perhaps you don't receive because of PRIDE.
"For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." (Luke 14:11)
"At the name of Jesus every knee shall bend." (Phil.2:10)
"As I live, says the Lord, to me every knee shall bend, and every tongue shall give praise to God. (Romans 14:11)
THE ARK OF GOD
Those who pray like the Publican [with humility, with persistence, with meditation, with repetition, and loving the commandments] have confidence that their prayers are always answered. They seek God by going up to the NEW JERUSALEM, THE NEW ARK, THE NEW TABERNACLE OF GOD, UP TO MARY.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven [closed to humans] and the first earth [without Christ] passed away, and the sea [Jewish people] is no more. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem [Mary and the Church] coming down out of heaven from God [conceived in the mind of God] made ready as a BRIDE adorned [with all graces and without sin] for her husband [the Holy Spirit], and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold the dwelling of God with men.' [Christ in the womb of Mary and later in the Tabernacles of the world]. (Apoc. 21:1)
"Before She was in labor [Mary had no labor because she was without sin. Labor at birth is a result of sin. Genesis 3:16], before Her time came to be delivered, She brought forth a man child [As a virgin She delivered Christ]. Who hath ever seen such a thing? Who hath ever heard such a thing? Shall the earth bring forth at once, because Sion [Mary] has been in labor, and has brought forth Her children? Shall not I [God] that make others to bring forth children, MYSELF BRING FORTH, saith the Lord? [God is the Father of Christ] Shall I, [God] that gave generation to others be BARREN, saith the Lord your God? Rejoice with Jerusalem [Mary and/or the Church] and be glad with Her, all you that love her, all you that mourn for her [recognize Her sufferings at the foot of the Cross], that you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of Her consolations [all grace - Full of Grace - comes through Mary]; that you may milk out, and flow with delights from the abundance of Her glory [more grace than all the world put together].
[Added comments] (Isaiah 66:7-11)
We who love Mary say, "Hail Mary" because we are glad with her; we say, "full of grace" because we receive Her consolations; we say, "Blessed are You among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb" because she is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. We say "Holy Mary, Mother of God" because she is the Mother of God and ours; we say, "pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death" because God can refuse Her nothing.
We seek Christ through Mary because we can find Him, see Him, know Him faster and better that way.
"My soul magnifies the Lord." (Luke 2:46)
We have confidence in Her because She is the enemy of Satan.
"I will put enmities between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed. She shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for Her heel." (Genesis 3:15)
This is the woman the devil had been looking for those past 5000 years. This is the woman who would crush the head of Satan, his pride. This is the woman who would be the Mother of a people who would have power over Satan. This is the woman who gave flesh and blood to Christ, the same blood that was shed for our sins. This is the woman who magnifies the Lord. The moon gets its light from the sun, and yet, is ten times brighter than the stars. So, too, Mary reflects the goodness of the Lord ten times more than all the teachers of the world.
THE GREAT SIGN
We, who love this woman, this Christokos, this Theotokos, this Mother of God, know that She will pray for Her children.
There still exists a letter from Her in a church on the Isle of Corsica written before Her death. In this letter to the Christians She promises:
"I will continually intercede on your behalf before the Throne of my Son."
We, who love this Woman, know that She will protect us from error.
"A sword will pierce your heart, so that the THOUGHTS of many souls WILL BE REVEALED."
We, who love this Woman, know it was Mary and Her Son shown in a vision in Heaven before the world was created. We know that Satan and his followers refused to accept Her as Queen of Heaven, just as people refuse to accept Her today.
"And a great sign [vision] appeared in Heaven; a WOMAN clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars [Our Lady of Guadalupe]. And being with child, she cried out in her travail and was in the anguish of delivery." [Added comments]
The sun is grace. The moon is sin [darkness] that is under her feet or beneath Her. The twelve stars are all virtues. The news of the birth cried out to the whole universe. Her anguish was knowing that He was born to die on the Cross.
"And another sign was seen in Heaven, and behold a great red dragon [Satan] having seven heads [seven mortal sins] and ten horns [the vain and arrogant glorifications he attributed to himself], and upon his heads seven diadems [crowned with the seven deadly sins]. And his tail [his promises] was dragging along the third part of the stars of heaven [the fallen angels], and it dashed them to the earth [a third of the angels were cast out of heaven and into the center of earth -- Hell]; and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, that when she had brought forth a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron [Satan looked for this woman so that he could kill the child. He looked for her for 5000 years]; and her child was caught up to God and to his throne [Christ seated at the right hand of the Father]. And the woman fled into the wilderness, [She was protected from Satan] where she has a place prepared by God [Her interior solitude blinded Satan], that there they may nourish her a thousand two hundred and sixty days [the last 3 and 1/2 years of Her life were enraptured]." [Added comments]
We, who love Mary, know that before the creation of the world and of man, there was a battle in heaven: (Apoc.12:7)
"And there was a battle in heaven; Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon did not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, who leads astray the whole world; and he was cast down to the earth and with him his angels were cast down."
We, who love Mary, know Satan hates Her and all Her Children.
"And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he pursued THE WOMAN who had brought forth the male child. [He looked for the woman he saw in the vision]. And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle [infused knowledge and humility] that she might fly into the wilderness unto her place [freedom from earthly desires], where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, away from the serpent [the time She was given to prepare Herself for battle with Satan]."
[Added comments] (Apoc. 12:14)
We, who love Mary, know we are Her children, if we keep the commandments of Her Son.
"And the dragon was angered at the woman, and went away to wage war with the rest of HER OFFSPRING [God's chosen elect], who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and hold fast to the TESTIMONY OF JESUS."
[Added comments] (Apoc. 12:17)
QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
We, who love Mary, know She is the Queen of Heaven.
"The QUEEN takes Her place at your Right hand [the right hand of Christ at the throne of God] in Gold of Orhir [all graces]. Hear, O DAUGHTER [daughter of the Father], and see; turn our ear, forget your people and your father's house [earthly beginnings]. So shall the king sire your beauty; for he is your Lord. [She is queen and God is King]. And you must worship Him [even though She is Queen of Heaven, She is still only a creation of God and owes Him worship]. And the City of Tyre is here with gifts [all must honor Her]; the rich among the people [rich in grace] seek your favor [we go to Mary for the grace of God]. All glorious is the King's DAUGHTER as She enters; Her raiment is threaded with spun gold. In embroidered apparel She is born into the King [She was born clothed in Sanctifying Grace]; behind Her the virgins of Her train are brought to you [under the veil of Mary is the pure of the Church, especially the virgins whom She protects and leads to God]. They are borne in with gladness and joy; they enter the palace of the King [She leads them to the Kingdom of Heaven]. The place of your fathers your sons shall have [Her children replaced the Jews]. You shall make them princes through all the land. I will make your name memorable THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS. Therefore shall nations PRAISE YOU FOREVER AND EVER."
[Added comments] (Psalms 44-45)
We, who love Mary, meditate on the life of Her Son as we repeat with the Publican, "Pray for us sinners".
We meditate on how He was conceived in a virgin womb, a New Tabernacle, by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
We meditate on how He made John the Baptist leap for joy by just His presence in the womb of Mary; how He was worshipped by Kings in a manger; how He was recognized by Simeon as God in the Temple; How Simeon predicted Mary's sorrows; how Christ was subject to His parents for thirty years; how His Mother washed away the lashes of the scourging with Her tears at the foot of the cross; how She cleansed the wounds on His head from the crown of thorns; how She dressed His shoulder wound with sadness; how She filled the wounds in His hands and feet with soft heavenly drops from Her eyes; how all the saints of old rejoiced at His coming to open the gates of Heaven; how sad were the Apostles and Mary to see Him ascend to Heaven; how strong they all became with the Power of the Holy Spirit; how happy must have been the saints and angels when Mary joined Her Son in Heaven; and what a great feast there must have been when the Holy Trinity crowned Her Queen of all Creation.
We meditate on how this vision [seen before the world was created] became a reality in Her Crowning.
All these things we think about everyday as we say over and over again with the Publican,
"Pray for us sinners, pray for us sinners, pray for us sinners."
Saint Teresa of Avila said that God cannot be described for His beauty, but one analogy would be like a great and beautiful diamond of white light, and each facet is like a mirror.
When we stand before Him, all our imperfections are seen in the facets of His being. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of imperfections [sins], so I'll offer you this sinner's approach to prayer.
First, I call my angel to come and pray with me.
"Do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you, THEIR ANGELS in heaven always behold the face of my Father in Heaven."
I then ask the Holy Innocents to come and pray with me, since they were the first martyrs of Christ (Matt. 2:16). I ask Padre Pio and Saint Joseph to come and pray with me.
Surrounded by these saints of Heaven, I picture myself as a little child and I approach the Great Doors of the Kingdom of Heaven.
With Rosary in hand, I make a profession of faith, "I believe in God, etc." Still using the Psalter of Mary, my battering ram, I begin to knock on the door of the Kingdom.
I knock and knock with my Rosary. As the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come," I knock with confidence and fear. I knock with the battering ram of the Queen.
I picture Peter opening the Great Doors of Heaven. Mary is standing there in Her beautiful crown and robes. She recognizes me as one of her little children, and gives a sign for me to enter. She dusts me off, straightens out my clothes, takes my hand, and walks me up the great steps to the Throne of God.
There on the throne sits the Triune God. I hide my imperfections under the long veil of my Mother, and say, "Our Father, Who art in Heaven..."
A LITTLE CHILD
When I first started this type of prayer, I pictured myself as a grown man walking up to the Throne of God with my Mother beside me. Later, as I grew in this prayer, I saw myself as a dirty little boy that She had to clean up first. Now, I see myself as a little child, who fell in the mud. She has a hard time cleaning me off.
Some day I will be a little baby who cannot even walk, and She will have to carry me. When I become a new-born infant that She can hand to the Child, Jesus, I will be ready for Heaven.
So, if you run up to the altar to join in with the songs and prayers of the proud and the bold, look back to the very, very back of the church, and see if there isn't a publican back there, on his knees, with his head bowed, and repeating over and over and over again,
"Pray for us sinners, pray for us sinners, pray for us sinners."
It might be......
by Richard Salbato
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