By Martin Nchedo Umeatuegbu
In the Spirit of May Devotion Devotion
The Rosary has several characteristics it possesses, and such makes the prayer a great mystery. Among the various meanings it has or contains is that it can be predicated of being mystical. These mystical meanings devoid of being superstitions, cannot but give one a deeper insight to this Marian Psalter. As we journey with Our Lady during the ongoing May devotion and always, it is important to be mindful that Her rosary is so marvellous and mysterious, because in praying to God through her with the Rosary, she also prays for and with us. Let us consider them in microcosms.
- THE MAGNIFICAT IS THE CONSEQUENT OF THE AVE MARIA
In the reflection of St Louis De Montfort, when we say 1 Hail Mary, Mary reciprocates our greeting by singing one Magnificat for us to God. 5 decades will therefore result to 5 decades of Magnificat. Some people have often argued that devotion to Mary is a false way of prayer. Therefore, it is wrong to pray to Mary. Imagine someone say that we should not pray to Maria, yet the same person has the Bible that says that Mary is Full of Grace (cf Luke 1:28) and that all generations shall call her blessed (see Luke 1:48). But this is false, for on the contrary, Luke 1:26 gives birth to Luke 1:48. In the former, God greeted Maria through the Angel and pronounced Her Full of Grace. In the latter, Maria greets God and by His inspiration, she tells the world that all Generations shall call her blessed. If all generations shall call her blessed, then it is because she from the onset, possessed it as one of her graces, for she would not made such utterance is she is not aware.
The latter is the consequent of the former, and the former is the antecedent of the latter. Hence, they are mutually inclusive because the Ave Maria gave birth to the Magnificat.
That was why St Ildephonsus of Toledo says that Mary predicated that all generations shall call her Blessed because she knew she is full of Grace. Therefore, the _Magnificat_ is the Consequence of the _Ave Maria_.
- THE “EVA” – “AVE” EXPOSITION
The Ancient woman who was Adam’s wife was named *EVA*. Now when we Hail Maria, the Latin version used by the Church is *AVE*. This implies that Ave Maria is a reversal and re-spelling of Eva. Kindly observe that the position of *A* displaces that of *E* and the position of *E* changes that of *A*. But the *V* remains at the middle of both, indicating that both Eva and Maria are Virgins but the Virginity of Eva ended in time after giving birth to a child but Maria’s Virginity surpasses hers because she is a Perpetual Virgin.
If this is true of One Hail Mary, what do you think is the case with the Rosary containing several Hail Mary’s?
- THE ROSARY IS THEOLOGICAL – RELATED TO GOD.
This is because it echoes the Love of God and the God of Love by making appeal to the Heart of Jesus who being Man is also God, while His Mother Maria is also Mother of man and of God. It is on this account that Theologians accord her great titles.
St Augustine calls her “mould of God”;
St Hyppolytus of Rome calls her “Deipara” (Bringer-forth of God);
Blessed Isaac of Stella labels her “Prototype of the Church”;
Venerable Mary of Agreda hails her “Mystical City of God”
Fulton Sheen honours her as “Ciborium of the Lamb of God” and “First Monstrance of Jesus”
St Louis De Montfort salutes her “Terrestrial Paradise of the New Adam” and “Tabernacle of the Most High”
St Peter Damian venerates her as “Portal of God” and “Deity’s Shrine”.
- THE ROSARY IS TRINITARIAN – IT BEARS THE MARK OF THE BLESSED TRINITY
This is because Maria who is being Hailed is the August Temple of the Blessed Trinity for she is Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, and Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. All these flow from the privilege in Third Joyful Mystery. Now it is very beautiful to see that in the same Rosary, the First Joyful Mystery (where God requested from Maria through the Angel to give Birth to His Son in time on earth) is rewarded in the Fifth Glorious Mystery (where God crowns Her Queen by bringing her from time into eternity).
It is because the Rosary is Trinitarian that we begin it with the Sign of the Cross where we invoke the Three Divine Persons.
- THE ROSARY IS CHRISTOLOGICAL
This is granted the fact that Maria who is hailed is not hailed alone, but hailed alongside Her Son Jesus Christ. This means that in the Rosary, We salute Maria as means to Jesus who is our end. On this account St Louis De Montfort says that the more we honour Maria the more we honour Jesus for we honour her that we may honour in a perfect way Jesus Christ.
The reference to Christ is also by the very fact that though He is the Fruit of Maria’s womb as man (cf. Luke 1:42), He is also God. So, while in the Rosary we honour Maria as “Theotokos” – Mother of God, at the same time we greet Jesus as “Theoanthropos” – the God-Man, and “Theos tou anthropou” – the “God of Man”.
We can then understand why the Rosary begins with the sign of the Cross where Christ was Crucified. The Crucifix has the shape of a sword, and is a sign of defeat to the Devil. It is for this reason that Chaplet is referred to in Greek as “to kombologion”, that is, “the spiritual sword”.
Therefore, if the ROSARY is Christocentric, then it follows that to claim to have Jesus as one’s Brother, one must first have Maria as one’s Mother. For even Maria is the first Christian by bearing Jesus in Her womb, while Jesus is the First Marian by condescending in the womb of Maria.
- THE ROSARY IS PNEUMATOLOGICAL – FROM THE GREEK WORD, “PNEUMA” – SPIRIT
For it is the same Holy Spirit who formed Jesus in Mary’s womb, and inspired the Bible, that also inspired the Rosary. Hence, as the Bible is taken from the womb of the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so also is the Rosary taken from the womb of the Church by the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit.
As the Church is likened to an incorruptible Virgin in the words of Tertullian, on the very account that the Holy Spirit sustains her with His Eternal Presence, so is the Rosary incorrupt granted the breath of the Spirit’s inspiration. It is for this reason that we can say that the Rosary, though is an ancient prayer, yet is ever new and relevant to every age.
The Spirit of God who influences the Rosary foundation, also indwells souls who say the Rosary with devotion. That is why internal peace and signal graces are signs and effects of a Rosary said devoutly.
In so far as the Holy Spirit, the Finger of God’s Right Hand is involved, the Rosary has never lost any of its freshness. This freshness endures from the past, unto the present, into the future, for the Holy Spirit who inspires it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end.
Given all the above, it follows to assert that the Rosary is truly inspired by God.