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Rosary Meditations
The Private Prayers of St. Pope John Paul II - The Rosary Hour

The following passages are taken from the book The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II - The Rosary Hour; 1993.  Specific pages are provided with each passage.


The simplicity and the profundity of the Rosary

Now, at the end of October, I would like, along with you, my brothers and sisters, to examine the simultaneous simplicity and profundity of this prayer, to which the Most Holy Mother invites us, urges us, and encourages us. In reciting the Rosary, we penetrate the Mysteries of the life of Jesus, which are at the same time the Mysteries of His Mother.

This can be seen clearly in the Jouful Mysteries, beginning with the Annunciation, through the Visitation and the birth on that night in Bethlehem, and later in the presentation of the Lord, until He is found in the temple, when He was already twelve years old.

Although it may seem that the Sorrowful Mysteries do not directly show us the Mother of Jesus - with the exception of the last two:  the Via Crucis (carrying of the Cross) and the Crucifixion - how could we even imaging that the Mother was spiritually absent when her Son was suffering so terribly in Gethsemane, during His scourging and crowing with thorns?

And the Glorious Mysteries are in fact Mysteries of Christ, in which we find the spiritual presence of Mary - and first of all is the Mystery of the Resurrection.  The Holy Scripture does not mention the presence of Mary when it describes the Ascension - but must she not be present, if immediately afterward we read that she was in the Upper Room with the Apostles themselves, who had just said farewell to Christ as He rose to Heaven?  Together with them, Mary prepared for the coming of the Holy Spirit and shared in the Pentecost of His descent.  The last two Glorious Mysteries direct our thoughts toward the Mother of God, when we contemplate her Assumption and Coronation in celestial glory.

The Rosary is a prayer about Mary united with Christ in His mission as the Savior.  At the same time it is a prayer to Mary - our best mediator with her Son.  It is, finally, a prayer that in a special way we say with Mary.

                                                                                     October 28, 1981

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, pp. 16-17.


The Rosary, the summary of the whole Gospel

The start of the month of October is what Christian piety has linked, in particular, to a more committed and devout recitation of the Holy Rosary, which my predecessors Pius XII and Paul VI called, "the summary of the whole Gospel."  For centuries this prayer has held an honored place in the worship of the Blessed Virgin, "under whose protection the faithful, praying, take refuge in all dangers and times of need."

The Rosary is a simple prayer but at the same time theologically rich in Bibilical references; for this reason Chirstians love it and recite it frequently and fervently, well aware of its authentic "Gospel nature," which Paul VI speaks of in the Apostolic Exhortation on the worship of the Blessed Virgin.

In the Rosary we meditate on the principal events of salvation that were accomplished in Christ:  from the virgin conception to the final moments of the Passion and the glorification of the Mother of God.  This is a prayer of continuous praise and supplication to Most Holy Mary, that she may intercede for us, poor sinners, in every moment of our day, until the hour of our death.

So I wish to urge you, in the month of October, to rediscover the Holy Rosary and to value it more highly as a personal and family prayer, addressed to she who is the Mother of faithful individuals and the Mother of the Church.

                                                                                    September 30, 1981

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, p. 8.


Rosary for peace; Prayer stronger than any weapon

Brothers and sisters,

Our hearts are full of sorrow because of war going on, from which day after day, news reaches us that is more and more distressing about the number of combatants and the number of weapons, and the involvement of whole civilian populations.

What makes this even more worrying is the risk that this discouraging picture may extend in both time and space, with tragic and incalculable consequences. 

As men and women, and as Christians, we must not get used to the idea that this is all unavoidable, and we must not let our souls yield to the temptation of indifference and fatalistic resignation, as if men couldn't help being caught in the spiral of war.

As believers in the God of mercy and in His Son Jesus, who died and rose for the salvation of all, we cannot give up hope that this tremendous suffering, which involves such as large number of people, will end as soon as possible.  To achieve this goal, we must have at our disposal in the first place, prayer, a humble instrument but, if nurtured with sincere and intense faith, stronger than any weapon and any human calculation.  We entrust to God our profound sorrow together with our most vivid hope.

Let us call on the divine light for those who, in international spheres, continue to seek ways of peace; who, making efforts to end the war, have a desire for peace and justice, and a strong will to find adequate solutions to the various problems of the Middle East.

We ask the Lord to enlighten the leaders on all sides of the conflict, so that they may find the courage to abandon the road of warlike confrontation, and to trust, sincerely, in negotiation, dialogue, and collaboration.

We ask for divine comfort for all those who suffer on account of war and the serious problems of injustice and insecurity that have not yet been solved in the region of the Middle East.

In this trustful appeal to divine mercy, I exhort you all to be in harmony with other believers, above all with the peoples of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths, who are most striken by this war.

By reciting the Rosary and meditating on the mysteries of Christ, we place our sorrow, our worries, and our hopes in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Mother.

                                                                                       February, 2, 1991

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, pp. 99-100.


Nothing in your pain is lost

Following the desire of our heavenly Mother, we express our love and our trust in her through the Rosary.  And so I urge you all to continue the daily recitation of this marvelous prayer, which is truly helpful in our spiritual life.  In fact, the Rosary, with its meditation on the Mysteries, and with its trustful invocation of maternal protection in life and death, comforts us in the commitment to model our Christian life on that of Jesus and Mary; calls us to imitate them with the help of God's grace; and spurs us to practice all the virtues, especially that of brotherly charity.

The Rosary has emmense benefits for every person's spiritual life, for the family environment, and for the social and ecclesial environment of every parish.

Dear faithful, especially those who are sick!

May the Rosary be with you every day so that you may conform to the wishes of Our Lady, as the Saints did!

Together with your friends and relatives, who care for you with loving devotion, I ask for you from the Most Holy Virgin the great gift of health, and the strength to resign yourselves to the will of God.

May Jesus, who says, "Come unto Me, all yuou who are heaven laden and oppressed, and I will give you rest," be a source of confort and support; abandon yourselves to Him with total trust, certain that He will miss none of your pain.  If your faith in Christ and in the reality of His presence in those who suffer is deeply rooted, your courage will never fail!  We will understand in Heaven the value of human suffering in the plan of Providence for bringing to fulfillment the "story of salvation".

Finally, I wish to entrust to your prayer and your intentions all the needs of the Church.  Your Apostolate of prayer and you, too, are in the front lines of support in the work of evangelization, conversion, and sanctification in the world.

Dear sick ones!  I entrust to you the job of praying for the Church, for the Pope, for priestly and religious vocations.

                                                                                   September 6, 1986

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, pp. 52-53.


We need to pray to and to praise Mary

The Rosary remains a simple and effective prayer so that with Mary we may become disciples of Jesus Christ.  To know Jesus Christ, to meditate and renew in our lives each of His Mysteries is the theme of Father Chevrier.  In this prayer that the Church ceaselessly urges, as does the Virgin herself in her apparitions, like those of Lourdes, the Mysteries of Jesus are followed with the eyes and heart of Mary. 

And how can we ever forget that it was Paolina Jaricot in Lyon who had the idea of the fifteen-member groups of the Living Rosary, just as she launched the Work for the Propagation of the Faith?  In a few years, she was able to unite millions of people in France and in many other countries in a broad chain of solidarity, to meditate in turn on the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries, and to pray in accordance with the grand intentions of the Church:  the salvation of sinners, and missions.  She succeeded, as she herself put it, in "making the Rosary a pleasure for the masses."

Today, there is the same need to praise Mary, to pray to her, to be available, like her, to the Holy Spirit, and to perform the work of her Son.  It is a matter of educating the faithful, families, and children.

                                                                                October 4, 1986

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, p.24.


The Rosary is the memory of the Redemption

Among many aspects of the Rosary that Popes, Saints, and scholars have revealed, one in particular should be noted.  The Holy Rosary is a continuous memory of the Redemption, in its crucial stages:  The Incarnation of the Word, His Passion and Death for us, Easter, which He initiated for us and which will be fulfilled eternally in Heaven.

If, then, we consider the comtemplative elements of the Rosary, that is, the Mysteries around which the spoken prayer unwinds, we can better understand why this crown of Hail Marys has been called "The Psalter of the Virgin."  As the Psalms remind Israel of the marvels of the Exodus and of the salvation wrought by God, and served as a constant admonition to be faithful to the pact made on Sinai, so the Rosary continuously recalls to us the new Covenant of the prodigies of mercy and the power that God has revealed in Christ on behalf of men, and reminds us to be faithful to our baptismal pledges.  We are His people, He is our God.

But this reminder of God's miracles and this constant call to faith passes, in a sense, through Mary, the faithful Virgin.  The succession of Hail Marys helps us to penetrate, from one time to the next, ever deeper into the most profound mystery of the Word Incarnate and Savior, "with the heart of her who was closest to the Lord."  Because Mary, too, as a Daughter of Zion and heir to the wise spirituality of Israel, sang the miracles of the Exodus; but, as the first and most perfect disciple of Christ, she walked through and experienced the Passover of the New Covenant, storing it in her heart and meditating on every word and gesture of her Son, joining Him with unconditional faith, and indicating to all the path of the new pact:  "Do whatever He tells you."  Glorified today in Heaven, she demonstrates in herself the journey of the new people to the promised land.

The Rosary thus immerses us in the myeteries of Christ, and offers His Mother to every one of the faithful and to all the Church as the perfect model of how to accept, cherish, and live every word and deed of God, on the ongoing journey to the salvation of the world.

                                                                                      October 9, 1983

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, pp.34-36.


The Rosary is a true conversation with Mary

Never tire of knowing the Mother of God better and better, and above all, do not tire of imitating her in her complete openness to the will of God; occupy yourselves solely with pleasing her, so that you will never make her sad.

You know it's essential to pray, and you would like to do so by recalling and considering what Jesus has done and suffered for us:  the Mysteries of His infancy, of His Passion and Death, and of His glorious Resurrection.

Reciting your "Mystery", or "decade", you follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who instructing you from within, leads you to imitate Jesus more closely by making you pray with Mary, and above all, like Mary.  The Rosary is a great contemplative prayer, just as useful to the men and women of today, "all busy with many things"; it is the prayer of Mary and those who are devoted to her.

The Mysteries of the Rosary are justly compared to windows that you can push open and then let your gaze sink into the "world of God."  It is only from that world, from the "example that Jesus left us," that you learn to be strong in trouble, patient in adversity, and resolute in temptation.

Organize into groups of [twenty], according to the number of Mysteries of the Rosary, and pray for one another.  And so, while all of you together, offer the Mother of the Redeemer the whole crown of Hail Marys, you more easily fulfill the Word of the Lord:  "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

The certainty of having Jesus with you, while you meditate on the Rosary, should make you fervent in praying to Him for peace and justice for the Church and for the world, through the intercession of Our Lady.  Faith can be gained only through prayer.

But above all, the Mother of the Lord suggests this to you, she who at Lourdes and especially at Fatima as a mother invited you to recite the Holy Rosary devoutly every day.

The Pope, too, encourages you in this daily recitation, for he, as you know, has made the Rosary "his favorite prayer."  He encourages you above all to make yours the virtues that you recognize in the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  Say this prayer with your friends and recite it especially in your family with the appropriate enthusiasm and persistence.

The Rosary is a true conversation with Mary, our Heavenly Mother.  In the Rosary we speak to Mary so that she may intercede for us with her Son, Jesus.  Thus we speak to God through Mary.

You should get used to reciting the Rosary this way.  It is not so much a matter of repeating formulas; rather, it is to speak as living persons with a living person, who, if you do not see her with the eyes of your body, you may, however, see with the eyes of faith.  Our Lady, in fact, and her Son Jesus, live in Heaven a life much more "alive" than the mortal one that we live here on earth.

The Rosary is a confidential conversation with Mary, in which we speak to her freely and trustingly.  We confide in her our troubles, reveal to her our hopes, and open our hearts to her.  We declare that we are at her disposal for whatever she, in the name of her Son, may ask of us.  We promise faithfulness to her in every circumstance, even the most painful and difficult, sure of her protection, sure that if we ask she will obtain from her Son all the graces necessary for our salvation.

May the Holy Virgin watch over you always.  May she guard you on your path, in your Christian and human development.  So, too, may she protect your parents, teachers, relatives, and friends.

May she bless generously, too, the Brothers and Sisters of the ancient and glorious order of St. Dominic, who originated this devotion of the Rosary, which today is spread throughout the Church.

                                                                              April 25, 1987

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, pp.34-36.


The Rosary brings God into our lives

The prayer of the Rosary is a great help to men and women in our time.  It brings peace and meditation; it introduces our lives to the Mysteries of God and brings God into our lives.  Our thoughts and feelings are little by little freed from anxiety and from the transience of our problems and interests and become more and more open to the action of God.

The words we recite can occupy our whole attention; but they willingly draw back and become an external frame that routs fatigue and distraction, a background melody that resonates in us.

It would be a great joy for me [Pope John Paul II] if participation in the recitation of the Rosary together with the successor of St. Peter became an occasion for you to become seriously involved in this form of meditative prayer.  It also represents a good opportunity to experience communion.  In times of need it gives strength and clarity to our prayer.

                                                                                 September 3, 1983

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, p. 13.


In the Rosary we bless the faith of Mary

"And Blessed is she who believed."

Blessed are you, O Mary, who believed, when the Messenger of God spoke to you.

Blessed are you, who believed "that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

Elizabeth blesses your faith.

The entire Church blesses your faith.

All humanity blesses your faith.

All of us who recite the Holy Rosary bless the faith of Mary, in each of its Mysteries.

Let us pray to her.

And let us pray together with her.

We believe that in these Mysteries she prays with us.  Mary allows us to find ourselves amid the great things that the Almighty has accomplished in her, amid the "great works of God" through which the Church lives.

Like a mother she guides the life in which the Church's faith, hope and charity are expressed.

And this happens - in a special way - through the Holy Rosary.

Let us give thanks for all the gruits of this prayer, through which the Mother of Christ has been with us.

                                                                               October 28, 1984

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, p. 5.


Mankind Needs Mary!

Mankind needs Mary!  In her we find, truly, access to the heart of her Son, the only place where our restlessness can find peace, where our sorrows find comfort, where our intentions to live a life consistent with the values of the Gospel find strength and constancy.

Pray fervently to Most Holy Mary!  Be aware of her at your side and consecrate yourselves to her, renewing throughout the day your affection and your trust, so that she may accompany you in your daily affairs. Her memory is alive in families, especially in the daily recitation of the Rosary.  It's a daily encounter that she and I never miss:  if you wish to be close to the heart of the Pope [John Paul II] for some moments, I suggest to you the Rosary hour, when I [Pope John Paul II] remember all of you to the Virgin Mary, and I [Pope John Paul II] would be pleased if you would remember me to her in the same way.

                                                                                 May 12, 1991

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, p. 7.


The Rosary, a prayer so simple and yet so rich

I wish to draw your attention to the Rosary.  In the Church, in fact, October is the month dedicated to the Rosary.

     The Rosary is my favorite prayer.

     It is a marvelous prayer!

     Marvelous in its simplicity

     and in its profundity.

In this prayer we repeat over and over again the words that were spoken to the Virgin Mary by the angel and by her kinswoman Elizabeth.  The entire Church shares in these words.  One might say that the rosary is, in a certain sence, a comment-prayer on the last chapter of the Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council, a chapter that treats of the miraculous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church.  In fact, against the background of the words "Hail Mary," the principal episodes of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul.  Together they compose Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious [and Luminous] Mysteries, and put us in living communion with Jesus through - we might say - the Heart of His Mother.  At the same time, our heart contains in these decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the life of the individual, of the family, of the nation, of the Church, and of humanity.  Our personal actions and the actions of our neighbors and, especially, of those who are closest to us, who are most in our hearts.  In this way, the simple prayer of the Rosary beats out the rhythm of human life.

In recent weeks I have had the chance to meet many people, representing many diverse nations and milieus, many churches and Christian communities.  I wish to assure you that I did not fail to translate these relationships into the language of the Rosary, so that all might find themselves in the heart of the prayer that gives a full dimension to everything.

In recent weeks I have received, through the Holy See, numerous proofs of good will on the part of people from all over the world.  I want to express my gratitude in decades of the Rosary, so I can show it not only personally but in prayer - in this prayer that is so simple and yet so rich.  I warmly urge you all to recite it.

                                                                                     October 29, 1978

Source:  The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II; The Rosary Hour, 1993, pp. 3-4.


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