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Bishop's Weekly message


Mary, the quickest path to Jesus

BY BISHOP EDWARD B. SCHARFENBERGER


'Seeking the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother through reverent praying of the Rosary each day will bring clarity and focus to your own active witness for the value and dignity of every human life.'

Did you know that the Rosary is a Christ-centered, Scripture-rich prayer? Of course you did, but here are some good reasons why.

•  Every "Hail Mary" centers on Jesus, who is the center of every Christian life. Mary was the first Christian and, as the mother of Jesus and our mother, she is the perfect model of what every Christian should be: Christ-centered.

Mary is also the quickest path to Jesus, and praying the Rosary will help her help us.

•  The first sentence of the "Hail Mary" -- two-thirds of the prayer, actually -- is made up entirely of greetings with which the angel Gabriel and Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, addressed Mary. Both of them focus on her holiness as the "mother of God," to whom we ourselves offer the rest of the prayer.

•  Three sets of the mysteries of the Rosary -- the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Luminous -- invite meditations on events recounted in the Scriptures, all of them focused on Jesus. Only the last two of the Glorious mysteries (the Assumption and the coronation of Mary as queen of heaven) contain meditations honoring Mary herself, in her glorified, heavenly state, where she continues to lead all of us to Jesus -- only now not only as His mother alone, but ours as well.

•  October, like May, is a particularly Marian month. On Oct. 7, we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. Now would be a good time to rededicate ourselves to the practice of praying a Rosary each day.

Typically, we say the Joyful mysteries on Mondays and Saturdays, the Sorrowful mysteries on Tuesdays, the Glorious mysteries on Wednesdays and Sundays, and the Luminous mysteries, which Pope St. John Paul II introduced, on Thursdays. A search for "Rosary" will find a number of good websites with more information on the history, prayerful practice and mysteries of the Rosary.

•  October is also "Respect Life Month," which is launched each year on the first Sunday of the month. This year, I invite you to join me at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany on Oct. 7, 5:15 p.m., for a Respect Life Mass (which fulfills the Sunday obligation) that will include a commissioning of new parish respect life representatives. What better way to honor Our Lady of the Rosary on her special day!

You may find more information on Respect Life Month at the website of the United States Bishops. Click here for information about our diocesan celebration and the many other events happening in so many of our parishes.

It is no accident that we observe October as both the month of Our Lady of the Rosary and Respect Life Month. Clearly, concerted action is needed to protect the most vulnerable persons in our midst and those who care for them at every stage of life from its humblest beginnings at the moment of conception until natural death.

The courage to act without fear and with perseverance, however, comes only from a life rooted in prayer. Seeking the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother through reverent praying of the Rosary each day will bring clarity and focus to your own active witness for the value and dignity of every human life. It leads us to the Lord and lover of all life, Jesus Christ. And it is so easy.

Amid all the confusion and noise that surround us and threaten to uproot our sense of peace and purpose, what is often forgotten is that our faith is really very simple: loving Jesus and letting Him love us. No one does this better than Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and no one better than her knows how to empower us, through the Holy Spirit living in her, to do the same.

(Follow the Bishop at www.facebook.com/AlbanyBishopEd and on Twitter @AlbBishopEd.)


(September 28, 2017)