Address on Value of the Rosary

Geared Toward Peace and Toward Christ, Says John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 27, 2002 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The address was in Italian.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. We are virtually at the end of the month of October, the month of the holy rosary. As you know, the next months, until October 2003, constitute the special «Year of the Rosary.» I wished, in this way, to place the 25th year of my pontificate under the sign of this prayer.

The most important reason for proposing again the practice of the rosary is the fact that it constitutes the valid means to foster among the faithful that commitment to contemplation of the face of Christ, for which I appealed following the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

2. The Virgin Mary is the unsurpassable model of Christian contemplation (see apostolic letter «Rosarium Virginis Mariae,» No. 10). From Jesus’ conception until his resurrection and ascension into heaven, his Mother kept the gaze of her immaculate heart fixed on her divine Son: a wondrous, penetrating, sorrowful and radiant gaze (see ibid.). It is this Marian look, full of faith and love, that the individual Christian and the ecclesial community make their own when they recite the rosary.

In order «to develop the Christological meaning of the rosary» (ibid., No. 19), the apostolic letter «Rosarium Virginis Mariae» integrates the traditional three cycles of the mysteries — of joy, sorrow and glory, with a new cycle: the mysteries of light, which refer to the public life of Christ.

3. As every genuine prayer, the rosary does not remove us from reality, but helps to live the latter interiorly united to Christ, giving witness to the love of God. Therefore, the document mentioned exhorts us to rediscover the beauty of the recitation of the rosary as a family. «The family that prays together, stays together» (ibid., 41).

Therefore, «by its nature,» the rosary is a prayer oriented «to peace.» In this Year of the Rosary, Christians are called to keep their gaze fixed on Christ, prince of peace, so that thoughts and gestures of justice and peace will prevail in hearts and among peoples.

Let us invoke today, in particular, the intercession of the Virgin, so loved by the Russian people, who in these last days have suffered so much. While we pray for the victims of the recent painful ordeal, let us pray to the holy Virgin so that such events will not be repeated.

O Mary, who place in our hands the holy rosary, teach us to pray it, becoming in your school authentic contemplatives and witness of Christ.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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