Cardinal George on the Rosary's Special Lens

Chicago’s Archbishop Reflects on Marian Prayer

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CHICAGO, OCT. 17, 2003 ( The rosary helps us see Jesus through special eyes: those of his Mother, says Cardinal Francis George. To mark the end of the Year of the Rosary, the cardinal reflected on the Marian prayer in the Oct. 12 issue of the archdiocesan paper Catholic New World.

Last October, John Paul II called for a year dedicated to the rosary, and he added five new luminous mysteries to help the faithful focus on the public ministry of Jesus.

«If we have faith,» wrote Cardinal George, «and if we are willing to compose our mind and remain quiet for a little while, the rosary becomes our entrance into the person and life of Christ and his mother.»

«She can bring us very close to her Son by forcing us to move beyond words and ideas to the reality they are meant to convey,» he observed. «She can ‘make us pray,’ despite our own readiness to be distracted and all the pressures of lives plagued by a surfeit of information and entertainment designed to take our time and dissipate our attention.»

The archbishop of Chicago pointed out that Mary has her own understanding of her Son, which we can learn by praying the rosary.

«Mothers see things in their children that others often miss,» he wrote. «The Blessed Virgin Mary sees Jesus from a perspective that is unique. Praying with Mary, asking her companionship as we pray, opens up knowledge of Jesus we can have only through her and with her. She knows Jesus profoundly not only as her savior but also as her Son.»

Echoing the Holy Father, Cardinal George noted, «‘She has more insight than anyone into the profound intentions of Jesus.’ This intuition of Pope John Paul II is behind his invitation that we look at Jesus, contemplate the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection, while attending ‘Mary’s school.'»

The cardinal elaborated on Mary as our teacher of the Word, Jesus Christ. «What does one learn while at Mary’s school, praying the rosary? What does she teach us? The genius of the rosary is that it brings us to the heart of the Gospel,» he said.

«In the grotto near the Basilica of the Annunciation at Nazareth, an inscription reads: ‘The Word was made flesh in this place.’ The Son of God became incarnate in a particular spot; the uncontainable one was contained in Mary’s womb,» said Cardinal George. «The particularity which marks human life becomes the object of contemplation in saying the rosary.»

Cardinal George stressed that praying the rosary enables us to enter into the mystery of the Incarnation and understand Mary’s role in it. «In what Pope Paul VI called the ‘quiet rhythm’ and ‘lingering pace’ of the rosary, we put ourselves into the fundamental mystery of Christianity: God was made man so that we could live in God,» the cardinal wrote.

«Mary’s womb,» he added, «is the place where the Word of God was made flesh; Mary’s mouth the place where that perfect ‘yes’ that changed our relationship to God was spoken.»

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