Friday, November 28, 2008

Sanctity Through the Rosary by Edouard Hugon, O.P.

Part III: The Rosary and the Practice of Holiness.

Chapter I: The Rosary: A Source of Holiness.

God wills that we should be perfect even as He is perfect. For, says the Apostle, God hath not called us unto un-cleanness but unto sanctification. A Christian is one who is consecrated, set apart. At our very entrance into the world the Church sanctifies us by the Sacrament of regeneration, Baptism. When the hour of our departure draws nigh she anoints us by the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. By Baptism she prepares us for our sojourn here on earth; by Extreme Unction she prepares us for our journey into eternity. Even after our death she blesses our dust in the tomb, mindful of the fact that this dust will one day rise gloriously unto the inheritance of eternal glory. There is then a complete consecration which extends over the whole life of every Christian, which preserves us from the contagion of the world and makes us the chosen ones of the Lord.

The Church blesses us in a very special way when we come to make a choice of a state in life. To souls called to the cloister, virgins and monks, she gives the necessary graces to remain faithful to their vocation; she softens the trials and difficulties of the religious life. She anoints her priests on the day of their ordination. Strengthened by this, they go confidently through the world. She also blesses Christian marriage, praying that the union may be lasting and happy. She pours into the hearts of Christian spouses a little of that charity with which Christ cherishes His Church.

Every Christian is called to holiness, we are Sancti Domino: holy unto the Lord. However we have been speaking only of an exterior holiness, whereas holiness, properly so called, is a participation in the very being of God, a state of soul which unites us so intimately to Our Lord, that we are animated solely by His spirit and love. A saint is one who is able to say: I live, now not I, but Jesus lives in me.

We shall endeavor to show how the Rosary communicates to us this holiness which is the very life of God. In the human body the head and heart are the two principal organs which sustain life. In the Church also there is a head from which descend all supernatural energies; there is a heart which circulates these divine energies throughout the body. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ, its heart is the Holy Spirit.

St. Thomas remarks that Christ is called the head of the Church from a likeness with the human head, in which we may consider three things: order, perfection and power: order, for the head is the first part of the man, beginning from above; perfection, in as much as in the head dwell all the senses, both interior and exterior, whereas in the other members there is only touch; power, because the power and movement of the other members, together with direction in their acts, comes from the head, by reason of the intellectual and motivating power ruling there.

Now these three things belong spiritually to Christ. Firstly, on account of His nearness to God, His grace is the highest. All have received grace only on account of His grace. Secondly, He had perfection in the fulness of all graces, according to the words of St. John: We saw Him full of grace and truth (John 1:15). Thirdly, He has the power of bestowing grace on all the members of the Church, according to the words of the same Evangelist: Of His fulness we have all received (John 1:16).

The head has a manifest pre-eminence over the other exterior members, therefore, Christ is likened to the head by reason of His visible humanity. The Holy Spirit, on the contrary, is likened to the heart, since the heart has a certain hidden influence, He invisibly quickens and unifies the Church. The Divine Paraclete exercises over the Church a secret but irresistible influence. He maintains her life, ardor, beauty, perpetual youth; He consoles and fortifies her. He is, as it were, an impetuous river which waters and enlivens the city of God. He is the mysterious, yet all powerful, heart which casts forth life and grace.

This, then, is the economy of the supernatural life. In order to obtain salvation and to advance in perfection, we must be united to the head and to the heart of the Church, to Christ and to the Holy Spirit.

Now the Rosary is a sweet union with both. During our meditation on the fifteen Mysteries we are brought into contact with the adorable person of Jesus Christ. He passes before our mind’s eye. We meditate on His life and His actions with their infinite virtue; we can penetrate even to His soul and divinity. Our Divine Head will communicate to us His life, so that we can feel and say that we now have a living soul. Factus est homo in animam viventem: Man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7) In each Mystery, also, we can perceive the operation of the Holy Spirit. It was He Who caused the Immaculate Virgin to conceive, He Who made John the Baptist leap in his mother’s womb, He Who transformed Elizabeth and Zachary. It was He Who directed the whole course of the Passion of Jesus. It was He Who finally animates the Glorious Mysteries.

The Holy Spirit is truly the power and the heart of each Mystery. If we sincerely desire to enter into the real depths of this devotion, the Holy Spirit will, as it were, fill us with His own heart to such a degree as will enable us to reach eternal glory hereafter.

We see, then, how the Rosary unites us with the head and the heart of the Church, with Christ and with the Holy Spirit. And where the Son and the Paraclete are, there also is the Father. Therefore, we are in the company of the most adorable and lovable Trinity, the very source of life, love, holiness and happiness. What precious moments!

1 comment:

Micki said...

Wonderful holy card. I love the idea of the rosary surrounding us all. Great reading too.