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Seek the Lord by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr

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Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

We often think of May as the month of Mary, but October is also devoted to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary. On October 7, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This memorial recalls the victory of Christian forces at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, after Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for success.

Mary was the perfect disciple of Christ. Reflecting on the decades of the Rosary in which she figures prominently can help us see that she is also the perfect model for our own discipleship.

The Annunciation. The angel Gabriel first greets Mary with the words that begin the “Hail Mary,” then conveys God’s special purpose for her. Despite her puzzlement at how this could be, her ultimate response is: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Accepting God’s plan for us in a similar way is essential to discipleship.

The Visitation. When Mary visits her cousin, she becomes a missionary disciple by taking Jesus – who is in her womb – to Elizabeth. She also performs an act of mercy here, for Elizabeth is also pregnant and needs help. Elizabeth greets her with the second sentence of the “Hail Mary.” Mary replies with the beautiful canticle known as the Magnificat. She thus deflects attention away from herself and toward God, as disciples should.

The Nativity. After the shepherds recount the message they received from a group of angels – that the Lord and Messiah has been born in Bethlehem – St. Luke records: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Discipleship demands serious spiritual reflection as well as action.

The Presentation. The Holy Family worshipped God and sought to do His will as members of a religious community. As faithful Jews, they followed that community’s rituals and precepts. Disciples are not Lone Rangers.

The Finding in the Temple. When Mary and Joseph find Jesus, He explains that He must be about His Father’s business, but they do not understand (Lk 2:50). Fortunately, understanding the mystery of God is not a requirement for discipleship. If it were, no human being would qualify.

The Wedding Feast of Cana. This is the first of seven signs of Christ’s identity in St. John’s Gospel, and it is Mary who brings it about. She goes to Jesus with a problem. He responds that His hour has not come. Instead of pleading with Him, she simply says to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5). Her trust in the Lord is absolute.

The Crucifixion. St. John records that the mother of Jesus was standing by the cross. All disciples have a share in the cross, uniting our sufferings to those of Christ.

The Assumption. Mary’s assumption into heaven after her death is a special gift to her, preserving from corruption the body that was once a tabernacle for the unborn Jesus. At the same time, it is a sign of what is to come for all of us. Christians believe in the resurrection of the dead. In some mysterious way, our bodies and souls will be reunited at the end of time.

The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven. This is part of Mary’s unique role as the mother of God. However, God wants all of us disciples to be happy with Him in heaven forever.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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