Sunday, March 5, 2017

Our Lady's Rosary, updating Guardini I

One of the books I am reading for Lent is the late Romano Guardini's little tome The Rosary of Our Lady. I read much of the book over Advent, but laid it aside for reading during this season due to other, more pressing, things. Since Guardini originally wrote the book in 1955 (he composed it in German with the title Rosenkranz unserer lieben Frau) and died in 1968, the book knows nothing of the Luminous Mysteries added to Our Lady's Rosary by Pope St John Paul II in 2002 in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. The Luminous Mysteries fill a lacuna in the mysteries of the Rosary by proposing mysteries of the Lord's earthly life and ministry for our contemplation along with the mysteries surrounding his birth, passion, and resurrection.

In addition to reading Guardini's little book over the first part of Lent (Guardini's depth makes up for any perceived lack of breadth, one of his short chapters gives me more than enough to reflect on), I wanted to attempt to integrate the Luminous mysteries into the book. This requires supplementing his text in some places as well as composing a whole new chapter on these light-filled mysteries.

The first place in the book where Guardini broke the Rosary into its constituent mysteries was in Part 1, Chapter 4, entitled simply "Mary". In the Sophia Institute Press paperback edition, first published in 1998 as an exact reprint of their 1994 hardbound edition, translated by H. von Schuecking, Guardini's mention of the mysteries of the Rosary begins at the bottom of page 38 and continues on page 39. It consists of one paragraph. Below is my attempt to integrate the fourth set of mysteries, named Luminous, into that text. My additions are in brackets. I think the changes to von Schuecking's translation are pretty obvious:

As a doctoral candidate in Germany in the 1980s, Pope Francis considered writing his dissertation on Guardini. Sadly, he did not complete his doctorate
The whole, as it is expressed in the chain of beads, includes five decades and thus forms a cycle of five mysteries. There are [four] such cycles. The first is the Joyful Rosary; its mysteries deal with the sweetly serene and yet overshadowed youth of Jesus. [Second, the Luminous Rosary, which begins with Jesus' Baptism by John in the river Jordan and concludes with His Institution of the Eucharist, is concerned with the mysteries of the Lord's earthly ministry. The third], the Sorrowful Rosary, comprises His death on the Cross. [The fourth], the Glorious Rosary, deals with the glory of His Resurrection and Ascension, the descent of the Holy Spirit, and Mary's fulfillment
The passage in Chapter 4 that struck me today was Guardini's answer to the question, "Who is Mary?" In reply, he wrote:
Let us say it as simply as it can possibly be said: she is the woman for whom Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our Redeemer, became the main purpose of life. This fact is as simple and at the same time as far beyond all human understanding as is the mystery of our Lord's Incarnation (pg 33)
Every Sunday before one of our parish's three Masses, which includes our vigil Mass on Saturday evening, we pray the Rosary together. Various groups in the parish send representatives to lead us in this prayer. Being the deacon of the parish, at least for now, I have the privilege of leading on my own. So, this morning, prior to the 9:00 AM Mass, I had the privilege of the leading my sisters and brothers in praying Our Lady's Rosary. We prayed the Luminous mysteries, which seemed wholly appropriate for this First Sunday of Lent.

To be continued...

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