Marian Devotion: Liturgical Expressions ©

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Marian Liturgical Expressions. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: 

List of Magisterial Documents

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Documents VII. Marian Devotion / 1. Liturgical Expressions
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • when she is the subject of preaching and worship, she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, to his sacrifice... 65
  • the sacred synod...admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered 67
Mense Maio, 1965
  • make provision for special prayers in each diocese and every parish during...May, devoting...the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven to solemn public prayers 11
Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968
  • On the same day [Oct 4, 1966], in St. Peter's Basilica...we also will hold a special ceremony of supplication in honor of the Virgin Mother of God, the protector of Christians and our intercessor for peace 20
Signum Magnum, 1967
  • The sacred liturgy...interprets this sign [Ap 12:1] as being the Blessed Virgin Mary [ftn 2: See Epistle for the feast of her Lourdes apparition, Feb. 11] 1
  • "is deservedly honored with a special cult by the Church"; [LG 66] that is "especially the liturgical cult." [LG 67] 5
  • no need to fear that the reform of the liturgy...might work to the detriment of the "altogether singular" [LG 66] cult that is due to...Mary because of her special privileges... Nor...fear that liturgical or private devotion to the Mother of God could obscure or diminish "the cult of adoration offered to [the Trinity]" [LG 66] 4
  • [intercession] an age-old antiphon which has found its way, almost unchanged, into the liturgies of the Eastern and Western Churches: "We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities but deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin." 12
  • [Immaculate Heart] May it draw the faithful to take part in the Church's sacraments [sin and atonement] 36
General Catechetical Directory, 1971
  • She "summons the believers to her Son and to his sacrifice, and to love for the Father." (LG, 65; note: LG uses the word "prompts" and the context meant is the liturgy) 68
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • In the past, as in the image of the "Daughter of Zion," the liturgy, both for Advent and the Immaculate Conception, has, in fact, incorporated such texts long before their scientific exposition....The celebration of the mystery of Mary in the liturgy and other prayer is a school of the faith and a profession of doctrine. 21
  • [Ancient feasts] Assumption: Memorial of Mary, Dormition 58
  • In the liturgy "we honor Mary the ever-virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God" (Eucharistic Prayer 1); "Mary, the virgin Mother of God" (Prayers two and three); and "the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God." (Prayer IV) 62 [See also 84, under aspect of intercession, 89 under Eucharistic unity ]
  • the Church honors the Mother of God when it celebrates the cycle of Christ's saving mysteries. For "Blessed Mary is joined by an inseparable bond to the saving work of her Son." (SC 103) 81
  • The better we come to know Mary of the gospels as the Church views her in liturgical celebrations and popular commemorations, the more we will be led to imitate her. 83
  • When we celebrate the memory of Mary in the liturgy, we join together in a present liturgical "moment" the past and the future-what Mary once was on earth, as the Gospels show her, and the future, our reunion with Mary and the saints, including the uncanonized saints of our own families, reunited in the risen Lord. 88
  • in the liturgy and theology of the Eastern rites. almost every liturgical service, ... three glorious titles for the Mother of the Lord: She is called "the all holy one...... the one without even the slightest stain," and "the one blessed beyond all others." (LG 68) 90

    Lack of Expression

  • The Church is suffering a malaise with respect to the commemoration of Mary. 91
  • We Bishops of the United States wish to affirm with all our strength the lucid statements of the Second Vatican Council on the permanent importance of authentic devotion to the Blessed Virgin, not only in the liturgy, where the Church accords her a most special place under Jesus her Son, but also in the beloved devotions that have been repeatedly approved and encouraged by the Church and that are still filled with meaning for Catholics. [including rosary, scapular] 93

    Practical Suggestions

  • Two numbers, [LG 66-67], in the chapter on our Lady deal with the cult of Mary, and are filled with practical suggestions, e.g., let the liturgy provide the lead, even for non-liturgical devotions, which are encouraged, especially those which have enjoyed the Church's favor for a long time. 91
  • some suggestions to increase love and devotion : [renewed liturgy has more readings, more optional days for Marian votive Masses, "on Saturdays in particular," 1970 missal offers new prayers, four Marian prefaces, liturgical veneration of the saints] 94-95
  • The liturgical season should set the tone for Marian prayers at each particular time of the year, e.g., May devotions should reflect paschal and Pentecostal orientations. (SC 13) Advent provides a unique opportunity for the consideration of Mary, in whom all Old Testament hopes culminated. 98
Marialis Cultus, 1974 [Liturgical: One of the four mandated guidelines for devotion to the BVM]
  • [incorporating Marian devotion in liturgical reform, quoting SC 103] "venerates with special love Mary the most holy Mother of God" (In)
  • dialogue, with ... themes connected with the place that the Blessed Virgin occupies in the Church's worship [purpose of MC; continues LG and SM] (In)
  • The Blessed Virgin in the Revised Roman Liturgy
  • reform of the Roman liturgy...distributes throughout the year the whole mystery of Christ, from the Incarnation to the expectation of His return in glory ... thus makes it possible in a more organic and closely-knit fashion to include the commemoration of Christ's Mother in the annual cycle of the mysteries of her Son. 2
  • - Advent 3-4
    [Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec: 8; Advent Novena, Dec 17-24; Sunday before Christmas - explicit texts; footnotes give references for years A, B, C]
  • - Christmas 5
    the Solemnity of the Birth of Christ the Church both adores the Savior and venerates His glorious Mother. 5
  • - Epiphany 5
    On the Epiphany, when she celebrates the universal call to salvation, the Church contemplates the Blessed Virgin, the true Seat of Wisdom and true Mother of the King, who presents to the Wise Men, for their adoration, the Redeemer of all peoples (cf. Mt. 2: 1 1).
  • - Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph 5
    (the Sunday within the octave of Christmas)
    the Church meditates with profound reverence upon the holy life led in the house at Nazareth by Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, Mary His Mother, and Joseph the just man (cf. Mt. 1: 19).
  • - Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God. [restored] 5
  • -meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother ... through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life." (entry antiphon, collect)
  • -It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf. Lk. 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. It is for this reason that, in the happy concurrence of the Octave of Christmas and the first day of the year, we have instituted the World Day of Peace ... 5
  • - March 25: Solemnity of the Incarnation of the Word ... ancient title - the Annunciation of the Lord - ... deliberately restored the feast was and is a joint one of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin: of the Word, who becomes "Son of Mary" (Mk. 6:3), and of the Virgin, who becomes Mother of God. 6
  • - Queenship of the BVM [occurs seven days after and prolongs the Solemnity of the Assumption] 6
  • We contemplate her who, seated beside the King of ages, shines forth as Queen and intercedes as Mother. (August 22, collect)
  • These four solemnities, [Immaculate Conception, Divine Motherhood, Annunciation of the Lord, Assumption] therefore, mark with the highest liturgical rank the main dogmatic truths concerning the handmaid of the Lord. 6
  • Particular consideration must be given to those celebrations that commemorate salvific events in which the Blessed Virgin was closely associated with her Son. Such are the feasts: 7
  • - Nativity of Our Lady (September 8),
    "the hope of the entire world and the dawn of salvation" (Prayer after communion)
  • - Visitation (May 31),
    ... the liturgy recalls the "Blessed Virgin Mary carrying her Son within her," (Collect) and visiting Elizabeth to offer charitable assistance and to proclaim the mercy of God the Savior. (Collect prayer over gifts)
  • - Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15),
    venerating, together with the Son "lifted up on the cross, His suffering Mother." (Collect)
  • - Presentation of the Lord (February 2),
    celebration of a mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ, a mystery with which the Blessed Virgin was intimately associated as the Mother of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, as the one who performs a mission belonging to ancient Israel, and as the model for the new People of God, which is ever being tested in its faith and hope by suffering and persecution (cf. Lk. 2:21-35).
  • other kinds of commemorations connected with local devotions and which have acquired a wider popularity and interest 8
    - February 11, Our Lady of Lourdes
    - August 5, the Dedication of the BasiIica of St. Mary Major [etc.]
  • originally celebrated by particular religious families but which today, by reason of the popularity they have gained, can truly be considered ecclesial 8
    - July 16, Our Lady of Mount Carmel
    - October 7, Our Lady of the Rosary [etc.]
  • apart from their apocryphal content, present lofty and exemplary values and carry on venerable traditions having their origin especially in the East 8
    - Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, celebrated on the Saturday following the second Sunday after Pentecost [etc.]
  • [not in Roman calendar but endorsed] Marian feasts proper to the different local Churches 9 Saturday Masses of our Lady ... an ancient and simple commemoration ... very adaptable and varied by the flexibility of the modern calendar and the number of formulas provided by the Missal. 9
  • [elements in the revised books of the Roman Rite] 10
  • - For example, the ancient Roman Canon, which commemorates the Mother of the Lord in terms full of doctrine and devotional inspiration: "In union with the whole Church we honor Mary, the ever-virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God." 10
  • - Eucharistic Prayer III expresses with intense supplication the desire of those praying to share with the Mother the inheritance of sons: "May he make us an everlasting gift to you [the Father] and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints, with Mary, the Virgin Mother of God." This daily commemoration, by reason of its place at the heart of the divine Sacrifice, should be considered a particularly expressive form of the veneration that the Church pays to the "Blessed of the Most High." (cf. Lk. 1:28) 10
  • revised perfect doctrinal continuity with the past [the listing repeats items above; see themes] 11
  • revised Missal...other themes, in a certain sense new ones, have been introduced in equally perfect harmony with the theological developments of the present day [see new themes; Mary and the Church] 11
  • - [also Masses proper to the seasons]
    in the primitive Church she is seen praying with the apostles; (Common in Paschal season) 11
  • in our own day she is actively present, and the Church desires to live the mystery of Christ with her: "Grant that your Church which with Mary shared Christ's passion may be worthy to share also in his resurrection." (Sept. 15, Collect) 11
  • The Lectionary contains a larger number of Old and New Testament readings concerning the Blessed Virgin. ... Only those readings have been accepted which in different ways and degrees can be considered Marian, either from the evidence of their content or from the results of careful exegesis, supported by the teachings of the Magisterium or by solid Tradition. [texts also not exclusively used for Marian context] 12
  • The Liturgy of the Hours ... also contains outstanding examples of devotion to the Mother of the Lord. [hymns, antiphons, prayer Sub tuum praesidium, prayers of intercession at Lauds and Vespers, trusting recourse to the Mother of mercy, treasury of writings on our Lady] 13
  • other revised liturgical books: 14
    - the Church invokes her, the Mother of grace, before immersing candidates in the saving waters of baptism; (Ordo)
    - invokes her intercession for mothers who, full of gratitude for the gift of motherhood, come to church to express their joy; (Rituale Romanum)
    - the Church holds her up as a model to those who follow Christ by embracing the religious life (Ordo) or who receive the Consecration of Virgins. (Ordo)
    - The Church prays fervently to Mary on behalf of her children who have come to the hour of their death. (Ordo) ... and the Church, through Mary's prayers, invokes comfort upon those who in sorrow mourn with faith the departure of their loved ones. (Ordo ) 14
Gaudete in Domino, 1975
  • Whenever we say the rosary, the joyful mysteries thus place us once more before the inexpressible event which is the center and summit of history: the coming on earth of Emmanuel, God with us. #
Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979
  • Often "in the course of the year, as the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ, Mary, the Mother of God, is especially honored...." [ftn 37: General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, February 14, 1969, 8] 144
Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981
  • I address the brothers and sisters of all the religious families of men and women, in the midst of which there should be a particularly lively witness of the Spirit of Christ and likewise a particular love for the mission of her who consented to be the handmaid of the Lord. 5
Redemptoris Mater, 1987
  • In the liturgy the Church salutes Mary of Nazareth as the Church's own beginning, (Preface, Dec. 8) for in the event of the Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected, and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter. 1
  • The fact that she "preceded" the coming of Christ is reflected every year in the liturgy of Advent ... a true "Morning Star" (Stella Matutina) ... "dawn." 3
  • The liturgy does not hesitate to call her "mother of her Creator" (Liturgy of Hours, Aug. 15) and to hail her with the words which Dante Alighieri places on the lips of St. Bernard: "daughter of your Son." (Lit of Hrs, Mem of BVM, Sat) 10
  • "Mary figured profoundly in the history of salvation.... Hence, when she is being preached and venerated, she summons the faithful to her Son and his sacrifice." (LG 65) 28

  • [See 30-34 for a discussion of the rich legacy of liturgical expressions in the Churches of the East.]
    [Note:] In the Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, immediately after the epiclesis the assembled community sings in honor of the Mother of God: "It is truly just to proclaim you blessed, 0 Mother of God, who are most blessed, all pure and Mother of our God. We magnify you who are more honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim. You who, without losing your virginity, gave birth to the Word of God. You who are truly the Mother of God." 32
  • [Magnificat] daily recitation in the liturgy of Vespers and at many other moments of both personal and communal devotion. 35
  • Her motherhood is particularly noted and experienced by the Christian people at the Sacred Banquet - the liturgical celebration of the mystery of the Redemption - at which Christ, his true body born of the Virgin Mary, becomes present. 44
  • The piety of the Christian people has always very rightly sensed a profound link between devotion to the Blessed Virgin and worship of the Eucharist: ...
    can be seen in the liturgy of both the West and the East,
    in the traditions of the Religious Families,
    in the modern movements of spirituality, including those for youth, and in the pastoral practice of the Marian Shrines.
  • Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist. 44
Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988
  • It is appropriate during this year, being lived by the whole Church as a Marian Year, to recall the reality of the Incarnation as it relates to the institution of the Eucharist and also to the institution of the Sacrament of the Priesthood. The Incarnation was brought about by the Holy Spirit when he came down upon the Virgin of Nazareth and she spoke her fiat in response to the angel's message (cf. Lk 1:38). 1
  • Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary: you truly suffered and were immolated on the cross for man. Yes, the same Body! When we celebrate the Eucharist, through our priestly ministry there is made present the mystery of the Incarnate Word, the Son who is of one being with the Father, who as a man "born of woman" is the Son of the Virgin Mary. 1
  • When, acting in persona Christi., we celebrate the sacrament of the one same sacrifice of which Christ is and remains the only priest and victim, we must not forget this suffering of his Mother, in whom were fulfilled Simeon's words in the Temple at Jerusalem: "A sword will pierce through your own soul also" (Lk 2:35) 2
  • And in particular, when we celebrate the Eucharist and stand each day on Golgotha, we need to have near us the one who through heroic faith carried to its zenith her union with her Son, precisely then on Golgotha. 2
  • All this--the superhuman experience of the sacrifice of our redemption, inscribed in the heart of Christ the Redeemer's own Mother--was entrusted to the man who in the Upper Room received the power to make this sacrifice present through the priestly ministry of the Eucharist. 3
  • As we celebrate the Eucharist at so many altars throughout the world, let us give thanks to the Eternal Priest for the gift which he has bestowed on us in the Sacrament of the Priesthood. And in this thanksgiving may there be heard the words which the Evangelist puts on Mary's lips on the occasion of her visit to her cousin Elizabeth: "The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." (Lk 1:49) Let us also give thanks to Mary for the indescribable gift of the priesthood, whereby we are able to serve in the Church every human being. May gratitude also reawaken our zeal! 8
The VM in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988
  • [post-conciliar great interest in] evaluation of its liturgical expression and its multiple manifestations of popular piety, and a deepening appreciation of their mutual relationship. 13
  • The study of Tradition shows how particularly fruitful in quality and quantity is the Marian patrimony of the various Liturgies and of the Fathers of the Church. 25
Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994
  • The Year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the Savior, who took flesh in Mary's womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of divine life. 55
Signum Magnum, 1967 1020 ... When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:

May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints...
. May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life...
May you see your Redeemer face to face....
(Order of Christian Funerals)

1106 Together with the anamnesis, the epiclesis is at the heart of each sacramental celebration, most especially of the Eucharist:
You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine...the Blood of Christ. I shall tell you: the Holy Spirit comes upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and thought....Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself, took flesh. (John Damascene, De fide orthodoxa)

1138 "Recapitulated in Christ," these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the one hundred, forty-four thousand), (cf. Rev 4-5 et al) especially the martyrs "slain for the word of God," and the all-holy Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb, (Rev 6:9-11; 21:9; cf. 12) and finally "a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues." (Rev 7:9)

1161 All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the "cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1) who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in sacramental celebrations. Through their icons, it is man "in the image of God," finally transfigured "into his likeness," (cf. Rom 8:29; 1 Jn 3:2) who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who also are recapitulated in Christ: Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets. (Nicaea II: DS 600)

1172 "In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ, Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, with a special love. She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son. In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit of redemption and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be." (SC 103)

1187 The liturgy is the work of the whole Christ, head and body. Our high priest celebrates it unceasingly in the heavenly liturgy, with the holy Mother of God, the apostles, all the saints, and the multitude of those who have already entered the kingdom.

1192 Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.

1195 By keeping the memorials of the saints, first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father.

1370To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.

1419 Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.

[Discussion on Penance/Indulgences]

1477 "This treasury [spiritual goods of the communion of saints] includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body." (Indulgentiarum doctrina 5)

[Discussion on Marriage/Family Life]

1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign at his mother's request during a wedding feast. (Cf.. Jn 2:1-11) The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence.

1655 Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household." (cf. Acts 18:8) When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

Orientale Lumen, 1995
Ut Unum Sint, 1995
  • Mary, "mother of the star that never sets," (Akathistos) "dawn of the mystical day," (ibid.) "Rising of the sun of glory," (Horologion, Sunday Compline in the Byzantine liturgy) shows us the Orientale Lumen. Every day in the East the sun of hope rises again, the light that restores life to the human race. It is from the East, according to a lovely image, that our Savior will come again. (cf. Mt 24:27) OL 28
  • On the ecumenical level , very special prominence has been given to the liturgy and liturgical signs (images, icons, vestments, light, incense, gestures). UUS 45
Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002
  • There are some who think that the centrality of the Liturgy, rightly stressed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, necessarily entails giving lesser importance to the Rosary. Yet, as Pope Paul VI made clear, not only does this prayer not conflict with the Liturgy, it sustains it, since it serves as an excellent introduction and a faithful echo of the Liturgy, enabling people to participate fully and interiorly in it and to reap its fruits in their daily lives. 4
  • Mary's contemplation is above all a remembering. We need to understand this word in the biblical sense of remembrance (zakar) as a making present of the works brought about by God in the history of salvation. The Bible is an account of saving events culminating in Christ himself. These events not only belong to “yesterday”; they are also part of the "today" of salvation. This making present comes about above all in the Liturgy: what God accomplished centuries ago did not only affect the direct witnesses of those events; it continues to affect people in every age with its gift of grace. To some extent this is also true of every other devout approach to those events: to "remember" them in a spirit of faith and love is to be open to the grace which Christ won for us by the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection.

    Consequently, while it must be reaffirmed with the Second Vatican Council that the Liturgy, as the exercise of the priestly office of Christ and an act of public worship, is "the summit to which the activity of the Church is directed and the font from which all its power flows," (SC 10) it is also necessary to recall that the spiritual life "is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. Christians, while they are called to prayer in common, must also go to their own rooms to pray to their Father in secret (cf. Mt 6:6); indeed, according to the teaching of the Apostle, they must pray without ceasing." (cf.1Thes 5:17) (SC 12) The Rosary, in its own particular way, is part of this varied panorama of "ceaseless" prayer.

    If the Liturgy, as the activity of Christ and the Church, is a saving action par excellence, the Rosary too, as a "meditation" with Mary on Christ, is a salutary contemplation. By immersing us in the mysteries of the Redeemer's life, it ensures that what he has done and what the liturgy makes present is profoundly assimilated and shapes our existence. 13

  • Just as moments of silence are recommended in the Liturgy, so too in the recitation of the Rosary it is fitting to pause briefly after listening to the word of God, while the mind focuses on the content of a particular mystery. 31
  • ...many people will not be able to recite more than a part of the Rosary, according to a certain weekly pattern. This weekly distribution has the effect of giving the different days of the week a certain spiritual "color," by analogy with the way in which the Liturgy colors the different seasons of the liturgical year. 38
  • In the Rosary, in a way similar to what takes place in the Liturgy, the Christian week, centered on Sunday, the day of Resurrection, becomes a journey through the mysteries of the life of Christ, and he is revealed in the lives of his disciples as the Lord of time and of history. 38
  • In my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I encouraged the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours by the lay faithful in the ordinary life of parish communities and Christian groups; I now wish to do the same for the Rosary. These two paths of Christian contemplation are not mutually exclusive; they complement one another. 41
  • Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives. 43
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003
  • The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ in the spirit which I proposed in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio Ineunte and Rosarium Virginis Mariae cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord. 25
  • In my Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ's face, and among the mysteries of light I included the institution of the Eucharist. Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it. 53
  • At first glance, the Gospel is silent on this subject. The account of the institution of the Eucharist on the night of Holy Thursday makes no mention of Mary. Yet we know that she was present among the Apostles who prayed "with one accord" (cf. Acts 1:14) in the first community which gathered after the Ascension in expectation of Pentecost. Certainly Mary must have been present at the Eucharistic celebrations of the first generation of Christians, who were devoted to "the breaking of bread." (Acts 2:42) 53
  • But in addition to her sharing in the Eucharistic banquet, an indirect picture of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist can be had, beginning with her interior disposition. Mary is a "woman of the Eucharist" in her whole life. The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery. 53
  • The tragedy of her Son's crucifixion was thus foretold, and in some sense Mary's Stabat Mater at the foot of the Cross was foreshadowed. In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of "anticipated Eucharist" – one might say a "spiritual communion" – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion. 56
  • What must Mary have felt as she heard from the mouth of Peter, John, James and the other Apostles the words spoken at the Last Supper: "This is my body which is given for you" (Lk 22:19)? The body given up for us and made present under sacramental signs was the same body which she had conceived in her womb! For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross. 56
  • Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West. 57

© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
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