Rosary Markings

  Year of the Rosary, October 2002 - October 2003

Protestants and the Rosary

In the recent Marian Library Newsletter (Summer 2003), Fr. Thomas Thompson cites protestant views on the Apostolic letter on the Rosary.  The three voices quoted hereafter highlight the importance of rediscovering the rosary for all  Christians.  The rosary leads into the mystery of God; the Luminous Mysteries, more specifically, are a spiritual pathway into God's own light.

Rediscovering the Mystery of God

"It is a letter of a spiritual and theological depth that I wasn't expecting--a letter that breathes an evangelical dimension, which has very much surprised me. In this letter, the Pope emphasizes that the rosary, more than a prayer of words, is a contemplation of the mystery.  Certainly today's sensibility and quest is primarily to rediscover a place where the heart rests, where the soul contemplates the mysteries of God and also the ways in which this is possible. We, in our traditions, must rediscover the equivalent ways."

--Stephan Tobler, Reformed Evangelical theologian, University of TŁbingen (Germany)

Ecumenical Rediscovery of the Rosary

"The rosary is also a school of prayer for lifelong beginners like me, and increasingly it is being rediscovered as a way of prayer for Christians. Within the Anglican communion it has flourished for some time.  Evelyn Underhill loved the rosary; and so did Austin Farrer.  John Macquarrie commends it in his book Mary for All Christians. With his apostolic letter last October, Pope John Paul II set a small fire under this process of ecumenical rediscovery by offering an intensely Christocentric and contemplative interpretation of the Rosary . . . 

"Pray as you can," John Chapman used to say, "not as you canít." We can rest on the rosary as a climber rests on his fixed rope--itís safe to dangle as long as the rope is anchored in the rock."

--Carol Zaleski, "Foolish Prayer," Christian Century, Feb. 22, 2003.

Walking into God's Own Light

"One of the more remarkable acts of Pope John Paul II in the twenty-fifth year of his papacy has been to add Jesusí life on earth to the praying of the rosary . . .  While this new directive may sail right over the heads of most Protestant Christians, it will change the way that millions of people pray for peace every day . . .  It suggests that Jesusí life is as salvific as His death, and that the years He spent giving birth to love on earth are as full of light for us as the hours He spent dying on the cross. . . When asked why the Pope had decided to make such a change now, a spokesman said, ĎHe is making a statement at the end of his life about whatís important to him'. Would that be life, perhaps? Not the divine life that awaits us later but the divine life that is open to us right now, as we walk ever more deeply into the resplendent mystery of Godís own light."

--Barbara Brown Taylor, "Luminous Mysteries," Christian Century, Jan. 11, 2003.

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