The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Friday, November 01, 2002
For a few chuckles

Occasionally in the late evening I catch up on my reading. About a month ago I was leafing through various periodicals I had not finished and launched into reading First Things. It was a mistake. I was caught off guard. I was laughing so hard I found it difficult to sleep. I think I giggled and smirked all the way through Compline which I normally chant. My current issue is not on-line yet. In order to get the current stuff you have to be a subscriber. But last month’s is now on-line, so
here it is. This was the culprit. Not to be read if you are trying to be serious.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 5:54 PM link
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Old, Yet New

I had not heard of this practice before. So it is new to me. Because this is new to me, does that mean the rosary has been changed by the Pope? Apparently this practice is quite old, and was even mentioned by Pope Paul VI.

Here is the Holy Father talking about it:

The center of gravity in the Hail Mary, the hinge as it were which joins its two parts, is the name of Jesus. Sometimes, in hurried recitation, this center of gravity can be overlooked, and with it the connection to the mystery of Christ being contemplated. Yet it is precisely the emphasis given to the name of Jesus and to his mystery that is the sign of a meaningful and fruitful recitation of the Rosary. Pope Paul VI drew attention, in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, to the custom in certain regions of highlighting the name of Christ by the addition of a clause referring to the mystery being contemplated. This is a praiseworthy custom, especially during public recitation. It gives forceful expression to our faith in Christ, directed to the different moments of the Redeemer's life. It is at once a profession of faith and an aid in concentrating our meditation, since it facilitates the process of assimilation to the mystery of Christ inherent in the repetition of the Hail Mary. When we repeat the name of Jesus – the only name given to us by which we may hope for salvation (cf. Acts 4:12) – in close association with the name of his Blessed Mother, almost as if it were done at her suggestion, we set out on a path of assimilation meant to help us enter more deeply into the life of Christ.

Disputations you can find reference to how this is done. Here you can find the various phrases that can be inserted in the recitation of the Hail Mary.

Joyous Mysteries
Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit
Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, took to Elizabeth
Jesus, to whom you, O Virgin, gave birth
Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, offered up in the temple
Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, found again in the temple

Luminous Mysteries
Jesus, who was baptised in the Jordan by John
Jesus, who changed water into wine at Cana
Jesus, who preached the Kingdom of Heaven
Jesus, who was Transfigured on the mountain
Jesus, who offered Himself as sacrifice at the last supper

Sorrowful Mysteries
Jesus, who sweated blood for us
Jesus, who was scourged for us
Jesus, who was crowned with thorns for us
Jesus, who bore the heavy cross for us
Jesus, who was crucified for us

Glorious Mysteries
Jesus, who rose from the dead
Jesus, who ascended into heaven
Jesus, who sent us the Holy Spirit
Jesus, who took you, O Virgin, up into heaven
Jesus, who crowned you, O Virgin, in heaven

I have tried this and found it helpful, if a little distracting the first time. I can see how it may be beneficial once I get used to it. I am thinking of going through the scripture passages related to the mysteries and coming up with some more of these.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 3:09 PM link
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Be Saints

This matter of our advancement in perfection surely does not consist in doing great things, but rather in fulfilling the will of The Lord and becoming sanctified along the path through which he is pleased to lead us. So, what is most important to our being successful in this great undertaking is the exact execution of those ordinary and common daily actions which God wants us to do in the state of life in which he, in his loving kindness, has place us. In my opinion, this constitutes the very essence of a holy and virtuous life. Upon this does advancement in goodness depend; upon this the more copious bestowal of God’s blessing.

St. Gaspar Letter No. 43 to Msgr. Annibale Ginnasi, February-March 1813

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 3:01 PM link
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All Saints

...Oh, how all of this serves as a lesson for us, to be more united to God and to become saints.
from Letter No. 241 to Mr. Camillo Possenti, December 15, 1819

Let us offer prayers and let us become saints.
from Letter No. 335 to Fr. Fancesco Pierantoni, September 19, 1820

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 9:56 AM link
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The Rosary and Lectio

Obviously these mysteries neither replace the Gospel nor exhaust its content. The Rosary, therefore, is no substitute for lectio divina; on the contrary, it presupposes and promotes it. Yet, even though the mysteries contemplated in the Rosary, even with the addition of the mysteria lucis, do no more than outline the fundamental elements of the life of Christ, they easily draw the mind to a more expansive reflection on the rest of the Gospel, especially when the Rosary is prayed in a setting of prolonged recollection.

In the Apostolic Letter on the Rosary the Pope makes a reference to Lectio Divina. If you have been here before you know that this form of prayer has been a favorite of mine. I have started another blog devoted strictly to the experience of communal Lectio. (More on this later) There is a link to my article on Lectio in the side bar here on New Gasparian.

Lectio or Sacred Reading is directed not toward reading for information, but reading for relationship, specifically the relationship with all the qualities of friendship. Time and repetition are both aspects of friendship. You spend time with a friend. The kinds of activities you engage in with a friend are repeated over many years. Repetition is the greatest teacher. There have been many times over the years when I have recited repeatedly a passage from scripture, or from the writings of St. Gaspar. In doing so I have been able to gain a sense of what God might be feeling. I can then share with, identify with God’s feeling. I can receive him as he is, not as I might want him to be. What else does a friend do?

Our ancestors who gave us the rosary came from a time when many did not have the ability to read, and certainly there were not many books in the hands of the faithful. They learned the stories, the mysteries of the gospel for repeating them in an atmosphere of contemplation. Ancient monastics used a series of small pebbles as a way to keep time. This developed into a series of beads. Only later did the particular mysteries become organized. In the beginning they meditated on any scripture passage or mystery. I have used the Rosary like this myself for several years. Yes, I have used the 15 Rosary mysteries. Yes, I have used the seven Precious Blood Mysteries. Yes, I have used the Rosary to meditate on parables and other stories from the life of Jesus. One Lent I used the Rosary to pray with the woman at the well, the man born blind, with Lazarus at his raising, with the Bread of Life discourse, and the Passion, all from John's Gospel.

The Rosary presupposes and promotes Lectio. It is to lead us into a fuller experience of the Gospel mysteries. What the Pope has done is entirely consistent with the history and Theology of the Rosary. I feel disturbed when I hear people complaining about how the Pope changed the Rosary. I get especially upset when I hear priests complaining about it, especially when the Holy Father leaves everything to the freedom of individuals and communities. (see paragraph 19) I can say that I am ignorant too. There is much I do not know, but what I do know leads me to value highly this new document. When a priest “rolls his eyes” at what the Holy Father is doing, this tells us nothing about the Holy Father. It describes the priest. Maybe the priest is overburdened with other tasks and is frustrated by something new, or is disappointed the Pope is not attending to the priest’s personal agenda. Still this describes the priest and says little about the value of the document. The Pope did not change the rosary. If we pray with him it may change us.

The Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter is personal and practical. I am convinced that if we spent some time with this it will transform us. It is designed to transform us into God’s friends.

More from the Holy Father:

In the spiritual journey of the Rosary, based on the constant contemplation – in Mary's company – of the face of Christ, this demanding ideal of being conformed to him is pursued through an association which could be described in terms of friendship. We are thereby enabled to enter naturally into Christ's life and as it were to share his deepest feelings.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 9:46 AM link
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