The Rosary Light and Life - Current Announcements - July-Aug. 2014


A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR

In our last issue, we were privileged to read the first part of a remarkable reflection on the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, written by Br. Thomas Aquinas Pickett, a student preparing for Dominican priesthood. As Br. Thomas Aquinas draws his reflection to a close in this issue, I believe you will once again see how well the Western Dominicans have invested the gifts you contribute for the education of our young friars. These men are truly afire with zeal to preach God's truth, and you may be very proud of your part in helping them bring their gifts to God's hungry and thirsty People in the 21st Century.

Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.

 

THE POWER OF THE HEART - Part II

Br. Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P.

To have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means to serve God, to grow in love of God, in and through a particular understanding of the relation of sin, mercy, and love as they pertain to the salvific mission of Jesus, and the participation of Mary in that same mission. The devotion to the Sacred Heart, lauded by virtually every Pope since Leo XIII, leads its devotees to a fuller, experiential living out of the mystery of redemption. Devotees serve God through intentional reparation for their sins and those of the whole world. Meditating on the hearts of Jesus and Mary, one marvels at the stupendous love of God for sinful humanity, and, consequently is lead to act as a co-worker (cf. 1 Cor 3:9) in God's plan to "draw all things to Myself" (John 12:32).

We are, however, immediately faced with a stumbling block: in the contemporary American world, "devotions" are associated frequently with the superstitious rituals and practices of the uneducated, the uncultured; they belong more to the huddled masses of lowly immigrants than the enlightened throng of middle-class Catholics. Regardless of these biases, devotion itself is largely misunderstood.

However, even a cursory reading of St. Thomas Aquinas' treatise on the Virtue of Religion will point to the absolute necessity of devotion for the Christian. Devotion, for Aquinas, is having the will "to do readily what concerns the service of God" (ST II-II.82.1co.). As a devoted husband or wife is ready and willing to do things for his or her spouse, so a devoted Christian is ready and willing to do things for God and his glory. Devotion, for St. Thomas, gives life, meaning, and merit to all Christian worship, and is the root of good actions done in the Gospel spirit. To have a devotion (such as the rosary, lectio divina, venerating icons, etc.) is to be ready and willing to do things for God in and through a particular means.

For Aquinas, the little abuela who lights candles in a Church, even though she might not grasp the fine elements of doctrine, may have more devotion, and hence more merit, than the greatest theologian because she does it for God (cf. ST II-II.82.3 ad 3). This fact is crucial for the restoration of Catholicism in the world, since true devotion leads to the charity by which we are saved (cf. ST II-II.82.2. ad 2). Devotion means serving a friend, God, out of love.

When we speak of a “heart,” we often symbolically speak of a person's will, rather than the actual fleshy organ that pumps blood. The will, as we learn from St. Thomas, is the intellectual appetite: it is our human, rational ability to move towards what is good, and to withdraw from what is evil. Jesus, as God and man, has both a human and a divine will (cf. the heresy of Monothelitism); that is to say, as both God and man, Jesus is moved towards the good that he apprehends. As God, this movement is indistinguishable from his immutable nature as the Word through whom all things live, move, and have their being (cf. Col 1:17, John 1:1-14); as true man, this movement towards the good is manifest in his coming to die for sinners. If there were nothing good in us, nothing worth redeeming, Jesus would not have willed to come to save us. But, as the facts stand, that is exactly what He did. God, the ineffable I AM, became man to save us, because he saw that there is something fundamentally good in mankind (cf. Gen 1:31). The human, physical nature of Jesus loved us through a painful death, and continues, hypostatically united to the Word, to love us through the offenses of our sins. God's love and mercy are seen in no better way than in considering the heart of Jesus, loving his own in the world (John 13:1) to the point of death, and loving us today in spite of the hardness of our own hearts (Rom 2:5).

But what of Mary's Immaculate Heart? We understand that the closer a person draws to Christ, the more like Christ they become, as objects become warmer the closer they come to fire. Since Mary is Queen of Heaven and Earth, forever united with her Son, we understand that she shares in Jesus' will to love and save the human race. Mary's heart, therefore, likewise shares in the desire that all will come to know, love, and serve her Son. This desire dwelling in Mary's heart, endured the sword of her Son's passion (Luke 2:35), and grieves when men and women reject the One whom she bore and raised. Since all devotion to Mary passes on to love of Christ, the consideration of Mary's heart naturally leads us closer to the loving will of the Redeemer.

When we consider the hearts of Jesus and Mary, we consider the unspeakable condescension of God's love for us. As a result, these devotions encourage us to not stand by idly in the light of salvation history, but to take an active part in reparation, that is, in repairing, the damaged relation that sin causes between ourselves and God. The devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart challenges us to respond to God's love and mercy; this challenge is timely since, without such a response, without repairing the damage that sin, both personal and social, does in the world, we ultimately risk running our earthly course in vain (Phil. 2:16). These devotions offer us a potent solution to the grave errors and failures of our era; our task then, is to avail ourselves to them, trusting in the grace of God that works all things towards the better (cf. Rom. 8:28) for those who love Christ and seek to do his will. As Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Haurietis Aquas,

moved by an earnest desire to set strong bulwarks against the wicked designs of those who hate God and the Church and, at the same time, to lead men back again, in their private and public life, to a love of God and their neighbor, We do not hesitate to declare that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the most effective school of the love of God; the love of God, We say, which must be the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations” (123)


LOOKING FOR A NEW CHILD'S BOOK?

We are quite pleased to offer The Miracle of the Dancing Sun at Fatima, an interactive, devotional and doctrinal book designed to broaden the faith of young people. Although it is presented as a "companion" to the animated film The Day the Sun Danced, the book can be enjoyed by itself, and its clever question and answer format is quite engaging. In the course of her encounters with the young children at Fatima, the Blessed Mother instructed them in the necessity of receiving the Eucharist and the value of praying the Rosary. The text makes clear and simple presentations of these truths, and follows each of them with quizzes and prayers to help the message "stick."


2 Novenas of Masses in honor of

The Assumption of Mary

Aug. 7 - 15 | Aug. 16 - 24

to be offered for your intentions.

Novena Prayer


Mailing Address:
The Rosary Center
PO Box 3617
Portland, OR 97208 USA
+1-503-236-8393