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 | By Father Stan Smolenski

The Rosary: The Gospel According to Mary

In the July 2023 issue of The Miscellany, the recently ordained Father Vincent Ferrer Bernhard, OP, encouraged that we entrust ourselves to Mary through the rosary: “She will work in your life in amazing ways if you ask her,” he said.

St. John Paul II, in his apostolic letter on the rosary, taught us that Mary “lived with her eyes fixed on Christ” and treasured his every word.

“‘She kept these things, pondering them in her heart’ (Lk 2:19; 2:52). The memories of Jesus, impressed upon her heart were always with her. In a way, those memories were to be her ‘rosary,’ which she recited uninterruptedly throughout her earthly life. Even now, they inspire her maternal concern for the pilgrim Church, in which she continues to relate her personal account of the Gospel.

“Mary constantly sets before the faithful the ‘mysteries’ of her Son, with the desire that the contemplation of those mysteries will release all their saving power. In the recitation of the rosary, the Christian community enters into contact with the memories and the contemplative gaze of Mary” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Oct.16, 2002).

Charles H. Rogers, Jr., of Darlington, experienced this in his own life, which he recounted in his booklet, “The Virgin Mary.” He was introduced to our Mother rather providentially when he entered a book store and found himself in the religion section. Nothing appealed to him, but the title of one book caught his attention. It was about Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda. Out of curiosity he bought it and became fascinated with the story. He was very impressed by the local peoples’ deep religious faith and their devotion to the rosary. He wanted to be like them, so he decided to start praying the rosary, and it was very satisfying to him. He prayed it every morning. 

One day while working in his office, he received what he called an illumination.

“This time, I knew this was initiated by an external source. It did not originate from me, and it was not my imagination,” he wrote. “The intensity and tremendous interest came with the following unspoken message, but I clearly understood it. The message that I received was this. I needed to be in prayer every day, and the holy rosary was the prayer to use. Instantly, I knew that it was one of, if not the richest, prayers to use. Praying the rosary every day was not a forced thing either. It’s all I wanted to do as it was the highlight of my day. I have that same desire today.”

And, this is what Rogers learned about the Blessed Mother.

“She will not compromise her Son’s will for us. However, if we want to change from our intention to his, she will guide us. Mary is a real person: personable, warm, dependable, faithful and always right. We can, and she desires that we have, a relationship with her,” he said.

His booklet concludes with this sincere request.

“It is my prayer that you, the reader, will develop a relationship with her as I have managed to have. If so, you too will realize that she is a gift to us from heaven that we are allowed to experience in this life,” his book concludes.

The graces we are being granted by means of our shrine (Our Lady of South Carolina — Our Lady of Joyful Hope), encourage us to entrust ourselves and the entire diocese to Our Lady, especially through the rosary, the school of Mary, hoping that her maternal love will reply even with marvels.

For as Pope Benedict XVI directed us, “Let us turn our gaze to her, especially today, dear brothers and sisters, and imploring her help, prepare ourselves to treasure all her maternal teaching” (Address on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 2007).

Father Stanley Smolenski, spma, STL, MTh, is a canonical Baptistine hermit and the co-founder and director of the diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina — Our Lady of Joyful Hope in Kingstree. Email him at