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“The Rosary:
A Gospel Prayer”

Pope Paul VI:

We wish now, venerable Brothers, to dwell for a moment on the renewal of those holy prayers which have been called “a summary of the entire Gospel”: namely the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our predecessors have devoted the greatest attention and care to the enhancement of these prayers. Again and again they have urged the faithful to recite the Rosary frequently; they have encouraged its diffusion and explained its extraordinary nature.

They have said moreover that it is suitable for fostering contemplative prayer which is simultaneously a prayer of both praise and petition. Finally, they have proclaimed its importance and power for promoting Christian life and for arousing the effort (necessary) to win souls for Christ.

We too, from the first General Audience of our Pontificate on July 13, 1963, have publicly proclaimed how much we esteem the prayer of the Rosary. Since that time we have clarified its importance on many occasions, especially when in a moment of anguish and uncertainty we published the Letter Christi Matri, (September 15, 1966), in order to obtain prayers to Our Lady of the Rosary, to implore God the supreme benefit of peace.

We renewed this appeal in our apostolic Exhortation Recurrens Mensis, (October 7, 1969), in which we also commemorated the fourth centenary of the Apostolic Letter Consueverunt Romani Pontifices of our predecessor Saint Pius V, who in that document explained and fixed the traditional form of the prayers of the Rosary.

Our unremitting concern for the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is indeed most precious, has led us to follow very attentively all that has been proposed and debated by the numerous gatherings which have been held in recent years to consider the pastoral role of the Rosary in the modern world …

From all these efforts there has emerged a more clear understanding of the fundamental characteristics of the Rosary and of its essential elements and their mutual relationship.

Thus, for instance, the Gospel inspiration of the Rosary has appeared more clearly: the Rosary draws from the Gospel the presentation of the mysteries and its main formulas. Moreover, it is in the Gospel, in recalling the Angel’s joyful greeting and the Virgin’s holy assent, that the Faithful find a way in which to recite the Rosary devoutly.

Finally, in the consistently repeated greeting of the angel one of the primary mysteries of the Gospel is put before us, namely the Incarnation of the Word, contemplated at the decisive moment of the Annunciation to Mary. The Rosary is thus a Gospel prayer, which is the title given it by pastors and scholars in our times rather than in times past.

It has also been more easily seen how the orderly and gradual unfolding of the Rosary reflects the very way in which the Word of God, by mercifully entering into human affairs, brought about Redemption. The Rosary considers in harmonious succession the principal salvific events accomplished by Christ, from His virginal conception and the mysteries of His childhood to the culminating moments of the Passover — the blessed Passion and the glorious Resurrection — and on to the fruits of the Resurrection which came to the infant Church on the day of Pentecost, and to the Virgin Mary when at the end of Her earthly life she was assumed body and soul into Her heavenly home.

Behold the Handmaid of the Lord
“Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, Be it done unto me according to thy word And the Word was made Flesh. And dwelt among us.”