The Importance of ‘Memory’ in the Liturgy and the Rosary

The following is a brief excerpt from a book soon to be published by our Sisters. It considers the role of the Church’s Liturgy and the Holy Rosary in giving us reminders of the great Mysteries of our Faith.

MEN are easily distracted, and so we easily forget — forget our Father and our duties towards Him, forget our Brother and His love for us, forget our dignity as temples of the Holy Ghost and our vocation to be as beacons of light to others. In short, we go through life in constant danger of forgetting who we are, why we are here, where we are going, and how to arrive safely.

“What is the Liturgy,” asks Dom Prosper Gueranger in his introduction to The Liturgical Year, “but an untiring affirmation of the works of God? A solemn acknowledgement of those divine facts, which, though done but once, are imperishable in man’s remembrance, and are every year renewed by the commemoration he makes of them?”

And what is the Holy Rosary but a daily reminder of those same august mysteries?

“The year thus planned for us by the Church herself,” Dom Gueranger continues, “produces a drama the sublimest that has ever been offered to the admiration of man. God intervening for the salvation and sanctification of men; the reconciliation of justice and mercy; the humiliations, the sufferings, and the glories of the God-Man; the coming of the Holy Ghost, and His workings in humanity and in the faithful soul; the mission and action of the Church — all are there portrayed in the most telling and impressive way…. Human ingenuity could never have devised a system of such power as this.”

What is said of the Divine Liturgy can be applied to the holy Rosary as well, for it is the Liturgy in miniature. Have we such need of a miniature? Yes, indeed! Even as the Sacrifice of the Mass is the daily renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary, a portal, as it were, bridging time and space to apply to our souls here and now the superabundance of graces won for us by Christ there and then, so the Rosary is our personal “hand-held” link with the mysteries of our Faith.

Sister Lucia makes this quite clear. The Rosary “is what sustains the little flame of faith that has not quite been extinguished in many consciences. Even for those souls who pray without meditating, the very act of taking up the Rosary to pray is already a remembrance of God, of the supernatural. A simple recollection of the mysteries of each decade is one more ray of light to sustain in souls the still-smoldering wick. This is why the devil has made such war against it.”

Powerful though the Sacred Cycle of the Liturgy is, Our Lady knew that we would need still more by way of reminders. She knew it when She first codified the Rosary in its now-familiar form and gave it to St. Dominic. And She knew it when She, the Queen of Peace, introduced Herself at Fatima as Our Lady of the Rosary. Who could fail to see the profound relation between these two titles, Queen of Peace and Queen of the Rosary — between the great need of our age and Her proffered remedy? Our Lady did not say, “If you pray the Rosary, there will be peace.” Nor did She plead, “Please pray the Rosary that there may be peace.” No. Our Queen-Mother commanded: “Pray the Rosary for world peace” as if to warn us by the very nature of the command, “If you do not say my Rosary, you will forget; you will lose touch with the mysteries of the Faith and the Truths enshrined therein. You will stop caring about salvation, and so you will be lost.”

Our Mother cannot afford to let us forget.

We cannot afford, therefore, to dismiss lightly the means given us by Heaven to remember that this life is our only chance at eternal happiness.