You know that today we keep the Feast of the Holy Rosary, and I propose to say to you what occurs to me on this great subject. You know how that devotion came about; how, at a time when heresy was very widespread, and had called in the aid of sophistry, that can so powerfully aid infidelity against religion, God inspired St. Dominic to institute and spread this devotion. It seems so simple and easy, but you know God chooses the small things of the world to humble the great. Of course it was first of all for the poor and simple, but not for them only, for everyone who has practised the devotion knows that there is in it a soothing sweetness that there is in nothing else. It is difficult to know God by our own power, because He is incomprehensible. He is invisible to begin with, and therefore incomprehensible. We can in some way know him, for even among the heathens there were some who had learned many truths about Him; but even they found it hard to conform their lives to their knowledge of Him. And so in His mercy He has given us a revelation of Himself by coming amongst us, to be one of ourselves, with all the relations and qualities of humanity, to gain us over. He came down from Heaven and dwelt amongst us, and died for us. All these things are in the Creed, which contains the chief things that He has revealed to us about Himself. Now the great power of the Rosary lies in this, that it makes the Creed into a prayer; of course, the Creed is in some sense a prayer and a great act of homage to God; but the Rosary gives us the great truths of His life and death to meditate upon, and brings them nearer to our hearts. And so we contemplate all the great mysteries of His life and His birth in the manger; and so too the mysteries of His suffering and His glorified life. But even Christians, with all their knowledge of God, have usually more awe than love of Him, and the special virtue of the Rosary lies in the special way in which it looks at these mysteries; for with all our thoughts of Him are mingled thoughts of His Mother, and in the relations between Mother and Son we have set before us the Holy Family, the home in which God lived. Now the family is, even humanly considered, a sacred thing; how much more the family bound together by supernatural ties, and, above all, that in which God dwelt with His Blessed Mother.

Newman, preaching at Oscott College, on Sunday, October 5th, 1879

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