Reason #4 - to grow in holiness
The 4th reason to pray the rosary is to grow in holiness. What does that mean?
First of all, what does the word "holy" mean, anyway? In essence, the Old Testament tells us that being holy means to be "set apart for a special task." Note - that does not mean "set above." The word holiness gets a bad rap these days, as it often conjures up images of puritanism, fastidiousness and self-righteousness.
True holiness, however, has a very different aim. Ultimately, holiness means taking on the attributes of God, both personally, in our own lives and decisions, and colletively, as a society. This understanding comes from the book of Leviticus, where God tells the Israelites "You shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." Leviticus 19 What we often forget, though, is that God has a specific way in which the people will become holy. God tells them how they are to act in their relationships, in the way they interact with the created world, and also how they will act towards him. So, we see that the most important part of being holy involves being obedient to the Word of God.
In fact, when Jesus walks on the earth, this is the one thing he does better than any other person. He is continually seeking to do the will of his father. History has known great preachers, like Jesus. There have been great leaders of new movements as well. The Old Testament even records certain people who were able to manipulate the elements, such as the magicians in Egypt. But no one comes close to Jesus in following the will of his Father, even when following that will is profoundly difficult. Why is obedience so important to Jesus?
Jesus sums it up for us in Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect." When Jesus says these words, it is in the context of a larger framework, called the 5 Discourses. And what do you think the point of the 5 DIscourses is? You guessed it - being holy! Jesus again reaffirms the teachings of his Father from the Old Testament, and takes them even further.
Being obedient to the word of God allows us to become holy. It gives us a framework to understand and a scaffold to lean into. We incarnate the attributes of God. His mercy, patience, lovingkindness, justice, wisdom and peace become more and more apparent in us.
In the walk through the mysteries of the rosary, from Jesus' annunciation to his birth, death, resurrection and ascension, we end with the Assumption and Coronation of Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the Universe. In Mary's coronation, we see human holiness on display, the fullness of God shining through. Just imagine if we all tried to be like Mary, obedient to the Word of God. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all took the call to holiness a little more seriously? Just imagine how and our lives, adn the world, might change.
Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially, for reconciliation and forgiveness.
Pope Benedict XVI
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