1. Cardinal Newman reminds us that Our Lady’s all-powerful gift of prayer lies in Her unique access to God, for Our Lord would deny her nothing. She is, after all, the Theotokos, the mother of God, since Jesus is both the Son of God and the son of Mary. In one of the divine messages known as True Life in God, given for all of us to the Greek Orthodox visionary, Vassula Ryden, Jesus says:
“My mother’s Immaculate Heart is united to mine. I desire from each one of you a devotion Her Immaculate Heart deserves, a desire for you to approach my Mother, and honour Her as I honour Her. I desire that every knee bends following Her. I desire you to pray the Rosary and Hail your Holy Mother. I want you to repair your sins asking Her to teach you.”
In the first year of his pontificate St John Paul II, when declaring that Our Lady be invoked as “Our Lady of Europe” stated:
“The reason why successive Popes have always promoted devotion to the Blessed Virgin is clear to anyone who considers her greatness before God…and man, her sublime holiness and her power of intercession with her Adorable Son, the Ruler of all”.
2. Devotion to Our Lady in England has a long history.
In the 8th Century AD about twenty English Churches are known to have been dedicated to Mary. By the time of the Reformation this number had risen to well over 2000.
In the 14th Century England became known as “The Dowry of Mary” meaning “a country set aside for Mary”, at a time when virtually every man
woman and child were familiar with the Rosary and the Joys and Sorrows of Mary, expressed in stained glass windows, paintings, statues and carvings, and sung in hymns and carols proclaiming beautiful images of her such as the rose within whose folded petals are enclosed “heaven and earth in little space.”
The English people kept the practice of the Rosary alive at a time when it had been neglected and abandoned in Europe because of the Black Death. King Edward the Confessor entrusted England to Our Lady, proclaiming “This is your Dowry, Holy Virgin”. King Henry VI promoted recital of the Rosary in Colleges and Churches. In 1895 Pope Leo XIII reaffirmed the ancient title “Dowry of Mary”.
3. The Rededication of England to Mary took place on 29th March 2020 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. It was at Walsingham in the 11th Century that Mary requested Lady Richeldis of Faversham to dedicate a shrine that would serve as a remembrance of her joy when she learned from the Angel Gabriel that she was to bear the Son of God. So Walsingham became renowned as a place of pilgrimage for all faithful people in Europe, celebrating Our Lady’s joy in the Incarnation, when the Son of God became human flesh within Mary, forming His body from her’s.
4. In a world which in general denies its need for God, dominated by self- interest and pride, we are called to follow Our Lady’s perfect example in submitting to God’s will. And how do we know His will? By prayer. At Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje the visionaries describe Our Lady as carrying the Rosary beads in her hands. Indeed, when Our Lady appeared in Fatima she said to the children: “I am the Lady of the Rosary” and urged us to pray the Rosary every day. Why? To teach us that, without prayer, we will never be able to do God’s will. To one visionary Our Lady stated “I would like to teach you how to pray. Ask God to come to your aid – not according to your wishes but to His Love. Pray for what God wants.”
5. Prayer is God’s gift to us:
“Prayer is our way of knocking on the door of God’s heart…it is the fulfilment of our heart and the stilling of our soul, an act of love, of surrender and reconciliation” (from “Called to Love” by Father Jozo Zovko).
In his prophetic Book “The Day is Now Far Spent” Cardinal Sarah observed that without prayer we will be clanging symbols and that “prayer must become our innermost respiration. It brings us face to face with God…it is a matter of being silent and adoring. It is a matter of getting on our knees”.
6. The Joyful Mysteries express Mary’s own experience and when we pray and meditate on them, we see these great events of our Lord’s life through the eyes of the person who was closest to Him. As St John Paul II observed, to pray the Rosary is to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ. He said of her “she is the Mother and Teacher of Prayer”. Our Lady is reported as saying to a visionary:
“You should always carry the face of my Son in your hearts and thoughts, praying always to feel His presence. In this way you will help all those who do not know my Son and His Love.”
“Do not forget that…love is a gift with which you must bring joy to others and lead them to eternal life”.
We are called to carry the love of Our Lord to others in joy, to be joyful witnesses of Jesus, doing what God asks of us.
Oratory House, Cardiff,
IN The Rosary of Our Lady of Joys, Anthony Jeremy has once again written a loving, devout guide to the Christian who wants to sit at the feet of the Mother of God and learn in what Pope St. John Paul II called, “the school of Mary,” the Holy Rosary. As Jeremy so ably describes, the sincere follower of Christ will experience a renewed sense of wonder in praying over the joys of Our Lady, the first and finest disciple of Her Divine Son. More than just a devotional booklet for the familiar Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, Jeremy’s book leads the reader through eight of the moments of Our Lord’s life together with His most blessed Mother: the Annunciation in Nazareth; the Visitation to St. Elizabeth in the Judean hill country; the Nativity in Bethlehem; the Adoration of the Magi, come far from the East; the Finding in the Temple at Jerusalem; the Resurrection of our Lord; the Assumption of our Lady body and soul into heavenly glory; and her most blessed Coronation by the Holy and Undivided Trinity. In using the familiar structure of the Rosary — the Our Fathers, the Hail Marys, and the Glory be to the Father.. — Jeremy roots this booklet in the traditional prayer of the Church. With the carefully chosen Scriptural annotations to each prayer, and through the reverent, devotional reflections that accompany the eight Mysteries, Jeremy slowly draws the reader deeper into the cycle of meditation and contemplation that have made the Rosary so recommended by the Christian spiritual masters for centuries. Jeremy says of the Magi, in the fourth Mystery of Our Lady of Joys, that they “were watchful and ready to receive God’s Word through the Angel’s proclamation.” The same could be said of the reader who takes this book in hand to pray the Rosary: for in these pages one can find a faithful and true proclamation of that same Word which Our Lady so joyfully received two millennia ago. In this very welcome work, Anthony Jeremy has marked out a way for both the newest convert and the most committed disciple to reap the bountiful harvest promised the People of God who turn to our Saviour, Jesus Christ through the watchful eyes of Our Lady. May She whose free consent brought forth the Salvation of the world
intercede for Jeremy and all those who come after him in this prayer.
Our Lady of Joys, pray for us!
Very Reverend Sebastian M. Jones, JCD., The Cardiff Oratory