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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Rosary and the Silence of the Word

The Rosary is a pathway of prayer that follows the mysteries of the life of Christ. It challenges us to ponder in our own hearts what Mary pondered in her heart. Sometimes our personal reflections on these can be a little sentimental. Sometimes they can be a little too cerebral. This happens in human conversation too. Yet if a conversation with a friend never goes deeper than platonic ideas or emotive outbursts, a genuine communion of hearts alludes us. Thus, in praying the Rosary, it is not enough to attempt to move our affections or entertain ourselves with new insights. We ponder the mysteries that live in the heart of Mary so that we can love Jesus the way that she knows and loves Him.


To go deeper than thoughts and movements of emotion, we must allow the Word of the Father to draw us into the silence that He knew in the womb of Mary. Long before He knew this fruitful silence in her body, He had already delighted in it -- for it sprung first from the depths of her heart. Pure, there was nothing in this fruitfulness that would impede His self-disclosure. So, without her understanding or feeling or even intuiting, He gave Himself in the power of the Holy Spirit. The words of the Angel Gabriel reveal not only a definitive moment in the communication of the Word, but also a reality that had already in some sense begun without her knowing. His self-gift began as a hidden reality of the heart before it was embodied and revealed to the visible world. Similarly, when we pray the Rosary, the most fruitful moments are the silences between our insights and the stillness between the movements of our heart. In that silence and stillness, He is at work accomplishing far more than our own human industry could ever achieve. Our posture becomes one of wonder, surrender, and joy filled thanksgiving -- those attitudes of Mary and the only attitudes that adequately respond to the destination that the Rosary directs us to.

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