Carmelite Hopes the Year of the Rosary Is Just a Start

Theologian Says Riches of Papal Letter Must Be Cultivated

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ROME, NOV. 12, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican consultor and theologian evaluated the recently ended Year of the Rosary and says, "A year is not sufficient."



Twelve months after the Pope signed the apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae," Father Jesús Castellano Cervera said that it was "accepted, lived and appreciated, especially for its theological-spiritual approach, which makes the document a kind of continuation of 'Novo Millennio Ineunte.'"

Father Castellano, a Discalced Carmelite and professor of theology, liturgy and spirituality at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum, talked to ZENIT about the letter on the rosary.

He said he was very taken by the fact that "the Pope was so keen on giving a theological and spiritual approach to the rosary, an approach that is at the same time Christological and Trinitarian, and Mary is situated there, in the Christological mystery."

The papal letter was a "very strong appeal to the rosary as a means of holiness, especially by contemplating the face of Christ and the mysteries of Christ's whole life," the priest said.

"The rosary is a viaticum of spiritual life through the mysteries of Christ and the mysteries of Marian life," Father Castellano said.

"The Pope has called us to pray and has emphasized a prayer that becomes contemplation and, therefore, a synthesis between faith and life, between the mind and the heart," he added.

Moreover, the novelty of the luminous mysteries "has been welcomed with enthusiasm," the Carmelite said.

This is because it "fills a lacuna and proposes the possibility of entering into Christ's mystery through baptism; the transfiguration -- extolled in Western and Eastern preaching; the wedding at Cana -- one of the mysteries where Mary is present; [and] the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist, a sign of great intensity on the part of Jesus, where his whole life is recapitulated before going to his passion and resurrection," Father Castellano said.

All these contributions mean that a year is not sufficient time to accept "a document of this kind," he said.

"This acceptance of the letter and its transmission to new generations must be cultivated," the Carmelite scholar noted. He added that "to thoroughly understand this text, one must place oneself before the face of Christ and contemplate him with Mary's eyes and those of the Church."

He concluded with a suggestion. "There have been very numerous publications of the rosary letter, and very many texts issued to recite the Marian prayer better," he said. "However, a visible manifestation has been lacking that would give weight to the Holy Father's initiative."

"In Rome, for example, there have been no Marian congresses that has focused on the rosary," the priest observed. "There have been many local manifestations, but no important scientific congresses."