Praying the Rosary Requires the Heart: Cardinal Grech
Encourages the Faithful to Stay Close to Mary During Her Month
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By Salvatore Cernuzio
ROME, MAY 21, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech celebrated an evening Mass on May 16 at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci in Rome, where the image of the Virgin of Fatima was kept until May 20, together with relics of Blessed Francesco and Jacinta.
At the end of his homily, focused on the Hail Mary, the cardinal distributed holy oil for the anointing of the sick to numerous people who went to the church to greet the pilgrim Madonna.
“Mary is health of the sick,” he reminded them. “She gives the strength to endure suffering and evils. Recalling the importance of prayer and inviting the faithful “not to abandon her in this Marian month,” Cardinal Grech stressed that Our Lady “is the sure way that leads to Christ, sure refuge for salvation.”
Interviewed by ZENIT, the cardinal explained that to believe in the power of Mary’s intercession and, hence, in the efficacy of prayer, “depends on our faith.”
“One can pray to Mary without faith and she, in her mercy, can also listen.” However, only through “a personal relationship with Christ and then with His mother,” can one attain to “a prayer that comes from the heart and that responds with the heart of Mary,” he said.
“How many Hail Marys have we prayed in our life? Thousands upon thousands, I believe,” continued the cardinal. “And what do we pray? Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
“In that last moment, Mary holds us by the hand, not only to comfort us, but to give us the faith to make that leap into Christ’s arms, so that she presents us to Jesus and Jesus to the Father,” he explained.
“Penance, fasting and prayer are concrete ways of salvation pointed out by Mary,” said the cardinal in his homily.
During the interview he reaffirmed this idea, saying: “In his whole Gospel Jesus preached penance for our sins to enter the Kingdom of God. And his mother repeats this in every apparition: Confession, an act of true and sincere contrition, and prayer.”
In particular, prayer is an essential act for the Christian’s life, especially that addressed to Our Lady. “What we don’t dare ask the Father, because of fear or lack of faith, we place in the mother’s hands,” he said.
And she many times “has indicated the Rosary as a strong instrument in the hands of the Christian to which we must return. A way not only of prayer but of meditation”, added the cardinal.
“In the third Glorious Mystery, for example, we say: the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. Our Father who art in Heaven. Hail Mary we continue saying. However, what meaning does this have for us? Are we are truly reflecting on the fact that the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, on the Church and hence on me? We must enter fully into the meaning of these words,” he asserted.
Asked about the meaning of this Marian month, a time of grace in which so many initiatives flourish that make one turn to one’s heart to Mary, Cardinal Grech answered that it is “a time rich in opportunities for us, because devotion to the Mother of God is rediscovered, which in the Catholic Church started at the beginning and will always continue in as much as it is profoundly united to the Lord.”