The Holy Rosary is one of the most important tools in the Christian world. It is used by Marian devotees in their meditation in the lives of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The term rosary is derived from the Latin word rosarium which means a rose garden or a bunch of rose flowers. It got its name so from Mary who is often miraculously associated with the rose flower. It was noted that during her assumption to heaven, rose flowers were mysteriously found on her sickbed.
The rosary is of Marian distinction. According to Christian dogma, it was handed personally to Saint Dominic by the Virgin Mary herself.
Pope John Paul II, became a significant mover in the development and evolution of the rosary when he issued the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virgininbs Mariae (the Rosary of the Virgin Mary) on October 16, 2002. This apostolic letter presented many impacts in the Christian world and the devotion to the rosary and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Born as Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II is widely known as a Marian devotee and promoter of rosary devotion.
In this apostolic letter, he proclaimed the date of October 2002-2003 as the Year of the Rosary. Also, in this letter he introduced five new mysteries the Mysteries of the Light or Luminous Mysteries. 1) Jesus’s Baptism in the Jordan, 2) His self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, 3) His proclamation of the Kingdom of God with the invitation to conversion, 4) His Transfiguration on Mount Thabor, 5) His institution of the Eucharist.
John Paul II strongly suggested the recitation and meditation using the Rosary in the times when humanity faces danger, like terrorism, epidemic and the attack against the family. As he wrote:
“The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.”
Pope John Paul II’s predecessors have also attributed to the great significance of rosary prayer. One is Pope Leo XIII who was noted as the Rosary Pope. Leo has issued a record of eleven encyclicals one of which is the Supremi Apostolatus Officio, a document of great importance, which promulgated that the Rosary is a very effective spiritual tool for salvation. Also, Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI used their papal authority to promote the devotion to rosary.
In introducing the Luminous Mysteries, Pope John Paul II brought a depth to the Christian History. In the original fifteen mysteries, Catholics have professed to feel a certain feel of gap because most important events in the lives of Jesus and Mary were missing.
Pope John Paul II believed that when we pray the rosary, we meditate the face of Christ. It was just like seeing him and talking him face to face through the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Of the many holy and great people who have proven worthy of their place in the halls of catholic glory, Pope John Paul, himself is a gift of the light for he enlightened the world of Jesus’ public ministry. With the new luminous mysteries, the world is truly enlightened trough Mary.