In his landmark apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), Pope St. John Paul II states, “Love is…the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.” Simply put, because “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and because the human person is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26–27), the human person is indeed called to love.
The Rosary is a prayer that bolsters this important truth. It is a prayer of love precisely because it teaches us how to love in the circumstances of everyday human life. Its four sets of mysteries together represent a complete rhythm of human life and a blueprint by which to live that life well, in love toward both God and neighbor.
The Joyful Mysteries help us acquire and live well the virtues needed for family life. The Luminous Mysteries, as they focus specifically on Our Lord’s three years of public life, help us see how we must carry out our Christian vocation and mission in the modern world. The Sorrowful Mysteries teach us how to faithfully cope with any sufferings and tribulations that might enter our lives. And the Glorious Mysteries help us focus on the goal for which God has created us—namely, eternal salvation, eternal beatitude, the beatific vision, life with God forever in heaven.
As a Father of Mercy priest, my primary apostolate is to serve as an itinerant missionary who preaches the truth as it is revealed to us through Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium and upheld by the Sacred Deposit of Faith. Preaching the truth with love is a sacred duty I don’t take lightly. The Rosary assists me greatly in this regard.
Since my early years, the Rosary has been a driving force behind all that I hold dear: my love for the Blessed Trinity, my love for our Blessed Mother, my love for the saints and angels, my love for family, my love for neighbor, and my love for my vocation as a priest. With its twenty mysteries geared toward the economy of salvation, the Rosary keeps me on track and focused, with the desire to demonstrate love in all the circumstances that life presents, including unexpected twists and turns and, yes, even sufferings.
My prayer is that the Rosary will likewise become a driving force for you and for all who come into contact with it. May we pray it faithfully and lovingly, regardless of vocation or state in life. This is crucial in a day and age in which we pray that a culture of life may overcome a culture of death. With the Rosary in our hands, its prayers on our lips, and its meditations on our minds, may we courageously echo to the world the solemn truth that Pope St. John Paul II taught so well: Indeed, love is…the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.
Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM, is the assistant general of the Fathers of Mercy, a missionary preaching congregation based in Auburn, Kentucky. He has hosted several series on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network).