The Rosary to the Holy Spirit and Evangelii Gaudium

    Just before the celebration of Pentecost, I had the grace of praying the Rosary to the Holy Spirit with both patients and staff members at the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre. The more the Lord gave me this grace of praying this powerful Rosary the more I came to realize its life-changing power.

    After praying the Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father, the Rosary starts and ends with the following interesting doxology dedicated to the Holy Spirit. Here is its text: Glory, adoration, blessing and love to you, eternal divine Spirit, who brought the Saviour of our souls onto this Earth and glory and honour to his most adorable heart, which loves us infinitely.

     This very profound doxology, which highly extolls the Holy Spirit’s role in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God-made-man, into our midst, as well as affirming the Spirit’s love for each and every one of us through the most adorable heart of Jesus that loves us infinitely, we are then beautifully led to the seven mysteries of the Rosary. As the number seven biblically denotes perfection throughout these mysteries we can easily appreciate the Spirit’s perfect and complete workings in the life of Jesus, the Church and the world at large.

    In the first mystery we contemplate when Jesus is conceived within the blessed womb of the Virgin Mary thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit. The biblical passage that is offered for our contemplation is that of Luke 1:31-35. In the apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis gives us this deep reflection on this mystery: Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness. Today we look to her and ask her to help us proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable new disciples to become evangelizers in turn… Mary is able to recognize the traces of God’s Spirit in events great and small. She constantly contemplates the mystery of God in our world, in human history and in our daily lives (EG, nos 287-288).

    The second mystery for our contemplation is when Jesus is consecrated Messiah by the Holy Spirit in the River Jordan. Here, the chosen text is from Luke 3:21-22. This is the way Pope Francis comments this mystery in Evangelii Gaudium (#119): In all the baptized, from first to last, the sanctifying power of the Spirit is at work, impelling us to evangelization. The people of God is holy thanks to this anointing, which makes it infallible in credendo. This means that it does not err in faith, even though it may not find words to explain that faith. The Spirit guides it in truth and leads it to salvation.

     In the third mystery we contemplate Jesus’ death on the Cross in order to free the world from sin and give the world the gift of the Holy Spirit. The passage selected for this mystery is that from the Gospel of John 1,28-30. Here, Pope Francis offers this thought from his Evangelii Gaudium: With the eyes of faith, we can see the light which the Holy Spirit always radiates in the midst of darkness, never forgetting that “where sin increased, grace has abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). Our faith is challenged to discern how wine can come from water and how wheat can grow in the midst of weeds (#84).

    The fourth mystery announces when Jesus gives the Apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they may forgive sins. The Gospel passage connected with this mystery is the one we read on Pentecost Day from John 20:19-23. Evangelii Gaudium tells us: Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful! (no.280).

    Concerning the fifth mystery we are led to contemplate Jesus and the Father on the occasion of Pentecost, giving outpourings of the Holy Spirit: the Church, constituted in power, opens itself up to the mission of the world. The Scriptural text chosen for this mystery is that from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles 2,1-4.  Evangelii Gaudium in number 178 says: To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds: “The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable”.

     The sixth mystery reminds us to contemplate that for the first time, the Holy Spirit comes down upon the pagans. The biblical text designated for this mystery is that from the Acts of the Apostles 10:44-48. On this periscope Evangelii Guadium states: The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father amid our creative and generous commitment. Let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time (no.279).

    In the seventh and last mystery we contemplate the Holy Spirit who guides the Church of all times, by giving it His gifts. The text chosen is the one taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8, 26-27. Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium says: Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

    These few reflections which the Holy Spirit himself gave me for the Solemnity of Pentecost made me more aware of how Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium can serve as an excellent meditative commentary to the seven mysteries of the Rosary to the Holy Spirit. As we have seen, these mysteries clearly show the Holy Spirit’s role in salvation history which is still going on. This great apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis helps us become aware of how to let the Holy Spirit work in and through us as well as it maps for us the dangers that can impede the Paraclete’s sanctifying role in our lives and also in those around us so that we all may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). To all this I cry from the bottom of my heart to the Paraclete: Veni Creator Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit!

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    Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap was born in San Gwann on August 26 1972. After being educated in governmental primary and secondary schools as well as at the Naxxar Trade School he felt the call to enter the Franciscan Capuchin Order. After obtaining the university requirements he entered the Capuchin friary at Kalkara on October 12 1993. A year after he was ordained a priest, precisely on 4 September 2004, his superiors sent him to work with patients as a chaplain first at St. Luke's Hospital and later at Mater Dei. In 2007 Fr Mario obtained a Master's Degree in Hospital Chaplaincy from Sydney College of Divinity, University of Sydney, Australia. From November 2007 till March 2020 Fr Mario was one of the six chaplains who worked at Mater Dei Hospital., Malta's national hospital. Presently he is a chaplain at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre. Furthermore, he is a regular contributor in the MUMN magazine IL-MUSBIEĦ, as well as doing radio programmes on Radio Mario about the spiritual care of the sick.