The Father William Most Collection
Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament
[Published electronically for use in classes taught by Fr. Most and for private theological study.]
(A question was posed on CRNET regarding whether or not it is permissible to say the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament when it is exposed. Fr. Most's comments follow.)
A few years ago, there was a movement to try to severely limit perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was overturned. Now instead there is a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration International Association, whose Moderator is Cardinal Cahal B. Daly, on whose board of advisors there are numerous Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops, to promote perpetual adoration.
There is a Decree signed by Eduardo Cardinal Pironio, President, Pontifical Council for the Laity, dated January 12, 1991, formally approving the statues of that society. The same Society publishes for use at Holy Hours, a booklet, To Jesus Through Mary, in which Eucharistic meditations are provided for each mystery of the Rosary. The booklet carries the Imprimatur of Cardinal Mahoney.
I personally know the story of the establishment of this Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration International Association. There were difficulties. Father Hardon S.J. was a chief promotor of it, and Pope John Paul II is personally strong for it.
Still further: In the papal Constitution Indulgentiarum Doctrina, of January 1, 1967, there is provided a plenary indulgence for reciting the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament--no distinction made of whether that Sacrament is or is not exposed.
Again, Pope John Paul II in an address in St. Peter's Square, on Sunday Feb.12, 1984 (from English edition of L' Osservatore Romano of Feb. 20, 1984, p. 10) said: "Today I wish to dwell with you on the Blessed Virgin's presence in the celebration of the liturgy.... Every liturgical action... is an occasion of communion... and in a particular way with Mary. Because the liturgy is the action of Christ and of the Church... she is inseparable from one and the other.... Mary is present in the memorial -- the liturgical action -- because she was present at the saving event.... She is at every altar where the memorial of the passion and resurrection is celebrated, because she was present, faithful with her whole being to the Father's plan, at the historic salvific occasion of Christ's death."
Most basic theological reason is provided by Pius XII, in his Encyclical Haurietis aquas, §124. He wrote:
"In order that graces in greater abundance may flow on all Christians ... from the devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, let the faithful see to it that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God be closely joined to this devotion. For, by God's will, in carrying out the work of human Redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably linked with Christ, in such a way that our salvation flowed from the love and sufferings of Jesus Christ, to which the love and sorrows of His Mother were intimately united."
Vatican II, in Chapter 8 of Lumen gentium, filled in splendidly on this association of hers with Him. It starts with the eternal decree for the incarnation, in which she is with Him, goes through the chief Old Testament prophecies about Him and her, then goes through each one of the major mysteries of His life and death, and shows her association with Him in each one. Finally, it shows that after the end of time, for all eternity, she is joined with Him, the Eternal King, as Queen of the Universe. So literally: from eternity to eternity, and at all points in between, she is, as the same Pius XII wrote in Munificentissimus Deus "always sharing His lot."